Led by object conservator and project leader Lauren Horelick, the National Air and Space Museum staff continues preparing the Horten IX V3 center section to move early in January (weather and roads permitting) to the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center where it will eventually be joined to the outer wing panels that are already displayed in the hangar. Conservation Fellows Anna Weiss and Peter McElhinnery recently joined Lauren and retired Museum treatment specialist Karl Heinzel, and the two fellows are already making significant contributions to the project. Here is a selection of photos taken in Building 10 at the Paul Garber Facility showing progress thus far.
Once Lauren’s team finishes their assessment, artisans will build a sturdy fixture to support the center section during the 40-mile trip from the Garber Facility to the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Udvar-Hazy Center.
After the center section arrives at the hangar, work will continue to stabilize the artifact, treat any problem areas, and prepare to attach the outer wing panels to the center section and again make the aircraft whole, something like this:
Deciding just how much of the jet wing to treat or restore will be a group effort involving treatment specialists, conservators, and curators, but this critical step must wait until we can gather in one place the center section, outer wing panels, wheels and tires, control surfaces, and other components, and study them carefully to determine how the whole artifact should be finished. We expect to make progress on this phase of the project next year.
Russ Lee is a curator in the Aeronautics Department at the National Air and Space Museum.