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McDowall Monoplane

McDowall Monoplane

The restoration of this diminutive machine began in the fall of 1983 and proceeded slowly, as work on the larger HS–2L restoration was also underway.

Work began with the wings and the Anzani engine. The engine, as usual, was torn down, cleaned and protected and reassembled.

The wooden parts required the splicing in of new pieces to replace those removed when in 1916 or 1917, it was intended to fit ailerons along with the usual minor repairs, cleaning and refinishing prior to covering. The tail surfaces required similar treatment. The fuselage required the usual disassembling of all parts, cleaning and refinishing, together with repairs as required. The cane bottom of the pilot's seat had to be replaced. The tires, of course, had to be replaced and the Museum was fortunate in obtaining new ones in the original white rubber.

McDowall Monoplane
A detail of a typical fuselage joint in the McDowall Monoplane, the same type of joint as was used in the Blériot XI.

McDowall Monoplane
A detail of the McDowall tail surfaces, covered but not yet treated with linseed oil, used in place of the modern dope finish.

A difficult decision was how to treat the fabric covering. The original linseed oil treatment was never very satisfactory for a number of reasons, but nevertheless was used extensively in the pre-World War I days. The use of dope would give a much more satisfactory finish but it would not look right historically. Experiments were carried out with tinted dope but the results were not deemed satisfactory, and the decision was taken to use linseed oil. It is believed to be the only museum specimen to be restored with this pioneer finish.

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