DO-5's door from the cabin to the cockpit is under restoration

Sunnuntai 6.11.2022 - Tuesday Club member

Suomeksi

The restoration work of the DO-5 (DC-3/C-47) fuselage, owned by Aviation Museum Society Finland, is now concentrating on the wooden door which separates the cockpit from the cabin. Structurally it is a so-called panel door. The painted surface on the cockpit side is badly worn and flaked, and it will be restored to its original condition.

On the cabin side the original surface of the door has been hidden under a modern and pale hard-surfaced board. The same board has been used for covering the cabin side of the wall separating the cockpit and the cabin, and the cabin walls up to the upper level of the cabin windows. We are wondering whether the door and walls have been re-covered during the aircraft’s Lufthansa period or when it came to the use of the Finnish Air Force. We decided to leave the cabin side of the door as it is, with its new covering, to match the cabin walls.

Judging from the cockpit side of the door, the door seems to be an original C-47 type door. An indication of this is a large stamp found on the plywood surface of the door. The word ASSEMBLY and serial number 24 145018 can still be read on it. There are also other numbers on the stamp, but they are not clearly distinguishable.

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For restoring the door, it was disassembled from its frame and brought to the restoration workshop at the Finnish Aviation Museum. The painted surface on the cockpit side will be sanded and the plywood veneers, which have delaminated, will be glued back together. Finally the door will be repainted.

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Before painting, the loose flaked paint was scraped off and the greenish grey paint surface was sanded smooth. Our aim is to paint the door and the aluminium wall surfaces in the cockpit using the original shade of green. Before that we will try to find out what the original paint and its shade might have been.

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At least two different shades of green can be seen on the door. It looks as if there is a paler shade of green underneath, and it has been covered with a darker green paint. On the aluminium wall surfaces in the cockpit at least three different shades of green can be distinguished. We can only guess which of these could have been the original one – if any. After the invasion of Normandy, the DO-5 has been in civilian use in the Netherlands, French Indochina, and Germany before coming to the service of the Finnish Air Force in 1960.

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I asked for advice about the DC-3 colours from the Finnish Air Force Museum. I learned that the cockpit colour, and also the colour of the door, was most likely the American “Bronze Green” or “Dull Dark Green”. In the American aircraft of that era the colour of the inner surfaces was usually dark green. Zink chromate anti-corrosion primer was used on aluminium surfaces and its shade was modified with black pigment, adding some UV-protection on the paint. However, there are still some issues to resolve before we can go and buy the paint.

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The surfaces still need some preparatory work before the door is ready to be painted. We haven’t yet decided whether the door will be painted now or in the spring, together with the aluminium wall surfaces in the cockpit.

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When the door surfaces had been sanded, the delaminated plywood veneers were glued into place. The veneers were pressed tightly against the surface using blocks of wood and clamps. The glue we used was EriKeeper Plus wood glue, meant for outdoor use.

Photos by Lassi Karivalo

Translation by Erja Reinikainen.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Tuesday Club, C-47, DC-3, DO-5

DO-5 cockpit seats

Torstai 20.10.2022 - Tuesday Club member

Suomeksi

Restoring the fuselage of the DC-3/C-47 (DO-5) into at least tolerable condition before display requires all kinds of work. The main emphasis is on the cockpit area.

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When the tail sections of the DO-5 and other clobber had been moved from the fuselage into the storage container next to the aircraft and when the cockpit windows had been sealed to prevent rainwater from entering the aircraft, we could concentrate on the cockpit. The starting point was a complete disaster area: the instruments and most of the cockpit equipment were missing, the seats were tattered, the walls bare without interior panels, and there was rubbish everywhere.

Most of the DO-5 instruments and equipment had been dismantled when the aircraft was removed from use and the fuselage was taken to Utti to serve as a non-flying mock-up for paratrooper training.  At this point probably also the interior panels in the cockpit have been removed.

