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USN Aircraft Interior Gray Color Needed

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I recently acquired this starboard aft observer seat from a Lockheed P-3A Orion. The particular aircraft, Bureau Number 151357, was an aircraft that I flew while it was assigned to VP-MAU Brunswick during the mid-to-late 1980s. At that time this aircraft was designated LB 04. The seat is very special to me since I actually sat in it many time while serving as an observer on pilot training flights while a reservist with this unit. I am in the process of obtaining many parts to replace those that have worn out and have been pretty success ful so far in doing so. What I need, and am hoping somebody here can provide, is the federal standards number for the shade of gray paint used on the lower part of the frame. This is the same shade of gray that was used on all the painted interior parts of P-3s (sensor consoles, equipment racks, equipment bay doors, etc.).

 

Marc

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Great pickup, especially with the history you have! How were you lucky enough to get this seat?

 

As far as I know, it should be dark gull gray - FS36231 - the color all US aircraft cockpits have been painted since the 1960's.

 

-Derek

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Here is the P-3 aft observer seat partially restored and put back on its rails. Through helpful Navy friends I was able to obtain all the parts I need to completely restore the seat. I'd like to replace the back netting, but every former AM and AME I know who has done this has warned me that its a really difficult thing to do. Among the parts I acquired was a new cushion (installed here) and a new back net kit. The new back net would make a big difference but I really need to work up the courage to do the job as I am afraid that once I start on that there's not going to be any turning back. The back net that the seat came with cleaned up OK but there's a small tear that was repaired using olive green thread, which is what the AMs and AMEs always used, that you can see if you look really carefully at this photo.

 

Regarding how I got my hands on this thing. That's a long story.

 

I was an AW (SS3) on P-3Bs and P-3Cs in VP-8 on active duty from 1980 to 1983, was in the reserve with VP-MAU Brunswick from 1983 to 1990, and in the reserve with VP-92 from 1990 to 1999. I have a pilot license, but really miss my time flying on board P-3s as an aircrewman. For many years I've been trying to acquire a P-3 crew seat, in part to help recapture those long-gone days. I went down a lot of dead ends with Lockheed and the Navy, with DOD auctions, etc.

In recent months I tried another approach. I reached out to a number of companies that operate P-3s in fire-fighting service. One company had two incomplete crew seat frames available - for $8,500 each! Another company told me that they had one starboard aft observer seat in a P-3A that they were stripping and using as a source of spare parts. They told me that they'd sell me the seat, as-is and where is, for $1,000. I immediately accepted.

The seat was located in the parts aircraft in Tucson, AZ. I had to pay the private aircraft boneyard where the aircraft is being stored and stripped $390 for their people to remove the seat and the rails from the aircraft on a minimum hourly labor rate basis. I then engaged a professional shipping company in Tucson. These people were great. They made arrangements to pick the seat up at the boneyard, crated it up, and trucked it to Massachusetts. The crate cost $250 and shipping came to about $700. So, total cost so far is $2,300.

One more thing. The seat came out of P-3A BuNo 151357. This aircraft was assigned to the VP-MAU at NAS Brunswick during the 1980s. At that time it was designated LB-4. I actually have time as an observer on that aircraft. So, I sat in this seat back when I was flying in the USNR. Which is really cool...

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That's awesome that this came out of a bird you have some flight time in! What a great treasure to have :)

 

-Derek

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