Last-minute rush in Pansio

Maanantai 29.5.2023 - Erja Reinikainen


The transportation of the Caravelle’s fuselage is approaching and the Pansio team members have been busy all weekend, completing the last tasks on the fuselage. The fuselage will be lifted on a trailer on Monday evening, May 29th, and transported to the airport during the night.


Photo by Erja Reinikainen

The last tasks included the stencil stickers, which were fastened on the fuselage for painting the texts and logos according to the Finnair paint scheme. The stencils came from the print cut into individual text sheets and the largest Finnair texts divided into several parts. The letters and logos which will be painted were picked away from the sheets – i.e. there are holes in the areas which are painted. When this had been done, an adhesive foil was placed on the stickers to hold the letters in shape when the stickers are fastened on the aircraft. The stickers used as stencils are placed carefully on the fuselage and the texts, logos and registration are painted with a roller, following the holes in the stencils. When the paint has dried, the stencils are removed.




Photos by Ismo Matinlauri

The stencil stickers for painting Finnair and OH-LEA, which are the largest and most difficult stickers to handle, were fastened on both sides of the fuselage on Friday, May 26th. The stencils stayed well in place when the adhesive foil was removed, and the texts have been painted. Some of the stencils have already been removed, some of the texts are still drying.


Photo by Jouko Tarponen

During the weekend the blue stripe on the window line was painted once more. The blue paint is drying and the preparations for transporting the fuselage are on the way.  

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, SE-DAF, Sven Viking, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

Caravelle's fuselage is painted

Torstai 25.5.2023 - Erja Reinikainen


While the assembly team was working at the airport with the wing junction, the upper part of the Caravelle’s fuselage was being painted white in the port hall in Pansio. The spray-painting was done by a contractor (Maalausliike T. Nikander). A layer of white paint was sprayed on the fuselage surface on two consecutive days, so two layers. Finally a protective layer of lacquer was sprayed on the painted surface.



The Pansio team found spray-painting to be a challenging task for amateurs and decided to hire a professional to do the work. The project schedule doesn’t allow any practise rounds at this point. The spray-painted area looks good, thanks to the professional.


Photo by Ismo Matinlauri.

Actually we ran short of time with the painting work because the spring was very cold, the temperature in the unheated hall remained low for so long that the painting couldn’t be started in the planned schedule.


Photo by Ismo Matinlauri


When the paint and lacquer on the fuselage have dried, the protecting plastic can be removed from the window line and the stencil stickers can be fastened on the fuselage for painting the airline and aircraft type texts.

Photos by Jouko Tarponen except if otherwise mentioned.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, SE-DAF, Sven Viking, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

Caravelle's wings are transported and assembled

Tiistai 23.5.2023 - Erja Reinikainen


At the end of May the lease of the port hall in Pansio will terminate, and during the winter all Caravelle’s restoration, painting and assembly work has been scheduled to keep this deadline. The assembly phase started on Monday, May 22nd, when the assembly team (6 people) and an experienced aircraft polisher came to help the hard-working painters and polishers in Pansio.



Photos by Erja Reinikainen

A lot happened in the hall in just half a day, when preparations were made for the transportation, painting, and assembly, which were at hand. The list of completed work is long: The lower part of the aircraft’s fuselage on the left side was polished, mainly below the wing area. A large area of shiny polished surface was completed. The ready painted and polished surfaces of the fuselage were covered with thin plastic to protect them from the spray painting of the upper fuselage, which will begin on the following day. The remaining fasteners of the wing junction were cleaned. The stabilizers, which have been painted and polished, were covered with tarpaulins. Aviation Museum Society Finland banner was fastened on one wing for the transportation as a commercial. The sea container, which has been used as a storage in the hall, was emptied. All essential aircraft parts, tools, fasteners, assembly accessories, etc. which are needed in the assembly work, were loaded into another sea container, parked outside the hall. Only the tools, paint, and stencil stickers, which are needed in the painting and polishing work during the next ten days were left in Pansio.


Photo by Erja Reinikainen  

The assembly team spent part of the afternoon on the aircraft’s future location at Turku airport, measuring and planning how to make sure the wings are in the correct position and can be joined.


Photo by Janne Salonen

In the afternoon the sea container was packed and ready to be taken to the Caravelle’s future location at the airport. Moving the container on the trailer was not an easy task, but eventually the chains were in the correct position and the container was on the trailer. The truck carried also a couple of passenger stairs and two large jacks.



