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Hayes Way
Patchway, BS34

Aerospace Bristol is a new industrial heritage museum and learning centre being developed at Filton, to the north of Bristol. It will tell the story of the region's world-class aerospace industry - past, present and future. The Aerospace Bristol project is being run by the Bristol Aero Collection Trust.

Conservation blog

Conservation Update Autumn 2019

Martha Lewington

We have successfully delivered our project Out of the Archive Hold, which was funded by the National Archives. During the project we were able to fully catalogue almost 400 boxes of archive material, which are now available to search via the National Archives Discovery website. Sadly, this also means we’ve said goodbye to our project archivist Ashleigh Fowler, who left us in September. The final blog post of the project was written by our volunteers and can be found here.

Our Collections Review project has begun looking at the objects in our reserve collections. This project aims to collect new and existing information on the objects in our stores and review whether we are still the right place for them. It may be that something which does not fit in with our vision, could become the jewel in the crown of another organisation. We’ve recently recruited a team of research volunteers to assist with the project; we expect the review to last around 3 years, so please keep an eye out for other volunteer opportunities.

Work is continuing behind the scenes to transform Hangar 16M into a conservation workspace. The work should be completed in 2020, allowing us to show our visitors more of the hard work which goes into our conservation program. The work being carried out to the Bolingbroke is continuing well and by the time we move into 16M, it should be possible to reunite many of the aircraft sections.

CONSERVATION UPDATE SUMMER 2019

Martha Lewington

Bolingbroke 9048

Progress on the Bristol Bolingbroke is continuing thanks to the dedication and hard work of the volunteers.

Below you will be able to see the trial fit of the elevators to the Tailplane. The seal between the elevator and the Tailplane trailing edge is made from hardwood with some clever shaping.

Conservation update

With both Elevators temporary fitted (the first time in many years).

Conservation update

The Elevators before we started repairing them.

Conservation update

Elgan and Brian riveting the centre wing top skins.

Conservation update

The aim is to build the centre wing structure so that the other main structural assemblies such as the Cockpit, tail structure and Tailplane can be fitted.

A reminder of the aircraft flying over Alaska.

Credit: BAE Systems

Conservation update

Conservation Update Spring 2019

Martha Lewington

Bolingbroke 9048

Work has continued through the winter in spite of the cold, the workshop has been barely above freezing at times, (the Conservation volunteers are a hardy bunch). We are looking forward to the completion of 16m at the end of this year to be able to work in dry, relatively warm conditions. The aircraft will eventually be able to be assembled as a complete aircraft with the extra space.

 

Here is the new instrument panel in place (unpainted).

Bolingbroke

We are progressively trimming the new moulded Perspex glazings, the white paper covering is to prevent the new glazings from scratches.

Bolingbroke

In the previous report (located below this report) we mentioned that we had a missing Tail-plane wingtip, but were able to make a replacement by copying the one we had. Below you can see both wingtips fitted one is complete the other wooden leading edge manufacture is underway.

Bolingbroke
 

The task of making the parts for the major structure at the rear of the fin is underway. This structural beam when assembled will then support the hanging of the rudder.

Bolingbroke

You can see below some of the many parts required to be made from scratch prior to assembly.

Bolingbroke

You may remember the picture of the elevators from the last newsletter, see below.

Bolingbroke
 

And now you can see below this elevator is now resembling an aircraft flying control, almost ready for painting and covering with fabric.

Bolingbroke

With work progressing on the current aircraft parts we have in the workshop it was time to fetch the centre wing from one of the outbuildings next to the Brabazon hangar. This centre wing is the heart of the aircraft as all major parts are bolted to it. See the picture below of the move.

Bolingbroke

And now horizontal in16R. There is a huge amount of work required to complete the structure of the centre wing. When it is complete we will be able to bolt the cockpit on to the front and the tail fuselage and tail-plane on the back. Then fit the landing gear and eventually the engines and outer wings.

Bolingbroke
 

Tram Conservation

The unrestored side of the Tram was showing signs of deterioration so a survey was carried out by a specialist conservator. Following the recommendations and obtaining donations from The Idlewild Trust and The Aurelius Charitable Trust we commissioned the conservation works.

Several areas needed attention: The roof, the rear stairs (missing) top step, the windows were slipping and the side panel was bowed and crumbling in areas.

A roof plank was replaced as was the step. See below the step that was replaced.

Tram

The structure under the side panel was in remarkably good condition considering it is more than 100 years old.

Tram

Formers were made to support he bowed side panel and the original panel was replaced. The replaced or repaired areas are deliberately obvious so there is no doubt what is original.

Tram

Bolingbroke 9048 restoration progress

Martha Lewington

November 2018

We’re pleased to offer an update on the fantastic progress our Collections Team and Restoration Volunteers have made on the Bristol Bolingbroke.

It’s been around 3 months since we resumed work on the Bolingbroke, with our initial focus on the cockpit and tailplane. This is partly due to space constraints and partly to capture the knowledge of our volunteer team and make progress on the cockpit, which is probably the most complex part of the aircraft.


Inside the cockpit

Look carefully and you will see the refurbished rudder pedals have been trial fitted. You can see the new leather straps for the pilot’s feet.

Bolingbroke
 

Replacing the instrument panel

We are in the process of manufacturing a replacement instrument panel, as the original was severely damaged. We don’t have the drawings for this, so have used a mix of the original remnants and photographs. The black areas shown in the photograph are the remnants of the original instrument panel.

Bolingbroke

Bolingbroke

Repairing the tailplane

Repairing the tailplane structure in preparation to fitting the wingtip.

On the Tailplane we had an issue of significant damage to the structure and a missing wing tip.

The solution to the missing wingtip was to copy the one we had. Fortunately, they were designed to be fitted on either side so we could make an exact copy and know it would fit.


Riveting the new wingtip

One of the next tasks is to make a rear support structure for the Tailfin. This box section supports the rudder. And is a difficult component to make due to the thickness of the material and the number of interfaces with other aircraft parts at quite close tolerances.

Bolingbroke
Bolingbroke
Bolingbroke
Bolingbroke

Rudders and elevators

We are now turning our attention to the rudder and elevators. As you can see below, they are in need of a lot of TLC.

Bolingbroke
Bolingbroke

Thank you to all our restoration volunteers

We would like to say a huge thank you to all of the volunteers who are putting in so much hard work on the Bolingbroke restoration. The workshop is open for visitors to view whenever the volunteers are working and it has already proven very popular with visitors.

Of course, we will keep you updated as work progresses.