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richw_82

Avro Shackleton WR963

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Rich thats stunning, I popped to AIRBASE a month or so ago as I had to drop my girlfriend off in Coventry. Was worth the visit! Thanks for posting here.

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I did, but sadly the day I went the weather was gloomy, so I didn't take many photo's, Just mean's I have to go back! I'm only down the road in Stratford too. Cheers Rich,

Radleigh.

Actually, I just looked at my post I put up and have only just seen your reply! Thanks for that Rich, I did however go on the Tuesday and then went back the Wednesday as I didn't realise it wasn't open on Tuesdays! I would of if I'd seen your reply. I'll let you know if I head back, I will, but it won't be just yet!

Edited by Radleigh

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26 Nov

With the night run fast approaching, we didn't want to be down to two engines, given that our ongoing issue with No 2 prop puts us down one from the full four. Not groovy! Not happening either. We were determined to repair the snag with No 3 engine.

(this was the issue of a large amount of fuel from the drains, and a reluctance to stop when the Slow Running Cut Off was activated.)

Well, all this week e-mails had been flying backward and forward, scans of manuals, and the Griffon AP was being studied in several homes up and down the country. We had a plan.

Arriving at Coventry early in the morning, we set about removing various cowling panels and then set about removing the intake ducting that contains the filters.

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This is secured by pip pins, and a couble of latches, but is made difficult to remove by the drains and the air operated, spring loaded flap that selects where the inlet air comes from.

It took us just under an hour to get the engine to a state where we coud see up into the throttle, and if cracked open, beyond it into the supercharger's intake. The throttle is a rotary barrel, which is in the rectangular duct at the bottom of this pic.

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With the aid of a bright light, we than activated the slow running cutoff and the booster pumps. By monitoring where the excess fuel appeared from (as the drains all terminate here) we could tell where the fault lay.

Within seconds there was a large amount offuel issuing from the discharge nozzle - which is supposed to be closed under slow running cutoff, and a small dribble from the solenoids own drain. We did replace both these items last week, but it seems they still werent quite right.

Reaching up into the intake, we could see the nozzle wasn't seating properly, so this time it was removed along with its housing. The AP was consulted, and the parts from the latest mod state of engine fitted - taking care at each stage during reassembly to make sure it was seating.

The solenoid was also removed, the valve body submerged in WD40, and the electrical portion cleaned of decades old grease.

Putting it all back together we once again tested the system, and this time the boost pump was running for double the time required to prime the lines, without any fuel dumping. After getting all the ducting back in place (which it never wants to do) we set about testing the engine.

We had a succesful run, and WR963's No 3 engine now behaves in the expected and proper manner!

In other news..

Work continues on VP293. More progress pictures shortly, as it should be going back inside over winter. This was very weird to watch as when the tractor first started to move it, I was looking up from working on No 3 and it looked like it was taxying out...

WR963 will be carrying a genuine Shackleton cargo pannier in the bomb bay some time soon, which we are fitting to carry her canopy/wheel/engine covers. This means a little maintenance on the bomb bay carrier points which is no bad thing.

Kind Regards,

Rich

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Rich,

I've just noticed this thread and would like to offer a huge thankyou for it. I'd love to get actively involved in aircraft restoration, but the reality is, this is probably as close as I'll get for some time so it's been a pleasure to see your progress. Nothing like big ol' V12's, a key part of mans evolution !!!

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Woody,

Glad you like the thread. If at some point you find some spare time on a Saturday, and can make it to Coventry, let me know. We have guys from Kent, Oxford, Bristol and Derbyshire all come to work on keeping the old Shackleton live.

Kind regards,

Rich

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Morning all,

Just a quick update to let you know that the first ground run of the year for WR963 will be carried out on 28th Jan.

Work still continues on the Shackleton, but has been slowed a little by the frosty weather. The pneumatic sytem is currently getting some attention in order to get working air systems back on the aircraft. As well as minor things such as de-icing, they also control radiator shutters - and more importantly - BRAKES!

Rich

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Morning all,

Just a quick update to let you know that the first ground run of the year for WR963 will be carried out on 28th Jan.

Work still continues on the Shackleton, but has been slowed a little by the frosty weather. The pneumatic sytem is currently getting some attention in order to get working air systems back on the aircraft. As well as minor things such as de-icing, they also control radiator shutters - and more importantly - BRAKES!

Rich

Thanks Rich, I'll try and get up for this money permitting!

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21 Jan

Today saw us dodging rainstorms to get things done. Further work to the starboard pneumatic system was the object of the day. We used compressed air from a portable compressor to charge various parts of the system, and blow through sections of piping to confirm whether there was a free flow or blockages. This showed up a stuck relief valve, a stuck pressure regulator and a charging point venting to atmosphere.. plenty to go at!

