Covering the DO-5 openings for the stabilizers
Torstai 21.9.2023 - Tuesday Club member
When in June we were preparing the C-47 (DO-5) fuselage, owned by Aviation Museum Society Finland, for display at the Turku Airshow, the working list included covering the DO-5 tail openings for the stabilizers with aluminium plates. The reason for the covering being to prevent rainwater from getting inside the fuselage. At the time we didn’t have time to make the covers to shield the openings. At the beginning of the Tuesday Club’s autumn season we included the covering of the stabilizer openings on our work list.
Photo by Janne Salonen.
At the moment, the DO-5 fuselage is situated by the Turku Airport, next to the Caravelle III or OH-LEA “Bluebird, which is the object of restoration and owned by Aviation Museum Society Finland. That’s why we had to go to Turku to measure the covers for the stabilizer openings. On Monday, September 4th, we headed for Turku.
Photo by Jouko Tarponen.
Measuring the sizes of the openings on the DO-5 and making cardboard templates of them took quite a few hours. Our work was facilitated by the fact that we had at our disposal a high enough worktop, given to us by the Caravelle restoration project, on which we could reach to measure the vertical stabilizer’s opening, which was highest up. Or as a matter of fact, the vertical stabilizer’s attachment point isn’t an opening at all, like the horizontal stabilizers’, but the vertical stabilizer is attached from its lower part to aluminium attachment brackets rising from the fuselage.
We started with the right-hand side horizontal stabilizer opening in the tail. A cardboard template was made by shaping and attaching to the stabilizer opening several numbered cardboard panels, one after the other. Finally we shaped a cardboard template of the curved leading edge of the stabilizer opening. Because we assume that the right- and left-hand side openings are symmetrical, we only made a cardboard template of the right-hand side stabilizer opening.
A cardboard template of the vertical stabilizer’s attachment point wasn’t made, because it isn’t an opening in the fuselage like those of the horizontal stabilizers. At the vertical stabilizer’s attachment point, from the top of the “cut off” tail, seven rectangular 10 cm high solid attachment brackets, made of aluminium, are sticking up stretching 240 cm in distance. The vertical stabilizer is attached to these brackets with screws, and from its hem to the side of the fuselage.
Photo by Reijo Siirtola.
We ended up sheltering the vertical stabilizer’s attachment point with a rainproof case. The case would be pressed on the 10 cm high attachment brackets. The top of the case would be of sturdy plywood, covered with a sheet of aluminium. The sides of the case will be made of sheets of aluminium. They will be attached from their top rim to the edge of the plywood cover, so that the top rim remains under the downward bent edge of the aluminium sheet on top of the case. This will guarantee that the joint becomes watertight. The bottom sides of the case overlap the top of the fuselage by 4 cm. Thus the rainwater running along the case’s sides can’t get inside the fuselage.
To build the case covering the attachment point of the vertical stabilizer, a sketch was made, where all the relevant details to build the case were measured.
Photos by Ismo Matinlauri.
Because the DO-5 tail cone isn’t fixed to the fuselage, the tail cone opening must also be protected from the rain. The opening will be protected with two aluminium sheets, because of the structure of the tail’s cross-section. So we made individual cardboard templates of the top-and lower halves of the fuselage of the DO-5 without the tail cone.
The covering of the DO-5 tail stabilizer openings was started with the case protecting the vertical stabilizer. First the plywood top will be built. It will act as the frame for the case. There was suitable, sturdy plywood in the material storage of the Finnish Aviation Museum. We will have to make the top plate out of two halves, though, because the length of the plate at our disposal isn’t enough to cover the whole 240 cm length. The measures for the vertical stabilizer taken in Turku, were transposed to the plywood plate, which became the case’s top. Next the top plate will be sawn into measure.
Photos by Lassi Karivalo except if otherwise mentioned.
Translation by Matti Liuskallio.