Registered Charity Number 1075858

Newsletter No. 9


First an appeal from Len. Someone sent him a cheque fro 6 in February which has mysteriously disappeared. Could whoever it was please contact him. Len can be contacted on 01892 532716. Thank you.

Gatwick Aviation Museum is now a full member of the European Aviation Preservation Council. In this capacity Peter Vallance has accepted an invitation to attend a meeting of the Council in Malta in October.

The museum was able to assist the Fleet Air Arm Museum recently. Their flying Seahawk (WV908) had a problem with the engine starter. Contact was made with the museum and we were able to provide a starter from our R.R. Nene (currently in the engine shed).

Feedback from the FAA indicates that the starter is in excellent condition and should last the flying life of the aircraft. Naturally we, in turn, we will be receiving from them a number of parts from their spare aircraft; these include items missing from our Seahawk. The primary parts include an ejection seat and instrument panels/instruments. We have also received Seahawk parts from Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum, amongst the items were rare instrument panels. Included in the parts from them were three de Havilland propeller blades from a Shackleton.

Rumour has it that we have been offered another model collection! This collection apparently totals 540 items!
Housing this collection will be an interesting exercise in squeezing the proverbial quart into a pint pot!

Earlier in the year a possible arrangement was discussed with East Surrey College in Redhill. This was to allow students to carry out practical work at the museum as a part of the course. A decision made by the college not to offer aero engineering courses this year has meant that this will now not go ahead. However, a considerable number of aviation related items have been donated to the museum by the college. This donation has included some engines, instruments and various systems' parts. We are indebted to John Lovick for this generous donation.

In turn we have supplied a ground power set to Dunsfold, it is intended that this will be used to provide power for their recently arrived 747.

Surrey County Council operates a scheme whereby they provide grants for certain projects. A meeting has been held with them to discuss the requirements for qualification etc. and the grant funding opportunities for the museum.

A reunion was held recently at the Gatwick Hilton hotel, the reunion was for ex Laker Airways employees and the major guest was Sir Freddie Laker himself. Peter Vallance wrote a letter inviting him to visit the museum where we have a good display of "Laker Airways Memorabilia". Unfortunately his schedule meant that he was unable to visit the museum. However David Wise was able to make a presentation at the reunion that was well received.

Our only airworthy exhibit is airworthy no longer! Although it hasn't flown for some time the Ercoupe has held a current Certificate of Airworthiness until the 23rd of September this year. The aircraft has had a couple of problems, one of which was partially remedied this year. This involved replacing the seals in the brake cylinders; the system was partially bled but really needs a little more attention. The starter motor is


also causing problems. It is hoped that the C of A can be renewed and the annual check carried out soon. This work has will be carried out by Airworks Services Ltd of Rochester, Kent. We have noticed that the web site gets many "hits" with the Ercoupe as the primary item of interest.

Open Days 2005 (25th/26th June)

This years open days were quiet affairs. With little or no publicity and no special events planned it was obvious that very few visitors would find their way to the Museum. And this prediction tuned out to be true! Discussions earlier in the year as to what format this years event should take had finally come down to "Well, there is the option of doing nothing".

Roger Fallows has been active again, repairs have been made to the fin of Canberra P.R.7 WH773 and it is now properly repaired as can be seen from the photograph below. The squadron logo has also been put back onto the fin.

New Members

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

Mr. Davis S Knight Crawley
Mr. Pat Driscoll Orpington
Mr. Andy Whight Croydon
Mr. Bryn Wayt Heathfield
Mr. Ewan Harper London

Engineering Work

Hawker Sea Hawk XE489 (WM983)

This aircraft has been the "gate guardian" for many years; to many people it represented the museum. Over the years a number of comments have been made about the colour and the Bournemouth Flying Club" stickers on the fuselage. A few weeks ago this airframe was swapped with the Westland Whirlwind HAR 10 XP398 (The yellow one!).

XE489 was moved to the main area and the wings folded (manually). In this new light some of the previous paint schemes could be seen. It was even possible to discern

the lines of the original FAA scheme. It also emerged that the fuselage had a very clear registration on it, WM983. Shortly after being moved it was decided to repaint this in its original colour scheme. To produce the best finish it was also decided to completely strip off the old paint.

As can be seen from the above picture this is progressing at a steady rate. As more of the underlying structure emerges it is clear just how good the condition of this airframe is. They certainly knew how to make aeroplanes in those days!


Lightning ZF579

Well, a very productive last 6 months for Project 53 and ZF579. The focus this year has been to re-instate 579's hydraulic systems, and work towards finishing both nos 1 and 2 engine bays, in readiness for re-installing the jet pipes.

After 18 years dormant, and the last 18 months of detailed work, we were finally ready to test 579's hydraulic systems back in May. After priming and bleeding the systems, we connected a ground servicing rig and gradually built up pressure to 3000psi. Almost straight away, in true Lightning fashion, we sprang two leaks. Both leaks were identified and rectified within 10 minutes, after which time the entire hydraulic system powered up and operated faultlessly, flaps, airbrakes, rudder etc, etc, all worked as per specs, a very pleasing result, after all the hard work.

