Monday, 23 December 2013

Britannia prototype transferred to BACT

On 23rd December 2013, ownership of the surviving forward fuselage section of the second prototype Bristol Britannia was transferred to the Bristol Aero Collection Trust, exactly 60 years after its first flight from Filton's runway. The Britannia has been in the Collection since 1995, and had been on loan from the Britannia Aircraft Preservation Trust. In recent years the forward fuselage has been restored, both internally and externally, in a joint operation between BAPT and BACT. Its future is now secure in the proposed Bristol Aerospace Centre at Filton.

Roger Hargreaves of the BAPT and Oliver Dearden of the BACT at the handover of G-ALRX on its 60th birthday.

G-ALRX was the second Britannia to fly, and made its first flight from Filton on 23rd December 1953, joining the first prototype in an extensive programme of tests of the new airframe and its powerplant, the  Bristol Proteus turboprop engine. Just over a month later, on 4th February 1954, 'RX took off from Filton for a test flight over Wales, carrying representatives from a potential customer as well as flight engineers,  Bristol's chief airframe designer, Archibald Russell, and their chief engine designer, Stanley Hooker. Disaster struck on its return to Filton when one engine exploded following a failure in the reduction gear. Unable to reach Filton airfield, chief test pilot Bill Pegg skillfully managed to belly-land the airliner on the Severn mudflats, and the mud extinguished the ensuing fire and preserved the engine for later analysis. Of the thirteen people on board, no-one was hurt apart from one minor head injury. The airframe was declared a write off, not because of the damage received during the landing, but because of salt water damage. The forward fuselage lived on as an instructional aid at Filton, Brize Norton and at Boscombe Down.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

News - February 2013

Britannia G-ANCF (Liverpool)

Progress has been slow over the last year mainly due to lack of funds and the appalling weather conditions throughout the summer months. We have however made progress in some areas.

The tailplane has just about been refurbished and repainted. The main undercarriages are being repaired and refurbished, and the wheels have been overhauled ready for fitting.
A missing rib section has been made and fitted, which means there is only about one weeks riveting work required to complete the fuselage joins.

The cockpit has had most of its sound proofing removed and the task of refitting the instruments panels has begun.

Our main effort this year will be to raise sufficient funding for the manufacture of two new cradles and for the aircraft to be lifted onto these. In addition we are planning to repaint the aircraft fuselage (weather permitting) and we have started work refurbishing the cabin floor.

Britannia G-ALRX (Bristol)

The Bristol Aero Collection closed its doors at Kemble last year and has moved to Filton where he embryo Bristol Aerospace Centre is in the making. RX, which is on long term loan to the BAC, was one of the last items to leave Kemble, making the journey to Filton on the 8th January.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Review of 2011

Progress with the rebuild of our Britannia G-ANCF has been slow during the past year, mainly due to lack of funds.

It has been very noticeable that the number of donations from individuals has all but dried up, I am sure as I result of the current economic climate. We are however pursuing other revenue sources including grants.

For the first time last winter, the aircraft fuselage was basically water tight and suffered very little water ingestion. Because of the early heavy snow we decided not to work on the aircraft during the winter months so were pleasantly surprised to find the cabin and cockpit area dry when we returned to the aircraft in early March.

During the summer months, students from Macclesfield College paid several visits to work on the aircraft mainly concentrating on the tailplane restoration. Half of this has now been cleaned, treated for corrosion and repainted. The other half will be completed next summer ready for fitting to the aircraft.

Other work undertaken during the summer included removing the old wiring and sound proofing in the cockpit area in preparation for refitting the instrument panels. This will be worked on during the winter months.

The two main undercarriages were moved to Oxford in June to be overhauled there but sadly due to other commitments, the company doing the work have now said they are unable to do the work required, so we are looking for alternative organisations to help us. Watch this space !!

We have now decided to replace the wooden trestles which have served us well over the years, with purpose built metal ones. These will be higher than the current ones in order to have the aircraft at the height it would be when on its undercarriages. The idea being that it would be easier and safer to fit the undercarriages from this position rather that have the aircraft dangling from a crane.

In July we hosted a group who were interested in seeing the restoration project and visiting the old art deco terminal building at Speke. A good day was had by all along with some much needed donations. A big thank you to the Crown Plaza Hotel for there help.

Northbrook College have manufactured some new door runners which will be used to get the rear passenger door back in working order and our dismantled propeller was delivered to Speke from Kemble in early October.

We have increased the number of working volunteers in recent months and plan a minimum of one volunteers working day each month during the winter and are currently in discussion with the Macclesfield College regarding regular working days for their students through to next June.

In order for the project to move forward, we need to raise additional funds the breakdown of which is :

£1500 To complete the riveting required before we lift the aircraft
£4000 New metal trestles

Please send any donations, large or small to the BAPT at 12 Northway, Lewes, Sussex BN7 1DS, or purchase some of our hand made Christmas Cards and Calendars.

The refurbishment of G-ALRX being undertaken by volunteers from the Bristol Aero Collection has progressed well over the last year. The rear bulkhead being replaced, installation of a DVD player in the cabin along with various improvements in the cockpit and cabin area.