Registered Charity Number 1075858

Newsletter Spring 2004


European Connection

Gatwick Aviation Museum officially became a member of the European Aviation Preservation Council in November 2003. It is hoped that membership of this Council will expand relationships and increase the awareness of Gatwick Aviation Museum throughout Europe. This membership should help to promote both the collection and the main objectives of the Museum.


Sadly we were unsuccessful in our bid to acquire one of British Airways retiring Concorde’s for the museum.

We do however understand the massive interest and competition for one of these airframes. It did however excite local interest for a while.

Although the aircraft did not operate out of Gatwick it would have seemed an appropriate home given the large contingent of British Airways personnel and size of operation at Gatwick.

East Fortune clearly has more “pull” where it counts!It would have been very welcome here and no doubt would have attracted many visitors.

Open Days 2004 (26th/27th June)

An “Aero Jumble” event will be taking place this year on Saturday the 26th of June. This is being organised in conjunction with Andy Saunders who is a highly experienced promoter and organiser of such events, he runs the highly successful Shoreham “Aero jumble” amongst others.

The format for Sunday is still being defined, but this will be finalised shortly.

BAPC meeting

Gatwick Aviation Museum will be hosting the May meeting of the British Aviation Preservation Council , this will be taking place on Saturday the 29th of May 2004.


In March Peter Vallance was contacted by a keen model maker, Ken Acorn He was moving to Scotland and he was concerned that his collection would not survive the journey. Ken therefore decided to donate them to a new home, Gatwick Aviation Museum. The collection included some rare types and now occupies one shelf of a display cabinet.

Thank you Ken for the superb collection.


New Display Cabinets

Gatwick Aviation Museum recently took delivery of six display cabinets that were kindly donated by a museum director, Shila Patel. Needless to say these new shelves were soon full and the models/artefacts in them were available for viewing in record time!

Air Europe

We have a number of items given to us by Air Europe, these have a separate area within the Museum where they are displayed. At a recent Air Europe re-union that Peter Vallance attended he took with him some of the donated items as interest had been expressed in them. Sadly, some items were not returned, a number of photographs went missing that evening.

Lightning Wings

We have acquired a pair of Lightning F53 wings, these were once a part of XF582 (53-676).

Wings from ZF582 on the ground in front of ZF591

A considerable effort to remove useful components has been made and a valuable amount of spare parts are now being stored ready for restoration and eventual re-use. We believe that the cockpit section of ZF582 is somewhere in the Thames valley area. Much of this work has been carried out over the worst of the winter months, David, Milton and Ted are either very hardy or quite mad!

Shackleton Association

The new editor of the “Growler” (Shackleton Association newsletter) paid us a visit recently. Terry “tiny” Potter spent some hours here and then wrote a very nice article about us which was published in the newsletter a few weeks later. He and other members of the Shackleton Association are very welcome to visit our TWO resident aircraft WR974(K) and WR982(J). One result of the contact with Terry has been that we have
had a couple of meeting with the Shackleton Preservation Trust who are the engineering team at Coventry with Shackleton AEW2 WR963. The intention being to see where it may be possible for both groups to benefit from experience and spares. So far this has benefited us by the WR963 team giving us a pair of front cowlings to replace those damaged in our “Spinner Incident”. See later for the full story on this. They were also able to advise us on how they were able to regain flow through their radiators, a procedure that we will be trying out very soon!

Meteor Intakes

As reported in the last newsletter Roger Fallows was manufacturing new intake surrounds to replace the missing and damaged items on Meteor VZ638. We are pleased to report that this has been finished and that the items are now fitted to the intakes along with new blanks. We would like to thank Roger for an outstanding job, it just that, well, there’s lots more wooden parts if your ready Roger!

Roger and his wife shows where they go!

New Members

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

Mr. Jonathan Kruse Cuckfield
Mr. Lew Kruse Cuckfield
Mr. Gareth Lewis Farnham
Mr. Trevor Peck Manningtree, Essex
And to the two new life members
Mr Michael Pearson Hemel Hempstead
Mr. Fred Baker South Minster, Essex

Engineering Work

Buccaneer S.1. XN923

Once again Peter Vallance has taken on a mammoth painting task, this time he’s attacking Buccaneer S.1. XN923. Although some paint was applied to this airframe a few years ago it really needed a complete repaint, and it is definitely getting that.

