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Restorations

Dennis Sanders

Warbird Restoration Chronology

1968 Bell P-63 King Cobra N62822 First riveting job w/Dad with tail cone for John Sandburg, age ten-years. Dennis flew Tipsy Miss 20-years later.
1970 Curtis P-40 Warhawk N1251N Helping Dad on Sue Parish’s Pink P-40.

1970 Hawker Sea Fury FB-11 N232 Helping Dad at 12 years of age, paint stripping parts, bead-blasting exhaust…

 

1976 Beechcraft T-34 N311H Helping Dad: bucking rivets, stripping cockpit interior, masking for paint, then reassembly. Best T-34 Oshkosh 1976.

1976 Luscombe N56K First solo project, a full restoration. Dennis rebuilt landing gear box structure (ground loop by previous owner). Cockpit clean-up. New hoses, control cables, strip and paint.

1977 Hawker Sea Fury T-MK-20 N924G Full Restoration on Frank’s personal Sea Fury: Paint stripped, riveting skins, reattach tail cone, new hoses… Clean-up and inspection for flight worthiness.

1979 Beechcraft AT-11 N2880D Full Restoration with Brian on Beech Boys. Paint stripped ear wells and cockpit for paint. Attached AT-11 nose section. New hoses and firewalls forward clean-up. Removed, inspected and replaced flight control cables, pulleys, etc. Clean-up and inspection for flight worthiness. Dennis his brother sold the airplane to Kermit Weeks. Dennis’ last flight log book entry, “Last Flight. I miss it already.”

1979 Hawker Sea Fury FB-11 N232 Full Restoration for Bill Sims: Paint stripped cockpit area for repaint, installed back seat, new instrument panel/radios. Installed new hoses. Removed and replaced hydraulics in wheel wells for paint. Clean-up and inspection for flight worthiness.

1982 North American F-86 Sabre N??? Clean-up for Jon Sandburg. Wing repair and assembly. Installed new tail cone. Removed, inspected and replaced flight control system and hydraulics. Paint stripped cockpit for new paint.

1983 Hawker Super Sea Fury N20SF Dreadnought. Major airframe alterations: Fabricated custom engine mount, exhaust, cowling, additional oil cooler with over the nose inductions system for P & W R-4360-63. Spray-bar and ADI systems. Paint stripped cockpit, new instrument panels. Removed, inspected and replaced flight control and hydraulic systems. Fabricated enlarged vertical stabilizer and rudder. Clean-up and inspection for flight worthiness. Painted the airplane in one-year. Went to Reno and won National Championship with record speeds.

   

1984 Grumman G-58A Gulfhawk N7701C Started Elmer Ward’s Gulfhawk project. Removed, overhauled, painted and replaced gear. Stripped and painted wheel wells. Overhauled hydraulics. Paint stripped cockpit, installed back seat. Elmer moved projected to in-house restoration facility.

1984 Luscombe N45791 Full Restoration. “Garage Project.”

1986 Fiat G-59 NX59B Full Restoration. Fabricated new coolant lines, re-skinned entire bottom of wings due to corrosion. Complete hydraulic overhaul. New spar in vertical stabilizer. Complete paint strip for repaint. Various other skins replaced. Complete firewall forward overhaul, new engine installed. New instruments, radios and complete rewire. Golden Wrench Award Oshkosh 1988.

1987 Siai SF-26- Marchetti N942TA Team America Marchetti. Batch of five Siai Marchetti: four were assembly only. N942TA was paint stripped and painted, new engine, complete firewall forward. Cockpit stripped and repainted, new instrument panel, complete rewiring.
1987 Yak-11 N2124X Full Restoration for Joe Hailey.
R-2000 engine installation. Custom engine mount cowling and exhaust. Complete firewall forward clean-up. Paint stripped exterior and cockpit for repaint. New instrument panel, instruments and radios. Complete rewire.
1988 North American AT-6 N??? Reskinned center section, overhauled landing gear, pain stripped and painted gear wells, and structure. Assembled, on the gear. Sold before completion.
1988 Cessna 210 Centurion N4962U Sanders family C-210. Substantial latent damage required repair of keel, firewall and nose gear. New instrument panel, instruments and radios. Wiring.

