Story added on 13th August 2012
Starting the news this month with a report of a new working team at the museum. It is our newly formed Junior Restoration Section. Always difficult to encourage the younger generation to make the effort to come to the museum on a regular basis but if we get a corum then we allocate a senior member to oversee the work and try to ensure that it is challenging and interesting. This team have started the repaint of the Westland Whirlwind. They have broken the back of the preparation stage and have just started to apply the top coat. We wish them every success in their project and hope the weather and enthusiasm holds out for them to finish the job.
The Mig 21 is getting its final new coat of paint in its new shiny colours. Spraying is never an easy excercise when done outside , but somehow the two man team have done a remarkable job of getting this interesting exhibit in its new livery. More photos will follow when its completed and positioned in the Robin Hanger for the winter.
Finally in what seems a fairly short newsletter a few pictures of the newest addition to our collection. The Electra had been dry stored for a number of years and one of our main priorities was the fitment of new windscreens to ensure that it was weatherproofed for the winter. The screens were taken out we presume by the decommisioning team (sounds so much better than the scrapping gang) at Bournemouth and reused in flying aircraft. Being a frugal lot we decided to have a go at the job using perspex. As any restorer will tell you the downside of this is that its a fairly fragile long term medium and very prone to stress fractures even if perfectly drilled. So we had to find a way to replicate the screens so that they looked the part, make the aircraft waterproof and not drill a single hole in the perspex. Most windscreens on large aircraft are fairly thick to enable them to withstand the cabin pressure and to accomodate the heating element in some manner. This led us to our method of construction.
Cutting a template to window size from plastic provided the basis for the basic perspex cutting (or rather scoring and separating) operation. Next some timber plained to size by a local firm provided the correct thickness for the screens, putting two perspex sheets together seperated by the wood around the edge and hey presto you have a screen. Well it sounds easy but to cut down on the double glazed condensation problem it all had to glued,screwed (the wood) and sealed before fitting. Plenty of sealant on the windscreen surrounds, fabrication of new eyebrow strips (not easy) and you have an almost indistinguishable replica of an aircraft screen without a drill hole in sight. Total cost ( we had the perspex) around £12, that kept the treasurer happy at any rate. Some slight re-arrangement of the centre console has taken place to provide a bit of symmetry, but with limited resources we accdept that a current pilot might find difficulty in finding his way around the mixture of panels. But that is easily rectified over time. The nose cone has been rubbed down and primed. This revealed various paint colours that have adorned N5535 during its life. A colour scheme for the nose has been decided on and it will be one that the aircraft flew in, but you will have to wait for the WIP pictures before it is revealed.
Thats it for July news. There is plenty of time for that planned visit before the end of the school holidays. Nothing like getting close and personal with the aircraft. Bring a picnic as we have plenty of benches to keep the creepy crawlies out of your food. Group visits are always welcomed, guides can be on hand if needed, to arrange this please ring the museum with your requirements and we will do our very best to ensure you have a good experience.