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The SBD’s wing center section in its jig prior to the flap bay’s removal. The flap bay runs from the wing trailing edge to Spar No.5, which is essentially the wing’s rear bulkhead. At the time this image was captured, rivet removal was about to commence on the flap bay. (Image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)

Detaching the Flap Bay:

A short while ago, we reported on Pioneer Aero's inspection of the flap bay area of our SBD's wing center section. Since that point, Martin Hedley reports that his team has detached the entire assembly from the structure, as the following images reveal, and separated it into its component parts. The process began first by drilling out the hundreds of rivets attaching the top surface of the skin to the upper cap of Spar No.5, the wing's rearmost bulkhead. They also needed to de-rivet the set of stringers which link the flap bay skin to the wing center section skin forwards of Spar No.5. Each of these center section stringers lies where that subassembly intersects with the fuselage, as can be seen in the third image down.

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This image show’s Pioneer’s Rod Hansen high up on the SBD wing center section jig. The team has removed the rivets holding the flap bay in place, and Rod is in the process of lifting it clear of the center section. (Image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)
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Another view of Rod Hansen lifting lifting the flap bay clear of the center section. (Image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)
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The flap bay subassembly, following its removal, is visible here leaning vertically against the left side of the SBD’s wing center section. To gain a feel for the size of this assembly, the flap bay is roughly 11 feet wide. This reveals how high up the team had to climb in order to perform their work. (Image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)

Dismantling & Assessment:

As already noted, once the team had removed the flap bay subassembly from the wing center section, they carefully took it apart to assess the potential serviceability of its components. The images below show some of these parts during that process; the image captions reveal which items will likely be refurbished for reuse, and which will require remanufacture.