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Maintenance Mutterings… 6


Latest news from the Engineering team

Added by Keith Bradshaw on 13 June 2022

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Welcome to this month’s roundup of the engineering work going on here at the Duxford Aviation Society caring for of the planes of the British Airliner Collection.


Pete Savage looks on as Vinyl expert Shaun applies a decal to the Concorde refuel panel.  Photo: Alan Webb

When Concorde was last repainted over 20 years ago before going into the AirSpace hangar, she was left without any of the smaller decals/stencils that had adorned her fuselage and wings. This was because at the time these would have been painted on over a pre- cut stencil and these I believe were not available.

These are the charts supplied by Heritage Concorde that Shaun and Lisa used to make the missing decals. Photo: Keith Bradshaw

Move on to 2022 and with the advent of vinyl wrapping the omission could finally be rectified. Luckily, Heritage Concorde  found a complete set of drawings in their archives for the sizes and location of the decals on XDN. Vinyl wrapping husband and wife team, Shaun and Lisa, brought their company Black Sheep Romeo to Duxford for a couple of visits. Their vinyl cutter made short work of producing the 60 small decals that were missing. Helped by DAS volunteers, Alan Webb and Pete Savage, the team made a great job of adding some more small details to XDN.  

Lisa measures up to get the correct position for the ‘Cut here in emergency’ decal. Photo: Alan Webb
An example of the kind of thing Shaun and Lisa reproduced for XDN. Photo: Peter Archer


On the Ambassador our electrician Alan Dye has been at work fixing some of the unservicable cabin lights. Back in the workshop a triple seat unit from the Trident has been cut down to a double unit and is being prepared for display alongside the other seats in the Duxford Aviation Society Museum on the Hermes. Work on the Viscount cabin continues steadily and although a long and complex task, great progress has been made. Volunteers from all groups have been working on various aspects of the restoration but the  cabin has been the main focus of the Sunday and Thursday guys.


Sunday team volunteers Ian and Mike hard at work on the final fit and stick down of the Viscount carpet. Photo: Marketa Vyletova

The carpet on the Viscount has now been trimmed for its final fit and fixed down by Sunday crew members Ian and Mike. As mentioned last time Ray Wright has replaced all the vinyl on the side walls. This left the side gullies and lower bulkhead to finish off. Step up the Thursday team of Chris A, Steve, Chris H and Neil.

Ray, who was  taking a break from the seat upholstering, could be found finishing off the vinyl side wall covering. Photo: Marketa Vyletova
Thursday team guys Chris and Steve A get to grips with the carpet on the lower bulkhead. Photo: Steve Hipkin
The final pieces of the side gullies were finished off by the Thursday team. Photo: Steve Hipkin


Carpet and sidewalls finally finished. Photo: Steve Hipkin

The cabin is now ready for the seats to start to go back which hopefully will begin soon, however there is still a lot of seat work required back in the workshop. 


BAe 146

In readiness for the contractors arriving to start work on the BAe146 the Tuesday team had to rub down and repaint the wheels that were to be fitted. The units from Australia were no longer suitable for flight as they had been painted red ! They are now back in the correct shade of grey.. By the time you read this update the BAe146 engine swap along with the wheels and brakes should have been completed. The APU and some other components were also removed but as they are not in the public eye they will not be replaced.

With two engines either side of four wheels and brakes this could be a kiddies playground BAe146 ! Photo: Keith Bradshaw

Pionair have provided us with one complete engine which can be displayed with the cowlings open and three bare units which will provide the correct centre of balance. Once Avalon, Pionair’s contractors, have finished we can get to grips with preparing 701 for her public debut. The damaged steps are coming on well with volunteer Les making a good job of welding up the cracked tow bar.

Just one small jack is all that is required to lift the wheels off the ground so they and their brake units can be removed. As you can imagine wheels and brakes take a hammering on aeroplanes so are very well built and hence expensive, this is why Pionair want these good units taken off for use back in Australia. Photo: Peter Archer


The No.4 engine about to be dropped onto its cradle. As you can see this type of engine, like many others, is only held in place by three bolts. The front two take all the torque and power whilst the one at the rear just supports the back half of the engine. Three fishing rod hoists are used to lower the engine down onto the stand. Photo: Dave Swann


No. 3’s turn sitting nicely on the engine stand. For those who remember it, compare the size of this stand to the RB211 one we used to have ! Photo: Peter Archer


The VC10 is still receiving work on the corroded areas under the wings. DAS volunteers Clive and Andrew are making good progress with replacing the damaged metal with new purpose made patches.

Clive from the Sunday shift cuts out some more corrosion on the lower wing of the VC10.       Photo: Sam Forbes


As always, if the weather plays ball the cleaning programme continues on the outside aircraft. Sunday volunteer Dave M was recently up on high cleaning the Trident tailplane.

Dave M bringing a bit of sparkle to the Trident tailplane. Photo: Marketa Vyletova.


Work has continued on removing corrosion on the wings. The underside is complete and we have moved onto the top surface which, as you would expect, is worse. The wing is a patchwork of previous efforts by Aurigny to counter the effects of the salty environment the aircraft operated in for over 30 years. So we are treading in the footsteps of many engineers! Several more weeks are expected to be spent on the upper wing to strip back, prime and then paint.

Oh, and the recent heavy rain showed that the water is still leaking into the fuselage, so more investigations are required there!

Examples of corrosion on the upper wing.  photo: Bob Wright
One of the 50+ inspection panels on the upper wing after removal and treatment by Tony Smart  photo:  Bob Wright


All this engineering work costs money and two of our volunteers dedicate their time to helping swell the DAS bank balance. John our bookshop manager and Dermot our ebay guru do a sterling job by selling items that are surplus or have been donated. Thanks to John and his small band of assistants the bookshop is now open most days of the week and does a healthy trade.

Dermot (on the keyboard) and John run the Ebay and bookshop fund-raising sections without which we would not be able to look after the airliners as well as we do. Photo: Keith Bradshaw


Just a small selection of John’s backroom stock for the bookshop. If you are looking for anything aviation related get in touch we may have it! Photo: Keith Bradshaw

 It is thanks to people like John and Dermot along with their small band of helpers beavering away behind the scenes that enable us to spend the  money necessary to keep the airliners in good condition. Thanks to you all.


Thanks to all of those who took the time to send in their pictures, keep them coming to kbrad1@hotmail.co.uk or forward them to Marketa.



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