As we mentioned in a previous post, a couple weeks ago brought the excitement of our newest DC-3 restoration project arriving in our hangar. She hadn’t flown in nearly 22 years, and performed admirably (as in, uneventfully) during her 1 hour test flight and 3.8 hour ferry flight.This summer has marked the start of what will be her nearly two year long transformation. She’ll receive a new interior, livery, control surfaces, avionics, etc. What an incredible honor this is for us–the feeling of bringing back another one of these beauties is hard to adequately describe.
Control surfaces have been removed, and are now in work:We will of course keep you updated on her progress!
As part of the planned continued development and stage-by-stage restoration of one of the DC-3s in our care, we recently finished a paint project on this 1937 DC-3A model. We proposed and received a work scope authorization from the owner to clean, prepare, and paint the undersides of the aircraft.
The entire aircraft was polished aluminum, and the upper surfaces of the aircraft remain polished. The decision to paint the lower surfaces was made to provide the best possible protection of the existing skin, with a finish that looks nearly identical to polished aluminum; and as a bonus, is exceptionally easy to clean.
The entire under surface of the wing and fuselage were cleaned and scrubbed to prep for paint. All inspection panels and fairings were removed. During the prep process, it was discovered that there was a section of lower fuselage skin under the left wing root that had developed a small patch of significant exfoliation corrosion. That finding prompted the fabrication and replacement of the entire section of fuselage skin.The whole aircraft was then masked to prevent overspray. A DTM primer was applied, followed by a single stage silver metallic urethane top coat. Afterward, the inspection panels and fairings were reinstalled with all new hardware.
The finished result is an aircraft with better protected under surfaces, but that still retains the show stopping beauty of aluminum polish on its top surfaces.
Our AMI road crew is busy at work, readying another DC-3 to return to the skies.We’re very excited about this project–she will represent a near full compliment of AMI’s offerings.
To be addressed are general aircraft systems overhaul, control surfaces repair/replacement, full interior renovation, paint strip, polish & paint; the list goes on. This project will take an estimated 18-24 months to complete, and we’ll keep you updated along the way!
Here are some photos from the ferry flight prep:A bum engine rearranged the schedule early on. After sitting dormant for nearly 20 years, we hoped that we would be able to wake her up gently and ferry her to Oregon, as can often be the case with these machines. The original plan was to ferry right away to our facility at KUAO, and begin to paint strip while the engines were away for overhaul. Instead, the extent of discovered internal engine damage meant we would send the engines to Anderson Aeromotive for overhaul from the plane’s current location. She’s going to receive a new livery…with polish and paint. (Yes! We said POLISH! Nothing more show-stopping on a DC-3…)This is just a demo to test a color against the polish on a small piece of cowling…but you get the sense of how good the polish will look. And check out the polished propellers, overhauled by American Propeller–beautiful work. This particular DC-3 is equipped with R-1830-94 engines, which, (fun fact) brings the total number of -94s that we at AMI regularly work with to 10.
Stay tuned, friends and fliers. She’s going to be a great one!
In June, we had the distinct pleasure of participating in the Daks Over Normandy event in connection with the Breitling sponsored DC-3 HB-IRJ.
A month has passed, but we still can’t stop thinking about the sight and sound of all of those DC-3s, C-47s, and an Li-2 gathered together to commemorate the sacrifices and achievements of DDay.
We gathered at the airfield in Lee on Solent, and flew in formation across the English Channel on June 5th, landing at Cherbourg Maupertus Airport. With Cherbourg as our base, we conducted sightseeing flights through the week, and soaked up as much round engine exposure as possible!
Under pensive skies in Lee:Some of the participating aircraft:
The world’s only airworthy Li-2, the Russian version of the C-47. Complete with a Huck Starter!Drag Em OotInside the Cockpit of the Air France DC-3Parajumpers readying:In formation: T6 Camera Ship:Taking in the sights during one spare day in Sainte Mère Eglise and Sainte Marie du Mont:Black Hawks visiting Cherbourg:
Of course, these pictures barely scratch the surface–check out www.daksovernormandy.com to see more background of this amazing event.
“Nature decrees that we do not exceed the speed of light. All other impossibilities are optional.” -Robert Brault
Few things in aviation feel better than being at the controls of an iconic aircraft…fancy your own turn, or better yet, earning a full type rating in a Douglas DC-3? Contact us to discuss a personalized training syllabus–we consider it an honor to help add to the ranks of flyers of this venerable type.
Our type courses include intensive ground and flight training, and extensive access to training materials. Course duration can vary, but on average lasts 4 days–about 1.5 days of ground training and 2.5 days of flight training, with the checkride occurring on the fourth day. AMI is always happy to arrange lodging for out-of-area pilots. Contact us at (503) 678-2266 to discuss this spectacular bucket list achievement! We can also be reached via email at email@example.com
Quick post today for those of you DC-3 fans who like the sight and sound of an R-1830-94 running!
We towed her out of the hangar recently to do engine runs as part of its Phase 1 check.
No better sound in the world…
Aerometal International is in the process of restoring this 1940 Vultee BT-13 Valiant (known in pilot parlance as the Vultee Vibrator). This is a thrilling project for AMI, as the BT-13 was a prolific basic trainer during WWII with over 11,000 built, yet fewer than 50 fly today. It’s an honor to restore her not just to cosmetic standards, but to also ensure she is fully airworthy.
She requires structural, mechanical, and cosmetic intervention:For this post however, we’ll focus on the ever important nose art! Her nose art was inspired by a joke of the owner’s wife when they were discussing possible names—she remarked “Well, you spend lots of time on her, lots of money on her, you pay her rent…you should call her ‘My Mistress.'” Thus, this BT-13 became duly known as “My Mistress,” and the requisite decal was designed and applied.The nose art and the BT-13 art print were designed and executed by the exceptionally talented Adam Burch of Hangar B Productions, a production company focusing on aviation art, engineering, and animation. Find more of his spectacular art prints here.
Keep checking back for more updates on this ongoing restoration–we’ll delve deeply into the mechanical and structural restoration in future posts!
Anyone who takes care of DC-3s, or any vintage aircraft, knows that a plane sitting dormant in the hangar does NOT translate to dollars saved. Instead, it usually means certain component failures, and an overall “failure to thrive.” We regularly fly the DC-3s in our care whether it be for a maintenance action, or as part of their regular inspection program.
One of the many perks of being based in the Pacific Northwest is that any flight we take is bound to be a scenic ride. Truly, there are few places in the world as full of promise as the flight deck of one of the most magnificent flying machines ever built, engines rumbling nicely, skimming over our surrounding environs…
From this work come a few DC-3 “glamour shots”–enjoy!
From Aurora State (KUAO) to the Oregon Coast:
Coastal inlet under the wing:
What a day!
Our last post detailed our day on location with Grimm and one of the DC-3s that Aerometal International LLC (AMI) manages. The final project associated with this contract was the fabrication of a DC-3 cockpit in which to shoot the interior scenes.
AMI is extremely proud of our team of mechanics, engineers, and technicians, who are able to pull together projects under tight deadlines–in this case, just three days.
We started with a shell:
And a drawing:
Ready to deliver (within 2 inches of not being street legal!):
Delivering to the set:
On-set and connected to the mock fuselage:
Lights, camera, action:
We can’t wait to see the finished episode–watch for it to air on NBC on April 4th.