Century Aviation

The National Air and Space Museum


The National Air and Space Museum
Washington, D.C.

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum started a major renovation of its building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in 2018. The revitalization of the building’s exterior and infrastructure, and the transformation of all 23 exhibitions and presentation spaces, will take in total approximately seven years. During this time, the Museum will be open with about one half of the galleries closed starting with the west half of the building.

Before the first half of the building could undergo complete re-facing of the exterior cladding, replacement of outdated mechanical systems and other repairs and improvements, all small, medium and large artifacts needed to be removed and taken to storage for approximately two years. Century Aviation was contracted to work with Crozier Fine Arts and IWEISS (theatrical rigging) to lower each of the suspended large artifacts that were hanging from the ceiling and disassemble those and all of the large artifacts on the west end gallery floors. The 75 large artifacts included things like full-size aircraft, satellites and engines. Please see the large artifact list below.

Throughout the disassembly process, all steps were fully documented to support reassembly. This documentation will support the reassembly of both the large artifacts that will return to the National Mall building as well as the artifacts that will be placed on display at other locations in the future. After they were disassembled, the large artifacts were meticulously inventoried, packed and prepared for shipment to the storage facility at the Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

The following is a list of artifacts that Century Aviation planned, supervised and worked on the disassembly of, that were part of the SI NASM Revitalization Project, Phase One.

De Havilland DH-4
Lockheed U-2

Lunar Roving Vehicle Test Unit
Command Module SkyLab 4

Boeing X-45 Joint Unmanned Combat Air System
Pioneer RQ-2A UAV
RQ-7A Shadow 200
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. MQ-11 Predator
Lockheed Martin/Boeing RQ-3A Darkstar

Wittman Special 20 “Buster”
Northrop Gamma: “Polar Star”
Beechcraft C17L Staggerwing
Curtiss Robin J-1 Deluxe

Grumman FM-1 (F4F-4) Wildcat
Douglas A4D-6 Skyhawk
Douglas SBD-6 Dauntless
Boeing F4B-4

Supermarine Spitfire Hf, MkVIIC
Messerschmitt Bf 109 G6/R3
North American P-51D-30-NA
Mitsubishi A6M5 Reisen (Zero Fighter) Model 52 Zeke
Aeronautica Macchi C.202 Folgore

Beacon and Tower Airway
Wright Turbo-Cyclone Radial Engine
A320 Flight Deck Simulator
Douglas DC-7

Rolls Royce RB211-22 Turbofan Engine Cutaway
General Electric CF6-6 Turbofan Engine Cutaway
Boeing 247-D
Pitcairn PA-5 Mailwing
Northrop 4A Alpha
Douglas DC-3
Ford AT-3 Trimotor
Fairchild FC-2
Lockheed F-104A Starfighter

Pratt & Whitney JT9D-1GT2 Turbofan Engine Cutaway
Lockheed XP-80 “Lulu Belle”
Messerschmitt ME 262 A-1A Schwalbe (Swallow)
McDonnell FH-1 Phantom 1

MacCready “Gossamer Condor”
Extra 260

Fokker D.VII
F.E.8 Nacelle Replica
Sopwith 7F.1 Snipe
Pfalz D.XIII
Voisin Type 8
Albatros D.VA

North American X-15
Douglas D-558-2

Pitts S-1S Special

Langley Aerodrome Number 5
Ecker Flying Boat
Curtiss D-III Headless Pusher

Model Mars Science Laboratory Mars Rover Curiosity

Rutan Voyager

Wright EX Vin Fiz
Piper J-2 Cub
Douglas World Cruiser Chicago
Fokker T-2

The following images portray our involvement in this project. For a complete photo-documentation of this immense undertaking, please visit here.