Harvard Restoration at Newark Air Museum Forging Ahead

Restoration of former Canadian and Dutch air force "Pilot Maker" noses toward completion

Recent work on the Harvard has focused on refitting the restored engine cowlings after museum volunteers backdated work done by a previous owner. [Photo by Howard Heeley, Down To Earth Promotions]
Recent work on the Harvard has focused on refitting the restored engine cowlings after museum volunteers backdated work done by a previous owner. [Photo by Howard Heeley, Down To Earth Promotions]
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By Zac Yates

The restoration of a Canadian-built North American Harvard at Newark Air Museum (NAM) near Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire, England, has recently focused on preparing to refit the restored nose cowlings to the fuselage.

The airframe being restored is a Harvard Mk.IIB was built by Noorduyn Aviation Ltd at Dorval in Quebec, Canada. It received the serial number 42-12417 and was delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force as FE930 in early 1943, flying with the RCAF for about three years. The aircraft was later sold to the Royal Netherlands Air Force and served with that air arm as B-163 from 1949 until 1962. Displayed for a time in a Dutch car yard the aircraft went through a succession of private owners in the Netherlands and the UK until arriving, partly restored, at the NAM in August 2010.

The Harvard arrived at NAM on August 24 2010 and since then museum volunteers have been conducting a long-term, in-depth restoration on the aircraft. [Photo by Howard Heeley, Down To Earth Promotions]
The Harvard arrived at NAM on August 24 2010 and since then museum volunteers have been conducting a long-term, in-depth restoration on the aircraft. [Photo by Howard Heeley, Down To Earth Promotions]

Previous owners had modified the firewall-forward section, which had been challenging the museum’s team of volunteers working in the NAM on-site workshops, museum trustee and secretary Howard Heeley told Vintage Aviation News.

42-12417 Newark Air Museum 20130212 HH-DTEP 02.JPG Paint stripping in early 2013 revealed the aircraft’s Royal Netherlands Air Force colours, an air arm it served with between 1949 and 1962. [Photo by Howard Heeley, Down To Earth Promotions]
42-12417 Newark Air Museum 20130212 HH-DTEP 02.JPG
Paint stripping revealed the aircraft’s Royal Netherlands Air Force fuselage markings, an air arm it served with between 1949 and 1962, as seen in this February 2013 photo. [Photo by Howard Heeley, Down To Earth Promotions]

“As significant sections of the engine were missing lots of items were originally fastened to the firewall; we have had to devise systems around these modifications to refit the cowlings etc. Lots of parts are missing including tail post, fairings etc. Currently, the main missing items are the exhausts, we may have to fabricate fresh items unless we can track any down,” Heeley said.

John Rankin, at the time the NAM’s restoration manager, is pictured working on the Harvard’s centre section in February 2013. Although he stepped down from the role in 2016 Rankin still volunteers at the museum every week. [Photo by Howard Heeley, Down To Earth Promotions]
John Rankin, at the time the NAM’s restoration manager, is pictured working on the Harvard’s center section in February 2013. Although he stepped down from the role in 2016 Rankin still volunteers at the museum every week. [Photo by Howard Heeley, Down To Earth Promotions]

Although the exact markings are yet to be decided on the aircraft will be finished in the classic overall yellow paint scheme seen on so many members of the Harvard/T-6 family. “Which means we can go for either the RCAF scheme or a similar RAF scheme. Either way, it is a key part of the RAF training story that a lot of our collection portrays,” Heeley said.

“The restoration program is now well underway, with rumors of a potential reassembly being made sometime this year. [The] wings were restored many years ago and are in temporary store; the next job will be to refit these and complete the fairings etc.”
The Harvard is awaiting reassembly and when complete will wear either its original RCAF paint scheme or representative RAF markings. [Photo by Howard Heeley, Down To Earth Promotions]
The Harvard is awaiting reassembly and when complete will wear either its original RCAF paint scheme or representative RAF markings. [Photo by Howard Heeley, Down To Earth Promotions]

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