Photos by Jouko Tarponen


Photo by Juha Paju


Photo by Jouko Tarponen

Loading the wings on the Ahola Special Transport trailers went well, the same procedure had been done in August 2022 when the aircraft was brought from Arlanda. The bridge cranes in the hall were used to lift up the wings, one at a time, then the trailer was reversed under the wing. When the position of the wing had been checked the wing was lowered on its supports on the trailer. The two trailers were taken to Turku airport before midnight.


Photo by Janne Salonen

In Pansio the hall was almost empty now and it is really strange that the hectic final push is almost over. The top part of the fuselage will be painted during this week and the stabilizers are waiting to be transported at the end of May.




Photos by Erja Reinikainen.

On Tuesday, May 23rd, the wing assembly work began at Turku airport. In the morning two mobile cranes were on site bright and early. Before the wings were moved, the aircraft’s future position was measured carefully and marked on the concrete slabs, which had been dug into the ground. The left wing was lifted from the trailer. Finding the correct position required some work and patience from the crane crew and the assembly team members who were measuring and operating the jack. Finally the wing was lowered on the ground, its weight resting on the support under the landing gear, on a wing jack and on two wing supports. The right wing was aligned into place, inch by inch, using the two cranes. The wing junction brackets met each other, and they were secured using the assembly pins which had been made to assist in the aligning. When some final adjustments had been made on the wing position, the wing junction expansion pins could be installed, and the wing lowered on its supports. By mid-day all expansion pins were in place and the assembly team could sigh with relief: everything had gone far better than expected.


Photo by Erja Reinikainen

The wing junction’s canted brace struts were installed into place, then all tools and assembly accessories were collected into the sea container and the aircraft was surrounded with warning tape. The assembly will be continued next week when the fuselage has been painted and it will be transported from Pansio and lifted on the wing.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, SE-DAF, Sven Viking, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

The work in Pansio is taking the final sprint

Torstai 18.5.2023 - Erja Reinikainen


During the last weeks of May the Caravelle team in Pansio is facing the final push when the finishing touch is put on the restored parts of the aircraft before they are transported to Turku airport. The transportation of the wings is planned to take place on May 22nd, the fuselage is transported during the night on May 29th-30th, and the stabilizers at the end of that week.


The painting of the wings has been completed and the surfaces have been covered with a layer of lacquer which increases the lifetime of the painted surface and makes its maintenance easier. The registration markings (OH-LEA) will hopefully be painted on the upper surface of the wing before the wings leave the Pansio hall. The polishing work on one wing is lagging behind and only its flaps have been polished. This means that some polishing remains to be done at the airport. The wing junction expansion pins were cleaned this week and the work will be continued. The wing junction’s canted brace struts and their bolts are still waiting to be cleaned.


When the wings are taken to the airport, they will have to be placed in the correct position, so that it will be possible to lower the fuselage on the wing. This manoeuvre was planned this week when the fuselage was lifted from its trestles and into a horizontal position, using a levelling instrument. Then the position of the wing-to-fuselage fittings were measured.


The lower side of the fuselage has been sanded, excluding the lowest area. We aim to polish the tail section and the wing junction area before the fuselage is moved from the hall. Then about half of the fuselage polishing would be ready and the rest will be done at the airport.  


The painting of the Finnair blue stripe on the window line has been started in the tail section. The painting line has been marked all the way along the side of the aircraft. This was easier said than done in the nose section, where the surface curves in two directions. The blue stripe and the narrow white line below will be completed this week. Then the only remaining painting task is to paint the upper fuselage white. When the wings have left the hall, a company specialized in spray painting will apply the two layers of white and the finishing lacquer.


The engine nacelles were painted and covering plates were installed in the air intake and exhaust nozzle. The plate in the air intake looks very much like a real Avon engine with its spinner. The covering plate in the exhaust nozzle is grey with the logo of Aviation Museum Society Finland.


Photo by Ismo Matinlauri.

Work has been started also at the future Caravelle site at Turku airport. The three hollow-core slabs, donated to the project, have been dug into the ground under the landing gear positions. The second driveway has been built and the sheathing for the power cable has been installed into its trench. However, the power supply won’t be available when the assembly work will be started on the site.



Photos by Ossi Harjula

Next week the Caravelle work is picking up speed when the Pansio team is busy with the final painting work and the Vantaa team begins the assembly work at the airport. The work can be followed in these blogs, there will be several updates in the coming weeks.

