CAF Airbase Georgia’s Boeing N2S Kaydet – Restoration Update December 2021

A U.S. sailor cranking the engine of a Stearman N2S-2 Kaydet (BuNo 3553) at the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas (USA), in 1943. The CAF's Dixie Wing recently acquired a sister ship to this aircraft, which also served at NAS Corpus Christi, and the group is presently setting about its restoration. (image via National Archives)
Aircorps Art Dec 2019


Commemorative Air Force volunteers at Airbase Georgia (formerly the CAF Dixie Wing) have been working on the restoration of Boeing N2S-2 Kaydet Bu.03531 at their hangar in Peachtree City, Georgia since late 2019. The unit recently summed up their progress over the course of 2021, and we felt sure our readers would enjoy learning about their endeavors so far…


Over the last year, volunteers have completed the process of cataloging available parts and identifying what is needed for the project. The team acquired a 40-foot shipping container and built shelves to catalog and store the Stearman (Kaydet) parts; many components from the project airframe have been disassembled, media-blasted, repaired as necessary, and primed in preparation for reassembly. The landing gear which came with the original project was non-serviceable, so a fully restored set and a reconditioned fuselage were obtained from a reputable Stearman parts dealer in Texas. Areas of corrosion on the rudder have been repaired, and work is underway to replace damaged wood around the fuel tank compartment in the top-wing center section. The rudder has received a fresh fabric covering, and the horizontal stabilizer is undergoing similar treatment.

Stitching a fresh fabric covering to the vertical stabilizer. (Photo by Charles Burcher)

The video below provides further description regarding what the restoration team has accomplished so far…

2022 Plans

The team will install the flight controls, seats, instrument panels, plumbing, wiring, and fittings inside the fuselage during the coming year. Several of these components were missing from the project airframe, so replacements must be procured or re-created. The project airframe’s wooden wings will also undergo inspection and repair as necessary.

Unfortunately, an inspection revealed that the aircraft’s original engine core is unusable, so the team will purchase a new/overhauled powerplant (and propeller); these will be the restoration’s most financially demanding expenses.

Beginning the process of applying a new fabric covering to the Kaydet’s horizontal stabilizer. (Photo by Charles Burcher)

For several team members, the Stearman Restoration Project is their first hands-on experience in restoring a World War II-era aircraft. Each of these volunteers now shares a connection with the thousands of female factory workers who went to work building America’s Arsenal of Democracy during the early 1940s.

Project Vision

Airbase Georgia took on this project in part to help educate and inspire children in middle and high school (especially female students) to explore and pursue careers in aviation, and to encourage more women to become involved in the Commemorative Air Force. CAF Airbase Georgia’s Education Program will introduce students to the story of Rosie the Riveter and America’s military aviation history through its collection of aircraft, artifacts, and lesson plans which meet Georgia classroom standards.

To support the Stearman restoration, please visit www.cafstearman.com

Mimicking the famous ‘Rosie the Riveter’ pose from the WWII advertisements, two of Airbase Georgia’s female volunteers stand beside the Kaydet’s rudder after stitching a new fabric covering to the control surface. (Photo by Charles Burcher)

The Stearman Restoration Project is included in the CAF 12 Planes of Christmas Online Fundraising Campaign. Please look for the campaign posting on CAF Airbase Georgia’s Facebook page and pass the word around about this project.

Supporters are welcome to make a donation at PT-17 Stearman “Rosie” N50329 by CAF Airbase Georgia (fundrazr.com)

 



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