Lufthansa Technik is hoping to restore its Lockheed L-1649 Starliner to airworthy condition by 2011, after opening a new hangar in which the work will be performed.

The maintenance hangar at Maine's Auburn-Lewiston Airport, opened on 20 November, will enable repair work to be conducted on the aircraft, N7316C, one of three - plus 13 engines - acquired by historic preservation specialist Deutsche Lufthansa Berlin-Stiftung.

Lufthansa Technik says the aircraft's primary structure will undergo "a kind of D-check" in the hangar, a thorough examination for evidence of corrosion and fatigue. Wiring and cables will be replaced and the cockpit will be fitted with necessary instrumentation.

The L-1649's characteristic tail section has been removed and transported to the company's Tulsa-based division BizJet to be renovated.

Lufthansa Starliner flying
 © Lufthansa Technik

Other components - including its four engines, flaps and fairings - have already been detached from the aircraft as part of the strip-down. The powerful Curtiss-Wright engines are undergoing separate restoration.

"Together with the core team of Lufthansa Technik, 12 qualified mechanics are working on the aircraft," says the company, pointing out that it will be transformed back from cargo to passenger configuration. "The cabin will be restored to its former historic splendour."

Lufthansa Starliner interior
 © Lufthansa Technik

Forty-four L-1649s were manufactured and Lufthansa operated four in long-haul service between 1958 and 1966.



Source: Flight International