Registered Charity Number 1075858

Newsletter Autumn 2003


The French connection

The museums name has spread across the channel! We recently received a request from a French pilot who volunteered his services. He believed that the combination of speaking English and working for the museum would benefit us both.

Photograph Collection

Gatwick Aviation Museum has agreed to be the new home for a collection of photographs. These exhibits will be kept in the museum library, in this way they will be safe and accessible by visitors or researchers.

On the 1st of November at 2:30 p.m. Avro Shackleton WR982 (J) will be running all four RR Griffons. All members, volunteers as well as invited guests are welcome to attend this event. If you intend to be there please advise Peter Vallance on 01293 862915.

New Members

Gatwick Aviation Museum would like to extend a very warm welcome to the following people who have recently become members:-

Mr. William O’Toole, Manchester
Mr. D. O. Nadley, Burgess Hill
Mr. David Wise, Hereford
Mr. Eric Ellis, Reigate
Mr. Roger Vernon Ward, Crawley
Mr. Roger Fallows, Yarmouth
Mr. Ted Wright, Crawley
Mr. Michael V Wells, Worthing
Mr. Denis Fuller, Crawley
Mr. Giuseppe Baldassarri, Georgia
Mr. Marko Baldassarri, Georgia
Dr. James Anderson, Ferring
This period has been a very busy time here at the Museum. A great deal of work both externally and internally has been completed on a lot of the airframes. Just a quick look at the following pages gives you an idea just how much has been accomplished. External work on the airframes has mostly involved carrying out weather sealing and painting the aircraft.

Avro Shackleton WR974 (K)

Shackleton WR974 (K) has been sealed and almost all of the airframe has received a coat of dark grey paint, most of which was completed in advance of this years Open Days. Peter Vallance worked many weeks in all weathers to produce the excellent finish he achieved on Kilo. As a result it attracted many favourable comments from visitors which were reflected by the positive comments on a number of Internet aircraft forums. The interior has also been refitted with most of the missing items to add to the authenticity of this maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

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Kilo’s smart new look


Hawker Harrier GR.3 XV751

Harrier GR3 XV751 was returned from Bruntingthorpe shortly before the Open weekend and promptly received immediate attention. Some new panels were made to replace those missing and she was partly repainted and marked. Grey paint was used to improve the look and as a part of the process of putting XV751 back into the 3 Squadron camouflage colours that she spent most of her service life in. This work was carried out by three of the members, Milton, Dave and Ted. Once again during the open days she attracted much admiring interest, especially since XV751 was parked in a very conspicuous location. Difficult to miss!

XV751 – Centre of attention during the open weekend in June.

Gloster Meteor T.7 VZ638

The nose wheel assembly was removed, renovated and refitted. A total repaint has been commenced along with the replacement of various decals.

Hawker Sea Hawk FGA6 G-JETH

The desire to improve the look of the airframes prior to the Open days was a good driving force. This gave great momentum to the painting process. The “gate guardian” of the Museum is of course Hawker Sea Hawk. It was therefore appropriate that G-JETH (XE489) was also repainted. The Sea Hawk does suffer from being parked under the edge of the trees. This means that she gets rather dirty and dull. Some of the paint that was recently donated by Johnstones and Leyland was put to good use.

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Sea Hawk in her previous location
To add to the impact of the advertising for the open days and to enhance the entrance, the Sea Hawk was moved to the centre of the grass area at the front of the museum. Once she was moved the painting was able to begin.

The excellent result and the new position meant that the Sea Hawk was presented in the best conditions.

She has certainly made the best of it and still looks smart in her fresh, bright red colour scheme.

Percival Pembroke C.1 XK885

Later in the summer it was the turn of the Percival Pembroke XK885 to receive some much needed attention. The Pembroke had previously been “adopted” by East Surrey College, unfortunately very little work had ever been done on her and it tended to sit quietly at the end of the line. This has remained the case until this year. Fortunately this has now changed and we expect to see a steady progress in the restoration of this airframe.

With aircraft that “live” outside it is vital that as far as possible the airframe, in particular, the fuselage is kept watertight. This is quite difficult since there are many small access holes etc in any aircraft which are not pressurised.

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XK885 before being painted

Once again the upper hatches and potential sources of fuselage leaks were sealed in advance of the paint being applied. Again Peter took up his wire brushes to clean the upper part of the fuselage. It was obvious that this had all once been white. This was confirmed by reference to pictures in books and on the web. After jet washing, the upper fuselage was prepared for paint. Peter Vallance was soon at the end of brush loaded with white paint.

The end result was that the Pembroke is now resplendent in a shiny new white upper surface.

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XK558 after painting

XK885 has also been moved a short way out of the corner plot to a more conspicuous position, here she is displayed in an improved setting. Better still, she has been adopted by a new volunteer, Jon Jeffrys. Jon will improve the aircrafts condition and provide the much needed attention the Pembroke deserves.

It is always a slight surprise when entering this aircraft to see just how well she is fitted out and what a neat, comfortable environment the Pembroke provided.