Photos by Jouko Tarponen except if otherwise mentioned.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, SE-DAF, Sven Viking, OH-LEA, Sinilintu

Caravelle is getting its appearance

Tiistai 9.5.2023 - Erja Reinikainen


Today the teams in Pansio and in Vantaa were working on the most significant elements of Caravelle’s outward appearance, which define its identity and its Finnish look.


In Pansio Caravelle’s former registration SE-DAF was covered when the lower side of the wing was painted with primer. It will be replaced with the Bluebird’s registration OH-LEA. Furthermore, the blue cross of the Finnish flag was painted on the horizontal stabilizer and rudder. The painting team was worrying about how to get the cross level and straight as there is a gap between the stabilizer and the rudder. It looks great! It was almost like a topping-out ceremony, although the stabilizer is still on the floor and “the flag was not hoisted”.


In Vantaa a team of volunteers worked on the stencil stickers which will be used when painting the registration, airline name and logos on the aircraft’s fuselage. The stencils came from the print pre-cut but intact, and the volunteers picked out the letters and logos which will be painted – that is to say: made holes to the areas which will be painted. When this had been done, an adhesive foil was placed on the stickers to hold the letters in shape when the stickers are fastened on the aircraft. The stickers used as stencils will be placed carefully on the fuselage according to the paint-scheme. The texts, logos and registration will be painted with a roller, following the holes in the stencils. When the paint has dried, the stencils will be removed.


Photo by Erja Reinikainen.

Working on the decals proved to require good eyesight and a surgeon’s scalpel. The large Finnair and OH-LEA texts were easy enough to pick out from the sticker, but the more complicated Caravelle and Bluebird texts required more work. Placing the adhesive foil on the sticker sheets was also rather challenging, but a best practice was soon learned, and major wrinkles were avoided. Another work session is needed for picking the dozens of “No step” stencils.

Photos by Jouko Tarponen except if otherwise mentioned.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, SE-DAF, Sven Viking, OH-LEA, Sinilintu

Caravelle team on a picnic

Keskiviikko 26.4.2023 - Erja Reinikainen


In the past weeks the volunteer team in Pansio has been working so efficiently sanding, painting and polishing the Caravelle that it was time to take a breath and spend some free time together. On Tuesday April 25th a group of Pansio volunteers and members from the Caravelle technical team went on a Picnic cruise on Viking Line ferry from Turku to Maarianhamina (on Åland islands) and back. There were 11 participants on the cruise: Elias, Hannu, Ismo, Jari, Kari, Markku, Mikko, Risto H, Risto P, Ykä and Erja.


M/S Viking Glory left Turku in the morning (heading to Stockholm) and in Maarianhamina we changed to M/S Viking Grace (coming from Stockholm) which arrived in Turku in the evening. Unfortunately, the weather was very foggy and there was not much to see of the beautiful archipelago between the mainland and Åland islands, just a glimpse of the Ruissalo area outside Turku in the morning.


On the way to Maarianhamina we had a conference room reserved for us and we spent the morning talking about the Caravelle restoration and assembly work which is ahead. The weeks between the First of May (a spring carnival in Finland) and the Turku Airshow (on June 17th and 18th) will be very busy when the aircraft is being painted, polished, and assembled. Ismo Matinlauri and Markku Ahokoski had made a daily schedule of what is happening in Pansio and at the airport after the first parts of the aircraft are transported there on May 23rd and this was discussed thoroughly with the group. We also looked at the photos which were taken in Arlanda when the aircraft was dismantled for transport. This was very useful when discussing the details of the assembly work.


On the way back to Turku we enjoyed a lunch from the ferry buffet and concentrated on informal conversation. This group will not easily run out of aviation stories! Or fishing, car, travel, and other stories either…

Photos via Ismo Matinlauri.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, SE-DAF, Sven Viking, OH-LEA, Sinilintu

Caravelle polishing work party

Maanantai 24.4.2023 - Reino Myllymäki


It was necessary to arrange a work party to get the Caravelle polishing work under way. The work party took place on the weekend April 22nd – 23rd, 2023.


On Saturday the work was started on the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer and elevators. All the surfaces don’t need polishing because some of them will be painted. The first round of polishing was done using Nushine 9 polishing agent and the second round with Nushine 7.


In some areas on the aluminium surfaces there was still some black dirt left after two rounds of polishing. First we tried to remove it using paint thinner – without results. Finally the solution was the cleaning spray for brakes, with which the black dirt could be removed. After this the surface was polished once more, using Nushine 2 and working with a cloth. The polishing agent contains wax which protects the aluminium surface.


Photo by Reino Myllymäki.

