Registered Charity Number 1075858

Newsletter Summer/Autumn 2004

Before we get into the main newsletter I should like to apologise to all members for the lateness/omission of the summer edition. This was due to personal circumstances that meant I was unable to allocate sufficient time to produce a newsletter. [Peter Mills]



As reported in the last newsletter the BAPC held their May meeting at the museum. This was well attended and one of the outcomes was an excellent article on the Museum in Flypast written by one of the attendees Ken Ellis, Flypasts editor. The article appeared as a multi page illustrated feature in the July edition.

Open Days 2004 (26th/27th June)

The “Aero Jumble” on Saturday the 26th of June, was sparsely attended and may not be repeated, although for a first time event at this venue it was not too surprising. However, the Sunday boot sale was a lively event and had a good attendance. The Museum benefited as most of the attendees on both days also come into the museum and most paid their donations! We estimate that we had approximately 2,000 visitors over the weekend. In revenue terms this rivals or even exceeds the previous years events held in conjunction with the vehicle group. We were particularly pleased to welcome the Shackleton Association with their tent and assistance. Although no engine runs took place the Shackleton was fully manned throughout the weekend and again members of the Association team were on hand to help out answering some of the endless questions. We were exceptionally pleased on the day to welcome members of the Golden Lion Children's Trust. A major objective of the museum is to encourage interest from children and younger generations.

Boot Sales

Since the successful boot sale on the open days a number further boot sales have been held throughout the summer and autumn, these sales have all contributed to
the museums funds. A new and further source of revenue has been the sale of surplus items on the internet site eBay. So far just a small number of artefacts have been sold, but this has shown us that this way can provide additional outlets for saleable items.


After some years the Museums brochure has recently been re-designed. The new look is very attractive, modern looking and has generated much admiring comment. We thank Gary at Island Graphics for his excellent work. A copy of this new look publication can be seen on the web pages.

Roger Fallows has been active again, this time he has spent some days refurbishing the wooden nose area of the Venom. After Rogers's efforts we are confident that the Venom will face the winter in a good state ready for a more extensive refurbishment/paint job next year.

The treated area can be seen under the covers (Light Grey area)

After completing the Venom, Roger has turned his attention to the Canberra P.R.7. The leading section of the fin is made of wood and this has been attacked by birds and was in a poor condition. Roger has made temporary repairs to the fin and it is now covered to prevent any further deterioration. A full repair will be carried out next year when the weather permits.


New Ehibits

We continue to collect aviation related items; most of these are donated to the museum by people or organisations that feel that we are a suitable place for the exhibits to be presented. There a range of items from the small models to some of the largest (excluding the airframes). Peter Vallance has recently added new shelving to the museum and this has allowed a large number of exhibits to be much better presented. It has also released additional space to accommodate the ever increasing items requiring somewhere to live. One of the largest of the new exhibits and the most obvious is the large engine on a stand currently outside the main museum building. This is a G.E. CF6 that has been kindly donated to the museum by Tony Wesley the M.D. of Aerotron who are based in Crawley.

This engine was once flying with My Travel on the back end of a MD DC10! With the engine came a large number of cowlings and other items associated with the CF6.

Another major item that has been donated to the museum is a Link Trainer. This basic flying training machine was with 226 Brighton ATC squadron until being transported to Gatwick Aviation Museum this summer. Our thanks go to Flt Lt Freeman for this donation and we were pleased to respond with a cash donation of £100 to the squadron. With the hardware came a service manual and we hope in time to have this Link Trainer fully functional. It will certainly provide a challenge to anyone taking it on, most of the electronics use something called "valves" whatever they are! (we know really!).

The museum has also donated £40 to No. 226 (Home squadron ) Air Training Corps.

At a recent event (Simon Bradburys birthday party) attended by over 100 guests a novel form of back lighting was used. This consisted of a number of lights on stands some of which were used to illuminate a large museum exhibit. As can be seen from the picture below this showed the Shackleton in a new light (Pun intended!)

