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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 12:07 am 
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Figured some of you might like to follow this, so here is the official restoration thread for Air Heritage Inc.’s Douglas C-47B #43-48716.

Arriving at our Airport back in November
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These are from April 22nd
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For those who didn’t see my initial thread, you can see some more in depth information here on its history: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=48477

A brief history on the bird.

43-48716 came off the production line and was accepted by the USAAF September 13th, 1944 as a Douglas C-47B.
Approximately one week later, it began its journey to Europe, arriving there on the 27th of September. We do know that it flew two resupply missions over the Battle of the Bulge, December 24th and 26th, as well as flew over the River Rheine during Operation Varsity (Thanks Patrick Elie for the initial info) with the 75th Troop Carrier Squadron. During its time in Europe, it was based both in England and France.

After WWII, it flew in various squads and underwent conversion from a cargo plane to a VIP transport while also becoming a D model (removal of the Superchargers) and was stationed both in Europe and the US. In late April 1972, it was transferred from the USAF to the US Army, which it served with for two and half years after which it was retired to Davis-Monthan AFB in November 1974 for storage.

It spent just a few months in Davis-Monthan before being picked up by the State of Florida who intended to use it for mosquito spraying. It was one of 6 C-47s used for the role in southern Florida for over 30 years. In the Late 2000's, they began to retire the C-47 fleet and replaced the six piston powered C-47s with two Turbo Prop DC-3's.

Of the six, I believe ours was the only one to leave the state of Florida and was one of two to find homes with a museum. There was an article last month on the operation down in Florida in one of the War bird Magazines with us being mentioned in it. It was also the second or third to last to leave the fleet.

Air Heritage Inc. will be the first civilian operator of this bird in its 69 years of life. It's still a very low timed C-47 with some 12,000-13,000 hours on it. I know the engines were overhauled recently as well as the props, but I don’t know their specific times. I believe the engines are around 100hrs and the props 50 hours.

To keep this clean and easy, I will split this up into a few posts as I have a lot.

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Tyler Pinkerton
Active Member of Air Heritage Inc. of Beaver Falls, PA.
Aircraft: C47B, C-123K, Fairchild F-24, Funk Model B, L-21B, T-28B, T-34B
Static: F-4C Phantom II, F-15A, T-3 Provost


Last edited by flightsimer on Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 12:10 am 
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The Plan

We plan on restoring her back to a condition she would have been in at the end of the war and returning home to the USA.

My personal goal for the plane is to see it put back into the most Authentic appearance possible, but I know some things will not specifically be original.

Due to being a former spray bird, all of her Military equipment or furnishings were gutted out. Therefore, I’m guessing we will be building a lot of the things inside of the plane due to not being able to find originals. Because of being a spray plane, it’s also in the Experimental category.

It will be a two step process more than likely, that will depend mainly on funding and timing. The first step will be getting the exterior done for the air show circuit followed by restoring and reinstalling the interior. Ideally, we are shooting for sometime this year to have the outside restored to begin taking it to air shows.

We don’t know if she had a name and or nose art yet, but we have found the pilot who flew her over the Battle of the Bulge on the 26th and in Operation Varsity and have made contact with him. Hopefully he or the records we are waiting on can shed some light on this. We also don’t know what her tail Letter was.

Once we get the records, I will be able to go through and figure out all the specific missions performed and we will be placing the correct amount of mission symbols on her side as well.

I’m planning up storyboards and small displays for inside the plane similar to what Tim has done with the Spirit of Freedom C-54 with a focus on the Battle of the Bulge and Operation Varsity and specifically what our plane did during WWII.

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Tyler Pinkerton
Active Member of Air Heritage Inc. of Beaver Falls, PA.
Aircraft: C47B, C-123K, Fairchild F-24, Funk Model B, L-21B, T-28B, T-34B
Static: F-4C Phantom II, F-15A, T-3 Provost


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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 12:13 am 
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The Start of a long journey!

