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Exhibits > Restoration

Restoration DivisionPreserving the Air Force's proud legacy, the Restoration Division restores aircraft and aerospace vehicles to historically accurate and visually striking levels. Division members are well versed in a variety of skills ranging from machine and woodworking expertise to precision craftsmanship in sheet metal and painting. Their knowledge of aircraft spans years of technology -- from World War I fabric covered aircraft to the elite fighters of today's Air Force. 

Restoration workers also maintain the museum's vast aircraft collection, move aircraft into exhibit position and work hand-in-hand with the Exhibits and Research Divisions and museum management on ever-changing gallery displays. The Restoration Division relies heavily on a dedicated, talented cadre of volunteers in accomplishing its mission. 

Click here to watch "From Conception to Reality: Restoration Division" (00:02:55)
Click here for a list of parts needed by the Restoration Division Chief
Watch the Behind the Scenes Tour video (00:04:20)

The Restoration staff is currently working on the following projects, as well as doing extensive planning for the museum's upcoming fourth building. Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images.

B-17F Memphis Belle B-17F Memphis BelleĀ®
The inboard wings have been mated to the fuselage and the landing gear has been lowered for the aircraft to sit on. Sheet metal repairs continue on the forward belly. The pilot's instrument panel and the missing bomb bay door is being fabricated from factory blueprints. The bomb bay door sheet metal repairs are also being worked. In addition, the wing root items are being fabricated and installed and the engines have been installed on the aircraft. Volunteers are restoring the tailgunner position and connecting the engine controls and accessories. Structural repairs are also being performed on the vertical fin and horizontal stabilizers. Click here to view a photo slide show of the Memphis Belle restoration or here for more information and photos

Note: The original Memphis Belle was on static display in Memphis, Tenn., until October 2005. At that time, it was transported to the museum where it is now undergoing restoration. The B-17 with "Memphis Belle" markings seen at many air shows is not the original aircraft.
B-17D The Swoose B-17D The Swoose
Work on this aircraft has temporarily been suspended as the Restoration Division focuses on other top priorities. Visitors may still view this aircraft during the museum's "Behind the Scenes Tours." Click here for more information and photos.
C-82 Packet
The aircraft has been prepped and painted and markings have been applied. Volunteers are now working on restoring the flight deck. Click here for more information and photos.
 C-123K C-123K
Volunteers continue to work on cleaning and polishing the exterior of the aircraft in the Modern Flight Gallery. Click here for more information and photos.
Curtiss A-25A rudder
A rudder has been obtained from the National Naval Aviation Museum to use as a pattern to duplicate the missing rudder on the museum's A-25A.  All sheet metal repairs are being fabricated. Click here for more information and photos.
M151 Jeep
Volunteers have restored the jeep and are in the process of fabricating the missing radio, as well as cleaning up the jeep trailer and generator. When completed, it will be placed in the Southeast Asia War Gallery. Click here for more information and photos.

Restoration has begun and fabric has been removed from the airframe. New cotton has been obtained from Europe, and is being put on now. Eventually, it will be displayed as a trainer for the Tuskegee Airmen. Click here for more information and photos
  T-6 Texan II
Parts are being assembled from three wrecked aircraft into a complete display aircraft. Currently, the System Program Office at WPAFB is conducting tests on the wing that will benefit the active fleet. Click here for more information and photos


Volunteers are restoring the flight deck. Click here for more information and photos.

The restoration staff has recently completed the C-21A in the Southeast Asia War Gallery, A-10 Gun Loading System in Cold War Gallery and the C-17 and C-130E in the Air Park.

Visitors can see the restoration facility by signing up for the museum's Behind the Scenes Tour offered every Friday throughout the year (with some exceptions).

Click here to view more photos of current and past restoration projects.

Updated March 2014

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