GATWICK AVIATION MUSEUM
Registered Charity Number 1075858

Newsletter www.gatwick-aviation-museum.co.uk Winter2006/Spring 2007 (No. 13)


NEWS

We are very pleased to report that Peter Vallance has been made a life member of the Shackleton Association in recognition of his contribution to saving and preserving the two MR3 Phase 3 Shackletons at the museum.

Following on from the National Aviation Heritage Skills Initiative, a one day training course was held at the museum on the 17th of December, further dates will be announced for 2007. This training course is available to all volunteer members of the museum. A further training session is due to held at the museum on the 29th of April 2007.

In November 2006 we had a special visitor, a relation of the explorer Ernest Shackleton, Jonathan Shackleton was welcomed to the museum. He was very impressed with the aircraft named after his illustrious forbearer! He also mentioned that he was in touch with Mary Dove, she is the daughter of Avro’s famous aircraft designer Roy Chadwick.

We also had our first visitor from China, the museums name is spreading far and wide, fortunately the newsletter will not need to be translated into and printed in Mandarin! Yet!

The museum has made a donation to the local church fund. St. Nicholas Church in Charlwood, is over 900 years old and is extending its basic facilities. The museum was pleased to be able to support a local institution with a donation to help with the extension.

The museums small colour brochure has been re-printed and the odd mistakes present in the original version have now been corrected.

In common with past years the museum will be open on certain days from March until October without an appointment.
The table below shows the days that the museum is open during this year.

Open days for 2007
April 8, 9 , 22
May 6, 20
June 3, 16, 17
July 1, 15 , 29
August 12, 26
September 2, 9 , 23
October 7,

During the winter we have a steady number of visitors taking advantage of the museums “appointment” facility. A number of our visitors are ex aircrew that have flown some of our airframes. One such was Art Stacey who was kind enough to sign the Avro Shackleton WR98(J) in the designated place.



The panel above the navigator station on WR982 is becoming like the pavement in Hollywood with all of the signatures now on it!

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New Artefacts

A “new” engine arrived in mid March from Filton, this is a Rolls Royce Pegasus. There are no obvious data plates on the engine to assist in identifying it. The consensus of opinion is that it’s likely to be an early version, possibly even from a Kestrel.



The engine has been moved to the engine shed to join all of the other engines except the GE CF6, this is just too large to go inside. Some of the cowlings that came with the CF6 have been modified and fitted to the engine. As can be seen from the picture below this “cleans up” the appearance of this exhibit. It has been moved to a more prominent position at the entrance to the museum.



The engine information on the web site has been updated to include the engines that have arrived in the past couple of years. These include two Derwents; they ended their active duty as snowblowers. The other engines are five Artousts a Viper and a de Havilland Gypsy Major. All of these are now housed in the engine display buildings. The museum will be providing facilities for a meeting of the Royal British Legion due to take place on the 25th of August.

Engineering Work

Hawker Sea Hawk XE489 (WM983)

Since the final paint was removed from the Sea Hawk she has spent most of the winter under partial cover. Now that the weather is improving a decision is to be made on how the airframe will be repainted. Very little preparation work remains; it’s mostly a case of cleaning the airframe and degreasing ready for the primer.

English Electric Canberra P.R. 7 WH773

Late in 2006 a new volunteer, Rebecca Reddy decided to take on the restoration of this important airframe. WH773 was the first production P.R.7, shortly after entering service in 1953 this Canberra took part in the Daily Mail sponsored Air Race from London to Sydney. At one time she held the record for the fastest transit from London to Colombo (Sri Lanka). (May still, perhaps someone knows?). The wooden fin section was repaired and repainted a couple of years ago, just before it became damaged beyond repair by birds. No major work has been carried out on this airframe for many years. As a consequence the numbers of problems were beginning to mount. It was therefore very timely when someone showed up with the enthusiasm and drive to turn the situation around. Although it’s not immediately obvious what has been done from the outside, this


belies the large amount of work carried out so far. Most of the airframe has been accessed and surveyed; this has given a good idea as to the condition of the aircraft.


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Some parts have seen daylight for the first time in over 20 years! A full report on the work carried out will eventually appear on the web site. It has given up many gallons of water in the past couple of months. It may be that which has caused it to “sit” gently on its tail a couple of times recently in high winds. It now has a tail prop to prevent it happening again. Work on the inside has started the DV window (Direct Vision) a source of much water ingress has finally been closed properly. The missing instruments are being sourced and the Navigators floor has been repainted. The picture above shows the repainted Navigators floor. The photograph below shows the instrument panel, still with some items missing but fewer holes than previously!