579's fuel system also progresses very nicely. After months of preparation, we introduced 400lbs of fuel to each wing tank, and we were completely amused to find that once again, in true Lightning fashion, the water drains all leaked fuel, surprise, surprise! so as per usual bay work shop practice! the leaky offenders were plugged with 4 ba bolts and bonded seals (Yes....we can see all you ex 5 squadron lineys, chuckling to yourselves out there!!), as the old adage goes, the only Lightning that doesn't leak is an EMPTY one! Apart from the water drains, no other leaks are present, not bad for a Lightning. Testing is due to take place shortly on the High pressure and re-heat fuel circuits, wrapping up fuel work, and allowing us to complete both engine bays, moving on to the next phase of the project.

All the ventral fuel tanks have now been re-furbished, for internal fuel systems, and there is no reason for us not to use the pressure refuelling system, making all tanks available to us, including flap tanks.

579's Air Turbine Gearbox has now been completed and fully restored, with the help of our very useful contact at Dowty Rotol! We can now go ahead and re-connect the aircraft's AC electrical systems.

Avionics have also received attention, with all fuel gauging, amplifiers and sender units being re-wired and re-furbished. The VHF radio intercoms system has also been re-wired and re-instated for vital ground comms, during runs.

579 is now gradually reaching the end goal of full restoration, so far over 4000 man hours have been put in, for a nut and bolt detailed re-build to original specifications. It's a real shame Lightning's can't fly in the UK, since apart from a couple of correctable problems with her, once the re-build is finished, she will be a very viable air frame to potentially fly again. All in all, another solid 6 months for the project.

Sea Princes WP308 , WF118

Both of these have received another coat of paint and now are looking at their very best. The contrast in the smart grey and vibrant red show these aircraft off to their very best.

Hunter T7 XL591

Some work has commenced on this airframe. We have started to prepare it for a repaint. It will be put in DERA colours; at least that is the current thinking. This will be a red spine, white centre section and Royal Blue undersides.

Carrying out the preparation work has been a frustrating experience. Despite the moans about lack of water it seems to have rained most weekends throughout the summer! This has meant that only stuttering progress has been made. It now seems unlikely that we will get it completed this year.

The good news is that we have secured a low hour Rolls Royce Avon 122 engine, plus a jet pipe for it. It is just possible that this may be installed this year. This is obviously a large step to getting this T7 into a ground running condition. Some work has been done on re-connecting the various pipe work inside the wheel bays and airframe.


Interestingly this has revealed that the wings are probably not from the original fuselage. This is assessment is based upon the gaps in the pipes at some of the joins.

Meteor T.7 VZ638

Work has steadily progressed on this airframe. Many of the loose panels have been fitted properly. In fact the whole airframe has been inspected and many areas have received attention. A lot of this has been in detail areas and is not obvious from a distance. More paint has been applied to such an extent that just about the whole

aircraft now has fresh paint. The markings are being applied and will soon be completed to finish this extended paint job.

Avro Shackleton WR982

Only minor work has been carried out on this aircraft this year. A leaking hydraulic hand pump had meant that both the scanner cupola and the bomb doors were "sagging". The pump was removed and new seals obtained to enable it to be refurbished. Once this had
been completed it was re-fitted to WR982. At this point it was noticed that all of the bomb door jacks had developed leaks in varying degrees of seriousness. It's clear that before operating the doors again all of the jacks will have to be removed and either refurbished or preferable replaced. This is a major job and would ideally be carried out during the quiet winter months. One jack will be removed to assess the extent of the work required and whether new parts can be sourced. Ground locks have been fitted to all four jacks and the operating fuses removed to prevent any movement of the bomb bay doors.

A number of missing instruments have been sourced. The cockpit is almost totally fitted with original instruments now. Most of the "holes" in the engineers' panel have been filled, some with the correct instrument, others with compatible items.

Work has restarted on bringing the ASV 21 radar back to operational use. Most of the interconnecting cables have been cut. Some cables from WR974 were recovered in good condition; these have been fitted in place of the damaged cables. It leaves approximately 4-5 cables that will have to be remade and re-run before any functional tests can be carried out. It is hoped that by early summer 2006 the radar will be operating to some extent.

Buccaneer XN923

A few weeks ago some work was started on this aircraft. The intention was to operate the hydraulic systems, primarily operate the bomb doors and possibly fold the wings. After a frustrating day much had been learnt but little achieved! Further work is planned using the experience gained by the recent endeavours.

And finally, there will be a social evening on Friday the 28th of October from 7 p.m. All members and friends plus volunteers are invited. There will entertainment laid on but sadly you will need to bring your own tipple and food if you need it.

Gatwick Aviation Museum
Vallance By-Ways
Lowfield Heath Road