Sunday, 30 September 2018

Wingtip restoration

Two highly trained volunteers continue to repair one of the badly damaged wingtips (see photos below) a process they started earlier this year. When this has been completed the second wingtip will then be restored, which at the moment looks quite damaged. It is hoped that they can then be refitted to the aircraft, in order to give the public a better impression of how the wings originally looked.

Restoration update for Satuday 15th Sepember

We  spent the day on the airstairs, deciding to make the most of the reasonable weather while we still have it. 

It was mentioned a few blog posts ago that we planned to remove part of a housing which the higher of the 2 screw threads passes through. The point of this was to remove any old grease and replace it with fresh grease, hopefully making the operation of the mechanism easier, but also increasing the extension of the stairs.

The housing itself is held together by a nut and bolt on each side  with a split pin going through each, the latter to keep the nuts in place. In order to take the nuts off, therefore, the 1st task was to remove the split pins using a combination of snips and pliers.  By sheer luck the 1st spanner picked out of the tray was the correct size for the nuts. By using this as well as a mallet, it was possible to get the nuts to turn reasonably easily. It was never the intention to take the casing apart that day, it was more of a feasibility study to see if it was (a) possible, and if so (b) how easy. The nuts were nearly completely unscrewed, just to check there was nothing wrong with the threads on the bolts.  After this, they were re-tightened again, and the tools were put back. 

The main task for the day was to continue the painting, which as usual meant that in some areas it was necessary to rub it down before this could take place. Given how much we had already done in the past, we didn't think there would be that much rust, old paint etc. left. How wrong we were!!. Rubbing down these areas required both steel and brass brushes, a scraper and sand paper. It wasn't always the case of which will work best, but what can we use in the space available. This can be appreciated in the following photos which show the underside of the 2nd and 1st step respectively.  

The photo quality is not the best as the location is so low to the ground you have to take the photos at an angle, and the lighting doesn't help. As you can see the 1st step has deteriorated considerably more, and is probably in the worse condition of any. Pieces of the metal were actually falling off as it was being rubbed down. This work was also carried out on the circular metal beam which had only been partially completed in the past. Other areas were done as well as those already mentioned, creating quite a lot of mess.

As some of this didn't fall directly onto the apron but inside the stairs themselves, this mess had to be removed using the vacuum. The worst area for this was the channels that run each side of the stairs, after the cleaning was finished. 

Next the areas that had been rubbed down that were rusty, such as the brackets inside the aforementioned channels, were painted with an inhibitor, Those areas that weren't rusty or had already been painted with it previously, could then be painted blue. This included parts of the underside of the top side, as well as around the rails the stairs move on and the sides and undersides of the lower steps. The only exception was the underside of the lowest step, as the inhibitor applied had not fully set. 

The best news of the day was that apart from a few last minor areas, we have now finished applying the white paint. Due to a lack of time it wasn't possible to apply as much of the grey paint as we intended, but a coat was applied to the axle framework. and a further coat of black was applied to parts of the exterior framework. 

Restoration of the aircraft's tailplane

The most recent work has taken place on the tailplane which was moved from its location near the containers behind the aircraft to a more appropriate position nearer the aircraft. Some restoration was done on the tailplane about 6 years ago. However, it began to once again deteriorate due to the weather. The restoration had not been completed fully at the time and only some part of the tailplane had been properly primed, thus avoiding any further damage.

Now that it is in its new position, restoration work has once again begun. This involved first of all giving it a good rubbing down with Scotch-Brite as well as wet and dry, again systematically soaked in diluted sugar soap. Once the rubbing down was completed, the pressure washer was used to wash that area of the tailplane, then the process started again on another area (see photos below). At the end of the day the top surface (really the underside) had been done, as well as the curved rear surface. The leading edge 
on the left half has been completed, while on the right only a small test area was done. The photos below demonstrate the on-going work done in August.

Unsticking the cargo door

The problem of the rear cargo door which had become thoroughly stuck for some months and did not open was finally resolved some weeks ago. It was discovered that the hydraulic actuator used in the operation of the door was still attached to it. The pin used to connect them (see photos below) was removed using a hammer and screwdriver. When the door was tried after this, it opened on the 1st attempt. 

So an easy win here.

Radome update

In June this year, it was decided to replace the radome fitted to the aircraft, with a spare we had that was in better condition. This was due to the fact the original only had 1 working fastener to secure it in place whereas in the case of the spare, all 4 fasteners were functional. 

In order to remove the radome, it was necessary to soak the aforementioned fastener in WD 40, then unlock it with a screwdriver. This revealed that the radar/scanner  was indeed still fitted in its original position (see photos below). Surprisingly, it was in good condition, and could even be moved around by hand.

It just so happened that the spare radome was fitted with a metal hinge, which the original hadn't. We deduced that this was to allow it to hinge upwards, rather than have the radome come off completely like the original. The nuts and bolts necessary to connect the hinge to the corresponding bulkhead fitting were actually still in place. After tightening these with some spanners, we were able to open the radome as had been designed to. As the seal around the bulkhead had dried out over time, grease was applied to it to try and provide a better seal. At the end of the day the new radome was refitted, and secured in place by locking the fasteners, as seen below.

All in all, a very good day’s work!!