Shackleton comes out of the dark!


Throughout the past few months we have had a number of visits from organisations, amongst those that came to see us were:-

  • RAF Cadets on 16/06/2004
  • Austin 7 club AGM on 24/10/04
  • Association of Retired Professional Engineers on the 9/11/04
  • Kent Model Engineer Society on 20/11/04
  • Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club
We have acquired a number of parts to replace items that are in poor condition. Two Canberra Perspex nose cones have been sourced which will allow us to replace the "gravel blasted" nose on WH773 the PR7. A new canopy has been found for Harrier G.R.3 XV751 plus new ground equipment has been purchased. The ground equipment includes hydraulic rigs, air starter and a donated fork lift truck.

New Members

We now have a new membership Secretary and engine archivist. Len Bachelor has volunteered to carry out these vital tasks, volunteered was the word used, however??

Len can be contacted on 01892 532716.

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

Mr. John Smith Newdigate
Mr. Tim Rayner Seaton, Devon
And to the new life member
Mr. Brian Ralph Forest Row


Engineering Work

Lightning ZF579

It has been a steady restoration year for the Lightning. As the airframe advances towards the final goal of engine installation, progress is coming in increments rather than leaps and bounds now due to the intricate nature of the jobs required. There is also a need to pay attention to detail and safety. The restoration hours accrued is nearing 2700 man hours.

This year's progress:

Further work on ZF579’s fuel system.
All pumps and cocks are operational and fuel has now been introduced to the centre section tanks. Blanking caps have been manufactured for the fuel system ready for the entire system and pipe work to be pressure tested in the new year. A pressure rig is being manufactured to test the fuel hot shot system and re-heat supply.


Good progress this year. The airframe is steadily being sealed against the elements. The gear bays progress, with the starboard bay restoration all most complete. It is anticipated that retraction tests for the starboard main gear will be carried out next summer. Polishing continues, and corrosion prevention continues all year round. The flaps are being prepared for installation.


The hot air gearbox is currently undergoing a complete re-build to restore the aircraft’s own power generation systems. The Avpin engine starter system is 95% complete and has been re-wired this year, all the starting circuits are now live and the procurement for a suitable source of Isopropyl Nitrate (AVPIN) will begin shortly. Brand new high frequency boxes and time delay switches have now also been purchased in readiness for ignition testing.
Gatwick Aviation Museum believes that it has a role in education. This is borne out by the short article written by Duggie Boyd on his experiences after becoming an engineering volunteer:-

Duggies mid life crisis

In January of 2001 after recently being widowed I was spending Christmas with my sister in Horley. One day I was driving aimlessly when I noticed aircraft fins sticking out of the early morning mist. Later that day I paid a visit to the museum, met Peter Vallance and the rest as they say is history. I started coming down from Scotland to the museum at every opportunity, (I am probably the furthest travelled aircraft volunteer in the country) and found my interest in aircraft was increasing.

I soon became part of the team and I am responsible for manufacturing several pieces of equipment seen around the museum.

I think my most memorable experience was along with Peter rehousing 26 aircraft engines over a 5 day period, something I still find hard to believe.

Now at the age of 56 and a motor engineer, I have changed my career, currently being retrained into aircraft engineering, something that would have been impossible without my involvement at the museum. I owe Peter and the team a lot for encouraging me and giving me the confidence in what I am now doing. The museum has educational role, and I enjoy showing people around the exhibits, and relating my own experiences to them.

My dream is to see it progress into the best there is, as the collection of aircraft along with the attitude among all the people involved there is unique, and it is a real privilege to be part of it.
For a full update on ZF579 progress see

Ground equipment

Lightning ground equipment procurement has been good this year with the following being found:-
  • A turner adapter for the Nitrogen System
  • Correct Lightning jacking pads
  • A Nose undercarriage ground lock
  • Jet pipe rigging tools
  • A jet pipe roller locking tool
  • A re-heat pipe cooling duct rigging tool
  • Main undercarriage ground lock pins.

