. (photo Via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)
The structure for the gunner's cockpit floor following its removal from the fuselage during September, 2023. (image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)

Floor Disassembly:

Back in September, Pioneer Aero’s restoration team disassembled the SBD's fuselage, separating the structure from the wing center section. This also involved removing vestigial lower fuselage components from the top surface of the wing. One of those items included the structure supporting the gunner's compartment floor (as seen above), which attaches to the fuselage frames on either side of the rear cockpit. The team disassembled this component, assessing the serviceability of each of its numerous pieces. Unfortunately, several key items exhibited areas of significant corrosion, rendering them unsalvageable. As a consequence, Pioneer has remanufactured replacement parts as and where needed.

. (photo Via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)
A closeup showing one of the brackets in the gunner's compartment floor structure. The aquamarine-shaded material indicates that copper has leached from the aluminum alloy used in the structure. It is usually a sign of significant corrosion, which proved true in this case. This is likely due to dissimilar metal corrosion related to the steel nut plate which was once mounted at this location. (image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)
The bracket following its removal and media-blasting. Notice the deep corrosion pitting. A replacement part can be seen immediately behind, part way through its construction. (photo Via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)
The bracket following its removal and media-blasting. Notice the evidence of deep corrosion pitting. This rendered the part unusable; its remanufactured replacement is seen behind. (photo Via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)

Structure Ready for Reassembly:

In recent weeks, Pioneer Aero finished restoring the floor structure for the gunner's cockpit, repainting each of its numerous pieces in primer paint. Much of it is of new-build construction, but some original parts also made the grade. With each component now ready for reassembly, the team clecoed them together to ensure everything fitted correctly. Following that, Pioneer placed the structure in storage, where it awaits the day it can be formally riveted together in the restored fuselage.

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The structure for the gunner's cockpit floor going together with clecos on the work bench. As a point of reference, the upper edge in this image points towards the aircraft's nose. (image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)