She has only been in the hangar for 2 weeks now, but a lot has happened with her in that time.

The FAA came out on April 22nd to inspect our Cessna 150 we are putting back into standard category from Experimental and while they were here we talked to them about the C-47. We have since submitted a maintenance plan for the plane with the Pittsburgh FSDO, who has since accepted it, meaning we now can start the annual on it.

A big THANKS goes out to the guys at Valiant Air Command Museum as well as another museum who I can’t think of at the moment, who both sent us maintenance programs they were using. With those two as examples, we were able to work out a plan of our own for use very quickly.

In the two weeks it has been in the hangar, we have mainly been doing paint stripping and general inspections.

*We ran the engines before bringing it into the hangar. One or both engines were hydro locked, but what else can be expected when the plane hadn’t been run in 5 months. We ended up having to remove the bottom spark plugs to drain the oil though. We did a full run up and they are in great shape. We took oil samples at that time as well to send out and have analyzed.

*We will be removing the right elevator to recover it as the taping is beginning to lift. The Rudder may also have to get recovered, but the jury is still out on that. The Ailerons have recently been recovered as well as the left elevator.

*We are doing some work to the Right Main Gear’s hydraulic cylinder, replacing seals that were worn.

We do have some cosmetic work that needs to be done to the metal. The top nose piece was removed and has some dents in it that will be filled. We also have multiple holes that need to be patched over from where spray equipment was installed.

All antennas from the military have long been removed. I have been searching the past week for antennas for the Rebecca system as well as the LP-21 ADF antenna which I could find neither available. However, ironically enough, I came in Thursday for our Monthly meeting and was talking about them and was told we had an ADF antenna in the Museum room, which we did lol. I knew it was there too, but had just completely forgotten about it. If anyone has the Rebecca Antennas that would be willing to donate them or sell them for use on this plane, it would be greatly appreciated. We also are thinking if we can get at least one antenna, we might be able to make two replica antennas to use and will return the original to its owner. We also need to find an Astrodome for the navigator’s compartment before we can paint it.

Except for the cockpit windows, we will be replacing all the windows in the plane so if anyone should know where some original windows can be located with the gun ports cut out, I would greatly appreciate the tip. Otherwise, we will just be putting in new solid windows. We will also be needing seals for the windows

All doors have been removed from the plane and are being stripped of their old paint. We will also need new seals for the doors as well if anyone has any leads.

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Tyler Pinkerton
Active Member of Air Heritage Inc. of Beaver Falls, PA.
Aircraft: C47B, C-123K, Fairchild F-24, Funk Model B, L-21B, T-28B, T-34B
Static: F-4C Phantom II, F-15A, T-3 Provost


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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 12:27 am 
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And now some pictures of the work so far...

Cockpit
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The black spots on the skin is more than likely the reminents of the glue they used to install insulation when they converted the plane to a VC-47D.

Forward Cabin
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Rear Cabin, There should be a bulkhead just aft of the rear cargo door that formed the area for the lavatory and I'm guessing the rear baggage area.
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Stripping of paint on the horiztonal stablizers
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Stripping the forward cargo door and troop door
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My little project other than stripping paint off the fuselage has been the Emergency Exits. Im stripping them down to bare metal as well as removing the old seals and plexiglass. I have yet to inspect the inside of them, but they are otherwise nearly ready for paint. Im also probably going to replace the small fillets of metal at the top of the frame as the one side has been drilled into a few times.

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After a quick cleaning
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nearly completely stripped
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And the Final stripped frame
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Members inspecting the engine and opening up the lower inspection panels
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Continue...

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Tyler Pinkerton
Active Member of Air Heritage Inc. of Beaver Falls, PA.
Aircraft: C47B, C-123K, Fairchild F-24, Funk Model B, L-21B, T-28B, T-34B
Static: F-4C Phantom II, F-15A, T-3 Provost


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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 12:46 am 
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More Stripping...

