Something about the Champlin Fighter Museum's Focke-Wulf 190D never seemed quite right.
- By Howard Stansfield
- Air & Space magazine, September 2003
(Page 2 of 2)
To that end, a good deal of Goss and Champlin’s energies have gone into undoing the airplane’s first restoration, which Champlin commissioned shortly after he acquired the Dora in 1972. Although that effort, done with advice from the fighter’s designer, Kurt Tank, arrested the airplane’s deterioration, it also stripped away much of its history.
“This time around, I said, ‘Let’s do this thing right,’ ” says Champlin. That’s meant fabricating entire assemblies, such as ammo chutes and access covers for the cannon, from scratch. It has also meant replacing non-metric rivets and non-period switches and circuit breakers installed during the first restoration with originals or faithful reproductions. Champlin even paid a French company $7,000 for custom-made metric rivets for the wings. “For that amount, you could normally expect to buy enough for an entire plane,” Goss says. The team has also reinstalled the shims in the wing, but has chosen to smooth the edges of other roughly cut metal parts as a safety precaution for those who may work on Yellow 10 in the future.
While Goss steers the restoration, Champlin spends much of his time tracking down radios, instruments, and other bits of Dora minutiae. The task, he says, has been made easier by the Internet and by warbird parts discovered in the former East Germany—resources unavailable in the 1970s.
Goss and Champlin expect to be finished with the airplane early next year. Although the fighter will be perfectly flyable, Champlin says that as long as he owns it, Yellow 10 will remain earthbound. “It’s just too rare,” he says. “We’ll start it up and taxi it, but that’s all we’re gonna do. It’d just be criminal to fly it.”