On Saturday morning we had a positive problem: there were more volunteers than we had polishing machines. A couple of new machines were bought during the day and in the afternoon more people were able to participate in the actual polishing.


Photo by Reino Myllymäki.

Until then part of the volunteers were involved in other tasks: tearing old sheets into polishing rags, painting and repairing a hole in the cabin floor with a piece of plywood. There were probably also other jobs, which the writer doesn’t remember, sorry about that!


A challenging task: the writer trying to decide what to have for lunch. In some mysterious way some of the black dirt on the aluminium surface ended up on the polisher’s face…


Photo by Reino Myllymäki

In the afternoon one side of the horizontal stabilizer had been polished and it should have been turned around for more polishing, so the work party moved to the inner flaps. One of the flaps was completed on the upper surface and the other one was otherwise ready on Saturday, but the Nushine 2 was missing. The polishing of the other flap was finished on Sunday.


Photo by Reino Myllymäki.

Polishing was done also on top of the Caravelle’s fuselage because there is a narrow, polished surface on the dorsal fin. The fin polisher was secured on the crane hook by his harness.


On Saturday the polishing of the lower part of the Caravelle’s fuselage was started. This turned out to be very heavy work because the polishing machine must be supported upwards and pressed on the surface which is being polished.


Photo by Janne Salonen.

On Sunday the polishing work on the lower fuselage was continued.


On Sunday the polishing of the wings was also started, concentrating mainly on the wing fences.


Photo by Janne Salonen.

On Saturday there were 15 volunteers at work, on Sunday 11. The total amount of working hours during the weekend was 150. If you feel badly about not participating, don’t worry! There will be another work party on the first weekend in May (May 6th – 7th).




Photos by Jouko Tarponen.

Above there are some pictures which were taken on Monday, after the work party. The results look good, and you can look at your reflection on the aluminium surface!

The Caravelle restoration work continues in the Pansio port hall until the end of May, when the aircraft parts and the assembly and restoration work move to Turku airport.

Photos by Ismo Matinlauri unless mentioned otherwise.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, SE-DAF, Sven Viking, OH-LEA, Sinilintu

The Caravelle restoration works before Easter

Lauantai 15.4.2023 - Erja Reinikainen


In the weeks before Easter the Caravelle restoration team in Pansio has been busy doing the remaining sanding work on the wing and vertical stabilizer. The lower part of the fuselage has not been sanded yet because the fuselage is now resting on low trestles, and it is impossible to work under the fuselage. The technical team decided that the fuselage will not be lifted higher at this point, mainly to save time. The parts of the fuselage sides, which will remain visible, can be quite well sanded in this existing position.


Polishing work has been practised on the engine air intake rings. Polishing the leading edge of the wings and flaps is also under way. In polishing it is easy to see that the quality of work does not get better by increasing the amount of polishing agent, quite the contrary. Polishing of the fuselage will be started in the riveted areas of the tail.

Polishing a jet airliner requires time and effort, so more volunteers are needed. A polishing work party is organized on the weekend April 22nd-23rd, 2023. You can participate on either day - or both. No special skills are needed. More information and registration on the Aviation Museum Society Finland website.


The painting work has progressed to a point where several small aluminium parts have been painted. Some painted fairings and panels have already been assembled around the engine nacelles and in the wing roots. So far we have been painting with rollers and brushes in the semi-heated rooms of the hall. When the weather gets warmer, we will be able to paint also in the large unheated hall. Major painting work will not be started before the stored boats are moved out from the rear section of the hall. This will take place in the beginning of May.


In the cabin clearing and cleaning has been continued, and the functioning of the doors has been tested. The aft stairway was repaired some weeks ago and it operates on its own hydraulics when some changes were made in the system. The original operating mechanism of the front door has been damaged and probably can’t be repaired. Alternative solutions for operating the front door have been investigated.


Photo by Ismo Matinlauri.

During the decades the Caravelle’s windows have cracked and become opaque. The technical team has been trying to find a feasible way to repair or to renew them. Repairing them proved to be burdensome and time-consuming, and having new windows made for the whole cabin is expensive. So the decision was that now there is nothing to be done about the windows. Their renewal can naturally be considered in the future.


The Caravelle’s radome and the nose bulkhead behind it have been repaired by Aviation Museum Society Finland’s Tuesday Club. The work is ready, and the parts have been brought to Pansio to wait for assembly.

