Vought Overhaul and Modernization Center received a contract from the USAF to rebuild an A-7D aircraft that had overturned on a taxi way exiting the main runway at Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Michigan.
The contract was for $3 million and an 18 month turn around.
I worked with a bunch of skilled craftsmen at Vought Aircraft to help restore this bird.  We obtained 2 hulked aircraft from Davis-Monthan AFB to scavange parts from.
We completed restoration in about 16 months and for $1.5 million.
My mentor Burt Noble and I were the principle engineers.  The top notch sheet metal guru was Van Tilly.  The group was affectionately called "The Junk Yard Dogs".  It consisted of various sheet metal, hydraulic and electrical mechs.

Jerry Scharfenberger was manager over Field Engineering which was responsible for the engineering support.

Restoration was completed in hangar 224 at the Dallas facility adjacent to NAS Dallas.

After completion the aircraft was moved to Hangar 76 which was called the production hangar.

Final check out was performed there and the aircraft was certified for flight.
VOMC refurbishes crashed-damaged A-7

When A-7D No. 70-0935 was trucked throught the Jefferson avenue gates, some thought it was beyond repair.  Vought Overhaul and Modernization Center employees accepted the challenge of restoring the crash-damaged Air National guard aircraft.

Last week refurbishment was complete and it was ready for flight testing.  Joe Engle of integrated logistics support projects said: "The guys that worked on that airplane are more than mechanics and technicians.  They're artisans.  It's a real beauty."

The Air National Guard A-7 had run off the runway at Wurtsmith Air Force base, Mich., flipped over and burned.  The wing was a total loss; 50-60 percent of the fuselage skin area was destroyed and the vertical fin had to be cut off.

John Daugirda, manager of manufacturing operations, VOMC, with liaison engineers John Kelly and Paul Taylor, had inspected the crash aircraft in Michigan.

"I said we could fix it," said Daugirda.  "And we did."

"When you start looking at the aircraft, you see how durable the A-7 really is.  It's a tough airplane that will take a lot of punishment."

Dave Hopkins, manager-manufacturing engineering, VOMC, said. "It was a real challenge to those who were going to work on it.  We are proud of our accomplishment, a team effort from start to finish."

The aircraft was torn down to a hull and placed in a modified dolly.  "It looked like a fish skeleton."  Daugirda said.

Nothing could be salvaged from the damaged wing.  The major wing attach points were destroyed.  The electrical harnesses in the wing cavity and wheel wells had to be replaced.

VOMC workers found more than damaged parts inside the hull.  As they began taking it apart, an opossum scurried out.  Employees thought it had probably taken refuge there from the Michigan cold.

Replacement parts were taken from surplus aircraft when available.  "Others were fabricated or machined," Daugirda said.

He and Hopkins estimate 30 to 40 employees worked on the aircraft during various stages of it's overhaul, but the people who were involved daily were Burt Noble and Bud Sabatino. liaison engineering and Alex McCoy and his "junkyard dogs" of unit 562-9.

It was the fifth crash or battle damaged aircraft VOMC has repaired.  Two others are in house and two more are under contract for repair.  Daugirda and Hopkins agree that No. 70-0935 is an excellent example of craftsmanship and teamwork.