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Maintenance Mutterings 2


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Added by Keith Bradshaw on 02 February 2022

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Welcome to the second edition of our series looking at the work of the Duxford Aviation Society volunteers. First a quick look back at a couple of the major achievements from 2021 made all the more astounding due to regular Covid lock downs and social distancing.

We had for some time wanted to repaint the Ambassador and when the IWM at short notice kindly offered us a week in the Airspace hangar it was all hands on deck to make the most of the opportunity to start the paint job.

Being placed into the Airspace hangar prior to painting. From this distance she doesn’t look too bad but that was not the reality! Photo: Richard Baker
In the week she was inside great progress was made with he entire tail assembly being fully repainted. Photo: keith Bradshaw

With limited time and limited numbers allowed in the hangar (Covid regs) we knew from the start the job would not be finished in a week. However due to a stirling effort by all concerned she rolled out seven days later with all the top surfaces repainted in white and the tailplane and fins completely repainted. Work then continued piecemeal out on the ramp until she once again looked amazing in a new coat of paint.

With her paintwork nearly complete all the work in the hangar and on the ramp was paying off. Photo: Keith Bradshaw

Another long time project which came to end was the refurbishment of the Britannia engine cowlings. This was a much longer job than was originally thought as the cleaning , repair and final polishing of the cowlings took many hours of hard work by a large number of volunteers. Now with the polished cowlings refitted the Britannia looks a picture whenever the sun shines.

The Britannia cowlings had been off for a long time, but this did give a good view of the Proteus engines. Photo: Keith Bradshaw


The sheer size of the cowling pieces is clear from this picture taken during their refit.                Photo: Marketa  Vyletova.
With all her cowlings polished and refitted OVT looks as good as new again. Photo: Keith Bradshaw

Coming up to date, the Viscount seat project has started with all the passenger seats from the starboard side having been removed. They are having the old seat covering and foams removed before the seat frames are cleaned and repainted.

Viscount seats freshly out of the cabin awaiting their turn in the refurb line. Photo: Keith Bradshaw

They then go to Ray our upholsterer for new seat foams and coverings (made by Ray) to be fitted. Whilst the seats are out work is going on in the passenger cabin to replace damaged side wall trim and fit new carpet. When the Starboard side seats are finished it will be the turn of the port side. Ray has to make 60 sets of seat covers and foams in total!

With the seat frames cleaned and re painted work is going on recovering the grey side panels. Photo: Keith Bradshaw
With the seats out work can be carried out repairing the side wall panels and laying new carpet. Photo: Keith Bradshaw

The other big project the volunteers have been involved in is preparing our Herald for dismantling before its shipment to the Morayvia museum in Scotland where it is going on long term loan to allow space at Duxford for our new BAe146.

With her props and cowlings already removed PWJ starts her last trip down the Duxford taxiway. Photo: Keith Bradshaw

Work has involved taking her off the axle stands and repairing a cracked undercarriage strut. The props and cowlings were then removed prior to her being towed one last time down the Duxford flight line to the end of the jet pan for dismantling. The final job carried out by the DAS volunteers was the removal of her two Dart engines. After 37 years at Duxford all at DAS will be sad to see her go.

The sun rises on not just a new day but a new life for our Herald. Photo: Keith Bradshaw


With help from our Military Vehicle colleagues work begins removing the Herald’s Dart engines. Photo: Marketa Vyletova
With engines removed and sitting on the far end of the jet pan PWJ awaits the contractors who will dismantle her for shipment to Morayvia in Scotland. Photo: Carol Archer

That’s it for now, our next article will appear at the end of the month and the next Maintenance Mutterings in the middle of March. 


Main title photo: Stuart Stan Matthews

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