Shackleton WR963

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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Richw_82 » Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:25 pm

Hi all,

Due to personal circumstances I've not been to Coventry for a few weeks. However the guys have been cracking on, and also doing a few bits on Nimrod XV232 for good measure. Also there's the odd interesting photo turned up from the archives... this one in particular being a favourite.

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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Sploosher » Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:16 pm

excellent pic Rich.................. :D

nice to see one in `kit form`........... ;)
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Ray C » Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:09 am

Fascinating.....how old must this pic be.....?
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Richw_82 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:02 am

It was taken in the mid 1980's, when WR963 was having some work done on her rear spar.
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Richw_82 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:45 am

Hi all,

What with a new year upon us, I figure its long past update time. While we haven't been too busy on the aircraft herself over the past few months, various things are going on in the background that will have big effects over the next few years.

First up are the obvious problems we ran into during taxying. 2014 sees WR963 celebrate her 60th birthday, so we need little to no shenanigans from her.

The persistant issues with the fuel priming pump are becoming tedious; and while we can swap them out again and again it is becoming repetitive, and we're decimating the available stock. The priming pumps are comprised of three sections - pump, gearbox, and motor. The failure comes when the pump sits and moisture accumulates in it as its at the lowest point in the fuel system. The pump gets stiff, or seizes, then the fibre gears in the gearbox strip and the pump is then unserviceable. This usually blows the fuse, and is usually why we end up with no engines running (if the starboard pump fails), or just two on one side if we get No 3 and 4 started then the port pump fails...

While I'm led to believe it was a weak point, while the Shackleton was in service it wasn't as often as we get. The factors of regular usage and full fuel tanks helped a lot. With an aircraft that is stationary, and on half fuel load at best, there are a lot of places for moisture - be it condensation or rain - to get in. WL790 in the USA suffered similarly and her pumps were replaced with an item that was a little more hard wearing. Our plan is slightly different. Wired in with the power to the fuel priming pump, we now have a cut-off valve that isolates the fuel supply, only allowing fuel to flow when the priming pump is switched on. In the next few weeks, we'll have the pipes made up to put these into the system. We've also sent one pump away for use as a pattern to investigate having some new gears made that are slightly harder wearing than the original fibre items.

The communication problems turned out to be due to the fact all three V/UHF systems on WR963 had been altered or cannibalised at some point. The rear upper VHF antennae has been removed, as has much of the wiring including that to the set carried in the beam position. Some of it was used on DC-3 G-ANAF many years ago, some of it went to WL790. We're now at a point where the PTR 175 is working, the PTR 1751 is getting there, but there remains an intermittent problem somewhere where the intercom system links to the radio - it will be tracked down!


We've started working through the spares we hold, and rather than hang on to everything, we have been slowly dispersing some of the multiples of certain items out to other groups. Wheels, coolant tanks, a rear spinner and some glazing items have all gone - which has involved some heavy lifting as there was no room for forklift work! Thankfully, we had a plenty of team members on hand, and with a bit of ingenuity we were able to clear some room. We are discovering more useful parts as we go - including a number of hydraulic spares which WR963 really needs, though no doubt we'll find even more as we disperse some more items and clear out empty boxes.


Ahead of us we still have plenty to do - there's still the bomb doors to look at, as their stumpy length is starting to annoy us all. WR963's anti-glare panel and a couple of other areas are getting revised to make the RAF happy, and with three years passed since the repaint, a thorough wash and a few bits of ceconite taping are on the cards to keep the old Shackleton looking good. I was threatened with bodily harm by some members of the Shackleton Association who preferred her to carry the 'used' look, but you can only let things go so far! (that, and I'm pretty sure I can outrun most of the Shack Assn..)


The archive is still a mess following our move, but its slowly coming back into order, more so as we wade through trying to find out all WR963's records. Following the decision to try to return WR963 to flight, two things asked of us by the CAA were a complete audit of all lifed components on the aircraft, and an assessment covering pre and post spar boom replacement and how it would change things for WR963. This was difficult to accomplish as there were large gaps in our records, then we had a surprising breakthrough in the form of some legacy documentation from our friends at Gatwick Aviation Museum. One of WR963's old MOD Form 700, covering her life from her conversion to AEW2 to near the end, and, almost to top that, fatigue meter readings for the entire period.

