The true story about Black 3, and the restoring work in USA.
The only Focke Wulf 190 aircraft that have been twice over the Atlantic Ocean.
Focke Wulf FW-190 A3 Werkenr.0132219
Factory code KI+GX
Built at the Ago plant at Oschersleben as aircraft number 169, early in 1942.
Delivered to 1/JG 5 in Norway summer 1942, and was market Yellow 2.
Suffered 35% damage during a bad landing at Herdla on 10. August 1942.
Sent to Kjeller, the major repair facility in Norway.
Repaired, probably in winter 1942/43.
On 22. May 1943 werk.nr.0132102 Black 3 of 14(J) JG 5 was lost to Soviet Flak near Tayp Navolok, the pilot Ltn. Klaus Biwer lost his life. The squadron was situated at Petsamo airfield at the eastern front.
Werk nr.0132219 then replaced this and was marked Black 3.
Finally on 5.october 1943 werk.nr 0132219 Black 3 was lost when the pilot Hans Gunther Kleemann had to abandon the plane due to fuel starvation, after he was disorientated in heavy snow storm, not finding any airfield in time. He took to his parachute and came down between Kongsfjord and Berlevåg in Finnmark, the northern part of Norway.
He was lightly wounded in a foot, but was able to walk, and came down to Berlevåg.
He was back with his unit two days later.
The plane crashed south-vest of Kongsfjord, and was found by Tor Edgar Olsen in 1984. Very few people had visited the wreckage, and most of the parts were in place scattered around in the field.
Salvaged in 1986 with help from 330sqd. Sea King helicopter at Banak airfield, also parts from another wreck, a FW-190 A-8, was salvaged, and all this was sent to Gardermoen aircraft collection.
The first rebuild.
In January 1987 an agreement was set between Norwegian Armed Forces Museum (NAFM) and Texas Air Museum.(TAM)
The agreement was to provide both museums each one FW-190 fully restored to exhibition standard.
Lieutenant Commander Jan Eriksen was the representative of the NAFM.
Later this year the remains of Black 3, and 4 other wrecks, White 1, Blue 4 Yellow 9 and one A-8 was sent to Texas Air Museum Rio Hondo for restoring together with a lot of parts. Jan Eriksen ended his involvement in November 1990, after finding out that parts had been exported to TAM outside the agreement. When Black 3 returned to Norway in 1992 a lot of parts were missing. Many were original parts belonging to Black 3. Those parts were probably used in other aircraft that were rebuilt by TAM during this period. The work was mostly done by unskilled workers and was not up to specifications. Bolts and rivets were inches and not metric, and cowlings were not to the correct shape, a job we had to redo here in Bodo when the aircraft was returned from USA for the second time.
Black 3 was not complete when she was back from Texas, and needed much work to be ready for her museum debut.
The second rebuild.
A new agreement was set dated 28 June 2004 between White 1 Foundation, (WOF) and NAFM Oslo Norway.
Black 3 then went back to USA for the second time and to WOF Kissimmee Florida and Dr. Mark Timken for final restoration in the autumn of 2004.
The agreement with White 1 Foundation in Kissimmee and Dr. Mark Timken was: White 1 Foundation should restore Black 3 within 2 years by using the parts that were sent from Norway. The extra parts not used in “Black 3”could be used on their “White 1” project.
White 1 Foundation took over the rare and complete BMW-801- G radial engine originally intended to be used in Black 3. This engine was to be used in their own airworthy aircraft. In exchange for this engine, the WOF should supply the Focke-Wulf FW-190 A-3 “Black 3” with a complete BMW 801 D engine in restored condition for static display. The agreement was also that White 1 Foundation could use our original parts as a template for creating new airworthy parts to their own aircraft. Instead some of our original parts were removed from the airplane and copied. The copies were then installed into our aircraft.
We sent the original throttle to USA. When Black 3 was returned we found a copy made out of plastic installed in the cockpit. Lots of original parts that belonged to Black 3 disappeared in Florida. So far we have not got any explanation why these parts are still missing. Possibly these parts were used in their own aircraft?
The engine for
Black 3 that was built using parts from several wrecked engines, are mostly
incomplete inside. Part of the blower housing was repaired with glass fiber. The
starter, fuel injection pump and generator was in place but now lacks almost all
the internal details. All the compressor air tubes were missing. No ignition
harnesses were installed. There are just six pistons installed inside the
engine. Also missing are all cooling baffle tops. We got some of these back
when we sent a man to USA to bring home the missing parts. What came back were a
few original parts, some parts that were incomplete, and some badly corroded
parts that came from other wrecks.
As another example, we sent over a complete unused pump that controls the propeller pitch. This was completely emptied inside when the plane came back to Norway!
Black 3 was slowly rebuilt in Florida, mostly of unskilled workers.
Some of the riveting work that has been done on the wing and fuselage is not professionally done.
Parts were mounted without corrosion treatment, so large parts of the engine were attacked by rust when returned to Norway. Bolts, nuts, exhaust rods, oil cooler and armor-ring had to be removed because of new corrosion when the plane was returned to Bodø. Here, a new and better restoration is now performed on these parts.
The few labels installed in cockpit was glued, instead of riveted as original. Painting was done without priming. The paint is now coming loose.
The new made top end of the fin was wrongly made, and had to be remade here in Bodo. The ball bearings of the rudder hinges were missing, and the top hinge line was nearly 3 cm out of centre.
Bolts and nuts were a mix of metric sizes and inches, and on the tail section almost all connection bolts were missing.
The tail wheel was wrongly connected to the fuselage and by one bolt only.
Some of the work made the two first years of the restoring by White 1 Foundation was ok. The new made left panel in cockpit was fine, the new made rudder pedals, new made flaps, propeller and the right panel in cockpit was restored nicely. The work to fit the ailerons took a lot of time because of mismatches.
Also the new made smaller parts were excellent and professionally made. Must have been expensive to make?
I was visiting the restoring shop in 2006, and making a list covering the work to be redone on Black 3. This list was handled over to Mark Timken, but not much was done to rectify the faults.
If White 1 Foundation had used skilled workers the result had been better, and we had been more satisfied with the restoration. Black 3 was sent back to Norway in a container in March 2009 by ship.
We have now been working almost one year redoing some of the work done in Texas and Florida, and probably Black 3 will bee ready for her museums debut new-year 2011.
I feel very sorry for all the volunteers that have spent money and time for many years collecting and restoring all the parts for the project that they have to experience a result like this.
The morale is; never send an aircraft away for restoring unless you can control the quality of the job at least every third month.
Black 3 is one of two restored A3 in the world to day, the other yellow 9 is still in Texas at TAM.
Tor Edgar Olsen
Project manager Fw190.