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What We're Working on in the Restoration Shop (Part 2)

Posted on Wed, June 24 2009
  • by: Anne McCombs is a restoration specialist in the Collections Division of the National Air and Space Museum.
Curtiss-Wright CW-1 Junior in Restoration Shop
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In addition to the high-priority Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight aircraft being refurbished at the Garber Facility (described previously), we have a number of other projects progressing at a slower pace:  The item to notice in this picture is not the engine, but the stand behind it. Volunteer Maurice Goodwin is working on a long-term project to build sturdy engine stands that can be rolled into position in a work area or stacked on heavy-duty shelving.

Engine Stands

Restoration specialists build special stands for storing, moving and displaying engines.  This engine is the Continental XR-1740-2 sleeve-valve radial engine, 875 HP, built in 1941 but never flown.

ATS-6 Earth Viewing Module in Restoration Shop

ATS-6 in the Museum's Garber Preservation, Restoration and Storage Facility in Suitland, MD.

The expensive casters are set into sockets and are reusable on any of our many stands. And, since some readers will want to know, the engine is an experimental Continental XR-1740-2 sleeve-valve radial engine, 875 HP, built in 1941 but never flown. Volunteer Bill Pellegrino is fitting new copper-colored Kapton outer layers to the ATS-6 Earth viewing module. The welding shop added extensions to the stand to provide access to the bottom of the satellite – notice Bill’s wheeled work seat underneath.

Curtiss-Wright CW-1 Junior in Restoration Shop

Curtiss-Wright CW-1 Junior at the Museum's Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration and Storage Facility in Suitland, MD.

Forerunner of today’s ultralight and light sport aircraft, this Curtiss-Wright CW-1 Junior is being restored by a team of volunteers headed by Joe Fichera, a retired Museum restoration specialist.

Curtiss-Wright CW-1 Junior Engine in the Restoration Shop

Curtiss-Wright CW-1 Junior engine at the Museum's Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration and Storage Facility in Suitland, MD.

The fuselage is nearly complete; current work is focused on the wings and wing struts (not shown). The wings will attach above the cockpits, just below the silvery fuel tank, with engine and pusher prop behind them. The Junior’s engine, a three-cylinder Szekely. The Szekelys had the unfortunate habit of occasionally blowing cylinders completely off the engine while in flight, due to bolt or cylinder base failures. This one has the factory-installed “fix”; straps running between the cylinder heads to hold the cylinders on.  

Heinkel He-219 Restoration

One-piece wing from the Heinkel He-219.

This immense one-piece wing from the Heinkel He-219 occupies the center of the shop. Visitors to the Udvar-Hazy Center can see the fuselage, one engine, and other components already on display. The exhibit designers assure us that the airplane will still fit in its gallery when assembled, but it’s going to be a tight fit.

Heinkel He-219 Restoration - Engine

Heinkel He-219 engine in the restoration shop.

At present, this Daimler-Benz DB 603 Aa engine is getting most of the attention on the He-219 project. It needs just a little more assembly, and then it’ll be ready for the cowling. Note that the stand is designed to hold the engine either horizontally or vertically. How do you rotate a 3000-pound engine?

Heinkel He-219 Restoration

It helps if you have two forklifts and a lot of practice. Here, Jeff Mercer (foreground) and Rob Mawhinney (behind the engine) make it look easy.