The search of Caravelle’s missing flight instruments and radio panels has been going on in Finland and abroad. The inquiry online brought some results, but a lot is still missing. All instruments which have been received have been installed into place. Aviation Museum Society’s chairman Janne Salonen has been visiting colleagues in Sweden over Easter, and we hope he will be able to bring some new supplies to the instrument panel. The previous inquiry brought, however, a donation of several flight instruments, which we can’t use on the Caravelle but which can maybe be traded when acquiring the right kind of instruments.

Minor details but important elements in the appearance of the aircraft are the registration, airline name and country colours which are painted on its surface. These are among the last tasks during the finalizing phase, but the technical team has already been evaluating the alternatives how to make them. When the aircraft is brought to Turku airport, its rudder and elevators will have to be locked into place so that they are not moved by the wind. How to accomplish this detail has also been investigated during the winter.

The technical team is already planning how to move the aircraft parts to the display site at the airport, how to lift the parts into place and eventually assemble them there. Before the aircraft is brought there, concrete slabs will have to be dug into the ground under its landing gear. The details of the transportation and lifting procedures will have to be carefully planned so that everything goes smoothly and without problems. The display site is right on the edge of the airport area, which brings an extra challenge for traffic arrangements and cranes, among other things. There will be more blogs about this phase later.

Photos by Jouko Tarponen except if otherwise mentioned.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, SE-DAF, Sven Viking, OH-LEA, Sinilintu

Caravelle salvage crew, part 1

Sunnuntai 9.4.2023 - Erja Reinikainen


Several blogs have been written about the Caravelle III aircraft which is under restoration in Pansio, about its history and the progressing of the work. Without enthusiastic volunteers there wouldn’t be any activity, so it is time to talk about the people behind this project. This blog introduces an overview of the tasks which are needed before the aircraft is ready for display. I hope to continue with some personal interviews in the following blogs.


Photo by Reino Myllymäki

In the early phases of the project Janne Salonen, the chairman of Aviation Museum Society Finland had a key role. He has good connections to Jan Forsgren, who is a member in the voluntary organisation Arlanda Aviation Museum’s Friends (Arlanda Flygsamlingars Vänner). In spring 2020 Jan informed Janne that the owners of the Arlanda Aviation Museum, the representatives of Swedish National Maritime and Transport Museums, had decided to give up the Caravelle. The first assessments on bringing the aircraft to Finland were carried out by the board of Aviation Museum Society Finland. Also the official decision on launching this project was made by the board.


Photo by Raímo Korpi

The seven members of the board have supported and promoted the Caravelle project all along, without reserve. The project outlines and the major acquisition decisions have been made by the board. The rental agreement of the Pansio port hall and the final display site at Turku airport have been negotiated by the chairman and the board. Also the details including major costs, such as the transportation of the aircraft parts, have been negotiated and approved by the board. Finding funding for the project has been a long and challenging effort. Funding and sponsoring arrangements are negotiated by the chairman and board members.


Photo by Raímo Korpi

Aviation Museum Society’s board member Reino Myllymäki is responsible for the public relations of the project. He is assisted by two or three bloggers and by Jouko Tarponen, who is responsible for photographing the project’s progress in Pansio. All blogs and Caravelle news in the society’s Feeniks magazine are published also in English and this task is taken care of by two volunteers.


Photo by Raímo Korpi

The members of Aviation Museum Society Finland were informed about the Caravelle project at an early stage. In the beginning of year 2021 the search for the technical team members was launched. During the spring the former Finnair mechanics Markku Ahokoski, Martti Saarinen and Kari Nyman answered the challenge. During the winter 2021-22 they led the discussion and assessment on how the aircraft could be disassembled and transported to Finland. This team has now been working in the project for a couple of years.


Photo by Reino Myllymäki

The disassembling (and re-assembling) of a passenger jet airliner means that a huge number of details need to be planned. The technical team has faced the task undaunted by the scale of the job. The task has included decisions on the main issues (how to disassemble the fuselage off the wing?), practical solutions (how to lift and turn the aircraft using the bridge cranes in the hall?), taking care of the small odds and ends (how to keep track of the origin of all screws and bolts which have been unfastened?), not to mention all kinds of issues which we ordinary non-technical people are not even aware of. These tasks have required good professional skills and the ability to foresee problems, and furthermore, also cool-headed decision making when something needs to be done which hasn’t been done before.


Photo by Ismo Matinlauri

In the spring 2022 Ismo Matinlauri joined the technical team. His work has included recruiting the team of volunteers in Turku as well as coordinating the restoration work. Ismo has also managed all kinds of fixing and acquisition tasks.  For Ismo the Caravelle project is almost a full-time job when the Turku team works in the hall three days a week and the remaining two days are spent running errands and acquiring material.