1987 Lockheed T-33 N233RK Red Knight. Stripped cockpit for paint. New instruments and radios, wiring. Landing gear and wheel wells stripped for paint, and overhauled. Installed Sanders Smoke System. Custom Paint Job.

May 4, 1990 Frank Sanders perishes in Red Knight, Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Sanders family presses-on.

1992 Commonwealth CA-13 Boomerang NX32CS Full Restoration: Scratch-built tube frame. Reskinned tail cone, vertical and horizontal stabilizer, dimpled structure and skins for flush rivets. Custom skins, formers and fillets dimpled for flush rivets. Clipped wings, completely reskinned with dimpled skins and structure for flush rivets. Custom canopy and cockpit. Complete firewall forward installation, including new engine mount for R-1830 installation.

1993 Commonwealth CA-13 Boomerang VH-BOM Full Restoration for Guido Zuccoli. New fuselage formers and skins, dimpled for flush rivets. Reskinned vertical and horizontal stabilizer, dimpled structure and skins for flush rivets. Custom skins, formers and fillets dimpled for flush rivets. Clipped wings, completely reskinned with dimpled skins and structure for flush rivets. Custom canopy and cockpit. Complete firewall forward installation, including new engine mount for R-1830 installation.

1993 Luscombe N2775K Full Restoration with Kimberly. Reskinned all control surfaces and various fuselage skins. Reskinned wings. New instrument panel, engine and wiring.

1994 Hawker Sea Fury MK-11 N19SF Full Restoration. Airplane flipped-over onto back in service. Extensive damage to structure of: tail, fuselage and wings, repaired and reskinned. Complete paint strip of a/c for paint. New instrument panels, instruments, radios, fuel tanks, installed rear seat. This was only the third time a Sea Fury was converted to the Wright R-3350 power plant. Custom engine mount, exhaust, complete firewall forward overhaul. Airplane rewired.

  

1995 Hawker Sea Fury N15S Started restoration for David Peeler. Stripped airplane for paint, installed rear seat. R-3350 conversion. Project moved elsewhere, not completed by Sanders.

1995 de Havilland Sea Venom N7022H Full Restoration. Stripped cockpit area, new instruments and wiring. Woodwork repairs to fuselage. New hoses. Airplane sold to Wally Fisk.
1995 NAA F-86 Sabre Not Registered Initial Restoration. Stripped airplane, new paint in cockpit wheel wells, fuel bays. New fuel cells. Overhauled hydraulic system. Polished all stainless lines. Sold Before Flying.
1998 Christen Eagle N30LM Landing gear structure repair.
1995 Midget Mustang N747M For Kimberly. Stripped and painted/polished. New engine, instrument panel, instruments and wiring.

1996 Swearingen SX-300 N330SX Frank started the project. Farmed-out to another shop to complete. Then, Sanders refined the project with new instrument panel, re-engine and other touch-ups. Completed the SX project Dad started.

1998 Hawker Sea Fury TMK-20 N233MB September Pops—Mike Brown. Complete, ground-up restoration with Wright R-3350 installation. New instrument panels, instruments and radios, both cockpits. Skins and structure replaced as required. New fuel tanks. Completed hydraulic overhaul. Complete gear and flight control overhaul.

2000 Hawker Super Sea Fury N232MB September Fury—Mike Brown. Ground-up restoration as above for N233MB with extensive modifications for racing, including R-3350-93 (fuel-injected) installation, custom engine mount and exhaust, oil tank and firewall. Un-invasive/reversible airframe modifications: low profile canopy, removal of oil cooler, installation of “boil-off” oil cooling system, large horizontal stabilizer, custom cowling, spinner and after-body with over the nose, tuned induction. ADI and water tanks fabricated and installed. Wing panels sealed, wings profiled and smoothed. This airplane was modified every year for speed enhancements. Subsequent modifications included switching outboard wings from Critical Mass that had been clipped, custom wing tips installed. Wings profiled. The September Fury rebuilt and modification is the third time Dennis rebuild this airplane. Winner: 2006 Reno National Championship Air Races, 483 mph. September Fury is still the Fastest Sea Fury in history.