We got the offending items removed, cleaned and reassembled. Most of the stuck parts were down to oil residue, or moisture related seizure. The pressure regulator in particular has two sprung ball valves in it, both were solid with a grey emulsion.

The charging point behaved itself after some lubrication and being worked a few times. It should have been capped, but at some point in time the cap has gone missing. It now has a new one.

Applying more air at the compressor end after we got it all back together saw the gauge in the cockpit start to rise accompanied by a gentle hissing sound. The brakes were used (and found to still take up, with no leaks on the undercarraige legs) to discharge the system and then it was recharged once more. It appears to be working.

We'll know for sure when the engines are run next week whether the compressor and the system as a whole is behaving as it should.

Last but by no means least... one of our crew snuck in to AIRBASE, carrying a rather long roll of carpet. His taste in carpets is - quite frankly - awful, but contained within it were two jewels... replica Hispano cannons for the front of WR963. They didn't stay in the carpet roll long, they're now right where they should be! The mountings will get revised when we get a front turret, but for now even in the fixed position in the nose they look fine.

Work on the conversion back to long bomb doors is to start in two weeks time. Watch this space.

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28 Jan

Not a bad day today, plenty of people at AIRBASE enjoying looking around some of the aircraft that aren't always open. I was there for my usual Saturday task though, looking after the Shackleton.

In between keeping the visitors to the aircraft happy, we found that WR963 seemed a little under the weather. A few gremlins have found a way in over new year; on applying electrical power to the Shackleton's systems this morning we got a crankcase pressure warning light for No 4 engine that wouldn't go out.

Several people started scurrying about fetching manuals and tools, and the cause of the problem was traced to the sensor on the engine's breather system. Despite the time for our run fast approaching, and numerous visitors on site, we managed to cure the offending sensor, it looks as though the bad weather and frost had got to it.

When it came time to start, No 3 and 4 engine started pretty cleanly, No 1 was still in a sulk after the over-priming it got on the night run. It took some coaxing (3 attempts) but was persuaded to join in with proceedings today. Before it next runs it will have a plug change, which should perk it up a bit.

When we got running, all eyes were on the pneumatic pressure gauges, as this system has been our focus over the last few weeks. Success! The system is now charging. We saw a shade over 250psi on the gauge, despite one or two leaks that made themselves known - and that is enough for brakes to work, but not enough for taxying - we need both sides pneumatics working for that, and more pressure. And a full set of props..

Thanks to all that came and watched, and thanks to all the Classic Flight GST for helping. There were an awful lot of cold volunteers shifting barriers and manning aircraft today to make it safe for visitors.

4th Feb

Icy cold at Coventry today... various things frozen up, and not just the aircraft. Poor weather was a major factor, making working conditions difficult to say the least.

It was intended to get cracking on putting some parts on the front of No2 engine ready for the propellers, and get the front bomb doors open - sadly with the icy conditions, windchill, and onset of snow, this wasn't to be.

It wasn't all doom and gloom though, today did see the fitting of a new set of exhaust side spark plugs to No 3 engine. I have to say these are slightly easier to get to and fit than the inlets!

The best part of the day was the arrival of this:

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Its an ASV scanner radome. It was being used as a liner for an ornamental pond in Mansfield, Notts; now its going to be getting a second tour of duty as part of an Avro Shackleton. The fibreglass needs a little attention, but overall its in great condition.

Better luck with weather next week should see more get done.

Kind regards,

Rich

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Woody,

Glad you like the thread. If at some point you find some spare time on a Saturday, and can make it to Coventry, let me know. We have guys from Kent, Oxford, Bristol and Derbyshire all come to work on keeping the old Shackleton live.

Kind regards,

Rich

I will have to get over there one weekend, fantastic stuff :)

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Hi,

I'm totally amazed at the amount of work and the talent of the people involved.

I intend to build Sanger Shackleton AEW2, and I would like to detail it a bit.

Would it be possible for you to send me higher resolution pictures ?

Best regards,

Sébastien

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Sébastien,

Thanks... it does take a bit of effort; and this is only to keep her ground running.

Regarding detail, there's quite a bit of aircraft to cover. Most of my photos are taken in fairly high resolution, but I have to chop them down to get them on various websites and forums. Let me know what you want to see, and I'll do my best to get you what you need, but I'll need an e-mail adress to send the pictures to.

Regards,

Rich

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Hi all,

20th Feb

With weather conditions starting to resemble England in spring, it was much easier to get to working on the aircraft than it has been in the past couple of weeks. There are a few more areas showing a need for leaks stopping, as the evil rainwater has found new ways in.

