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This is an original rib from our SBD’s fin following refurbishing. Pioneer bead-blasted the component to remove the dirt, old paint and minor corrosion and then carefully worked out the minor dents. Following inspection, it is now ready for primer-painting. (image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)

Refurbishing Parts:

Back in December, the team at Pioneer Aero began disassembling the SBD's tail fin to begin its restoration. While some parts were salvageable, corrosion had damaged others beyond their reuse. Thankfully the project also includes another fin from a donor airframe, and this provided additional original parts for the overall restoration. In recent weeks, Pioneer Aero's William Lowen has begun refurbishing some of the original parts, while also manufacturing replacements where necessary. This update reveals some of the progress he has made towards this endeavor.

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These are original pulley brackets for the SBD’s tail fin, albeit examples removed from the parts donor fuselage which accompanied the project. They have been fully refurbished and are now ready for primer-painting. (image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)
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Three additional replacement ribs for our SBD’s tail fin, part way through the manufacturing process, sitting atop their forming blocks. While the left two still require lightening holes to be cut and formed, the example on the right is ready for its coat of primer paint. (image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)

Priming the Parts:

With the cleaning, inspection and repairs completed on the parts salvaged from BuNo.36175's fin and that of the donor aircraft, it was time to coat them with primer paint, as the following images reveal.

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Original parts from our SBD and the donor fin hanging in the paint booth before respraying with primer. (image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)