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2000 Hawker Sea Fury FB-11 N787M Miss Merced R-3350 Conversion. This was the original Miss Merced racer, purchased by Jim Mott, rebuilt over 20-years to flying status. Airplane converted to R-3350 engine from Centaurus 175. New Aeroproducts propeller. Custom Paint.

2001 Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat N? France George Perez—to France. Mike Bouge started the project, Sanders completed it to flight status. Overhauled landing gear, repaint. Complete hydraulic overhaul, and rewire. Shipped to France.

2001 NAA T-6G Texan N7689C Full Restoration. Stripped and repainted, Bill Larkin’s ANG scheme. Cockpits and tail-cone interior repainted. New instrument panels, instruments and radios. New fabric at control surfaces. Landing gear and actuators overhauled. Complete airframe clean-up. Installed spin-on oil filter.

2001 Beechcraft H-18 N372PS Full Inspection and Airframe Clean-up. Landing gear overhauled, wheel wells stripped and painted. Instruments overhauled/replaced. Props overhauled. Flight control system removed for inspection and replaced. Stripped and repainted exterior. Interior liner replaced. Seats re-upholstered. New hoses, spin-on oil filters. Spar strap inspection.

2001 Beechcraft AT-11 N79MB For Mike Brown. Restoration begun elsewhere, stalled. Sanders completed. New engines, props overhauled. Complete firewall forward installation. Various skins replaced. AT-11 nose installation. Instruments radios and complete wiring, anew. Spar strap inspection. Horizontal and vertical stabililers installation. Flight control system removed inspected and replaced. New fabric and Custom Paint

2004 Hawker Sea Fury TMK-20 NX20MD Chuck Greenhill. Landing gear overhauled. Gear wells and cockpits striped and repainted. New instrument panels, instruments, radio package and complete wiring. Complete hydraulic overhaul. New fuel cells. New hoses, firewall forward clean-up, repaint. Propeller overhaul. Flight controls removed, inspected and replaced. Numerous tests flights to tune and rig.

2006 Beechcraft H-18 N663TB Complete Restoration for Peter McMillan. Complete paint strip. New instrument panel, instruments, radio package and complete wiring. Landing gear overhauled, gear wells painted. Sheet metal replacements as required. Stabilizers and flight controls removed, inspected and replaced. Spar Strap inspection. Complete firewall forward overhaul, overhauled engines, accessories and props. Custom interior installed.

2007 Grumman F7F-3 Tigercat N805MB For Mike Brown. Big Bossman. Complete firewall forward overhaul, new engines, hoses. Gear removed, overhauled and replaced. Sheet metal repairs. Hydraulic system overhaul.

2007 Hawker Sea Fury FB-11 N54SF Assembly & annual after long-time storage. Landing gear removed, inspected replaced. New Hoses. Hydraulic system and flight controls inspection. Tuning flights.

2007 Grumman FM-2 Wildcat N86572 Component overhaul for Tom Camp. Reskinned outboard wing panels and left center section. Landing gear re-tubing. Tom and his team completed restoration.

2007 Hawker Sea Fury FB-11 F-AZXJ Restoration for Christophe Jacquard. Fuselage, wing panels, center section, tail cone and control systems de-mated and dismantled. Various components fabricated anew and repaired. R-3350 engine installation. Aeroproducts propeller overhauled. New instrument panels, instruments and wiring. Complete cockpit strip and repaint. Back seat installation. Complete hydraulic overhaul. Landing gear overhaul. Test flights resulted in two engine failures and replacements. Ultimately re- engined with Pratt & Whitney R-2800 QEC, including custom induction and exhaust.

  

2009 Naval Aircraft Factory N3N-3 N45131 Full Restoration. Wing box fabricated anew. Various longerons, stringers, formers replaced. Lower wings repairs: ribs, spars, etc. New aluminum for birdcage extruded and snap-tensioned. New instrument panels, instruments radios package and wiring. Front and rear seats fabricated from scratch, anew. Landing gear overhauled, rudder rebuilt. Complete custom firewall forward installation, including engine mount, oil tank and engine, Wright R-975 front exhausting. New fabric and custom paint.