Equipment wanted

  • Large ventral tank trolley
  • A fuel draulic rig
  • A mini towable fuel or water bowser.
  • A Lightning nose jacking trestle


It has been a very good year for this aircraft. Huge progress has been made in returning this airframe to fast taxi status. After nearly 2 years of work, 572 finally ran with her original engines in October of this year. Various test runs were completed after approximately 200 hours work carried out on the extensively corroded fuel system. The starboard engine is now fully serviceable, and runs as sweetly as the day it left the factory. The port engine also runs, but currently has an outstanding fuel controller problem, which is causing high fuel and oil consumption; this will be rectified in the spring. 572 was carefully taxied to test the main undercarriage oleos and the engines under power.


572 moves down "the runway"

The braking system will be tackled next, in order that full power runs can be achieved.
As more aircraft are returned to a running status, it is becoming very expensive to keep them serviceable! But it IS the best way to keep the aircraft preserved. So any leads on possible fuel sponsorship or donation for AVTUR and or AVGAS fuel, please contact the museum. A full re-paint is planned for next year to celebrate 572 coming back to life. Any volunteers?

With the experience gained in the last two years working on the Sea Prince, we are now looking seriously at the Pembroke. A quick survey has been carried out and has been mostly encouraging. We believe that we can return her to running condition in a lot less time that it took to refurbish Sea Prince 572. Although the quick look did reveal that at least one of the fuel cock/cables is jammed. We may just go straight into electrifying the fuel system without wasting time in trying to repair the Teleflex cables. Two taxying Percival Princes in 2005? A distinct possibility!

Hunter T7 XL591

Ah yes! Our newest and most encouraging project at Gatwick Aviation Museum. XL591 arrived at Gatwick Aviation Museum in the spring of 2002. It was a good six months before a full survey was carried out. We are pleased to report though, that apart from some minor
corrosion, this airframe is in very good condition. It last flew in 1997 before it was grounded, and used as a spares ship. A full survey reveals that 591 can be returned to ground
ground running condition with 12-18 months of work. Being a simple aircraft to maintain, the Hunter carries none of the complications that the lightning inherently has and will be fairly straight forward to complete. Work has already begun on the hydraulic system, electrical power has been tested, and we have purchased and catalogued over 30,000 new Hunter spare parts to aid us in re-building this airframe. Almost all of the missing parts have now been acquired, including a very low hour Avon122 series engine, with paper work. The hunt for an engine bay heat shield, jet pipe and rear fuselage trestle will begin in the New Year. XL591 is a cartridge start Hunter, very similar to the system that exists in the E.E Canberra, hence no AVPIN problems there! A full repaint will go ahead in the spring; she will probably be returned to Red, White and Blue colours, in which she was painted whilst used as a Boscombe Down trainer.

Hunter F51 E-430

This airframe has been hiding at the rear of the museums grounds for a while. Although the fuselage is ex Danish Air Force Serial No. E430, the wings are actually from two different aircraft. The port wing is XF418 and the starboard is from XG226. She spent some years at the front of the museum under the trees and although she was washed after moving back it was in poor condition.

Early in the summer we decided to try to improve the look and condition of this Hunter. There were many missing or damaged panels and this was the first job to be tackled. Ted Wright was seconded to start the jobs and over a next few of weeks the number of "holes" in the airframe slowly disappeared!

Finally came the day assigned to begin the repaint. It turned out to be a fine early summer day, perfect for the job. The morning was spent preparing the surfaces before paint was applied during the afternoon. Initially only the grey upper surfaces were painted. During the subsequent weeks the undersides were painted and some logos applied. It was decided to paint it in pseudo Royal Navy colours rather than its original Danish colour scheme.

Further work will be carried out next year when a final paint finish will be applied then the markings will be completed.

Gatwick Aviation Museum
Vallance By-Ways
Lowfield Heath Road