Bob decided to start up front and work back.
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The opposite side from the previous day
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The stripping I have done has been in the Right Fairing area. The paint is so bad (on the top at least) that compress air will pull it off. I seriously think a power washer could remove the majority of all the white paint. The gold is being more of a pain due to it have multiple layers.

This was just with air after maybe 30 min.
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Then on Friday, I started to use actual stripper on it and got this much done
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Saturday I continued...
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Some more of what Bob has done
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Anyone know what that weird shaped "Bowl with Ice Cream" antenna is on top?
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Pilot's Emergency Hatch and antennas. Hopefully, I can convince them to move the Antennas aft to a more authentic position. Maybe I can even find some original old stock antennas that still work to use. You can also see the patch just diagonal of the cockpit window where the M-8 Pyrotechnic pistol was fired out of the aircraft. That will be coming off as well as soon as i get a mount to install. Saw one for sale last week on ebay, but didnt have the money to buy it.
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The patch they put on to cover where the Astrodome once was. I Can't wait to remove this and see that dome going on in its place!
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Well thats all I have for now. I promise from now on, the posts will not be as long winded as I have now caught up with everything. Question though, would you guys like the pictures to be smaller or are they okay this size? I'm thinking 1024, still might be a little big. Maybe something in the 700 range would be better.

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Tyler Pinkerton
Active Member of Air Heritage Inc. of Beaver Falls, PA.
Aircraft: C47B, C-123K, Fairchild F-24, Funk Model B, L-21B, T-28B, T-34B
Static: F-4C Phantom II, F-15A, T-3 Provost


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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 3:25 am 
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Good Luck guys looks like a great project and a fantastic opportunity to bring a Veteran Aircraft back up to snuff!


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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 5:42 am 
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Did you guys get my pictures of the C-47 with a huge story and tie to Pittsburgh?

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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 6:53 am 
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What type of stripper are you using?


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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 6:57 am 
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Obergrafeter wrote:
What type of stripper are you using?

+1 :D

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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 7:39 am 
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Any chance of getting the aircraft recertified in the Standard category?

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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 7:50 am 
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flightsimer - I don't know the antenna systems that well...I have a football antenna and one that looks like the one that is photo'd on C-47 - like a Y - an ARC A-13, but don't know if they are in any working order... Great looking project... geek

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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 8:12 am 
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Please wear cheapo light weight rain gear when you use stripper! one teeny speck on a calf or elbow will have the participant expressing direct appraisals at full volume that would make a sailors parrot blush.
Looks like you've got pretty sound base to work from! :D picture size works for me-

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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 8:23 am 
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Picture size is perfect :) Thanks for starting this thread. It's awesome to see it being restored!

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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 8:28 am 
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flightsimer wrote:
We also don’t know what her tail Letter was.
Hi

Found it at the moment in the diary for the month of october 1944. With the assignments for the new airplanes of the 75th TCS.
716 'B' Capt Frome, Lts D'Aigle and Nolan, T/Sgt. O'Connor, S/Sgt. Harris

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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 8:32 am 
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mustangdriver wrote:
Did you guys get my pictures of the C-47 with a huge story and tie to Pittsburgh?

Not sure if we did or not. If we did, I haven't seen anything. I'll be there probably on Wednesday and will ask then.

As for the stripper, we ordered one with lace... Oh you mean paint stripper... :)

We are using Klean Strip at the moment from the local Home Depot. However, I really want to get this stuff.

https://www.m-tc.com/product.html#.UZDqffF5mSN

However, with shipping and customs, it will be nearly $2,000 for a 55 gallon drum. If we could get that stuff, then I think we could literally have the entire plane stripped in a matter of a day or two as long as it works as advertised.

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Tyler Pinkerton
Active Member of Air Heritage Inc. of Beaver Falls, PA.
Aircraft: C47B, C-123K, Fairchild F-24, Funk Model B, L-21B, T-28B, T-34B
Static: F-4C Phantom II, F-15A, T-3 Provost


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