  

2011 Hawker Super Sea Fury N4434P Furias—Chuck Greenhill. Ground-up restoration of airframe, including numerous parts fabricated anew. Extensive modifications for racing, including R-4360-63 installation, custom engine mount and exhaust, oil tank and firewall. Un-invasive/reversible airframe modifications: low profile canopy, removal of oil cooler, installation of “boil-off” oil cooling system, large horizontal stabilizer, custom cowling, spinner and after-body with over the hose, tuned induction. ADI and water tanks fabricated and installed. Wing panels sealed, wings profiled and smoothed. This airplane would likely have been the fastest sea fury in history, but for the failure of a $.25 hydraulic seal resulting in a gear failure and significant airframe damage.

 

2011 Hawker Sea Fury T-MK-20 NX85SF For Dwelle Family. Critical Mass was a highly modified unlimited air racer that was subject to numerous and significant and invasive airframe modifications. Sanders completely rebuilt the fuselage, including new longerons, stringers formers, floorboards and structures. All new skins. Nearly every element of the main fuselage, including skins were fabricated anew, including stock front and rear cockpit installations. This was one of the deepest fuselage restorations ever on a Sea Fury. Wing center section and outboard panel repairs. New seats fabricated from scratch! As structures were completed, they were transported to Dwelle facility and assembled with other elements. Ken Dwelle completed the installation. See Ken’s letter of recommendation for Dennis’ induction into the Warbirds of America Hall of Fame for more details.

   

2011 Yak-55M N7090L Helping Ben Marsh. Landing gear torn-out of fuselage in landing accident. Various formers, strings, skins and structures fabricated anew, including firewall and support structures, cowling, wings, fairings. Titanium landing gear straightened, gearbox, carry-through to spar and fuselage stringers fabricated anew. Engine mount repairs. New engine and prop installed, custom paint.

 

2010 Messerschmitt ME-262 Replica N262AZ For Collins Foundation. This scratch-built replica was produced to flight status. However, there were significant systems problems, resulting in gear collapses. This airplane required extensive re- engineering, fabrication and systems corrections, including Wing and tail structures. Fuel and hydraulic systems. Complete cockpit gutting and rebuilt. New instrument and radio packages. New wiring. Flight controls rebuilt. Landing gear rebuilt. Test flight and turning. This airplane is now a reliably flying replica.

2011 Hawker Sea Fury FB-11 N19SF First Sea Fury Conversion to Pratt & Whitney R-2800. Custom engine mount, exhaust and induction system. Scratch-built custom oil tank. Kits prepared for subsequent customers. Since inception, Sanders built five additional conversion kits for other Sea Furies.

2012 Hawker Sea Fury T-MK-20 Not Registered Cottonmouth Fuselage. As with Dwelle Sea Fury Fuselage above, much of this fuselage was fabricated anew, including stringers, formers and skins.

2012 Hawker Sea Fury T-MK-20 N924G Full Restoration. This represents the second time Dennis restored N924G. Complete de-mating of structure, repairs as required. Flight controls, centaurus-18 engine and accessories overhauled. New fuel tanks. Landing gear and hydraulics overhauled and painted. New instrument panels, instruments, radios and wiring. Complete strip and repaint of all components. Propeller overhaul. Spinner, cowling and various panels overhauled. New paint in Frank Sanders’ original colors.

2012 Douglas B-23 Dragon Not Registered Initial Restoration. Interior, engines, propellers and accessories removed. Airframe completely stripped of paint. Gear removed, overhauled, painted and replaced. Wing center section overhauled. Fuselage formers, skins and stringers fabricated anew to mid-fuselage. Project not completed, moved to another shop, still “under restoration.”

