Frequently asked questions - FAQ

We have collected some questions into this section and by answering them we hope to correct some misunderstandings.

Is there something about the project you would like to know? Feel free to ask!

What have been the most difficult phases in the project?

In the Caravelle disassembly phase the wing root fairings, various inspection panels, engine nacelles, innermost flap sections, etc. were detached and removed. It was soon discovered that all fastening screws can’t be easily unfastened, and a large number had to be drilled out. This slowed down the disassembly work and meant extra work in the reassembly phase when the drilling marks and damages were repaired.

In Pansio the first work phase in cleaning the Caravelle’s surfaces was to remove the black streaks and blotches which had been caused by rainwater and air pollutants, and which had become fixed during the decades. There was nobody in the Turku team who had any experience of this, and finding the proper work methods took some time.

The most demanding sanding effort was to remove the strip of the old paint below the cabin windows where the Finnair paint scheme requires this area to be polished. This area of old SAS white paint, about 18 cm wide and reaching below the window line, was removed on both sides of the fuselage. The paint stuck as cemented on the surface, and it required some effort to sand it off so well that the clean aluminium surface could be polished.

The transportation and crane operations have demanded more planning than any other individual task. The transport was planned in close co-operation with Ahola Special Transport. Fortunately the technical team tackled this issue well in advance, and it was possible to load the aircraft parts on the trailers without problems in the rather tight schedule in Arlanda.

Defining the scaffolding needed in the different phases of the disassembly and assembly was also a unique task, because the work around the Caravelle’s tail is done at 10 metres’ height from the ground. It was necessary to modify the scaffolding lower during the disassembly when the vertical stabilizer and rudder had been taken down – and respectively to make the scaffolding higher after the assembly of the horizontal stabilizer.

It has also been challenging, in another way, to find funding for the project – but obviously this challenge concerns aviation history projects in general…

How many Caravelles are there in Sweden?

At the moment there are four. In addition to the SE-DAF (frame number 112), at Arlanda there is Le Caravelle Club’s SE-DAI (210) and SE-DAA (4) without the nose section. The nose part is in a private collection in Finland. Furthermore, there is an air force reconnaissance Caravelle at Linköping, it is the former SE-DAG (172).
The SE-DAI was used as a scenery item in the Finnish Kaappari (Hijacker) movie. It was taped into Finnair colours used in 2012-2013 and modified into OH-LSB. The aircraft bore the Finnair taping long after the filming had ended.

Is the collection policy limiting SE-DAF’s possibilities to go into a museum?

The Finnish aviation museums don’t have a shared collection policy. The Aviation Museum Society Finland doesn’t have a collection policy either. Each aviation museum has its own policy and as far as we know, the SE-DAF wouldn’t meet the requirements of the Finnish Aviation Museum’s existing collection policy.

The collection policy is a long-term guidance for each museum, and it is updated every now and then. Its content is not defined in the law or “carved in stone” and it can be changed according to the museum management’s consideration.

In Finland we have generally been very precise that the aircraft must be what it appears to be. The aviation museums abroad are not so particular about this, especially the WWII fighters have often been restored to the appearance of some more distinguished aircraft. However, there is a domestic example of this: the glider LET L-13N-10 Blanink, suspended from the ceiling of the Finnish Aviation Museum, bears the registration OH-VLK although it has never been registered in Finland. The glider was imported from Estonia in 1992.

Were there any unexpected difficulties during the disassembly and/or reassembly?

The biggest surprise in the project so far is that there have been no big surprises.

The disassembly went well and faster than we had scheduled. Most of the work was done during the first disassembly visit to Arlanda. Already at that point it was ensured that the fuselage can be lifted off the wing and that there were no unexpected difficulties in store for the second disassembly period in Arlanda. The actual lifting of the fuselage, disassembling the wing joint and unfastening the wing halves went well and quickly, thanks to good preparations.

The inventory, documentation and packing of the Caravelle parts obtained from Arlanda, as well as packing the parts detached from the SE-DAF for transport, was rather painstaking and time consuming. Fortunately this work could be done in good weather conditions.

A large amount of work was done in the Pansio hall, and the mild winter made it possible to work through the winter months. The former shipyard assembly hall was a good and spacious place for the restoration work. There we could sand the aircraft parts and the two overhead cranes were a great help in handling the fuselage and the other large parts. Testing work methods for painting, cleaning fastening accessories in the ultrasonic cleaner, and other minor work could be done in the semi-heated spaces next to the hall. The unheated hall, however, restricted the polishing and painting work during the winter. The cold spring caused a two-week delay from the original painting schedule. When the weather finally got warmer, there was a last-minute rush in the painting work before the lease of the hall ended in the beginning of June.

According to the technical team the reassembly went well and in the planned schedule., thanks to the good assembly team. There were no actual difficulties in the reassembly, but the cold and windy weather brought some challenges.

This is a good thing for us, a pity for the neighbours

Yes, we agree about the beginning of your sentence. For the rest we have to remember that after this there will still be two whole Caravelles in Sweden: The reconnaissance Caravelle (former SAS SE-DAG) at the Swedish Air Force Museum and Le Caravelle Club’s SE-DAI.

Why go across the sea to get a former Finnair aircraft to a Finnish museum?

We are aware that Finnair is going to have two of its oldest Airbus A319 aircraft scrapped. In the existing economic situation Finnair decided to write off prematurely the oldest aircraft and dismantle them to spare parts. As far as we know, the aircraft were still worth “several million euros” – which naturally has some meaning for Finnair in this financial situation.