The rear upper V/UHF aerial mount is leaking, the beam windows seals are weeping, and the sealant has finally broken down around the gunners cupola as it did around the cockpit windows. Its slowly dawning on me why Avro - although they made the finest four engined aircraft in the world - never made a flying boat..

Saying that though, these are not really bad leaks like we had a couple of years ago, but they are persistent and will need attention in drier weather.

Other work done today involved starting to change the exhaust plugs in No 1 engine. It is intended to completely change the plugs in this engine, as it is the most reluctant to start. No 4 will be done in turn after, and No 2 left alone for the moment. Only one bank of exhaust plugs were changed, before the rain got too heavy. At this point it was thought to be unwise to uncowl all the other side of the engine, as it was into the wind and very wet.

The beginnings of organising things for the hangar time has begun, with several of us making a start on clearing a path to our wheels in order to get a good pair out. While we managed to create plenty of room to get to them, their weight is such that we will need more manpower to be able to get them near the door. Once we have a pair back at Coventry, they will need cleaning up and the brakes checking.

A brief search in our store room and the jacking pads have been located, these are now onboard the aircraft ready for fitting. We have secured the help of an ex Fleet Air Arm engineer to oversee the jacking and make sure the operation is carried out safely.

We haven't forgot about opening the front bomb doors up to get started on their conversion, but the cover plate doesn't come off that easily which means during bad weather it is staying in place to keep the elements out. As ever, we're still working off a big list!

Kind regards,

Rich

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Just came across this, amazing work going on there, keep up the mammoth effort she is looking fantastic in the pics, very interesting post's

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Right... photo overload time for the guys that are building model Shackletons, and anyone else that likes this stuff...

This is the view that greets you at the rear door. The beam observers positions are staggered, and the floor raises up as you move forward where the ASV scanner used to go.

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Looking forward. Down the port (left) side is a semicircular covet that fits over the control runs for elevator and rudder.

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The crew ladder is stowed on the wall just behind the rear door. The undercarraige external locks are also stowed here.

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Looking aft. The interior green carries on until the transport joint, then it goes matt black

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Further up inside the aircraft, looking aft from the main spar.

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Looking across at the radio position from the engineers seat. The overhead equipment bays carry on all the way up to the bulkhead beind the pilot and obscure the side windows. This is what you see in external pictures blocking the window.

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Engineers position. You can see the angled electrical panel, which again is prominent in external photographs.

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The cockpit. I tried to get the overhead panel in shot which has the magneto switches, intercom boxes, and autopilot. It obscures most of the upper cental windows. Another point to note is the pilot and copilot escape hatches both have grey fabric shade curtains that can be drawn across the window panel in them. In the centre windscreen panel is usually a compass, but we have this stored along with a few other fragile items.

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Time for a wander back outside.

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Outboard engine nacelle. Note on the wing under surface just outboard of it, the mounting points for rocket rails. They were trialled, and built into the airframe, but I don't believe they ever got used in anger.

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Underneathe the outboard engine, showing the air filter vents, the fuel drain (spine in the centre) and the generator air inlets and outlets.

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Inboard engine nacelle.

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Inside the undercarraige bay, showing the deicing tank. You can also see the fixed links of the undercarraige, and the retract rams. Don't worry, the brown is grease, not rust. As the chances of them retracting any time soon is slim, they need protection against the elements.

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Inside the undercarraige bay, showing wing rib construction here. Not shown as the flash wasn't strong enough is the 37 gallon oil tank just behind the rib construction.

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Inside the bay looking towards the fuselage.

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The rear boat tail to the inboard nacelle. It has a very 'starved horse' look to it on the top surface.

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We dropped the flaps for servicing. As it was developed from a Lincoln wing, the mechanism and construction is very similar.

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Up on top of the wing... spot the deliberate error? Everyone that builds a Shackleton gets rid of the seam down the top of the engine. In reality, its there and its big, as its a massive paino hinge for the cowling tops.

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Anyway, thats the photo essay dealt with; the weekends work report will be coming soon.

Regards,

Rich

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Great pictures, Rich! Makes me want to get back to my MR.2 conversion. I like that you have it in the old camouflage with the Extra Dark Sea Grey (?) over white. A very attractive scheme I always thought.

Regards,

Jason

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It is an extremely good looking scheme, yet it takes some effort to keep clean.

We were looking to repaint her a couple of years ago from the 38 Sqn markings she was wearing. The white scheme was chosen as it was the aircraft's own from delivery in 1954, and it was the only Shackleton paint scheme not seen on any preserved aircraft. One side effect that we didn't count on is that it makes her a lot more recognisable... when we tell people we're working on a Shackleton, we often get asked "Is it the white one?"

