The high-priority project these days is the Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight gallery update, and several of the aircraft planned for the gallery are at the Garber Facility for cleaning, repairs, and preparation for hanging. Let’s take a quick look:
Patty Wagstaff’s Extra 260 being prepared for shipment. The team was careful to avoid resetting the “G” meter, which came to us with the needles pegged at +10 / -6 Gs. The aircraft will be inverted for transportation, assembly, and hanging on the second floor of the museum, a tricky endeavor to say the least. Here, Matt Nazzaro test-fits one of the brackets used in this operation.
The Extra 260 will be displayed inverted and in a 15 degree bank, as one might expect for this agile airshow star. At first, the team planned to hang it from the landing gear at points near the tires, but some damage that weakened one gear leg (visible near the top of the leg) made them reconsider. One of the new hanging points, manufactured on the premises, can be seen just below the damaged spot.
My project, the Curtiss R3C-2 seaplane racer from 1925. The fuselage has already been cleaned and draped with a dust cover in the background. We’ve enjoyed admiring those beautiful gold wings, with radiators (for engine coolant) covering much of their surfaces. Ailerons and one elevator, currently being recovered with cotton fabric, are in the foreground.
This pretty Piper J-2 Cub has been hanging at the FAA Headquarters building on loan for the past few years.
The aluminum trailing edge and wing root rib have been crumpled, cut, and just generally beaten up from some past impact. There’s some corrosion advancing in there too. The mouse nest has already been removed.
Anne McCombs is a restoration specialist in the Collections Division of the National Air and Space Museum.