Photo by Ismo Matinlauri

During the project several people, many of them former technical staff from Finnair, have participated in solving technical problems and dismantling or restoration work. A group of enthusiastic volunteers without aircraft work experience has also joined the project, wanting to have a part in making aviation history. In summer 2022 there were about twenty volunteers from Aviation Museum Society Finland (and one or two volunteers from Sweden) disassembling the aircraft in Arlanda. This group is invited to join the Caravelle polishing session which will be arranged in Pansio this spring.



Photo by Jouko Tarponen

A team of about ten Turku area volunteers have been restoring the aircraft during the winter, working on three days a week. I take my hat off to these volunteers, they have been cleaning and sanding Caravelle’s surfaces for several months now! The sanding work is finally approaching the end and there is polishing and painting ahead.


Photo by Lassi Karivalo

In addition to Pansio, Caravelle restoration work is ongoing also in Vantaa, where two or three people have been preparing for sheet-metal work and repairing parts which have been brought from Pansio. The Tuesday Club of Aviation Museum Society has also participated in the project by repairing e.g. the damaged Caravelle’s radome and nose bulkhead.



Photo by Jouko Tarponen

Based on the estimations presented in this blog, it can be estimated that about 40 people have participated so far in the Caravelle project, some of them joining the team of volunteers for a single effort (such as the disassembling), others working on the project almost daily. Warm thanks to you all! Without volunteers this project would never have been possible. Hopefully in the following blogs we can read why they joined the team.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, SE-DAF, Sven Viking, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

Bolts and screws

Maanantai 3.4.2023 - Erja Reinikainen


In Arlanda the main parts of the Caravelle were disassembled so that the fuselage, wings and stabilizers could be placed on special trailers before transporting them to Finland. The engine nacelles were also dismantled along with a number of smaller parts and equipment, such as the wing root fairings, inner flaps and equipment from the landing gear wells. This means that thousands of screws, bolts, nuts and rivets were unfastened in Arlanda, and they need to be put back into place when the aircraft is reassembled in Turku in early June. This blog tells about a small but an important part of the Caravelle’s restoration project: about the different kinds of fastening accessories.

Kari Nyman from the Caravelle technical team has been interviewed for this blog.

An additional challenge to the jigsaw puzzle of the fastening accessories is caused by the Caravelle’s special feature: the screws and bolts for the aircraft’s structural parts have metric dimensions, but the majority of them are a special design from the Sud Aviation aircraft factory which don’t follow the standard types and sizes. This can be seen in the aircraft’s technical specifications, which have dozens of pages defining the different “210.-series” fastening accessories. Here the 210. refers to the type of the aircraft. France has been a strong supporter of the metric system and the competition in developing a passenger jet airliner has played a significant part in these choices. The various system equipment in the Caravelle were mainly produced in the United States or Great Britain, so their fastening parts are naturally based on the standards of their country of origin, and having in this case usually US or imperial sizes, i.e. inch based sizes. For example, the hydraulic system pipes, flexible tubes and fittings are based on the American AN standard. This means for the disassembling and reassembling work that the fasteners which may look similar may have metric or imperial dimensions and the tools to be used have to be chosen accordingly.


Photo by Reino Myllymäki

The disassembling work in Arlanda went surprisingly smoothly. The parts which had to be disassembled could be unfastened without major difficulties or damages. However, some screws had to be drilled out and there was more work needed especially on the underside of the fuselage. There the screws have corroded and rusted more than in average. The most difficult fasteners had to be treated with rust removing chemical and eventually all necessary joints could be opened.


Photo by Reino Myllymäki

In Arlanda all disassembled fastening accessories were collected into separate plastic bags, based on their origin. Each bag was marked clearly with the information where this batch of screws was from, for example: rudder lifting point cover screws, LH wing innermost leading edge section, horizontal stabilizer, etc.


Photo by Erja Reinikainen

In Pansio we have a small ultrasonic cleaner where all disassembled fastening accessories will be cleaned. Originally, we aimed to put into the cleaner only a bagful of items at a time, separated as they had been packed in Arlanda. This would have been an ideal procedure to keep track of the origin of each batch of accessories. However, the ultrasonic cleaner proved to be so slow that for time saving reasons several bags of fasteners had to be put into the cleaner’s basket at the same time. This leads to the need to sort these “mixed batches” after cleaning. The “mixed batch” screws, for example, have been sorted by their length for future use. Larger labelled batches of accessories can be cleaned one or two bags at a time and in these cases their origin is known. If the origin is known, after cleaning the accessories are put into new plastic bags which are marked with the location, for example: nose bulkhead screws, LH engine nacelle fairings and supports, LH wing upper side panel, etc.



