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Assembly required; New England Air Museum volunteers stay busy

More projects in the “Restoration Hangar” take off in Windsor Locks.

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — When Tuesdays and Thursdays arrive there is even more of a buzz at the New England Air Museum – often coming from the massive restoration hangar on the grounds. 

Inside the hangar, volunteers hammer and drill away at preserving and restoring some of the most iconic planes to ever take to the skies.

The museum’s newest preservation project centers around the Grumman E-1B, better known as “The Tracer”. The Tracer was a Navy radar aircraft that has been sitting on display outside the museum since 1981. 

Bob Vozzola, who is an Air Force veteran and engineer is the restoration coordinator at the New England Air Museum, said “This is a bit of history and a bit of science and it’s a lot of work from these volunteers who do wonderful things.” 

Vozzola noted that the Tracer preservation project could take upwards of three years to restore the plane to its grandeur. 

“It’s a piece of history and it’s a piece of education,” he added.

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“The Restoration Hangar is where the magic happens," Stephanie Abrams, the president and CEO of the New England Air Museum praised the volunteer team, said. "Our volunteers can take an aircraft that looks like it came from a junkyard, and they turn it into an aircraft that looks like it came off the production line, and they’re passionate.”

With numerous airplane and helicopter projects all happening at any given time inside the museum's restoration hangar, Vozzola added that the team "Loves preserving history that the next generation can see." 

To learn more about the New England Air Museum, its collections, shows, and restoration projects click here

Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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