2014 Goodyear FG-1D Corsair Not Registered Under Restoration. Airplane structure chopped-up and used as a wind generator for a door and window company. Tail cone discarded. Wing panels cut off at wing attach fittings. Wing center section completely disassembled to the main spar web, the only salvageable structure. Spar caps, L-extrusions extruded and formed anew. New wing spar reverse engineered, anew. Wing attach fittings fabricated anew. Center section D-sections rebuilt. Tail cone, fabricated anew. Fuselage center section completely disassembled. Scratch-built firewall, formers and longerons. Wing, fuselage and tail cone reassembled. Outboard wing panels: new spars and ribs fabricated anew, jigged for reassembly.

  

2016 Beechcraft AT-11 N15KK Grimmiger AT-11 Removed and replaced engines, lord-mount replacement. New hoses, firewall forward clean-up. Propellers overhauled. Spar strap inspection. Flight control inspection and rigging. Annual inspection.

2016 Goodyear F2G Super Corsair N5588N Race 57. Clean-up after initial restoration and several years in service. Replaced engine, propeller overhauled. Flight Controls re-rigged. Wing fold mechanism fabricated anew. New hoses, wiring. Various repairs and corrections. Paint touch-ups.

2017 Grumman TBM Avenger N73642 Rescue & Return to Flight Status. Landing gear, wheels and brakes overhauled. Hydraulic sytem overhauled. Flight control system inspected, rigged and surfaces recovered. Propeller overhauled.

2018 Hawker Sea Fury TMK-20 N63SF Full Restoration for Chuck Greenhill. This airplane was badly damaged in an off-field landing, fuselage torn in half. Fuselage jigged and rebuild, as with Dwelle and Cottonmount airplanes. Complete de-mating of structure, repairs as required. Horizontal, vertical stabilizers and tail cone required major overhaul. First TMK-20 to be fit with R-2800. Flight control system overhauled. New fuel tanks. Landing gear and hydraulics overhauled and painted. New instrument panels, instruments, radios and wiring. Complete strip and repaint of all components. Propeller overhaul. Spinner, cowling and various panels fabricated anew. Airplane sold to Joe Thibodeau.

2019 Hawker Fury MK-10 N35SF For Karl Grimminger. Sea Fury fit with R-3350. Project near “completion” per previous owner. New owner asked that the airplane be completely gone through to update to “Sanders” systems configuration. Cockpit overhauled. New instrument panels with custom instrument, avionics and radio package installation. Completely re-wired. Vertical, horizontal stabilizers and flight controls reskinned. Hydraulics completely overhauled. Firewall forward clean-up. Landing gear overhauled, painted. Propeller overhauled. Nearing Flight Test.

2019 Thorp T-18 N4782G Lou Sunderland’s Thorp. This was Lew Sunderland’s personal T-18 Thorp. New engine, propeller complete firewall forward installation, custom exhaust. New instrument panel, instruments and radio package installed. Rewired. Custom fit cowling. New canopy and windscreen plexiglas. Custom paint.

2019 NAA SNJ-4 Texan N55491 Helping Ben Marsh. Tube frame-up restoration, no part untouched to original 1942 stock condition. Numerous tail cone, center section and wing skins and structures replaced. Completely rebuilt all accessory and engine cowling. Complete overhaul of both cockpits, new instruments, radio package and wiring. Complete machine gun installation, rear seat, nose and right wing. Complete vintage radio component installation, vintage wiring. Complete hydraulic, vacuum, fuel and oil system overhaul. New canopy plexiglas and glass installed. All new cables, pulleys and flight control fabric. Authentic paint scheme from Jacksonville NAS, where stationed ’42 to ’44. Nearing flight test.

2019 Grumman F7F-3 Tigercat Full Restoration—Joel Swager. Complete disassembly of all major components. Fuselage completely disassembled for structural overhaul due to corrosion. Various internal structures fabricated anew: formers, bulkheads, stringers and skins. This will be the deepest and most complete restoration of a Grumman Tigercat to date.

2019 Grumman F7F-3 Tigercat Full Restoration—Joel Swager. Complete disassembly of all major components. Fuselage completely disassembled for structural overhaul due to corrosion. Various internal structures fabricated anew: formers, bulkheads, stringers and skins. This will be the deepest and most complete restoration of a Grumman Tigercat to date.
2019 Grumman Goose Not Registered Goose Project. Corrosion repair. Removing fabricating fuselage bulkheads anew.

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