In 2006 and 2997 we participated in an exciting project for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL, moving the aircraft hanging in MSI to different positions within the Museum and performing conservation and restoration work on the aircraft while they were on the floor. The project started with a detailed inspection of all of the aircraft while they were in place to ascertain their current condition and to document what conservation work would need to be done to them before they were suspended in their new positions.
The aircraft involved were a 1917 Curtiss JN-4D “Jenny,” a 1928 Boeing Model 40-B, the 1930 Travelair Model R Texaco Mystery Ship, a 1940 Supermarine Mark 1A Spitfire, a 1941Junkers JU-87B-2 “Stuka” and the Piccard Gondola and a 1965 Sikorsky HH-52A “Seaguard.””
The lowering and raising of these aircraft was performed in two parts to allow some of the aircraft to be worked on while they were on the ground.
The 1917 Curtiss JN-4D “Jenny” was lowered from the ceiling and staged to await conservation work. Century Aviation disassembled the “Jenny” and it was shipped to Century Aviation in East Wenatchee, WA.
The 1928 Boeing Model 40-B was lowered from its position in the East (or Transportation) Gallery (avoiding the 727 on the balcony level and the steam locomotive on the floor) and disassembled so that it could be worked on by conservators doing repair and detail work.
The 1930 Travelair Model R Texaco Mystery Ship was lowered from the Transportation Gallery. Conservation teams cleaned the plane and repaired damage to the firewall and instrument panel. Minor corrosion was stopped and detail work done on the fabric and paint.
The 1965 Sikorsky HH-52A “Seaguard” was lowered from the South Gallery and was partially disassembled and removed through a door in the West Gallery.
The 1930 Travelair Model R Texaco Mystery Ship was then moved to the South Gallery and suspended on knife-edge, as though it was circling the coal tower.
The Piccard Gondola was lowered and moved to the East Gallery balcony so that it could be worked on by conservators who would be doing repair and detail work.
The 1928 Boeing Model 40-B was reassembled and raised to it new position in the Transportation Gallery (again avoiding the 727 on the balcony and the steam locomotive on the floor).
The Curtiss “Jenny” was returned form East Wenatchee with its new fabric and paint and was lifted to the balcony of the Transportation Gallery. It was then reassembled upside down so that we could raise it up into its new inverted flight display location.
The 1940 Supermarine Mark 1A Spitfire and a 1941Junkers JU-87B-2 Junkers “Stuka” were lowered from their positions in the North Gallery (avoiding the escalator), moved to the rotunda and Transportation Gallery for repair and detail work. They were then suspended in the Transportation Gallery.
The last portion of the project was to move the Piccard Gondola from the balcony and suspend it in the Transportation Gallery.