Sunday, 30 September 2018

Restoration of the airstairs


The restoration of the airstairs is a process that started a while ago, and is currently on-going. The reasons for doing this work are to preserve the airstairs for the future, make them more attractive to the public and hopefully make them easier to extend and retract. In the case of the latter, this has involved lubricating the screw threads on which it operates, as shown in the photos below.

Even though this is a messy job the mechanism is moving a lot easier, and the airstairs now extend further than before. This process is not finished yet, however, as the plan is to take the casing apart, remove any old grease and muck, and apply new grease. We also plan to do this to the housing at the base of the lower screw thread. This won't need to be taken apart though, as the rear of the housing isn't enclosed. Another task is to replace the missing right side handle, which will make turning the mechanism a lot easier.  

In order to paint the underside of the airstairs, as with the fuselage and tailplane, it was necessary to rub the area down. This involved the use of metal brushes and scrapers to remove any lose material, old paint etc. So much of this stuff came off that the ground around the airstairs, as well as the nooks and crannies inside it, had to be either brushed or vacuumed out! The photos below show various stages of the airstairs as they were scrubbed down, scraped and worked on.

The next job was to apply rust inhibitor primer where necessary, and once this had dried, these areas could then be painted along with the rest of the underside. In order to prepare the top and sides of the airstairs for painting, they were first cleaned with a wet sponge.  As usual they were then rubbed down with wet and dry Scotch-bright which was systemically soaked in a bucket containing watered down sugar soap. Since this has been completed, multiple coats of paint have been applied to those areas of the airstairs. Painting is also continuing on the framework, as shown below. 

So far, the work has been very productive and the airstairs have quite literally had a new lease of life. They look a lot more appealing and attractive, work much better and have been prevented from any further deterioration for the time being.

For the readers who have visited Charlie Fox last year or in the previous years, you will notice the significant improvement of the airstairs as they are now.



















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