Summer 2015 Update.
Story added on 21st July 2015
Slowly the site is taking on a new shape with several aircraft moves being completed over the summer. The Tornado is now parked much further up the site and is in a much more photogenic position These moves means the planned concreting and building can go on at the bottom of the site without risk to any of our aircraft. One of the major improvents noticed by members and visitors alike is the replacement of the roof glazing in the main hanger. Let there be light and there was light. Much better for working and viewing.
First past the post in the re-painting stakes is the Saudi T55 Lightning. Of course they are never really finished as its always possible to find new aspects of a repaint to improve on but at some stage you have to re assign the resources elsewhere. Complete with its Arabic markings in place its gleaming silver torso is good for a few more years of exposure to the Midlands atmosphere. Just after completion the cockpit was opened and although a cockpit renovation isnt needed its always prudent to have a check on its condition. The interior is covered up by a waterproof cover which catches the water ingeress very nicely. A small amount of corrosion was dealt with on the Pilots Harness buckles but the general condition was excellent. The 8 day clock was wound up and it started just fine. The whole interior was treated with an interior cleaner and lubricant and the waterproof cover re instated. Although it cant be seen (we hope) a new method is being trialled to keep the birds from alighting on the aircraft spine and making a mess. It consists of a fishing line strectched between the cockpit UHF aerial right down to the tail and then re attached to the other Cockpit UHF aerial. Initial results appear pretty good and it does seem to deter the bigger birds anyway. But time will tell and its not copyrighted at all so you are welcome to use the idea if it suits your requirements.
The Dassault Mystere in its new livery and the Beagle interior are coming along well and pictures will follow on the next update.
Her is an answer to a question that you never thought to ask. If you are either a Canberra enthusiast or a WW2 Radar/Radio afficianado you might have wondered why English Electric made the Canberra Fin skin out of marine ply covered with doped fabric and not aluminium alloy. It wasnt a weight C of G issue as some people think but one of requirements to give the Navigation equipment "Gee" aerial a place to fit. The frequency of "Gee" was only just above the frequency used by aircraft VHF communication but the aerial needed to have a reasonably high gain for the equipment to operate at all at extreme range from the transmitters. Not going to go in to the details of how "Gee" worked as its covered by several good web articles. But it did mean the Canberra,s initial requirement was set in stone for the rest of the aircrafts life well after the "Gee" system was discontinued. For those who have never had the chance to look inside the Fin (and who has) the atached photo taken during the restoration of our Canberra PR3 WF922 shows the aerial in all its glory.
As with most museums the average age of the volunteers is still far to high. This inevitably means that some eventually check out to the big hanger in the sky and this has been the case recently with us. A well liked worker and guide has recently passed on and along with all the members we would like to pass on our condolances to his family. No Names No pack drill but members will of course be aware of the details.