Gloster Meteor T.7. VZ638

Small amounts of work have been carried out on this airframe over the past months. One of the jobs to be tackled is the “glazing” in the cockpit canopy. Although we do have a new canopy the judgment is that it will simply deteriorate in the outdoor conditions if fitted. An improvement in the state of the currently fitted canopy could be achieved by replacing the cracked and discoloured panels. A survey has been carried out as to the feasibility and is seems that we can relatively simply replace the flat side panels. Initial investigation shows the Perspex to be at least half an inch thick!

Hawker Hunter F.51 E-430 (XF418,XG226)

Recently, on an internet forum, complaints were made that this aircraft had no markings on it? I guess the average spotter wants to be able to run past without having to look too closely. In fact both wings have their respective serial on the underside. We must confess that it’s actually quite amusing to read such remarks from such experts.




A couple of minor changes have been made to thisaircraft; these are the addition of hard point pylons to the outboard section of the wings. We may add stores or tanks to these pylons in time.Might even put a registration on the fuselage, just not sure which one yet, something that will confuse for sure!

XS587- G-VIXN De-Havilland Sea Vixen

Focus on this airframe has been to remove and deal with ferrous corrosion, which has begun to take hold on the bottom wing areas. This corrosion has started as a result of steel fastenings reacting over time with the aluminium skin. To fix this, we are steadily flatting these areas back, killing the surface corrosion and applying a coat of etch prime.







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The Vixen has recently been re-fuelled, but unfortunately we have a leaking starboard feeder tank bag, which will require looking at, at a later date, so this will curtail filling the starboard centre tank any further. The Vixen hasn’t been started for about 18 months now, so a good all panels off inspection and a full service will be required before we look at running her. During this period though, the engines are spun over on a hot air trolley regularly, to stop deterioration.

Engineering Update Lightning ZF579

No big leaps over the winter on ZF579. Time has been concentrated on preparing the airframe for a final push in summer 2007, to get ready for number 1 engine installation. The canopy was removed and ejection seat removed, to allow us to remove the cockpit floor. The primary aim has been to get at a broken brake control cable, which if any ex Lightning “linnies” remember, involves removing the canopy and ejection seat; removing the floor, and standing on your head inside the cockpit, to remove 4 tiny 6 ba screws (without dropping them into the seams and crevices under the floor!!!!!!) which secure the break cable bulkhead pressure seal in. NOT…….. the most pleasant job! All went without a hitch though and the completely knackered brake control cable was out. Now all we need to do is get a new one made before the floor and seat go back in. The lack of floor allowed us to inspect the primary and secondary structures, as well as the intake roof. All are in tip top condition, just requiring cleaning. So the good luck continues with the sturdy old Frightning! Much work has been done on the ferry ventral tank. The “BIG” F6 style ventral tank, but without the cannons installed. The tank skin has been completely refurbished back to new finish and a final polish will enable the tank to be fitted so that the No. 2 engine hatch can be removed very soon.

No1 engine bay is finished, bar one small leak from a failed O ring, to be replaced in the next 2 weeks. Attention will turn in mid summer, to making a very large dent in re-splicing much of the outstanding engine control wiring and core DC generator wiring control circuits. This will pretty much complete all of the wiring we will need for now.

Buccanner S.1. XN923

Not a great deal of work on the S1 this year. Just some corrosion treatment in the gear bays and a repaint of the nose cone will be in order. Work is progressing on obtaining a new canopy though. The old canopy, being an S1 canopy, is not UV resistant; hence it has milked beyond repair. The S2 canopies are UV resistant, and will fit just the same. So the Hunt is on to replace it. XN923 hasn’t been run this year and much work is required to inspect her before she can run again. Unfortunately, the port engine is past its life and is no longer safe to run. Vibration problems have set in, the engine is just old. We have a replacement Gyron Junior for 923, but it requires a compressor stage to be removed from the old engine, which is a time consuming job. There are no plans to attempt that soon, unless a good engine man would like to volunteer to do the job!

Avro Shackleton WR982 (J )

Following on from our abortive attempt to resolve the cooling problems with the number three engine, another attempt is being made. A survey of one “other” possible source (WR974) showed that the radiators on the No.1 engine looked to be in reasonable condition. Approval was given to remove the small radiator, providing the faulty item was fitted in its place to make it complete. On a warm spring day the operation began. Having previous experience meant that the process was somewhat quicker than the first time. The small radiator from J had been removed a couple of weeks earlier.





