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About Tramatoa

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  • Location
    North West England
  • Interests
    Yellow Wessex

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  1. Well it’s back to the Stygian gloom of nightshift after a week of complying with orders from SWMBO, a real case of mixed blessings. On the minus side I’ve had six hours of BBC European election drivel, on the plus side I won’t have to paint any more flipping fence panels for a couple of days. At least we can continue our tour of the Trans Deck in peace and quiet. These first two snaps give a slightly different perspective on the rear right hand side of the deck. Note the foot was wirelocked with what we referred to as coat hanger wire which took quite a lot of grunt to get twisted correctly. The area was then oversealed (walnut whipped) with Polycast, as previously mentioned a chromate yellow two part setting compound. Behind this you can see another sealant plug in the cross member, in this case it has shrunken with age and both have lost their colour. The second image gives a good view of the hydraulic pipework and clipping. Nearly done on this side, I hope you are still with me but if you’re cheesed off I won’t be putting it back to the people .
  2. I thought I had a good selection of Biggles books from my early teenage years but didn’t remember this one. After a bit of looking online the book in question would seem to be ‘The Camels are Coming’ published in 1932. "The Camel closed up until it was flying beside him; the pilot smiling. Biggles showed his teeth in what he imagined to be an answering smile. 'You swine,' he breathed: 'you dirty, unutterable, murdering swine! I'm going to kill you if it's the last thing I do on earth.'" This may indicate that the Hun had done something beastly to one of his chums or possibly got some instant coffee in the sugar which can seriously spoil a cup of tea; you can never be completely sure with RAF (and presumably RFC) aircrew. Seemingly it was the first In the series and I’ll have to order a copy now out of curiosity. Pip pip, Tramatoa http://www.biggles-online.com/book/the-camels-are-coming/
  3. I hope they won’t mind me posting this as it might bring some visitors their way. You will never have seen anything quite like it.
  4. Just for info if you go to the Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker (it’s even signposted as such as you approach it) near Nantwich in Cheshire you can see a real ‘bucket of instant sunshine’ in its handling trolley, decommissioned obviously. I took my son a couple of years ago and was amazed by the sheer volume of material they have there. It is highly recommended for anyone who has an interest in the Cold War and I would go so far as to say I found it more immediate than the Cold War museum at Cosford which if you took away the aircraft would be a bit tame. This is a monument to the owners total obsession with collecting memorabilia from both east and west, totally bonkers. They even have a missile silo control room full of stuff brought back after the Wall came down. Hack Green is a very intense experience which will take you straight back to 1980, warts and all, I know that sounds trite but I honestly have never come across anything quite like it. I came away thinking thank god our kids will hopefully never have to face the prospect of nuclear war. Just don’t eat the scones, they were baked by Leonid Brezhnev himself........
  5. This week I find myself amongst the Morlocks for a change, which at least gives me the opportunity to work on completing our guided tour of the right hand side of the Wessex trans deck if I don’t get eaten at lunchtime. Our first photo shows the area at the front of the beetle back At the centre we can see the rotor brake and you can just about make out the corroded brake disc to its rear which would have been bright in service. Immediately behind this is the drive pulley and drive belt for the Oil Cooler. Forward of the Rotor Brake sits the short section of drive shaft which connects to the MRGB. The coupling is to absorb shock and we would check the rubber pads for condition and disbonding. Looking slightly further aft we can see what I assume is one of the Tail Rotor control cables which runs over to the Servo on the left hand side under the beetleback. The correct terminology for this escapes me, sorry. Look up and we see the pressure gauge and charging point for the right hand hydraulic system (which needs topping up ) and a slightly clearer view of the Oil Cooler. Last one for tonight, same area looking forwards toward the MRGB. At centre we see the forward end of the previously mentioned driveshaft. Above left is one of the hydraulic pumps (does anyone have a copy of the Westland course notes???) and below right is..... well I guess MRGB filter housing but lord knows how it got into this condition. It looks like it has suffered a major overheat or some fire damage. Before I get back to the delights of nightshift one last question. I recall we used to replace a thing I remember as a cruciform coupling up here which contained a black rubber cross which would loose its shape over time. Can anyone remember what this might have been? Pip pip, Tramatoa
  6. Enough joviality, here are a couple of additional snaps of the area giving a better view of the hydraulic gubbinses at the rear of the reservoir and the return filter housing. To the the rear of this we can see the lower end of the right hand primary jack and it’s input bellcrank, this time in dark sea grey. It was always a bit random whether these were left in primer or finished, I’m not sure why this was but I would imagine that when the gearbox assembly was overhauled the whole thing would be finished in grey before it went out. Remember on a rotor turning clockwise the jacks would be set 45 degrees behind the point where the control input becomes effective, with the pitch change arms giving you the other 45 degrees. It’ll be on YouTube and I’m not going there unless you really want me to. We can also see that the forward right hand gearbox foot is bolted forward of the line of the cockpit rear bulkhead and is hidden by the structure.