The colours are Medium Sea Grey over white. We've deviated from the original in a few areas; the black anti-glare panel was kept, the colours are a glossy, as it helps with the cleaning (original was matt) and we kept the red spinners. No-one knows for certain whether she carried them or not as various 224Sqn aircraft did. We know she didn't by 1957 when they changed to the overall grey.

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Work report 25th Feb

Almost like summer this Saturday! As a result plenty got done around and on the aircraft with 15 of our team in attendance. Lots of movements about the place, the biggest being DC6 G-APSA leaving her usual spot at the side of WR963 to go in the hangar for a survey. Rumours of who, why, what and where are spreading but it seems the survey is being done in regards to seeing her back in the air again.

Back to the Shack...

First job of the day was to drop the flaps and grease the linkages. They started moaning again on the last run, so a little maintenance won't hurt. I got the short straw of pumping them down, and reminded myself just how high up the hand pump is when I missed one of the undercarraige footpegs coming back out the bay.

Each of the flap links has a couple of grease nipples, so the old was wiped clear, and new grease applied.

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You'll notice in the picture there's one link missing... well, way back in the past one of those links seized, and punched through the flap. A small skin repair was done, and the offending link was cut off. Its one of the many small jobs on the list that need attending to, but the hunt is now on in our store for a spare.

More new spark plugs are being fitted; here's an old one against a new one:

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The new ones are NOT aviation plugs. They are Champion RSL87Y, and have been selected for their suitability for what we are doing with the aircraft - ground/taxi runs. They have been used in several display engines and are more resistant to fouling at the low power we use.

Getting them in is a 'fun' job... remember how the inlets were difficult to get to under the intake manifolds? The exhaust plugs are located under the exhaust manifolds, so getting to them is just as interesting. No 3 engine is done, and No 1 engine now has its exhaust set done, with the inlets getting their turn next week.

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Front doors open again. This is for the obvious reason; we're looking at putting them back to use. The drawings have been consulted, which threw up some surprises, as it looks like Hawker Siddeley Aviation went and doodled over the top of the original Avro drawings then allocated a new number to them to make the AEW2.

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There is enough left to work from which allowed us to see how the doors are constructed, in particular the 'spar' which runs through the centre of the door. Fortunately for us, it made up of several smaller assemblies, so we can connect the doors togather again. Even better was the discovery that the rib profiles for the door are symmetrical from front to rear.

Parts are now being gathered such as mountings, rams, lines and switches ready to put the doors back to full length. Also the first prop parts have arrived on site, some brand new oil tubes, which are now fitted into the engine.

Interesting visitors today were several members of the Jon Egging Trust, who the SPT hope to be able to assist in the future.

Rich

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63 years ago today, the first test flight of the prototype Avro Shackleton took place at the hands of Avro's Chief Test Pilot J.H. "Jimmy" Orrell.

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Hi Rich,

great work by all at Baggington, great to see the Shack making a comeback.

Great shame we don't know what the future holds, could have had a 'shed load' of spares from Bitterswell!

Remember a familys day there, (RAIN not withstanding!) and one of the hangers crammed with Aeroplanes

undergoing deep service work. As well as the Shacks from 8 Sqn. there were Victors, Vulcans, Buccs, Harriers............... :weep:

Keep us informed of your progress.

All the best,

Paul

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Hi Rich,

great work by all at Baggington, great to see the Shack making a comeback.

Great shame we don't know what the future holds, could have had a 'shed load' of spares from Bitterswell!

Remember a familys day there, (RAIN not withstanding!) and one of the hangers crammed with Aeroplanes

undergoing deep service work. As well as the Shacks from 8 Sqn. there were Victors, Vulcans, Buccs, Harriers............... :weep:

Keep us informed of your progress.

All the best,

Paul

Hi Paul,

Thankfully our group managed to secure quite a few spares from Lossiemouth at the end, so we're good for a while. I think a lot of what we did get came from Bitteswell, as an awful lot has that location on the packing label, especially if it mentions Hawker Siddeley Aviation on the crate.

Progress reports will continue, though we'll be a bit quiet for the next few weeks while we're parts hunting in the store for our mainwheel change.

Regards,

Rich

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Hi Paul,

Thankfully our group managed to secure quite a few spares from Lossiemouth at the end, so we're good for a while. I think a lot of what we did get came from Bitteswell, as an awful lot has that location on the packing label, especially if it mentions Hawker Siddeley Aviation on the crate.

Progress reports will continue, though we'll be a bit quiet for the next few weeks while we're parts hunting in the store for our mainwheel change.

Regards,

Rich

Yup, that'd be it, as Bitteswell took over the deep service of a number of types that were to be 'de-commisioned' in the 'short' term!

As for the mainwheel change, best of luck with the search, it's not the sort of thing you can pick up off e-bay!!

Though you could always ring BBMF, their Lanc has Shackleton undercarriage and wheels..................

Paul

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