Once the cowlings were off the No. 1 engine it was clear what a good condition this engine was in. A little over an hour later and the radiator was free from the aircraft. An initial visual survey showed it to be in good condition externally, the test however, was how much flow of water would it allow?






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A hosepipe connected to the outlet (reverse flush) showed a good rate of flow. Only small amounts of rubbish, mostly the hated crystallized glycol, emerged. A direct comparison was made to the faulty radiator, the difference was dramatic, the faulty radiator “blew back” very quickly, indicating a very poor flow rate. In comparison the other unit took as much water as it was given! Much water was passed in both directions through the radiator before it was declared good enough.

It just remained to refit both radiators to the respective aircraft. A couple of hours later this was completed. With all components and the cowlings on, the No. 1 engine on K looked as if it had never been touched! With the replacement fitted to J and all the pipes and connections done up the coolant system was filled with water and anti-freeze. No leaks were found.

During our earlier engine run we had experienced a problem with the radiator shutters; they wouldn’t operate from the engineers’ panel in either auto or manual mode. Whilst deciding what action to take regarding the radiators this problem was tackled. Investigation revealed a number of problems present in the whole system. The primary one was the inching control unit, water had found it way into the box and this had ruined the solenoids. Fortunately, spare items were discovered, along with some of the cables needed to operate it in auto mode. The cables were also another problem, being seized and despite languishing in Jet-A for a couple of weeks refused to free up. The whole system is fairly complex and has quite a number of rose joints and swivel points, all of which needed lubricating.

A couple of weeks later and the inching system was back together, the pneumatic system was charged and the system could now be tested. With the Auto/Man switches in the Man position the shutters were operated to the fully closed and fully open positions. They moved, slightly reluctantly, jerkily at first, but they moved throughout their full travel.

A test was carried out on the other engines, No. 4 work flawlessly, No.2 just simply didn’t work, No.1 worked fine. Fault finding on No.2 showed that the inching control unit on this engine was faulty. It also showed how much the whole system needed each joint and pivot to be really free and properly lubricated to work correctly.

This is now a new task for each engine, refurbish the shutter mechanisms.
Profile of Andy Scrase


Andy Scrase started in the aviation industry as an apprentice Aircraft Engineer at Air Europe. Part of this training included a day release to the local college at East Surrey in Redhill. In 1991 when Air Europe went into receivership Andy found himself made redundant and without a college placement. To enable his training to continue Peter Vallance agreed that Andy could work full time at the Museum whilst continuing his college course. Initially the college wanted him to work on the Pembroke but Andy had other ideas, the imposing Shackleton was much more to his liking! At first, the task appeared to be very daunting. The airframe was at best, loosely assembled and needed a lot of work to make it secure. Internally it was a jumble of items mostly in the wrong place. Once some order had been brought to the inside, the next task was to get power on and see if a simple task like getting the internal lighting could be completed. With this achieved, some inkling of what was possible was beginning to dawn. The aircraft had flown into Cosford in about 1971 and had remained effectively static since that time. All of the engines were seized solid after 20 years without being turned. No. 3 engine was the first to receive some attention. With no spark plugs in the engine a mixture of light oil and fuel was poured into the engine every day for 2-3 weeks, the prop was “rocked” to assess the effect. Finally the engine turned. More work was carried out to prepare the engine for a possible start, at this time there was no Flight Engineers panel and the fuel system was a “direct feed”. Instrumentation was minimal, a piece of aluminium with just a Tacho, Rad temp and Oil pressure gauges. On the third attempt the engine fired! With the experience of the past few months the other engines were tackled in a similar fashion, No. 2 came next. With the inboard engines working, now some hydraulic services were returned to operation. By this time an engineer’s panel had been found and fitted. The outboard engines were more of a challenge but succumbed eventually. Since those early days many hundreds of hours have been put in to bring more services into a working condition. The inside is continually being fitted out with missing items. In 1993 Andy joined Monarch airlines as an engineer and is still working for the airline.

For the rest of us engineering volunteers Andy is considered our “Chief Engineer”. His expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm for old aeroplanes are an inspiration to all of us. Andy’s experience with both old and new systems is an invaluable resource and he is more than happy to offer advice and guidance. He has probably worked on all of our airframes but the Shackleton still receives his main attention. Peter Vallance may own the aircraft, but the rest of us know that J is really Andy’s aeroplane!
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