Early in 2010 we were informed that the old World War 1 hangar on the airfield at Filton had been designated as no longer fit for use due to roof problems. We have been offered some other buildings on the airfield and negotiations on their use are in progress with BAE SYSTEMS.
Clearly this has brought to a halt any work on the rear fuselage which at 27ft long is unsuitable for home working.
In the meantime work has continued on the nose fuselage to replace the completely missing starboard side of the cockpit glazing structure and the support structure for the sliding roof hatch.. This is now substantially completed and a wooden trolley has been built to hold the nose and also allow it to be turned over so the bottom surface can be seen for the first time. Our fears that scrapes at the front suggesting that the nose had been pushed on the ground which could have caused significant damage to the underside were mostly unfounded. This damage is repairable but will require removable of the double skinning inside the fuselage on the port side and will need considerable manhours.
On September 18th Airbus UK had an open day for employees and families at Filton and we were given space to show some of the restoration that has been underway.
The accompanying photos show the major parts of our display : the nose fuselage, the newly delivered complete finished landing gear from Messier Services and one of the restored Mercury engines from the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust.
The landing gear units had only been delivered from Messier Services two days before and the next photo shows the main gears with some of the Messier apprentices (in front of an A320 landing gear) just before delivery. The missing retraction jacks have been replaced with dummy units for each main gear and these have been reproduced so accurately externally as to be easily mistaken for real working jacks.
Both Mercury engine units are fully restored with all the existing nacelle structure. The one on display has a fully working set of cooling gills and when all the machining of the gill mechanism castings is complete they will be installed on the other engine unit. The display engine and all the landing gear has now been put on display in the Bristol Aero Collection ￼￼￼￼￼museum at Kemble airfield near Cirencester. By the time of the display some of the nose fuselage skin panels had been repaired and green prime painted as can be seen in the second photo below.
The control column/seat frame shown in the last report has now had all the missing seat mounting structure made and replaced. With the aid of photos and drawings made of the IWM Bolingbroke at Duxford the bucket style pilots seat is to be made. The inset instrument panel shown in the last report has been restored and prime painted.
￼￼￼￼￼Some of the replacement skin panels for the centre wing box have been made by aeronautical trainees at the City of Bristol College in Filton but work has been stopped while the Aeronautical part of the College has moved to a much larger facility a few miles away in Almondsbury. The centre wing box was finally moved to their new facility just before this report was written. The picture below shows the wing being unloaded from the transporter. The panels were removed before transport.
D T Bradley September 2010