It has been a while since our last Dauntless Update, and the eagle eyed amongst you will likely have noticed that the fuselage is still here at the Museum awaiting transport to New Zealand (much to the frustration of the whole team!). The shipping challenges we have encountered have slowed the project down, preventing the fuselage from arriving at Pioneer Aero's Ardmore, workshop on our anticipated schedule, but there is still exciting news coming in on the project.
As it happens, the wings from a donor SBD have been under restoration at Aerotrader in Chino, California for some time now. Kermit Weeks was kind enough to lend support to the project. The wings from his aircraft are in better condition than ours, and also under restoration at Aerotrader. With Kermit's support, his SBD wings have provided accurate patters (where needed) and also been incredibly helpful in preparing the jigs necessary for their restoration - greatly accelerating the completion of our wings. As a result both sets of wings are coming along smoothly and the Aerotrader team is currently finishing up the wingtips. They will also complete the Dauntless stabilizers in short order as well!
Similarly, the team at Pioneer Aero in New Zealand has received the first shipment of parts for our Dauntless. They have already begun working on some of these items, including the control surfaces, but remain eager to receive the fuselage! After removing a few of the larger parts in the shipping container, Pioneer has sorted the remaining items on shelves to improve accessibility. The pictures above show the container being unloaded, first at a bio containment facility where imports to New Zealand must undergo inspection, and then at the Pioneer Aero shop.