Engineering Work

Lightning F3 53-671 (ZF579)

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Steady progress has been made to this aircraft over the past few months. To fully cover all the aspects of the restoration of this airframe would occupy many pages.
The full story, regularly updated, is available on the web site. For those who do not have access to the web and would like to read the on-going story of this work a printed copy or a CD version is available.

Please contact Peter if you wish to receive a copy.

The major actions taken on ZF579 are detailed below :-

  • Fuel system fully refurbished, some fuel added to the tanks to preserve the tanks and components.

  • Most of the Hydraulic systems fitted, including a myriad of pipes.

  • Basic 28V DC electrical services restored.

  • External lighting all now functioning.

  • Hot air piping and controls fitted.

  • Throttle runs and operating components overhauled and fitted.

  • Skin repairs to the spine and starboard wing completed.

Current work :-

  • Overhaul of starboard undercarriage bay and the main components.
  • External cable covers being re-manufactured.
  • Pilots seat removed to facilitate repair to the seat motors.
Some of this work has been in conjunction with Tangmere museum. An agreement was made to mutually benefit both organisations. This meant that the Tangmere Lightning benefited from the experience gained at GAM to get some of their services working again. In particular the repair of the DC cables enabled a number of static services to be re-vitalised. In return Tangmere provided components from their Lightning that were not going to be used on their static exhibit. This included a number of components for the fuel system. This cross co-operation is continuing to both museums mutual benefit.

Percival Sea Prince T.1 G-GACA (WF118) 572

This aircraft has been worked upon by a variety of people over the past few years. Only a relatively short time ago WF118 was capable of being taxied. Albeit slowly and with minimum amount of braking available. It is this knowledge that seduced a number of different of volunteers in believing that she could quickly brought back to ground running/taxing condition. The last real work was carried out a couple of years ago when the then engineer discovered that the fuel system was in need of a great deal of work. In particular the fuel booster pumps and fuel cocks were inoperative. The starboard pump had been restored to a running condition; the fuel cock however was jammed.


The port booster pump and local “plumbing” had been removed and stripped down. No work had been carried out on the port fuel cock. Although a cursory test showed that this was jammed also.

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Sea Prince “572” G-GACA

A major effort was decided upon to get the Prince into a running condition. This involved three people, Duggie, Milton and Dave spending many frustrating hours over the next two weeks in trying to achieve the objective.

The first item to be tackled was the starboard fuel cock. Fuel cocks on the Prince are operated manually by pushing a lever above the pilots head into the open or closed position. Both starboard and port levers were jammed solid. The lever pushes or pulls a “Teleflex” cable all the way from the cockpit to the rear of the engine where the fuel cock is located. The starboard Teleflex was released at the cockpit end to allow the fuel cock to be removed. Once the fuel cock was removed it took only a very short time to free it from its jammed state.

After approximately 30 minutes work it was operating smoothly and ready to be refitted. After refitting the cock the Teleflex was found to be binding. It took many hours work before this could be resolved! Next the port side fuel system was ready to be attacked. The port booster pump had been removed some while ago and was in pieces, fortunately all the parts were in one box! Once it was established that it could be easily rebuilt the priority became the port fuel cock. This proved to be slightly more problematic, however, it gave in the end! Once again the fuel cock was seized but this was soon cleaned and moving easily.

As it turned out that was the really easy part! The fuel cock was refitted and the Teleflex cable connected. Attempts to move the fuel cock lever in the cockpit proved fruitless, it was jammed solid.
Investigation revealed that the outer cover of the Teleflex had fractured and jammed the inner. Although this was repaired, any slight movement of this Teleflex tended to cause the outer case to break. Finally the outer aluminium casing was reduced to a number of smaller pieces. To date the Teleflex run to the fuel cock still requires a solution to this problem. In the next few days a piece of copper “microbore” tubing will be fitted in an attempt to resolve this issue. In the meantime the fuel booster pump has been rebuilt, tested and fitted. It is hoped that this aircraft will be in a running condition by the end of October.

Avro Shackleton WR982 (J)

A number of small items have received attention. The scanner cupola control circuits have been re-wired, this will allow the scanner to be operated from its normal control at the radar ops position. A problem with No.1 temp gauge has been resolved. A “dead” magneto on No.3 engine has been rectified and No.4 has also had some attention to its magneto. Earlier in the year we “lost” the spinner from No.4, this has now been sourced, repainted and once the prop hubs have been greased will be refitted.

Last but by no means least..

We welcome the following volunteers:-

Gary Ireland, Haywards Heath
Rick Biddlecombe, Surrey
Charles Eades, Epsom
Keith Negas, Coulsdon
Jon Jeffrys, Crawley
Morgan James, Reigate
Sam Murphy, Reigate
Ted Wright, Crawley
Len Wellington, Brighton
Michael Sawyer, Copthorne
Roger Fallows, Yarmouth
Nick Dewhurst, Haywards Heath
Paul Monkhouse, Turners Hill

If you would like something entered into a newsletter or write to us with an item for publication we will be pleased to add it to the newsletter.

Gatwick Aviation Museum
Vallance By-Ways
Lowfield Heath Road


Have you considered making your will yet? Please think about bequeathing your estate or a donation to the Gatwick Aviation Museum.

Registered charity number 1075858