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Maintenance Mutterings… 9


Latest news from the Engineering team

Added by Keith Bradshaw on 09 September 2022

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Welcome to this month’s update about the activities of the DAS volunteers at Duxford. We have stories covering the Trislander,Viscount, VC10, BAe146 and more.


Rob and Ian lubricate and adjust the leg fixings on the last few chair units prior to refitting. Photo: John Overhill

This month the BIG Viscount news is… all the seats are now back in! A final push by John, Ian and Rob saw the last four chair units refitted. They also found time to realign the central aisle carpet protector and are awaiting the new antimacassars to finish off the seat dressing. Sadly the very hot weather has buckled the vinyl floor covering in the galley so this will need some trimming and refitting to finish off. Elsewhere on the Viscount, Norman is pressing on with the long-term window refurbishment so all is coming together nicely and the members of the public were able to visit during the Battle of Britain Air Show.

Tra-la !  All the seats are now back after a mammoth restoration project involving many of the DAS volunteers. Photo: John Overhill


Eagar to beat any impending hose pipe ban the opportunity was taken during a calm sunny day to finish off washing the Trident. One side had been cleaned previously and now the Tuesday team completed the other. She looks good again but on close inspection bird poo has damaged the cabin roof paintwork so that will need attention sometime in the future.


What a lovely day for messing about with water. Photo: Keith Bradshaw

For those of you who have visited Duxford recently and are wondering why the Trident is sitting with one flap up and one down, the answer is one is stuck down! The flaps were lowered manually for their annual grease and inspection but on trying to retract them the right hand set would not budge. As yet we don’t have an answer to the problem but we are working on it.



VC10 custodian Colin Tilley has reminded us of a couple of flight deck ‘quirks’ on this magnificent Vickers aeroplane. The Flight Engineer had his very own retractable pencil sharpener mounted on the right hand side of his table, so there were no excuses for not keeping the required notes!  Meanwhile, on the other end of his table he had a set of throttles that mirrored those fitted between the Captain and co-pilot on the centre pedestal. These duplicate throttles were often referred to as the ‘Ghost Controls’

The Flight Engineer’s engine throttles on the end of his table. The blue and silver bottle next to them is a container of ‘Rainbow’ rain repellent for the windscreens. Photo: Colin Tilley



Volunteer Alan hard at work removing the bolts from one of the inspection panels, as you can see the wing is covered in them! Photo: Bob Wright

Work continues on the Trislander to try and solve the constant rain leaks through the cabin roof. With the bit between their teeth the Trislander team have started to remove the 50+ inspection panels on top of the wing and fuselage so that they can clean and reseal them against any water ingress. While the guys are doing this they are also removing any damaged paint and re-priming ready for a wing repaint once all the panels have been refitted.

The lower cowling from number one engine has been removed for repair off site. Custodian Bob continues with the upper wing work. Photo: Keith Bradshaw

On the Trislander the engine cowlings are large two piece fibreglass mouldings and over many hours in service these were beginning to look a bit tatty. The team have removed one from the left hand engine and it is presently being repaired by a boat building yard. If the job is a ‘good ‘un’ the other cowlings will make the same journey. 

This view shows how compact the Lycoming engine is. Photo: Bob Wright


This is the forward freight hold and Dave Swann is looking for a route for the de humidifier drain pipe to run down from the cabin and join up with the water drain mast pipework. Photo: Keith Bradshaw

With the 146 now open for ‘Royal Tours’ an urgent job is to arrange a permanent power supply system to enable the temporary extension lead lights to be replaced in the cabin and also provide a supply for the de humidifier. Engineering manager Dave Swann has a plan in place for this and work has already started to rig up a supply using the standard IWM power point feeding through a distribution box to a transformer. In fitting this equipment all efforts are being made not to alter or disturb the existing aircraft structure or wiring any more than necessary.


The power distribution box mounted neatly on the tray vacated by the Radio altimeter T/R unit. The gauge to its left is part of the charging point for the stall recovery system. Photo: Keith Bradshaw

For instance the power lead is being fed into the fuselage via an existing access panel that housed the electrical plug for one of the aircraft supplies. The distribution box is being fitted onto a shelf that was left empty when Pionair removed the Radio altimeter transceiver and the drain pipe from the de humidifier will run into the original aircraft water drain mast piping alleviating the need to drill a hole through the fuselage. 

This is the view from the forward freight door looking aft, the large cylinder is the water tank and the pipework to the drain mast into which the de humidifier drain will fit runs below it along the fuselage floor. Photo: Keith Bradshawutterings.

This work and the need for any new wiring to be fitted by our electrician Alan, means the job will take a few weeks to complete but you can follow the updates here on maintenance mutterings.

Looking forward from the freight bay door a removed panel reveals the back of the racking in the electrics bay. The cables from the new distribution box will run over this rack to join up with the transformer which will be fitted in the bay. Photo: Keith Bradshaw

Elsewhere on the 146, the control locks that were made last month have finally been fitted by Richard from the Tuesday crew. These will stop the flying controls from moving around in the wind,

Richard fitting the control locks onto the elevators. Photo: Keith Bradshaw


The volunteers of the Duxford Aviation Society don’t spend all their time on aircraft projects as there are lots of other things that need attention. We have as you can imagine a large archive covering our aircraft and there are a number of members in the archive team who try and make some sense of all the paperwork and items we have squirreled away over time. All this obviously needs a home and after having to give back to the IWM one of the huts we used for storage we were allocated another small room. However this room had not been used for many years and was in a bad state of repair. DAS volunteers have cleared it, repaired and skimmed the floor and added a coat of paint ready to hand it over to the Archive team.


Shop volunteers John and Eamon open up ready to receive a flow of customers at a recent Duxford flying day. Photo: John Macloughlin.

Finally to support all these projects and others, we are immensely grateful to John and his team in the DAS shop for the continual flow of funds into our bank account. The shop team are always busy, especially on flying days and air shows. The stock is constantly changing so if you are passing be sure to drop in and have a look around.



That’s all for this month   Keith

Final note from the Trislander team.

Following the recent heavy rain the cabin of the Trislander was .........(drum roll)  DRY!!!
So whatever we have done seems to have worked, we just need to figure out exactly what that was!



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