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A Forum for those interest in vintage NON-military aircraft
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SOSL cowlings - Yellow Varnish

Mon Nov 03, 2014 7:15 am

Decades ago (1930's?), the Smithsonian coated the cowlings on the Spirit of St. Louis with varnish to "protect" the flags and lettering. Over the years, the varnish has yellowed causing the "golden" color. How difficult would it be to remove this varnish without damaging the cowlings? I know the museum has been asked about this for a long time and this is their most recent answer:

"MilestonesTeam Mod
This work is desired, however, it is not currently planned for completion during this renovation. Our conservation specialists will take a closer look at the aircraft next year and a final determination on near-term treatment will be made at that time."

I would think you could take the non-marked cowlings (to start with) and simply strip those before making an attempt at the ones with the flags and lettering...one panel at a time (keeping the airplane on display). Maybe its not that simple and I'm sure there are other museum priorities. Any thoughts or opinions on this? I'm just curious as to how this varnish could safely be removed...


Re: SOSL cowlings - Yellow Varnish

Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:53 pm

A new update to the "yellow cowlings" on the SOSL. According to the NASM, the varnish was applied by Ryan Airlines when the plane was built and therefore is historically accurate and will be left as is. Details are in the article below:

http://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-f ... 20/?no-ist
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