Cadet Air Corps Museum’s Beechcraft AT-10 Wichita – Feb/Mar 2018 Restoration Report

The Cadet Air Corps Museum is having an ultra-rare Beechcraft AT-10 Wichita restored at AirCorps Aviation in Bemidji, Minnesota. We have Chuck Craven's latest report on the progress with this project so far. (US Air Force photo)

Back in May, 2017, WarbirdsNews shared a report HERE by Chuck Cravens detailing the commencement of a restoration on an ultra-rare Beechcraft AT-10 Wichita WWII advanced, multi-engine trainer. As mentioned in the previous article, the project belongs to the Cadet Air Corps Museum and comprises the remains of several airframes, but will be based upon Wichita 41-27322. The restoration is taking place at the world-renowned AirCorps Aviation in Bemidji, Minnesota, and we now have an update on the progress as it stands so far….


The AT-10 at AirCorps Aviation

by Chuck Cravens

It has been a while since we’ve updated on the AT-10 project. It is such a unique warbird that, upon completion, it will be the only flying example of the type in the world. 

Last time I wrote about the type’s history and showed how the project arrived at AirCorps Aviation. At the time of that report, restoration work was in a very early stage. As is true of most restorations, early work consists mainly of parts fabrication and preparation to begin the actual assembly. Despite many hours of parts production, until that phase ends, there isn’t a great deal of visually clear progress. Parts fabrication will continue, but now there are enough done to begin some assembly work. That generated the visual progress for this update. 

Fuselage Formers 

Guy works on an MDF (medium density fiberboard) form for a fuselage former. (photo by John LaTourelle)
Referencing an original helps in this process. (photo by John LaTourelle)
With the aluminum clamped between two MDF forms, Guy gradually shapes the fuselage former with a plastic hammer. (photo by John LaTourelle)
Two of the new formers are clecoed in place on the forward fuselage structure. (photo by John LaTourelle)
Here we have a tighter shot of the rearward of the two formers. (photo by John LaTourelle)
The basic cabin area structure on an AT-10 is some of the limited metal structure. Here the framework has been painted and reassembled. (photo by John LaTourelle)

Fuselage Forward Structural Framework

The AT-10 is built primarily of wood, but the fuselage from the rear of the cabin forward and the engine nacelles are metal structures. Those assemblies are in the first part of the restoration schedule.

Another angle of the new formers is from directly below the cabin floor. (photo by John LaTourelle)
Some of the details of the cabin floor structure show up in this photo. (photo by John LaTourelle)
The holes on this lower forward fuselage former are for instrument tube runs. (photo by John LaTourelle)
Original skins are very useful, both to check the structure and as patterns for new skins. (photo by John LaTourelle)
A replacement skin section is test fitted. (photo by John LaTourelle)
Inside the cabin structure, the new skin section is easy to distinguish from the original piece ahead of it. (photo by John LaTourelle)
This view is from under the cabin floor. (photo by John LaTourelle)
The aluminum base fixture holds everything in alignment as a new skin section is clecoed on. (photo by John LaTourelle)
It is exciting to see the first assembly that is complete enough to identify as an AT-10. (photo by John LaTourelle)

Many thanks to Chuck Cravens and AirCorps Aviation for this article on their AT-10 project. Should anyone wish to contribute to the Cadet Air Corps Museum’s efforts, please contact board members Brooks Hurst at 816 244 6927, email at wingnutsflyingcircus@yahoo.com or  Todd Graves, todd.graves@pobox.com. Contributions are tax deductible.


Bonus Images…

NWOC 2019 729x90

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