1973 DT3

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Behind the Scenes at the National Museum of the USAF part 2

The CV-22B Osprey is a recent arrival at the museum and will be going in the new building once it is completed.
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This C-82A Packet has been prepped and painted.
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Many restorations are things other than aircraft, like this M151 Jeep.
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These are "bombs" being prepared for exhibit in the museum's B-52 bomb bay. Even if you remove the explosives, real bombs are too heavy to keep permanently mounted to the aircraft, so exact replicas are made in fiberglass.  
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This place is pretty much the ultimate fabrication shop.
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This is a T-6 Texan II being assembled from wrecked aircraft.
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One of the three hangars is used as a storage area, but has some of the most interesting aircraft, like the XB-42 Mixmaster and XB-43 Jetmaster. The XB-42 used a piston engine with a rear mounted contra-rotating propeller , while the XB-43 used a jet engine. Neither made it to production, but the XB-43 served as a jet engine testbed.
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When the plexiglass nose on the XB-43 cracked during testing, a simple wooden one was made to take it's place.
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The Atlas was the first ICBM deployed by the US. Note the air line running to the missile.
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Without being full of fuel, there isn't enough structural support, so it has to be kept slightly pressurized or it will collapse in on itself.
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This is a MiG-23MLD Flogger K.
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This incomplete MiG-25RB Foxbat was found buried in the sand near Al Taqaddum Airbase in Iraq.
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One of the aircraft I found most interesting was the Lockheed XF-90. Two prototypes were built, this being the only surviving one. Developed right after WWII, it was very advanced in many ways, but like many early jets it was overweight and underpowered. This one ended up being used for above ground nuclear testing, going through three blasts. They would place the aircraft and other objects at different distances from the tests to study the damage done. At one of the tests involving the XF-90, a B-17 was one of the other aircraft used, and it was repaired and flown out afterward. The XF-90 wasn't so lucky. Decades later the aircraft was found still sitting in the desert, and was decontaminated and delivered to the museum. Something like this will likely never be restored, but preserved in it's current state.
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This is the X-32A, Boeing's losing entry in the Joint Strike Fighter competition.
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Behind the Scenes at the National Museum of the USAF part 1

I took a Behind the Scenes Tour of the restoration area of the National Museum of the USAF. The Restoration Division tour takes you through three hangars on Wright-Patterson AFB. The big attraction going on right now is the restoration of the Boeing B-17F Memphis Belle. This plane was saved from being scrapped after WWII to be displayed in Memphis, but because of deterioration over the years it was decided that it should be moved to and fully restored and displayed at the Air Force Museum.
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This is a full inside and out restoration.
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A small section of the paint is left for the time being, although this is from a paint job in the 1980's. When it comes time to paint, a photo projection of the original will be used to make sure it is fully accurate.
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Many of the sub-assemblies are being worked on in a smaller room in the hangar. To give you an idea of how much work is involved, just the tail gunner section had a four page list of missing parts at the start of the restoration. Many of the parts have to be duplicated on site, using factory drawings, photos, and reference from other B-17s.
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Parts of the aircraft have writing etched into the aluminum. During the war bond tours after returning to the states people were encouraged to write on the plane, and also it suffered from vandals when on display in Memphis. Replacing the skin would make the aircraft less original, sanding them out would leave it too thin, and the marks are also part of the history of the Memphis Belle, so these will be left in place.
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The ball turret in the blue frame is for the museums B-24, and the other is from the Memphis Belle. They are the same turret, but mount differently since it needs to be retracted on the B-24 for landing. The B-24 is missing it's ball turret, so they acquired one, which after research turned out to be the original from the museum's B-24.
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Also in the restoration area is the B-17D The Swoose. Three combat veteran B-17s exist, The Swoose, Memphis Belle, and the museum's B-17G Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby. After the Memphis Belle is completed, Shoo Shoo Shoo baby will be going to the Smithsonian.
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