Structural Repairs

With all the pieces of the airplane in the hangar, and off the ground, inspection and repair of the airplane structure could begin.  Some of the sights, well, they weren't pretty!

Ralph Pettersen

    Ralph Pettersen
Yes!  There he is, in all his glory.  Kevin Lacey, Empire Aero's Project Leader on the Super Connie.
He's Tin-Man to his friends.  He's a got a whole lot of tin to play with on this baby!

Her Belly

WARNING:  The following pictures are Rated PG-16 - for Mature Audiences Only

No, she didn't make a belly landing in a crash.  She just looks that way.......

What happens when house movers and farmers move big airplanes

Nope!  Sometimes Bondo just won't do it.  It's time for some serious reskinning.

Outboard Wing Panels

    From this

To this.....       


  Ralph Pettersen

Now for the tail feathers.  Hadn't planned to pull the rudders, and..... that leading edge.

Center fin leading edge - Kevin labels it "Almost impossible to repair"

Lower rudder - condition described as part aluminum, fiberglas, dacron, and bondo!  (It was originally fabric.)

Skin corrosion beneath the paint is, well, it's a little scary.

A newly reskinned rudder

A rudder hinge fitting that has expoliated away to bauxite

Another rudder hinge fitting (hand held lower) was found broken - a new one was manufactured (shown installed.)


Vertical fin leading edge - loaded with bondo and not repairable -  new piece manufactured.

Some of the installed fairings had been made from galvanized roof flashing or heating ducting sheets.
New fairings were manufactured.

Fiberglassing done "the right way" -  vacuum bagged and with heat lamps.

"New" rudders installed

Inboard Wing Panels


Wing - Body Fairing Structure




The lower portion of the Number 4 nacelle was badly crushed - it appeared to have been dropped at some point in its life.


Rebuilding in progress


Repairs complete

Forward Fuselage

The reason for the torn forward pressure bulhead was revealed when the galvanized metal and bondo was removed

The nose landing gear had collapsed forward at some point, destroying all the structure on the bottom centerline

The damaged structure was removed and the area was rebuilt.

Tip Tanks

Installed on the airplane in Toronto

Removed with the outbd wing panel - and then removed from the wing

      Ken Mist photo    
Stored temporarily on the site.....and then stored for a year in the truck yard

Stripped and undergoing condition assessment at Empire Aero

These tanks were originally EC-121 tanks, converted during the Phillip Yull restoration

Windshield Frame Corrosion

The Number 1 (Pilot LH window) frame was a textbook picture of exfoliar corrosion


A completely new frame was fabricated

The damaged areas were removed and the new frame structure was installed

Note that while this is a non-airworthy airplane, the repairs are being accomplished to high almost-airworthy standards.

A proud Kevin Lacey and the final result


The radome was a basket case.  We considered scrapping it and getting a new replacement, but in the end decided it would be cheaper to repair what we had than chase around the world looking for a new unit.

The repaired radome

Installing on the airplane

The final result

Here's Kevin Lacey - Tin Man looking for his next project, .....whoops,  THIS is the real Tin Man.........

Photos courtesy of Robert Bogash, Ken Mist, Ralph Pettersen, Tom Cathcart, and Kevin Lacey, Tim Bucholz, Dave G.,  and Janet Dietz of Empire Aero Center, Rome, NY.
Used with Permission

In the Hangar

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Copyright 2007 - 2008  Robert Bogash.  All Rights Reserved

Revised  17 Nov 2007
               20 Nov 2007
               11 Dec 2007
               28 Dec 2007
                4 Jan 2008
                13 Jul 2008
                18 Jul 2008