Due to other demands for time, I have skipped several quarterly reports to you. In this report I'll try to catch up and get back on schedule.
restoration of T-Square-54 to its 1945 bomber configuration continues. We had a mild last winter and cool summer, which eased our work outside. During this period we had an earthquake, but fortunately no damage to the aircraft.
Major work this past period was continued installation of control cables, refurbishment of electrical parts, corrosion control, restoration of aft body structure, repair and refurbishment of the spare tail compartment and start overhauling number three engine. Work on the quilted cockpit lining was suspended in deference to other work.
We continue to be surprised. When the lower aft turret was removed for refurbishment we discovered the body had been modified to provide a refueling boom operators station. two body frames had been cut and partially removed. A box structure for the operator was then installed. To return to bomber configuration and safely support the turret, longerons, frames, skin, and floor above the turret and turret support structure are being built.
The installed tail gunner's compartment is about 30% fake. We acqured another tail compartment on a past visit to NAWS China Lake. It is badly damaged, but more complete than the one on the aircraft. A team has begun restoration of this spare compartment. When restored it will replace the existing compartment on the aircraft. Again, we appreciate the 50-plus year old engineering that designed bolted production breaks in the aircraft.
Progress during the last quarter of (2001)
- Installed restored pilot and copilot control columns;
- Started installing new control cables in the cockpit section;
- Installed a restored lower front turret;
- Continued restoration fo the 4-gun upper turret;
- Treated catwalk structure to stop corrosion;
- Restored amplidy generators and other rotary electrical equipment;
- Acquired more CFC equipment;
- Stared design of blister sight mounts;
- Started tail turret fabrication; and
- Rebuilt body structure to support lowe aft turret.
Longer Term Objectives
- Complete and install rear turret fairings;
- Fabricate one forward and both rear bomb-bay doors;
- repair corroded catwalks;
- Acquire and install authentic nose windows;
- build and install quilted lining in crew compartments;
- Finish restoration of pilot and co-pilot seats;
- repair the longerons in forward bomb-bay, right-hand side; and
- Relocate the aircraft indoors.
This B-29 was built by Boeing Wichita and delivered to the Air Force on January 2, 1945. It served with the 73rd bomb Wing, 498th Bomb Squadron on Saipan through the rest of WWII. At the end of the war, T-Square-54 returned to the United States and was converted to a tanker. Seven years later, it was used as a ground target at Chana lake Naval Air Weapons Station in California. In 1986, it was rescued from this ingnominous fate and moved to the Lowry Air Force Base (Denver) Heritage Museum. When Lowry was Closed in 1992, T-Square-54 was delivered to the care of the Museum of flight in Seattle.
CREW REVIEW: In the last report several of our wonderful volunteers were recognized. I'd like to rell you about a few more in this report.
- Dave Bases is our sheet metal master. He was a Navy A&E mechaninc, maintenance supervisor for West Coast Airlines, and then FAA's general aviation insopector.
- Alistair (Al) McNicoll is a retired insurance executive. He actually had one bombardiers training flight in T-Square-54 on Saipan!
- Dick Peterson is a retired wind tunnel model design engineer. He has worked on T-Square-54 since its arrival in seattle. He was a member of the China Lake salvage team.
- Paula Schmitz, a younger, employed mechanical engineer and private pilot, has helped for the last several years. She's worked on the tunnel lining and is currently doing the blister sight mounts.
- Ken Williams, a Boieng computer expert and an Air Force kid, has volunteered for the last several years. Hen will work on anything but mainly on restoring rotary electrical equipment.
BECAUSE of the age of many of the volunteers, we do have attrition. Recently we lost Lowell Houtchen, recognized in the last report, to a heart attack. Lowell was with us from the beginning, and is sorely missed.
How about a T-Square-54 Desktop Model?
One of the benefits of my recent trip to the NY Internationa Toy Fair was meeting with vendors face to face for the first time. Toys & Models is the main supplier of the desktop models that we sell in the Museum Store. Jan Halverson and I talked of doing series of models in the liveries of the Museum of jFlight Collection. The first model, depending on the reaction to this informal survey, will be the B-29 T-Square-54. We would produce it in the markins as they now appear on the aircraft. It would essentially be the model we now carry but with our markings. It would retail for about $145.00, same as the one we now carry. Please let us know what you think by returning your comments on the enclosed form. thanks!
Jeff Frignoca, Visitors Services Manager
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