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richw_82

Avro Shackleton WR963

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Great stuff Rich! It must give you a whole lot of satisfaction when you see progress like this being made on such a lovely old aeroplane!

Keef

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It is a tad more satisfying when its somethig visual like this. You coud see the crack in the old one, the new one you can see hasn't and it means we can tow 963, run her, and if when ready - taxy her.

The weeks where we're deep in places no-one sees, lubricating bearings, control rods, pulleys and cables is still progress; but doesn’t have the same visual appeal. It all helps to keep the aircraft working and live though.

Edited by richw_82

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Hi Rich,

Only found this article just recently but I've since been reading it with interest - excellent work you are all doing :thumbsup2:

Keep up the good work.

Karl

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Great stuff Rich, It's funny how it's taken you 2.5hrs to change it, thats less than what it took me to change a gearbox on a Pulsar (6 hours on a drive!) Hopefully, the taxi run is planned to be on a Sunday? :)

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Great stuff Rich, It's funny how it's taken you 2.5hrs to change it, thats less than what it took me to change a gearbox on a Pulsar (6 hours on a drive!) Hopefully, the taxi run is planned to be on a Sunday? :)

I suspect that we had slightly better access and there were a few of us. In terms of actual man hours, it was more like 15.

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thats less than what it took me to change a gearbox on a Pulsar (6 hours on a drive!)

I think that's pretty good going...!!

Keef

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Great work again, Rich! That is one beefy tailwheel unit.

Regards,

Jason

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18 Aug

We're making great strides with getting WR963 ready, and the various work happening on the radios, windows, and tailwheel is nearly finished. With this in mind we needed to wake WR963 and find out if evrything was still in good order.

During the ground run for the Project Propeller event in June, some difficulty was found with No 4 engine responding very slowly. Initially it was thought to be something in the throttle/pitch lever mechanism out to the wing, and some work was done here to go through the system lubricating all the points listed in the AP.

WR963 wasn't really happy having a couple of months off while we fixed her tailwheel, and was extremely grumpy to start, but once she did all three engines showed good temperatures and pressures. No 4 - despite good indications was slightly poorly. Dropping the propeller into coarse pitch to exercise it was then extremely reluctant to come back into fine pitch. Even advancing the throttle only made it respond very slowly. The diagnosis is that the CSU (constant speed unit) is at fault, so that now needs to be replaced.

The last required parts (rack nuts and spacers) for the No 2 propeller have been found! We also have a local engineering firm standing ready to make us some more. At the moment these guys are making us a tool to remove/replace the intershaft bearing inner race and its retaining nut.

Airbase's website lists us as doing a ground run for their open cockpit day on 25th August, but with the work still left to do to get our Shackleton running on four engines - its looking unlikely.

Regards

Rich

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WOW! she's looking fabulous Rich. Looks like a lot of work done by the team.

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I am impressed with the work so far. Those internal shots bring back a lot of happy memories of 38 and Malta - usually of temporary deafness !!.

I wish that I could take you back in time. If you want to impress the crowd, run all four at Dusk, just after the sun has set. My abiding memory of the Shacks are take-offs at that time from what was the short runway at Luqa. The sight and sound of four Griffons on full chat on take of with blue flame streaming from the exhausts - Shacklebomber on reheat. Never to be forgotten.

Found these, I took, in the files, thought you might like them. WR963 on a cold frosty morning at Leuchars - Lossie was snowed in:-

Shackleton_AEW2_WR963-02.jpg

Shackleton_AEW2_WR963.jpg

and finally, what she would have looked like on 38. WL968 shown:-

Shackleton_MR2_WL968.jpg

I must take a trip down to your place and reminisce.

Regards

Dennis W Robinson

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Thanks for posting those photo's Dennis, they're awesome.

We ran WR963 at night last December for the Classic Flight NIght Runs. It was spectacular... and a rare chance for us as its usually the DC6 that ends the night, but we took its place for once. I think our old Shack stole the show even on three engines!

Please come visit, you'll be most welcome. We're there every Saturday, but entry may get a bit more difficult after September.

Regards,

Rich

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Those photographs from both you gentlemen are great! I do have to repeat that I find the MR.2 in the original mainly white, with grey topsides scheme to be the best-looking Shackletons. But I love them all, even the MR.1's and T.4's!

Regards,

Jason

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She looks stunning and it's wonderful to see her back in this condition, congratulations and well done to all the volunteers involved. :thumbsup:

:goodjob:

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Thanks chaps!

Radleigh - we were hoping to taxy before the end of September, and it was going to be the weekend of the 22nd if everything went well as the Shackleton Association are visiting. The plan being to tie it all in.

Unfortunately getting the propeller on is only part of the battle and there's still work to be done before that engine can run. We also have a developing problem with No 4 engine to try and sort out, so we're out of time.

Don't get me wrong though - we still intend to taxy. Its just going to be a little longer before we do.

Regards,

Rich

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Hopefully nothing to bad with #4! I've arranged a Russian & Eastern European flyin on the 23rd so I couldn't of gone anyway. Will keep an eye out for updates :)

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No 4 has got a sulk on and is refusing to respond to the pitch control lever. We're investigating why, but latest findings suggest the evil outdoor weather has caused the propeller to stick in the pitch it is in.

