Spring 2016 update.
Story added on 28th February 2016
Well its been some time since an update has been added so I thought it about time to attack the keyboard.
The museum is undergoing some expansion and as such a lot of effort by volunteers has gone in to the very un-newsworthy task of demolition of some outbuildings to make way for the new planned extension. More on that subject when its up and running. An extension to the concreted area in front of the Robin hanger will be the first stage of the building work. All of this means that some aircraft projects have to be put on hold as the volunteer pool is relatively small(and not all young).
However as you may be aware as you are reading this that we aquired the Victor nose section from XH582 from Bruntingthorpe late last year. This was a K1A aircraft and was built circa 1959. There are lots of web pictures and information of its in service life and technical training days at Cosford available on the web and I wont duplicate them on here. Suffice to say that when it was scrapped at Cosford the nose section went to Bruntingthorpe where it served as a visitor attraction. We aquired the section and moved it to Coventry where it is being worked on with the aim to share the V bomber experience with the Vulcan. I certainly wouldnt comment or decry the efforts that went on with the cockpit section before it came to Coventry but we do have criteria with exhibits that have to be met. The main thing is that it was saved and lives to tell the tale of the all important Cold War V force.
Right now the cockpit is undergoing restoration to our stage one configuration to a time scale that should see it opened to public view at Easter (no absolute promise because of the close proximity to the building work) ring first if its your sole reason to visit. This means that it will be safe to enter under the supervision of a guide and full access to all seats will be given. Spot Lighting has been introduced to enable the cockpit to be viewed properly and of course photos are allowed. At certain times during special open days the cockpit will be powered up and the restoration to date will be explained by our guides. Obviously there will be untouched and unrestored areas that will form stage two and three of the interior restoration that visitors will have to accept as is. The exterior is down to be painted and the squadron badge renewed during the coming summer. The cockpit will be closed from October onwards for the winter to allow further restoration to take place.
The photos show the restoration progress to date with a much improved although probably not entirely accurate back seaters panels installed. The trade off being that we could get them accurate if we could get the correct equipment to fit but at a cost probably well outside our budget for the project. The pilots centre fuel panel has been renovated and rewired as have some of the side panels. A working radio is installed to enhance the experience, (sometimes a blessing and sometimes a curse) but it can always be turned off. If your profficient at morse there is a period Bath tub key to play with at the AEOs station complete with sound.
Now it is not meant to sound as though there is no other aircraft work going on at all at the museum but it has been limited. Interior work on the Beagle is still ongoing as are plans to make it much more user friendly by lowering it. The Electra cockpit now has an interactive simulated start up sound experience added and if you want to hear the Allison roar (was it a roar or a whine) ring firat to make sure that it is being opened on your planned visiting day as it is not always possible to open it with limited guides available.
Just recently there have been numerous (and I means numerous ) school visits of sometimes between 20 to 100 pupils all of which involve a lot of organising and is very labour intensive for the volunteers who have to turn there hand to guiding. The plus side being is that it provides income and publicity for us as some of the children drag there parents back for a longer visit.
We are also hosting the Viscount Members association in September and looking forward to increasing our knowledge from theres as usual.
Just a few photos of the Victor nose section to whet your appetite.