When the Caravelle is eventually re-assembled, there will be new and old fastening accessories in use. The aircraft will never fly again, so it will be possible to build some details in a different way than it has been. All joints and seams which will be visible, are fastened using original screws or screws resembling the original ones, if possible. In the locations which won’t remain visible, and which possibly will never be opened again, pop rivets will be used to speed up the re-assembly. There are some fairings, visible ones, which have originally been riveted and now they have been fastened with pop rivets, and the appearance is quite like the original one.


Photo by Jouko Tarponen

One of the most difficult details in re-assembling the aircraft will be getting the panel under the wing joint back into its place. There the original screws have been mainly drilled out, the original flange nuts have been damaged and the panel metal has corroded.

Will the new and old fasteners look different on the re-assembled Caravelle? The aircraft will hardly be examined so close up that the difference could be seen. The new screws have a yellowish corrosion protection and the old ones are oxidized and darker, so both are different from their surrounding surface. The ultrasonic cleaner doesn’t remove rust or oxidized surface. This means that in painted areas the screw heads will have to be sanded before painting so that the paint sticks on them in the same way as on the surrounding aluminium surface.

We managed mainly to drill out the tricky screws quite nicely, but in the vertical and horizontal stabilizer the drilled holes will have to be repaired during the re-assembly. Cup washers will be placed in the drilled holes to cover the damaged hole edges.

Aircraft fasteners can’t be bought in an ordinary hardware store, nor in a car accessories store. Usually the countersunk screws on aircraft have a different countersunk angle than the ones used in cars. US standard inch-based screws are still available in the same dimensions as the originals and they can be found on the US market. However, the special Sud Aviation’s own screws are difficult to be replaced with new ones resembling the original. For example, the panel covering the main wing joint is a part of the fuselage bulkhead, and it has been fastened using metric French screws with a countersunk angle of 120 degrees. This is different from all other countersunk screws on the aircraft and similar new screws can’t be found.

Ronema Oy has provided valuable help in aquiring inch-dimensioned fasteners. They represent the American company Aircraft Spruce, which imports spare parts and pilot accessories. Through them we have ordered screws from the US.

Naturally one had to ask if such special screws are very expensive when they are imported for the Caravelle. Mainly they are not, we talk about 10-30 (euro) cents per screws. So with a hundred euros you already get quite a lot. The Caravelle technical team has also investigated whether it would be possible to have the metric special screws specially made for the purpose. Yes, it would be possible but we haven’t got the cost information yet.

Re-assembling the Caravelle will be a challenging jigsaw puzzle, but the fastener team is prepared, and they will do their best to foresee all coming details of the hectic assembly week in June.

Photos by Ismo Matinlauri expect if otherwise separately mentioned.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, SE-DAF, Sven Viking, OH-LEA, Sinilintu

Caravelle III OH-LEA "Sinilintu" ("Bluebird")

Keskiviikko 29.3.2023 - Erja Reinikainen


The Caravelle III, which was brought from Arlanda to Finland by Aviation Museum Society Finland, served in the SAS fleet with registration SE-DAF and name Sven Viking. In Pansio the aircraft is being restored to Finnair colours as its first Caravelle OH-LEA, Sinilintu (Bluebird). This blog tells about the long and colourful history of this aircraft.


Photo by Finnish Aviation Museum photo archive / Ilmailu magazine

In 1958 the Finnish airline Aero Oy (later Finnair) ordered three Caravelle IA passenger jets from the French Sud Aviation aircraft factory. The Finnish airline was one of the forerunners of air travel and was the fourth airline to order the new passenger jet type, after Air France, SAS and the Brazilian Varig.


Photo by Finnish Aviation Museum photo archive / Börje Hielm.

The first jet aircraft in Finnish civil aviation was Sud Aviation Caravelle IA, which got the registration OH-LEA and was named Sinilintu (Bluebird). It was handed over in Toulouse on February 21st, 1960, and it arrived in Finland on February 22nd, 1960. The aircraft was flown to Finland by Olli Puhakka, who was a former fighter pilot and Knight of the Mannerheim Cross. The co-pilot on the flight was Olavi Siirilä, also a former war pilot. Among the guests of honor on the flight were minister of transport Arvo Korsimo, Aero Oy’s managing director Leonard Grandell, chief editor of the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper Yrjö Niiniluoto and maritime counsellor Antti Wihuri.


