Duxford Aviation Society header British Airliner Collection header British Military Vehicles Collection

Maintenance Mutterings… 7


Latest news from the Engineering team

Added by Keith Bradshaw on 09 July 2022

< More news

Welcome to this month’s review of the engineering work carried out by the Duxford Aviation Society volunteers on the British Airliner Collection’s aeroplanes over the last four weeks.


With the work to swap over the engines etc finally finished by Pionair’s contractors, ZE701 was at last ours to play with!  The first job was to bring her back down the taxy way and through the fence to her planned position landside next to the VC10.

How many management members does it take to fit a tow bar? Peter, Mark, Simon and Dave hook up 701 ready for her tow down the taxy way. Photo: keith Bradshaw.

Having been involved with several of the recent moves, the Tuesday team were well versed in what to do and with help from tug driver Brian from our Military Vehicle Wing, ZE701 was in her rightful place in the airliner line up before the morning coffee break!

Brian pulls 701 ever closer to the gap in the fence to get her parked up next to the VC10. Photo: Keith Bradshaw

Time was at the essence however as a few days later the country would be celebrating the long Jubilee weekend and the plan was to have 701 open to the public for the big event. Whilst some members of the Tuesday team tidied away the last bits and pieces from the time she was airside, Keith and Simon got down to rigging up some temporary lighting in the rear cabins of the 146 so the public could safely tour the Royal plane.

The Tuesday team rigged up some (very) temporary lighting for the rear cabins. Photo: Keith Bradshaw 

 Once the airside apron was cleaned up the rest of the Tuesday guys joined their colleagues in the workshop to press on with the last bits of work required on the 146 steps, as at the time we were using a set from the Viscount. Members of the steward's team were also busy refitting pictures and familiarising themselves with the layout ready to start their Royal Tours. One of their members John Pearson remained outside answering questions from members of the public who were showing a keen interest in the new arrival.

Tuesday team member Dave gets to grips with the wheels on the 146 steps. Photo: Marketa Vyletova
Chris and Ian from the Tuesday team finishing off the 146 steps side panels. Photo: Keith Bradshaw

 Wednesday saw the volunteers giving her a well earned wash along with some final work in the cabin and I’m pleased to report all this work came to a head when ZE701 opened on time the following day. She has been very well received by the public who are happy to pay for a short tour both outside and inside the cabin conducted by the steward team. At the present time they are open for tours Wednesday-Sunday.

Dave Bruce and John Pearson the two BAe146 custodians busy showing the public round during the Summer Air show. Photo: Dave Bruce


Whilst the Wednesday guys had the wash rig out cleaning the 146 they also took the opportunity to finish off washing the fin and tailplane of the VC10, it is hoped that we will manage to repaint the fin sometime this year.

The Wednesday team finishing off cleaning the VC10 fin and rear fuselage. Photo: Dave Swann

 The passenger windows on the VC10 have become very opaque but with a bit of horse trading we have now obtained a few ‘new’ windows which when fitted will improve matters no end. It is hoped there are enough good ‘old’ windows to allow them to be polished up for use elsewhere in the cabin. This is very important as film companies often use the VC10 as a prop and clear windows are rather important to them. Replacing the windows will be a long job as the process is as follows.
1) Remove the clip on grill retainers above the window.
2)Remove the grill.
3) Slide out the trim covers either side of the window.
4) Slide out the trim retainer strips either side of the window.
5) Unlock the turnbuckles at the top of the sidewall trim panel.
6) Lift out the sidewall trim panel from its bottom retainer and put to one side.
7) Release the four push/push dzus fasteners holding the inner window trim panel in place and remove inner trim.
8) Unlock the four over centre catches that secure the inner window.
9) Remove the inner window.
10) Bend back the 6 locking tabs for the outer window cam locks
11) unlock and remove the 6 cam locks.
12) Remove the outer window along with its fitting plate.

That’s all there is to it !  

Also on the VC10 work continues on the underwing and fuselage corrosion removal.

Richard, David and Keith from the Tuesday team make a start on the VC10 cabin windows. Photo: Keith Bradshaw

BAC 1-11:

Whilst mentioning filming, the BAC 1-11 was recently used by Sky as a backdrop to a scene in a TV programme they are making.

Sky TV used the BAC 1-11 for a day’s filming. Photo: Dave Swann


As you will have read last month the carpet and cabin sidewalls in the Viscount had been replaced, now thanks to great work by Steve Hipkin of the Thursday crew so has the galley side walls and  vinyl flooring and she is ready to have her seats refitted.

Steve Hipkin from the Thursday team has now finished fitting the vinyl in the galley areas. This was a picture of work in progress. Photo: Steve Hipkin

The Sunday volunteers made a start with the starboard side seats but it seems the position marks made when the seats were removed had been inadvertently painted over, so it was down to a tape measure and calculator to plot the position of the seats! For those who don’t know, the seat legs fit in a continuous rail on the cabin floor and hence can be fitted in any position along that rail!

Some of the completed seats loaded up for transport out to the Viscount. Photo: Marketa Vyletova


Viscount team member Robert takes a breather whilst contemplating the position of the seats in the rails. I think the sideways looking seats are rather cool!. Photo: Marketa Vyletova
Ops Director Marketa and Sunday volunteer Sam made sure the cabin was clean and tidy prior to the Viscount being opened up to the public at the Summer Air show. Photo: Keith Bradshaw

With a desire to open the Viscount for the summer air show weekend to show off the work in progress a few seat units were fitted but the rest would have to wait until after the show.

With the air show weekend over, Sunday volunteers Ian and Dave picked up where they had left off and continued fitting the starboard row of seats. Unfortunate their progress was delayed as when the seats were repainted in the workshop the ‘feet’ were also painted. These had to be cleaned up and lubricated as otherwise they wouldn’t fit in the seat rails. Photo: Marketa Vyletova

Hermes/DAS Museum:

In the workshop a new console/desk unit is being put together for the Hermes steward by the Thursday team. If you think it looks like some flat pack kitchen units you will be correct! However I don’t think a black marble worktop will be part of the spec.  

The new Hermes steward workstation. Photo: Keith Bradshaw


Finally something we tend to overlook is the ground equipment we have placed around some of the airliners. The Tuesday shift were tasked with repositioning the yellow tug by the VC10 that had somehow managed to move its self (despite it being seized in gear) up to the public rope! With a bit of brute force and a heavy foot on clutch she was pushed back into position away from little fingers.

Derek, Richard and David of the Tuesday team give the little baggage tug some much needed TLC. Photo: Keith Bradshaw

 Both the tug and the baggage belt loader where then de spider webbed and washed down to make them a lot more presentable. Still on the vehicle front, through a contact of the Military Vehicle Wing we have been donated two gas powered fork lift trucks. One even comes with a safety railed work cage. 

The two new fork lifts we now have on our books. Photo: Keith Bradshaw

That’s it for this month.  Keith

Facebook link Twitter link Instagram link YouTube link

Registered Charity No. 285809