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This is the aft fairing for the central ordnance mount which sits between spars No.3 and 5 on the lower side of the SBD’s wing center section. Pioneer Aero’s Craig Cunha found that this component has only minor corrosion damage, which he expects to repair in the near future.. (image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)

Ancillary Parts Removal:

After Pioneer Aero removed and disassembled the flap bay subassembly from the SBD's wing center section, they then began the process of removing the adjacent skin panel (p/n 5090536) from the bottom side of the aircraft. This component spans the width of the center section between Web/Spar No.3 and No.5. They began first by removing some of the ancillary components attached to the skin panel, such as the various fairings covering plumbing assemblies protruding from the wing. Each of these components received an assessment regarding its potential future serviceability. The team then began restoring those items which made the grade and made plans to remanufacture those which did not. Once finished, each of these components will be placed in storage until it is ready for reinstallation.

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While one of the smaller fairings still requires final riveting of the crack repair, their restoration is essentially complete. Following primer-painting, they will go into storage until the time comes for their reinstallation. The central ordnance fairing they sit beside has yet to undergo restoration. (image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)

Skin Panel Removal:

Once they had safely removed the various protuberances from the skin panel, Pioneer then got to work removing this subassembly from the wing center section. There are literally hundreds of heavy-duty rivets holding this panel to the airframe, so the process required enormous patience and significant skill to do properly. With the panel removed, the restoration team was able to take a closer look at the condition of the components inside and plan their next moves in the restoration.

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Craig Cunha in the process of drilling rivet heads off the lower skin between Web/Spars No.3 and 5. In this image, we can see Craig working along the rivets attaching the skin section to Web No.4. The bold, triple row of rivets running horizontally just below the level of Craig’s waist attach to Web No.3, while those for Web No.5 are roughly level with his eyes. Web No.5 is the rearmost bulkhead in the wing. Note that the three fairings mentioned earlier in this article had already been removed at the time this image was taken. (image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)
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The underside of the wing center section following the removal of the skin assembly (Part No.509036) spanning between Webs No.3 and 5. The wing’s internal structure is now visible, revealing a significant electrical conduit, along with the remains of hydraulic rams which the autopilot system used to control the ailerons. (image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)