Photo by Finnish Aviation Museum photo archive / Börje Hielm.

During the spring 1960 the Bluebird was followed by Sinisiipi (Bluewing, OH-LEB) and Sininuoli (Blue Arrow, OH-LEC). These three aircraft were later modified to type Caravelle III. The fourth aircraft was already a Caravelle III when it was purchased in 1962. It was named Sinipiika (Blue Maid, OH-LED).


Photo by Finnish Aviation Museum photo archive / Ilmailu magazine


Photo by Finnish Aviation Museum photo archive / Ilmailu magazine

During its service in the Aero fleet the Bluebird appeared in three different paint schemes. It was delivered in its first appearance, where the rudder was blue, and the name Aero was written in large on the upper part of the vertical stabilizer. In the second paint scheme the rudder was blue and a blue cross on the vertical stabilizer replaced the text. Otherwise the paint scheme was identical to the first one. The third painting was done when the aircraft was updated to type Caravelle III.  This is the appearance into which the former SAS SE-DAF will now be restored. The paint scheme can be seen in the visualization image on the front page of the Caravelle-project. When Finnair celebrated its 40th anniversary, a special anniversary logo and text were added on the aircraft.


OH-LEB. Photo by Finnish Aviation Museum photo archive / Finnair Oyj

In the Finnair fleet the Caravelle had 16 seats in the first class and 75 in the tourist class. Starting from April 1960, the Caravelles operated on routes to European cities. In the beginning the destinations were Stockholm, Copenhagen and Frankfurt, followed by several other cities during the coming years. The Caravelles replaced the Convair 440 Metropolitan piston engine aircraft in Europe, and they were transferred to domestic routes. In late 1961 Oulu was the first domestic route operated with passenger jets.


Olli Puhakka and Olavi Siirilä in the cockpit of Eskil Viking (SAS). Photo by Finnish Aviation Museum photo archive / Ilmailu magazine

A Finnish speciality was flying the Caravelles with only two pilots, when other airlines had two pilots and a mechanic in the cockpit. Another remarkable difference was the surrounding and existing environment, which was why the Aero Caravelles had a brake parachute installed. The Caravelle III had Rolls Royce Avon engines and there was no reverse thrust in them to assist in the braking. The brake parachutes were only used when the friction conditions on the runway were really poor. The pilot opened the brake parachute by pulling a handle during the landing run. When the aircraft left the runway, the parachute was released by pulling the same handle. The technical ground crew then collected the parachute for reassembly.


OH-LEB “Sinisiipi” (“Bluewing”) uses drag chute. Photo by Finnish Aviation Museum photo archive / Ilmailu magazine.

The OH-LEA Bluebird flew its first flight on February 11th, 1960. It belonged to the Finnair fleet in 1960–61 and logged 9091 hours. The aircraft was sold back to Sud Aviation on December 4th, 1962, and it was flown to France on September 20th, 1964.

The following user of the Caravelle was the German LTU, which got the aircraft on February 12th, 1965. It was registered as D-ABAF and named Nordrhein-Westfalen. The next user was Transavia Holland. It rented the aircraft between January 30th, 1969, and April 16th, 1970, as PH-TRM.


F-BSSR in August 1978. Photo by Michel Gilliand via Wikimedia Commons.

From the Netherlands the aircraft returned to France, where it was registered as F-BSRR in Air Inter’s fleet where it flew from March 19th, 1971, until December 1980. During this time the Caravelle was rented to Royal Air Maroc and SNIAS, among others, having different registrations.

Air Inter sold the aircraft to Altair in Italy, where it was registered I-GISA. It was removed from service in September 1983 with 37 532 hours on its log. But the story doesn’t end here.

From Italy the aircraft was bought to Congo by IAC Airlines. In Congo it was registered 9Q-CPS and it was named Santeny. The last airline to use the Caravelle was Air Transport Service, which flew it until 1994. The Caravelle was scrapped in 1996 at the N’djili international airport in Kinshasa, Congo.

As we can see, OH-LEA was an individual with a long history. It served for 36 years, and it had more user airlines and operators than any other first generation Caravelle.

Following sources have been used for this blog:

  • news on 31.02.2020
  •, artikkeli Finnairin Caravelle-laivaston vaiheet
  • Juha Klemettinen has provided technical comments.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, SE-DAF, Sven Viking, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird