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built 1966 by Gordon Wayne Nauta

Continuing the unbuilding Process

These photos were taken on 4/8/2000. My son and I set out on another beautiful Saturday morning with the intention of removing the rest of the wings and preparing for transport next weekend.

The challenge we faced was how to remove the four bolts from the fuselage struts. The upper wing fuel tanks were obviously blocking the bolts, but gaining access to the tanks meant cutting the fabric.

The first 4 photos show that there was no room to remove the bolts.

With the fabric removed, the fuel tanks were revealed. They are a very nice fit and they are held by two straps each. They rest on two strips of rubber each on the plywood that makes up the lower surface of the upper wing. The tanks were covered with aluminum foil (to increase the effectiveness of the antenna?). This photo shows the left tank removed and the right tank with the hold down straps intact.

With the tank removed we exposed degradation of the wood. The moisture from years of neglect has been gathering under the tanks.

Moisture, rotting wood, and mold! UGH!

This is what we were getting to. The next photos show how easily the bolts are accessed with the fuel tanks removed.

The wire for the lights was cut at the splice and the antenna wire was disconnected. The upper wing is now free to be removed.

Here is what a completed fuselage that's ready for a good wing looks like.

Finally, she's ready for the trip home. We will be out to load it into a truck and take it home to my increasingly anxious neighbors. Hopefully they will transition smoothly into the understanding supportive neighbors of my dreams. Until then I will be hiding the Starduster from view.

Now the fun can start. The worst part is over. From here we can make steady improvements toward returning this bird to its former glory.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions my email is

Back at the beginning.

Photos of N6385C before disassembly.

The first disassembly trip.