The question includes the thought that the alternative for saving SE-DAF would have been to save some aircraft which had a background in Finland. No – the alternative for saving SE-DAF would have been the scrapping of SE-DAF. Furthermore, this was in practice the last opportunity to get to Finland a 1960s passenger jet, which represents the type used by Finnair.

We think that if in the future we want to save an aircraft which has been used by Finnair, into a museum or otherwise, it is advisable to get it from Finland and not from abroad afterwards.

What did the SE-DAF cost?

SE-DAF is transferred by the Swedish National Maritime and Transport Museums into the possession of the Aviation Museum Society Finland without a charge.

How many work hours have been recorded on the Caravelle-project?

Up to now (beginning of November 2023) over 5 600 volunteer work hours have been recorded. This included the preparations and disassembly in Arlanda, the restoration and reassembly in Pansio and at Turku airport and the Caravelle work done in Vantaa. The volunteer hours for planning, collecting information, meetings, project documentation, information, etc. are not included.
Phases Where Date Working hours
Disassembly Arlands June - August 2022
1328 hours
Restoration Pansio August - December 2022 739 hours
Restoration and reassembly
Pansio and Turku airport January - June 2023 2878 hours
Restoration Turku airport August - October 2023 704 hours
TOTAL 5649 hours

So a genuine Finland-jet couldn’t be found and saved?

Finnish Aviation Museum Society is not actively looking for aircraft to be saved, but it can seize the opportunities when they appear. In a way the question is not right: the alternative for saving SE-DAF is not saving some other aircraft, the alternative would have been the scrapping of SE-DAF.

The latest attempts for saving a Caravelle with a background in Finland were made in late 2005. The attempts were not successful, and the aircraft was scrapped. There are only three remaining Caravelles with a background in Finland: one in the aviation museum at Montelimar in France, one in a Mexican aquapark and one on the edge of a Libyan airfield, where it has been standing since 1975. In the 2-2013 issue of the Aviator-magazine a thorough survey of the fate of the Caravelles was published on pages 58-67, the article is written by Perttu Karivalo.

Out of Finnair’s and Spear Air’s Douglas DC-8 aircraft only the OH-LFT still exists, as far as we know it still flies relief flights in the colours of Samaritan's Purse International Disaster Relief.

Out of the Douglas DC-9-10 series aircraft the DC-9-15MC OH-LYH is still flying in South America. Also the East African Safari Express is using two DC-9 aircraft, and one of them may be the OH-LYD which was attempted to bring to Finland in 2015. A couple of the aircraft are stored in Kenya (OH-LYC), Columbia (OH-LYK) and Mexico (OH-LYG), but they may have been scrapped already. The rest have been scrapped without a doubt.

Out of the Douglas DC-9-50 aircraft which have a background in Finland none are flying any more, but four may be stored in Venezuela (OH-LYN, OH-LYO, OH-LYT and OH-LYO) and two in Ukraine (OH-LYV and OH-LYX) and one in Beirut (OH-LYW). At least two of them have been stored after an accident. All the other DC-9-50 aircraft have been scrapped.

Out of the newer 1980s McDonnell Douglas DC-9-80 series aircraft (MD-8X) none are flying any more. The aircraft are mainly stored in the United States, but the OH-LMP has been last seen at Norrköping in Sweden and the OH-LMA at Billund Denmark. All the others have been scrapped.

Out of McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft the OH-LHB flies as a fire-bomber in North America, the OH-LHE is stored in Miami and the rest have been scrapped.

Out of the McDonnell Douglas DC-11 aircraft the OH-LGC, OH-LGD and OH-LGG are flying as cargo versions, the rest have been scrapped.

This report is based on the book Ohjaamot – Suomen liikennelentokoneet (Cockpits – The Finnish Commercial Aircraft), written by Reino Myllymäki and Benjamin Helander. The book can be purchased in the webshop section of this website.

Is the Aviation Museum Society Finland planning to establish its own museum now that it is getting an aircraft?

No, this is not the plan. The Aviation Museum Society can collect items into its own collection without establishing a museum. The Society is not limited by the collection policy of any domestic or foreign aviation museum. The Society doesn’t have a collection policy or program, it can decide case by case whether it seizes the opportunity to save an aircraft which becomes available.

How can the Caravelle be utilized in the future?

The aim is to build the interior as flexible as possible so it could be used for various purposes. The aim is to have the flightdeck as fully equipped as possible so that this part of the airliner could be used in photo shoots and in making movies, etc. The plan is to have some seat rows fitted in the front part of the cabin, and the rest of the cabin would be an open area for exhibition, sales, and meetings. The aim is that in addition to actual Caravelle tours, the cabin could be used during the summer season for presentations and different events.

Is this the aircraft which appeared in the Finnish movie Kaappari (The Hijacker)?

No, it isn’t. The aircraft seen in the movie was the Le Caravelle Club’s SE-DAI taped into Finnair colours modified into OH-LSB.

Have there been any comments from Sweden now that the Caravelle is on display?

We have received congratulations from Sweden and other countries, mainly on the good results and the restoration work. We managed to save a piece of early jet airliner history, and everybody is pleased about this.

The Caravelle being on display has been reported not only in Sweden but also in the widely distributed British aviation history magazines Aeroplane and FlyPast Aviation Monthly.