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Our first step was to clear the cockpit of the clobber and rubbish, which had filled it during the years. Eventually we were even able to use a vacuum cleaner for cleaning the surfaces in the cockpit. The first aim is to make the cockpit look tidy. Thinking further, it would be nice to install some of the missing instruments and equipment back into the cockpit, but now this seems to be very far away.

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After cleaning our following targets were the pilots’ seats. The seat consists of the actual seat and its tube frame, on which the seat is fastened. Our aim is to restore the seats although the seat parts are badly damaged. The tube frames are still in good condition, although covered with rust.

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The reason for the damage is that the whole seat part is made of multi-layer cardboard; pressed and stiffened into the shape of a seat. Due to the rainwater and humidity which has got into the cockpit, the pressed cardboard has become soggy, and the cardboard layers have disintegrated into pulp. However, the seat backs are still in reasonable condition.

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The truth is that it won’t be possible to restore these original tattered seats into good condition. The seat part of both seats will have to be completely replaced, even though the seat back is still useable. We will certainly be stuck between a rock and a hard place, trying to figure out how the seat part could be rebuilt. One option would be to build it from aluminium plate, this is an alternative to be considered. The seat frame must be cleaned of rust and painted.We started the seat work by unfastening both pilot’s seats from the rails on the cockpit floor. Then the seat part of each seat was unfastened from the seat frame. The seat is fastened on the seat frame tube with brackets, which slide on the tube to allow the height of the seat to be adjusted. The seat is locked at the suitable height with lock pins which are pushed into the holes on the frame tubes. The adjusting mechanism is under the seat.

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We started the dismantling work of the seat on the left. We unfastened the rusted brackets around the seat frame tube to disassemble the seat from the frame. This wasn’t easy, because the seat height adjustment locking pins were still firmly stuck in their holes on the seat frame. Some effort was needed before the adjustment system’s locking pins could be pulled out of their holes and the seat and its frame disassembled.

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We dismantled the seat on the right in a similar way. It is identical to the seat on the left, but its mirror image. There we had to disassemble completely the seat height adjustment mechanism before the locking pins could be pulled out of their holes on the seat frame. Then the seat and the frame could be unfastened from each other. Both seat parts were taken to the DO-5 storage container to wait for further actions.

Photos: Lassi Karivalo

Translation: Erja Reinikainen.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Tuesday Club, DO-5;DC-3, C-47, Dakota

DO-5 cockpit windscreens to winter proof condition

Sunnuntai 16.10.2022 - Tuesday Club member

Suomeksi

Work on the fuselage of the DC-3 (C-47) DO-5, owned by Aviation Museum Society Finland, have started promisingly at the Tuesday Club. At the moment we aim to concentrate on tasks that are possible to do regardless of the weather during the cold period and winter season. The fuselage is out in the open at the yard of the Finnish Aviation Museum. Furthermore, we have prepared the fuselage, which is out in the open, for the autumn rains and the blizzards of winter.

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One such measure was to get the cockpit windows sealed so that rainwater and snow wouldn’t get into the cockpit. We had already earlier in the autumn covered the cockpit windows of the DO-5 with rainproof plastic, because the plexiglass panes fixed to the frames of the windscreens were too small to keep water out of the cockpit. Both the original windscreen panes of the DO-5 have been broken at some stage and been replaced with transparent 3 mm thick plexiglass panes.

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To replace those undersized windscreen plexiglass panes before winter we had to get new plexiglass ones to fit properly to the windscreen frames. Although that wouldn’t be the procedure with a flying DC-3 aircraft, but to replace a broken or otherwise unusable windscreen pane, a completely new pane with frames would have been changed as a spare part. Such spares we don’t, alas, possess.

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So the undersized windscreen plexiglass panes were detached and the chutes of both windscreens were cleaned of rust and dirt with a brush disc, attached to a battery driven drilling machine. To acquire new plexiglass panes, a window shaped template was made of 1,2 mm plywood. This template was cut so, that the template of the windscreen pane could just be slid into the chute of the frame through the windscreen opening.

