December 7, 1999
... We are currently in our sixth year of restoration. The volunteer crew continues to work outdoors, imediately south of the Museum complex. We now have covered work and storage areas with utilities, making working conditions more comfortable. About 25 people are helping each week on the aircraft. Most of them have had a personal experience with the B-29, and that is at the heart of their commitment. In this last year we added a Saturday restoration shift, enabling many people who are still working to get involved with the project.
A fourth propeller was purchased and refinished to replace the one that was returned to the Navy at China Lake. Originally, they allowed us to take that one from another aircraft. Then in this last year they requested that it be returned. The aircraft looked very sad without all of its propellers. After extensive searching and negotiating, one was purchased from a private party in California. We restored and installed it in time for the Museum's Memorial Day Observance.
A 4-gun upper forward turret was given to our project by the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, U.K. With help from the U.S. Air Force and the Boeing Company, it was transported to Seattle and is being restored prior to installation.
Tunnel lining blankets are nearly complete thanks to Flo Nicholson, our dedicated volunteer seamstress.
We have almost finished replacing all the hydraulic lines throughout the aircraft. The original ones were too corroded for repair. Once these lines are in, we can rebuild the entire hydraulic system enabling operable brakes.
Amplidyne generators and a blister sight were purchased and are now being restored. These are part of our effort to get several turrets operational for demonstrations. A volunteer fabricated mock machine guns to add to the realism. When operational, these turrets will add excitement to the display.
GOALS FOR 2000
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
- Flap and flap controls - corroded skins must be replaced, actuators and tracks restored, and missing control torque tube parts manufactured.
- Aft turret fairings - These will be built by a classic automobile restorer. This is a difficult project due to the compound curves in the design.
- Turret mounting rings - these are being repairedand will be installed prior to installing the upper and lower turrets.
- Flight and engine control cables - The existing cables are either severely corroded or severed. We are now working to get new ones manufactured and installed before we attach the insulating blankets in the new compartments.
- Lining Blankets - These will insulate the crew compartment and must be sewn according to specifications and then installed.
As you can imagine, though our labor is donated, we need about $40,000 this year for parts, tools and some outsided specialty work. Your tax-deductible gift to the Museum's B-29 fund will make a huge difference in how much we will accomplish this year.
Second, we need your expertise. Volunteers are welcome. We are looking for people who can come each week for a set amout of time. Volunteers work in areas where they feel comfortable and where their skills will be best utilised.
Lastly, please tell others about this project. Getting more people involved will shorten restoration time.
... If you have any questions do not hesitate to call me at 206-764-5700.
B-29 Project Manager