Sbd Upper Fuselage Frame Rebuild 06
Fuselage frames are going back into the upper rear fuselage jig. Here we can see Frame #9 through #14, with Frame #9 at image left. Frames #9 through #12 have had their repairs completed, while Frame #13 (unpainted) is awaiting the fabrication of a repair piece, before it too is painted with primer. Frame #14 required no repairs. (Image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)

Upper Rear Fuselage Progress:

After de-skinning the upper rear fuselage and disassembling most of the underlying structure last month, William Lowen has begun assessing the components and refurbishing those which proved restorable. While the upper longerons showed signs of corrosion, the team has yet to decide if there is a viable damage mitigation path, or whether these parts require remanufacturing.

Sbd Upper Fuselage Frame Rebuild 01
This image shows the bottom sides for the two aft elements of the upper longerons. While there is evidence of corrosion (note the white/light grey areas), Pioneer Aero has yet to determine whether this damage is beyond airworthiness limits. For reference, the aircraft’s tail end would be at the top of the image. (Image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)

Frame Restoration:

Lowen has progressively stripped and media-blasted fuselage Frames #9 through #15. Rather gratifyingly, Frames #9 to #14 proved to be reusable following corrosion treatment and repairs. Frame #15, however, with areas of corrosion too deep and too numerous to rectify, requires refabrication. So far Lowen has completed his restoration work with Frames #9 through #12. He was also able to refurbish the latch guard which mounts against the righthand longeron.

Sbd Upper Fuselage Frame Rebuild 09
This is the aft face to the upper half of Frame #8. It has undergone inspection, with nothing appearing to be out order at this point. It is therefore awaiting bead blasting to determine whether any minor repairs are required. This component mounts to the longeron via the upper bracket in this image. It connects with its lower half via a joiner plate which was removed during the fuselage split several months ago. (Image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)
Sbd Upper Fuselage Frame Rebuild 12
The canopy latch guard following corrosion removal and an application of primer paint. The part is now in storage awaiting the time when the fuselage is riveted back together. (Image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)