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The plan is to glue the new plexiglass pane to the chute with silicone. In the process of gluing the plexiglass pane will be supported so that it leans with each edge a few mm against the inner side of the frame chute. Thus the plexiglass pane would cover the whole windscreen opening and the silicone seam would become watertight.

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WE had ETRA cut us two windscreen panes according to the plywood templates, from 5 mm thick UV-protected polycarbonate plexiglass. When we fitted them into the DO-5 windscreen chutes, after a bit of filing, we got the panes to click into place inside the windscreen frame.

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Because the autumn temperatures had sunk to about 10 degrees centigrade, we decided to postpone the gluing of the plexiglass panes to warmer weather next spring. Instead, we taped the new plexiglass panes, covered with protective plastic, on the outside of the aircraft with orange tape to the frames of the windscreens in order to stop rainwater or snow from getting into the cockpit. The tape covered completely the seam between the fuselage and the frame of the windscreen.  We covered the seams of the cockpit’s side widows in the same manner, to prevent rain from penetrating into the cockpit through them.

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Another preparation for winter was to cover the tail section with a protective tarpaulin. The vertical and horizontal stabilizers have been dismantled. Thus rain and snow have free access into the fuselage through the openings. We got hold of a large tarpaulin, with which we covered the tail section completely.

Photos: Lassi Karivalo

Translation: Matti Liuskallio.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Tuesday Club, DO-5;DC-3, C-47, Dakota

The Tuesday club is starting to restore the DO-5 fuselage

Sunnuntai 11.9.2022 - Tuesday Club member

Suomeksi

Aviation Museum Society Finland owns a DC-3 (C-47) DO-5 fuselage with elevators and rudder. The wings are still lacking. The fuselage of the DO-5 came to the possession of the Aviation Museum Society in 2018, otherwise the fuselage would have ended in the scrap yard. The ex- Air Force DO-5 last served as a ground training device with the parachute jumping school at Utti. The DO-5 fuselage owned by Aviation Museum Society has already been used as prop in two movies.

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The intention of Aviation Museum Society is to refurbish the DO-5 fuselage so that it could be presented in different outdoor occasions. It would then be possible to get acquainted to the interior of the aircraft. The passenger cabin of the fuselage will be preserved in its existing parachuter training appearance with the canvas benches along the walls. The fuselage will be available to film makers’ needs in the future, too.

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The fuselage refurbishment of DO-5 is beginning at the Aviation Museum Society’s Tuesday Club. This is why the fuselage is on the yard of the Finnish Aviation Museum. Well, it will not be ready tomorrow by far, for the club members have their work cut out for them with the refurbishment of the fuselage. But, maybe by the end of spring 2023 the work will be so much advanced, that we could dare to take the fuselage on display at the National Air Show at Turku. Well, time will show.

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The beginning of the autumn season for the Tuesday Club has been spent on preparations for the DO-5 fuselage refurbishment. One of the tasks will be the removal of the vertical stabilizer, rudder, elevators, the rear cone, nose cone and other parts of the aircraft that were stored in the cabin, to a storage container which was brought to the vicinity of DO-5. The horizontal stabilizer, which was stored under the fuselage, was also moved into the container.

The parts that had been in the cabin had to be taken away, because they filled the fuselage so that moving in there was difficult, dangerous even, not to mention working in the cabin during the restoration process.

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In the restoration of the fuselage, we will concentrate at first on the cockpit. There we’ll have to, amongst other things, to seal the windows and possibly replace them partly with new ones, to detach the pilots’ seats for refurbishment, to clean the cockpit surfaces and remaining equipment and to paint the wall surfaces.

Also the renewal of the totally opaque cabin windows is on the work list. That would be familiar to the club members, because in 2015 we renewed the cabin windows of the DC-3, OH-LCD, which at the moment is a glorious landmark at the yard of the Finnish Aviation Museum.

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We have already accomplished something in the field of restoring, when the legendary DC-3 mechanic Pauli “ Speedy” Fallström replaced the broken tail wheel with a new one.

Photos: Lassi Karivalo

Translation: Matti Liuskallio

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Tuesday Club, DO-5;DC-3, C-47, Dakota