This picture is irresistible, a real “wet start” (the burn marks are still visible!)

Shortly after the starboard engine had been changed

The current state after Peters valiant efforts!

At this time (early May) the starboard side is almost finished and the port side is approximately 80% complete.

Meteor T.7. VZ638

As mentioned earlier this airframe has now been fitted with the manufactured intake surrounds along with an immaculate pair of intake blanks. The photograph below shows the how this aircraft now looks. A small amount of gloss black paint has been applied above the engine nacelles. It is the intention to finish the paint coat in the next few weeks, this is of course if the weather permits

VZ638 showing off her new “fronts”


As reported last time the Shackletons have problems with the main undercarriage legs. This is mainly due to the age and the condition of the seals and other components. Duggie Boyd has now made and better still, has fitted the oleo support spacers.

Thanks to Ian Mclelland of Mclelland engineering, Spittalhill, Kilmarnock for his assistance in fabricating the Shackleton oleo spacers and the Lightning tyre removing tool.


Lightning tyre removal tool

The Lightning tyre removal tool has been a great success. It has now been used ”in anger” and has allowed us to fit two brand new tyres to the main wheels of ZF579.

A towing arm for the Shackleton arrived a short time ago. It was in a poor condition and Duggie “volunteered” to get into pristine working condition. He reports that “making the shack tow bar is well under way but because of the weight of a shack the materials for this will have to be of substantial dimension. The Meteor wing join filler tensioner is also under way and both items should be ready shortly. “

Lightning 53-671 (ZF579)

Further work has been carried out on the following systems:-

A number of items have been refurbished and refitted in the starboard undercarriage bay.

Skin repairs
The major corrosion treatment for the lifting skin on the starboard wing has been completed and the whole gear bay has been treated and repainted. New external cable looms covers have been made and fitted.
Fuel system
The fuel system is almost complete, once the final fuel cock actuator has been fitted and AC power supply coupling installed, all of the above will be treated with anti corrosion fluid, the inboard trailing edge frames and covers will be fitted.

Hot air
Expanding bellow joints frame 25S checked for measurements and adjusted as necessary to 0.09inch max.

New systems that have recently been started are:-

Air turbine gearbox
A number of Air Turbine Gearboxes are with us at the moment, these large items tend to suffer a number of problems, mostly corrosion related, when left in the airframe. We are expecting to produce a number of serviceable items from the ATGBs that we have available.

Instrument power supplies
The inverter has been refurbished which promptly showed a problem with the controller! This has been repaired and now awaits refitment and testing.

Sea Prince GACA WF118 (572)

The conversion to electrical fuel cocks is now 99% complete. A wiring harness to the fuel cock has been made and fitted, the control panel has been made and fitted. Initial tests show that the system works OK. It only remains to fully secure the new pipe work, seal the joints and leak test the system. This should be completed very shortly. Engine runs will take place very soon!

Gatwick Aviation Museum
Vallance By-Ways
Lowfield Heath Road

Profile of Ted Wright

I was born in Southend and moved to Crawley in 1970. I first became interested in aviation whilst in my final year at school. I saw a copy of the 1953 Observers Book of Aircraft and since then I have purchased all 41 editions until it ceased publication in 1993. I have worked as an Instrument Maker in the Avionics industry for most of my life and retired in June 1998. In my two year association with Gatwick Aviation Museum I have enjoyed working on the aircraft as well as the heatstroke and frostbite! Like many other aviation enthusiasts I have a huge collection of aviation books and artefacts. I have brake parachute from a Vulcan in one of my bedroom cupboards! (Hasn’t everyone?) try carrying one of those upstairs!

Favourite Aircraft: Hunter

I was at Farnborough when the world record formation loop of 22 Hunters took place. My wish for the future is to see Peter (Vallance) build the museum that he’s fought for all of these years.