Saturday February 9th : volunteers third working session
Administrative procedures have somehow complicated and slowed downed today's work. In reference to two Newspapers articles published in the local daily "Ouest France" on Friday Feb. 8th, the Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile (Authority governing all non military aviation), when learning that on top of volunteers working on the plane, visitors were invited to come and admire the plane, made it clear to us in quite abrupt manners, that this was totally against any airport security rules and furthermore against the ruling anti terrosist security measures (Vigipirate plan). Going against those rules would cost the association 7,500 Euros. We therefore called off the free visit of the Dakota scheduled on that day and denied access to over one hundred people who had showed up in spite of the informations relayed through the local papers and radios.
Furthermore, and in spite of the fact that all volunteers are duely known, identified and fully registered on a specific book, we were told to provide 40 metal barriers to secure our working area from the airdrome. All this work took a long time and our thirty volunteers could only get on with their work passed 11.40 am.
Half of them started working on scrubbing and smooth rubbing the fuselage, while the others applied paint remover on the planes drawings and tactical signs. A true ants work, the plane's body looking very much like the queen ant surrounded by dozens of workers, that finally paid off as the fuselage was soon ready to receive the anti rusting coating and the first layer of paint.
In the meantime, more volunteers applied the same treatment to the engines hoods and other body parts, all generously steam washed.
We hardly had enough tables and chairs for all to enjoy a quick lunch of veal "blanquete" (chow as ever predominant in the trooper's mood). Dessert was a surprising chocolate Dakota made by Marc. After coffee, everyone resumed working in the best of mood under a glorious sunshine.
The twisted rear carriage parts had been repaired and were installed.
In the afternoon, three policemen showed up and conferred with Claude and Olivier about security regulations. They established that all was perfectly in order. Even they had to prove their identidy on arrival.
At about 5.00 pm, everything had to be cleaned up, tools packed and new objectives set for the next meeting.
Tyres were expected shortly. That would allowed the horizontal setting of the center wing and to seal together the two main parts separated during the trip.
Olivier and Pierre have a meeting friday february 15th at the le Bourget Air Museum to look into the spare parts and eventually sign a partnership agreement. On monday, students from the CFA will spend time on the plane, applying patches to the fuselage.
Next volunteers working session : Saturday february 23rd.