Our C119G Flying Boxcar was given to us by the Canadian Forestry Service back in 1990. They removed the good engines, control surfaces, instruments, and much of the operating hardware, leaving us the shell but enough to have a displayable aircraft. At that time a couple of elderly gentlemen named Don Torrance and Bob Bedson took on the task of fixing it up to improve its appearance for static display. But their years slowed them down and the plane was stored in the back of the big hanger where it resided undisturbed for some 20 years. It became a storage facility, and a haven for birds.
In 2009 room was needed inside the big hanger for flying aircraft, so the Boxcar was moved outside to where you see it now. It looked pretty shabby and was still full of stored stuff. George Norsen and I often looked at that plane which seemed kind of sad sitting there in full view of visitors and looking very rough. After meeting with the Directors, George and I were given permission to carry on the work started by Don and Bob so many years ago. In April of 2010 the C119 Restoration "Phoenix Rising" project was born and this forum was started to show people what we were doing.
Work started during the month of April 2010, and we anticipated completion in the Fall of 2015. This 5-year project had a core group of four people. George Norsen came up with the idea in March 2010 and I joined him in April. That Fall Kevin House came on board, and in Spring 2011, Dave Oliver (Ollie) filled out the team. Numerous volunteers have stepped up to help for a day or so at a time, and we try to recognize them when we can. We can always use more help, so talk to any of the team members to get started. In the Fall of 2011, student interns from SUNY Geneseo become involved. You will be seeing and hearing more of them as we progress.
The original Message Board was quite different from what we now use. When we transitioned over to the current Board some of our earliest writings were lost. We had copies of the old photos, but not the writings. So I recently decided to re-post to the best of my knowledge what our earliest days were like working on the big 'ole bird. Below are the posts and photos from April to October of 2010.
A rare photo of our plane as it looked in 1990. If anyone has any other photos from that time period, please contact me.
The very first photo taken as George and I started getting organized.
The inside had been partially cleaned up when this photo was taken. At first, you couldn't even walk to the back of the aircraft.
This is the instrument panel from the plane. I took it home to fix and paint. We were left the panel, but no instruments! Since then we have been slowly collecting instruments to populate it.
We worked right out of the backs of our cars.
The removal of rusty screws from the flight deck windows was one of the very first projects undertaken.
George lubricated the sliding windows on the flight deck.
Two engine covers were found inside the plane. George power washed them before re-installation.
The first completed project. All rusty hardware around these windows was replaced with stainless screws. The frames were also polished.
We opened up the clam shell doors for the first time. They were stiff and in need of lubrication.
Todd Wallace helped clean out the inside as did Loren
Todd and George finish up one of the engine covers.
The pilots and co-pilots seats needed a good washing. The cushions are missing and we will probably have to make new ones.
We started removing all the screws around the porthole windows. Many windows will be replaced with new ones and new stainless hardware installed.
This old rusted set of stairs was found out in the back yard behind the large hangar. We cleaned and painted it. What a difference!
A plastic "Donation Barrel" was found. I made up some displays at home and set up everything for our visitors.
Thus began the restoration of the Museum's C119. We are still working on it and probably will be for some time to come. Our original crew of two has grown to nine with dozens of others helping out for a day or so. Check the upcoming posts to see how we've progressed.
Happy Thanksgiving to All!