  7. Were you by any chance on a certain odd Gallic type with blades that went round the wrong way? If so I can sympathise with your loadie’s petty jealousies. The Airfix kit was more solidly built........
  8. We were informed some time ago by one of your stokers that the Wessex was powered by ‘nutty slack’, having said that I spent some time peering around in the fuel tanks and never came across any of this mysterious substance (I can confirm there wasn’t a golden rivet down there either ).
  9. The rear of the right hand hydraulic reservoir with pressure switches and the back of the return filter housing. Looks like my earlier guess at the clogging indicator was wrong and this is at the rear left? To the left of the picture we have one of the control bellcranks which connects to the bottom of one of the primary control actuators (the primer green bit). The old grey matter is creaking under the strain so do feel free to comment as my terminology may be a bit off. The remaining grey tubes are the bracing struts for the gearbox, two to the upper bracket and two smaller ones to the lower bracket. More of this later. A tip is to mentally break any fussy area like this up into systems and concentrate on one at a time, in this case hydraulic, flying controls and transmission. It makes it easier to see your way round. Pip pip, Tramatoa
  10. Well here we go! Any ex-Wessex bod will recognise this as the first thing you see when you open the right hand access door before the tricky business of getting your leg over the bracing wire. There has been a lot of water, and a dozen or so type courses under this particular bridge so I am going to rely on you lot for corrections. Please feel free and hopefully we’ll dig up some more useful gen. At left we have the stop bracket which holds the winch door flush with the door closed. To the rear the right system hydraulic reservoir then the return filer with a rusty clogging indicator and I’m assuming the pressure transducer. Blimey it’s been such a long time and I threw out my Q course notes about twenty five years ago! I’d be interested to know if the Fish Heads could throw any light on why these hand painted DTD codes appear on gearboxes and oil tanks (other than the obvious ). It’s not something you see nowadays. I spent an interesting Friday morning at Westland’s small unit at Weston Super Mare towards the end of my course (1988 ish) and I think this is where gearboxes were overhauled, it was all very cottage industry by today’s standards. We were told that the blokes who worked there had specialised in particular tasks for years and that the skills they had were disappearing as they retired, hand lapping gears and the like. It’s probably been knocked down for houses years ago. Pip pip, Tramatoa
  11. The last thing for you before I progress onto the transmission platform is the area immediately above the cockpit sliding windows. Again I had forgotten about this until I stood and looked down but there are two small transparent blisters which allow you to see the window upper sliding rail is correctly engaged and latched and the emergency release handle which, when pulled, disconnects this rail and allows the window to detach. First the starboard side; and the port side; Lower right you can see the secondary locking device I mentioned earlier in the open position, you can see that it had been a while since that pip pin had been out! Perhaps a bit of WD40 and some scotchbrite might be more appropriate than emery cloth and elbow grease........
  12. Next up the four sections of grille surrounding the upper part of the MRGB. Even I’m struggling to come up with some exciting facts about these..........
  13. Before starting on the dog’s breakfast that is the trans deck I thought we would have a look at a couple of things which I spotted on the way up that seem to be overlooked. Firstly this was new to me, and certainly wasn’t fitted in my time. I’ve not come across any incidents where one of the transmission platform doors has opened in flight but you would assume that is why this mod appeared. Operation is straightforward, just pull out the pip pin and rotate through 90 degrees then open the door as normal.
  14. Tramatoa

    Visiting Ypres

    What you need is a copy of Mike O’Connor’s book from the Airfields and Airmen series specific to Ypres ( ISBN: 9780850527537). To be honest you wouldn’t regret buying the set, they are well written and informative guides to aviation activity in a specific area, exactly what you are looking for. Pip pip, Tramatoa
  15. Today we have the detail of the right hand access door for the transmission deck, with the winch panel open. You can clearly see the piano hinge is in two parts with the bracket for the winch frame sway braces in the middle. The inner skin appears to be fixed in place with blind rivets, probably Avdels, and finished with a dark sea grey non-slip coating. Hinge details for the winch door with the Astra Cinema to the rear. I was in the cinema at Halton watching The Killing Fields and when we came out we heard poor old Tommy Cooper had taken his last bow live on stage at Her Majesties. Funny how some things stick in the mind isn’t it? And the rear of the platform with the bracing cable. I’d not noticed the small hinge bracket at the aft end before but I suppose it makes sense when you see the curvature at this point. To the right of my foot is the aforementioned bracket for the winch frame braces. I had forgotten how many doublers there were on the inside of these doors and they are really noticeable when you look at this angle. Pip pip, Tramatoa
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