PPG recently supplied coatings and sealants to help restore a 74-year-old, four-engine transport aircraft – the Douglas C-54 Skymaster, serial number 56498.
Manufactured in 1945, the aircraft was used by the U.S. Army Air Force as a workhorse to transport medical supplies, troops and military equipment during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. It left military service in 1973 and was flown as a sprayer from 1975 to 1985.
After its first restoration was completed in 2002, the aircraft was flown to England to be featured in a film about the Berlin Airlift. The film was cancelled, and the C-54 Skymaster sat exposed at the North Weald Airfield in Essex. In 2017, Allan Vogel, Save the Skymaster chairman and aircraft broker, made it his mission to save the aircraft frame from being turned into scrap.
“The history of this particular Douglas C-54 Skymaster is quite remarkable, and it is the only aircraft of its kind currently in the U.K.,” said Vogel. “We knew that this restoration would take sponsors, volunteers and high-quality aerospace products to bring the C-54 back to life. We are grateful to PPG for its support and contributions.”
PPG provided various coatings and sealants products to restore the C-54 Skymaster’s integral fuel tanks, such as PPG P/S 870® Class B corrosion inhibitive sealant, PPG PR-1440® Class A fuel tank sealant, PPG PR-1005® L Buna-N Slosh coating, as well as other products for interior and exterior aircraft structures.
“At PPG, we appreciate being able to contribute our aerospace expertise and resources to organizations that are dedicated to preserving significant pieces of aviation history,” said David Best, PPG sales manager, Shildon application support center, aerospace. “Save the Skymaster is also committed to helping veterans and engineering graduates gain real-world experience, with the restoration project providing hands-on learning opportunities for those involved.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many engineering graduates have been unable to complete their internships. Save the Skymaster is stepping in and linking up with various colleges to help provide practical, on-the-job training.
“Throughout history, the C-54 Skymaster is synonymous with bringing help and relief to others during their time of need,” added Vogel. “We wanted to continue this legacy. Along with recent graduates, we offer all veterans the opportunity to come and work side-by-side with our esteemed engineers. In doing so, they become better equipped to re-enter the workforce.”
Based on the current project timeline, Vogel believes the C-54 Skymaster will be airworthy within 18 to 24 months
PPG’s global aerospace business offers coatings, sealants, adhesives, transparencies, packaging and application systems, and transparent armour, as well as chemical management and other services. For more information, visit www.ppgaerospace.com.