Ice Cap Recovery of Aircraft 57-492 – Page 3




Knowing that in all likelihood that the wind would increase and the temperature would decrease, it was decided that the aircraft would be left in the same position and shelters would be built around the aircraft entrances, the work areas, the air compressor and the hydraulic stand, with heat supplied to each area by Herman Nelson heaters and heater extension ducts.  Because of the possibility of a severe change in the weather, quite common at that time of year, it was decided to work a full day every day of the week until the work was finished.


The first order of the repair was to repair the damaged structure and install a new landing gear and main ski.  Since both of the shelf bracket that support the MLG struts had been torn off, it would require that several sections of the cargo floor would have to be removed in order to install the mounting bolts for the shelf brackets.  Even though the maintenance manuals call for the floor to be level when the flooring is removed, we had no option but to remove the flooring as it lay.  While the flooring was being removed, the men were digging underneath the left wheel well to provide space for the installation of the shelf brackets and the entire landing gear, including the wheel and tire assemblies.  As soon as the shelf brackets were installed, the flooring was reinstalled, with no problems.  Then, the installation of the landing gear began.  The men that were installing the landing gear had no problem with the cold, for with the shelter built around the wheel well and the heat from the Herman Nelson heater, they started pulling off their clothes down to their T-shirts.  Meanwhile, the structural and sheet metal men were repairing the wheel well bulkhead, using boilerplate as a temporary repair.  The repairs to the horizontal stabilizer leading edge and the area aft of the left paratrooper door were nearly finished, so when the landing gear installation was completed, we filled in the hole beneath the landing gear as much as possible and then placed the four air bags underneath the aircraft.  This required the removal of some of the antennas on the bottom of the aircraft in order to prevent them from punching holes in the air bags.  We used two electrically driven manifold compressors and it didn’t take long to fully extend the air bags and place the aircraft in a level position.  We then finished filling in the hole beneath the left wheel well and packed it as hard as possible.


Then came the job of installing the main ski on the landing gear.  In order to do this, we placed two large beams under the landing gear and lowered the tires onto the beams in order to slide the open ski around the beams and hook the four ski arms to the landing gear struts.  And then the unexpected







Photograph courtesy of




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