Saturday, January 12th : the volunteers first working session
First of all, let's say that it would be unfair to call it the first working day at the yard since the plane's arrival. Erik, Jean-Pierre, Michel, Jean and many more gather twice a week in the afternoon to work on the plane. As a result, the fuselage appears on that very saturday totally stripped, windows, shades and wind shields removed, doors pulled out and center wing all cleaned up. Next to the six members of Team Snafu, over 15 people have registered to take part of this day's work.
For the most part, the work consist of applying grease remover to the fuselage and to power clean all the parts that have been set apart. The wheels stuck solid after 15 years of inactivity must be loosened and the old tyres replaced with new ones. Every one gets on with the work, in groups of three or four, everybody happy and smiling. 10.30 am, a television crew from the local FR3 TV Channel shows up and shoots for the night news show. All donators having been invited to come and see the plane, people show up on a regular basis after signing in just like in any normal air base. A 13.00 hours, the Batterie de Merville association offers a welcome lunch break made of salad, roastbeef, cheese and apple pie. Then we're off again... Patrick is soaking wet from handling the water hose but does marvels. Christophe is scraping the wing tips like a madman. Erik just would'nt give up to a stubborn wheel. Jacques is almost done with the floor metal parts. One can measure our progresses by the minute.
It's 4.30 PM and cold settles in as daylight grows dim. Time to store away the tools and to clean up the hangar so kindly lent by Claude. 5.00 PM ; everyone splits. Most will come back next week, or saturday january 26th. All these people have put down a good 150 hours work. So much to deduct from the predicted 2,500 hours necessary to restore the plane. Quite a reassuring feeling as time ticks away on Team Snafus' web site clock.