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Finally I got up the nerve to ask the painter if he could repair the damage. I promised him that if the park wouldn't pay him for it, I would. By that time it was lunch time so he took off back to town to retrieve his repair tools and feed his face. I stayed there and continued to sulk while informing the park officials that I felt it was their responsibility to pay for the repair job on the sync elevator. I got no response at that time, but later sent an email to the regional manager and was told they would cover it.

About two hours later the painter arrived back with his repair tools and after about an hour he had the damaged huey back to normal.

First Coat of Paint

It took him less than an hour to put the coat of paint on and it was looking like new to me. However, Ben Watson said that a second coat was needed to really make it shine.

Freshly Painted
They came back the next morning and applied the second coat, which did in fact look much better. I thanked him till he got tired of listening to me, and left. He really had made my day and I greatly appreciated his generosity and patriotism for donating all this expert help.
After Second Coat of Paint

Meanwhile, Richard and Lynn Hunter of Gettysburg, PA had found someone in their area to make up the nose and door decals. George Young had previously sent me the patterns for this work, and I had by now received the completed decals from Richard and Lynn. I was told by Lynn that it was a piece of cake to apply them. She didn't tell me that it was a "snap" only for an expert who was familiar with this type work.

Nose Art Installed
Mike, a park employee and I set about to put the nose art on first since it seemed to be the most simple one to begin on.

It took only a few minutes for us to realize that we were about to make a big mess and possibly destroy the decal in the process. Now we had to try to find a person who was familiar with this sort of thing, and neither of us had an inkling as to where to start looking. Mike took the decals back to the park office for safe keeping while my moral took a significant drop.

Decals Installed

About thirty minutes later, Mike returned to the site grinning like a possum eating mashed sweet potatoes off a wire brush. One of the campers applying for a campsite at the office had heard him grumbling to himself about the difficulty of applying decals as he entered the front door. It so happened that this ladies husband did this sort of thing for a living, and she offered his services right there on the spot.

Door Art Installed
By sundown most of the decals had been applied and the rest were finished the next day after a necessary drying period for the first application. Now it really looked like a Red Knight aircraft....or did it. Something just didn't seem right.

After taking more photos and comparing them to some old Vietnam shots I had at home, I decided that the Red Knight on the nose did not show up well against the black nose. I didn't recall the originals having a white border, but took it on myself to try putting one around it to see what it looked like.

My wife, Marla did this and I thought it looked much better, but the white was a little too wide. We went back and reduced the white to a more narrow band and I was convinced that it looked good enough to pass Veterans Day ceremony inspection.

Marla Trimming the Decal Finished Nose Art


 

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