Published: March 01, 2021
Published: March 01, 2021

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Restoring Glory to the Skies with a Veteran Aircraft

When David Best from our Aerospace sales team in the UK heard from the Save the Skymaster project chairman, he knew we had just the products to help make the dream of restoring a veteran aircraft a reality. When it comes to sealants and coatings, with us, the sky’s the limit, especially for David and his team!

The C-54 Skymaster About to Become Scrap Metal

One day last year, David, PPG account manager for Aerospace, received a call…

The Douglas C-54 Skymaster was a 74-year-old, four-engine transport aircraft used by U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. It was flown to the UK in 2002 to appear in a film about the Berlin Airlift. However, the film was never made and the aircraft sat exposed on the North Weald Airfield in Essex until 2017. This was when a man called Allan Vogel launched the Save the Skymaster project in order to help return the aircraft to its former glory.

The C-54 Skymaster’s story has always been about bringing help and relief during times of need, and Vogel made it his mission to continue this legacy. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many engineering graduates have been unable to complete their internships, so the project offers them (and any interested veterans) the opportunity to work alongside and learn from esteemed engineers on the restoration of the aircraft.

The Right Man (and Products) for the Job

The fact that the aircraft had served in three conflicts and remains in restorable condition after all of these years is something David finds very special. So, when Allan Vogel called, he understood the importance of the project and started reaching out to colleagues to champion the cause.

We have coatings and sealants that can help make the dream a reality, so it is great to be able to offer support by supplying key products necessary for the restoration.

David was proud to arrange the provision of various coatings and sealants to restore the C-54 Skymaster’s integral fuel tanks. These included PPG P/S 870® Class B corrosion inhibitive sealant, PPG PR-1440® Class A fuel tank sealant, PPG PR-1005® L Buna-N Slosh coating, as well as other products for interior and exterior aircraft structures.

Thanks to Allan Vogel’s passion, various sponsors’ contributions, and the engineering and veteran teams’ hard work, David’s mission to match products to customers’ needs was possible. Add to that formidable mix PPG’s first-class protective products and the C-54 Skymaster should be back in the sky where it belongs by 2023.

Twenty-five Years, and Still Learning

David joined us in 1996 as a ‘modern apprentice’ and spent three and a half years moving between each and every department on the site, something he knows still informs his daily work. After his apprenticeship, PPG sponsored him through a B.Tech. (Baccalaureus Technologiae) in Science, a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Chemistry, and a degree in Molecular Science.

Today, he is half-way through his MBA studies and is part of the UK Aerospace sales team at our Shildon site. He will have been with us 25 years this September.

David enjoys being in control of his own diary, free to arrange meetings with customers, offer technical assistance, or to discuss supply or terms, and he still enjoys what he does.

I am constantly learning more about PPG product lines and the aerospace industry in general. The best feeling is matching a PPG product to a customer’s need.

Motivated by Communal Success

A big day at PPG for David was when he had to persuade the CEO of a customer company that it was necessary to increase prices on particular products by a substantial amount. This was at the potential risk of losing a big customer but was necessary to make the items sustainable. He remembers how nervous he felt going into the meeting, and how relieved he felt when orders started coming in just a week later at the new price.

It wasn’t easy, but it positively changed the dynamics of our business relationship as we moved forward.

For David, meeting sales goals is as satisfying as it is to any salesperson, but more important for him is ensuring he does his utmost to bring business to the local Application Support Center (ASC).

I am part of a global organization, but my efforts contribute towards the long-term prosperity for the site, and that is good for me, my colleagues and for the company.