The engine itself is still running, but we can't get any revs on it due to being stuck in coarse pitch. Its looking like we may have to pull the propeller off the engine, strip it, clean it, and put it back on again.

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Well, the sticking prop turned out to be a combination of things. Its back in fine pitch now, but it stil needs sorting out and the piston assembly on the front replacing. Thankfully the prop came back into pitch just before the Shackleton Association's meeting at Coventry. I guess even our grupy old Shack couldn't bring herself to play up in front of so many of her old comrades. What was really nice was being able to get two ex Shack pilots (both who had flown WR963 in the 1960's) into the pilots seats while the engines were running.

Then of course came the closure of Airbase at the end of September, and the place got very quiet and subdued..

Work continues on WR963; we're catching up on all the little tasks that need attention while we have (another) tool made to finish up our work on No 2 engine. Nearly there though... wink.gif

We have some radio work going on to try and get another V/UHF set working so we can operate a little easier; but once again we've run up against the parts robbing that was carried out to support WL790. There's also some end of season care going into the interior with some more of the leatherwork on the chairs being sent away for repair to damaged sections. We've also scheduled a wash and brush up for WR963 for a couple of weeks time, as she's starting to look like she's spent a bit of time on 'ops'. I have been warned that I'm not allowed to get her too clean though as it will spoil her??

More cockpit windows have been going in, and we may take advantage of a couple of drawings that I stumbled upon today... like the one for the front gunners/observers glazing; which if its any use may allow us to have new ones made to replace the milky looking old one.

Speaking of which, we've also got some fundraising plans in the pipeline, so you should be seeing lots of us around the shows next year; though with VP293 more than WR963! The begging bowl is going to be put out; though not to quite the extent that some aircraft from the same stable use it. We might even have some stuff with us that Shackleton fans will want to buy.

To keep you entertained for the moment though; please try the following facebook link and see if it works, and if so - whether you like it.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=456549247725170

(As always, please be aware that I can't be responsible for other links from in facebook... you take your own chances. There's some really weird stuff out there and we can't control it all. Despite trying.)

Kind regards,

Rich

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Hi all - just to let you know we're still at it working away on WR963. There's a lot of hard work going on off site to start some serious fundraising now that we've lost the visitor numbers we've enjoyed for a while. Coventry seems to have lost a little of its spirit though and its taking us a little while to find our stride again.

Anyway, I have something I'd like to throw up for discussion...

Several times recently I've sat and thought about what we're doing. With the Airbase collection moving away from Coventry you can't help but question the reason for WR963 remaining. Also, is there a point to continuing to run WR963, rather than looking at the possibility of getting her tucked up nice and warm indoors at a national museum?

Without being part of something bigger it sometimes feels to me like we're just trying to prolong the inevitable decline by keeping the engines running at great cost both monetary and in parts. As public access is severely limited now there's little enjoyment to gain if no-one can see what we're doing with a largely static aircraft in the middle of a lonely airport.

I feel there are two options open in the near future.

One will be to seek a permanent retirement home for WR963, as support at Coventry Airport will become harder to find for efforts as they are. Honour the 'Preservation' part of our groups title, which isn't really about turning Avgas into noise however satisfying it is.

Two is to take the step that everyone seems to keep avoiding, and look at getting a Shackleton in the air again. There has been several attempts to get a Shackleton to fly in the past; with each attempt chipping away at the known issues and red tape and getting that one step closer, but never to the desired end result.

I'm going to seek a meeting with the Trustees with regard to both options (flight and true retirement) as time is ticking on - but I would welcome thoughts. Do you think it can be done? If not why not? What would be your concerns? Do you think it time for WR963 to bow out gracefully?

Please bear in mind these are NOT the official views of the SPT, just the thoughts of one person within it.

Kind regards,

Rich

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Hey Rich, Personally I would love to see it back in the air but whats that going to cost £500k+? If the Vulcan can get airworthy for as long as it did and the next year then there is no reason why WR963 can't as all it boils down to is money, it's just getting it.

Failing getting it into the air, where would it go? Assuming there is no room at NAM as they turned down the Nimrod..

If my numbers come in, I'll donate a large wad ;)

Edited by Radleigh

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I would love to see and hear the Shackleton fly, it would make a most fitting tribute to RAF Coastal Command.

If she does need a permanent home, Elvington would be fantastic. There's certainly enough space, and they're currently getting a few of their aircraft running.

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Bruntingthorpe would be good too, would sound great doing taxi runs on their Cold War Jets day.

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Hey Rich, Personally I would love to see it back in the air but whats that going to cost £500k+? If the Vulcan can get airworthy for as long as it did and the next year then there is no reason why WR963 can't as all it boils down to is money, it's just getting it.

Failing getting it into the air, where would it go? Assuming there is no room at NAM as they turned down the Nimrod..

If my numbers come in, I'll donate a large wad ;)

I agree with everything Radleigh says - including the lottery bit!! But, as he says, if her condition allows it & she can be made airworthy again, then surely the only objection to it could be financial? I for one would love to see a Shackleton fly again!

Keef

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Would Vulcan to the Sky not be interested in helping? They done a great job to 588 over the years, 963 could be their new project.

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