The result is that for the first time, we can pin down accurately how many hours are left on the lower spar booms, and a proven fatigue index worked out from meter readings taken from a 20 year period. The FI is yet to be calculated, as we have to find the calculation for the upper spar booms - a calculation that was taken from that for the AWA 650 Argosy Series 101, due to the Argosy's wing starting life as the Avro Type 733 (If anyone has the Argosy FI calculations, I'd love to see them). When spar boom cracks were found as the hours mounted, a calculation was done to work out the safe life of the top booms - which was then supplied to the MOD (PE) Central Defects Authority to check against Shackletons. This is the missing piece of our puzzle...!

The new piece, happily, is that WR963 has 594 hours left on her lower spar booms...



For those that want to come and see WR963 and talk all things Shackleton, we next intend to carry out a run up on 25th January 2014, at 1300 hrs.


Happy New Year,

Rich W
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Aceyone » Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:08 pm

Whew,that was quite an update,thanks for taking the trouble to post :ymapplause:
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Mayfly » Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:17 pm

Thanks for the update Rich hope the next run goes well

- still hoping to see you next May at Metheringham with the cockpit.
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby RLN » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:47 pm

Nice update, thanks. Regarding the fuel priming pump.......please shoot me down in flames, but it's just a thought; I don't know the access or where they are situated, but couldn't you modify them with a moisture trap, or a bleed valve? I'm sure you would have if you could, I suppose. Now you can see why I don't work on aeroplanes. :D
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Sploosher » Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:10 pm

great update Rich................ :ymapplause:

must try and get down again this year................... :D
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Crew chief » Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:59 pm

With all things Nimrod a bit quiet at the moment we decided to give Colin a hand changing a couple of spark plugs on 963's number one engine. The plugs in question were no's 1 and 2 inlet down in the middle of the vee and buried under a magneto, much fun was had I can tell you with much blood being spilt ( mostly Colins due to sharp locking wire) but we did get the job done. This was my first and probably last plug change i'll do on a Griffon thank you very much. ;)

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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Ramshornvortex » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:18 pm

This was my first and probably last plug change i'll do on a Griffon thank you very much. ;)


Stick to jets Mark - they're much safer!

The first of your two SAFT batteries is now serviceable and ready for collection, by the way....
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Crew chief » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:30 pm

Ramshornvortex wrote:
This was my first and probably last plug change i'll do on a Griffon thank you very much. ;)


Stick to jets Mark - they're much safer!

The first of your two SAFT batteries is now serviceable and ready for collection, by the way....

Ok thanks Charles when the other one is ready give us the nod and we will collect them.
The Griffon is a work of art to look at but in my view a pig to work on. :p

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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Spitfire » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:24 am

Excellent update - I have to admit I didn't understand a lot of it as I've never been near any large piston pounders - but it's still absorbing as I am fascinated by those of you who DO understand it and keep these old things running for our benefit :D
Keep up the good work :ymapplause:
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Crew chief » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:55 am

Spitfire wrote:Excellent update - I have to admit I didn't understand a lot of it as I've never been near any large piston pounders - but it's still absorbing as I am fascinated by those of you who DO understand it and keep these old things running for our benefit :D
Keep up the good work :ymapplause:

Hi Dave.
I'm no Griffon expert but I do know a man who is.
The Griffon is a 36.7 litre V12 engine fitted to many aircraft in its day. Each cylinder has two spark plugs, one on the inlet side of the cylinder and the other on the exhaust side of the cylinder. The inlet plugs are in the inside of the V as you look at the engine head on and the exhaust plugs are on the outside of the V and are much easier to change than the inlet plugs. The inlet plugs for cylinders 1 and 2 are under the magneto at the front of the engine and are very difficult to get at. Anybody who has changed a set of points in situ on an old mini will know what I'm talking about.

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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Spitfire » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:15 pm

Crew chief wrote:
Spitfire wrote: Anybody who has changed a set of points in situ on an old mini will know what I'm talking about.


NOW you're talking MY language ... I remember it well - you had to take off the false metal radiator grill to get to the distributor - and even then you needed 9" fingers .. it was the same for the clamp that held the exhaust down pipe to the exhaust manifold at the back of the engine :p Happy days ... I loved the old mini though ;)

I suspect it's the same for big engines as small ...they are designed to be built - not maintained ~x(
Nobody gives a thought to the poor irk with the spanners when it's on the drawing board - or in the factory shiny and new :(
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Richw_82 » Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:17 pm

Hi all,

Things are progressing well at Coventry, and more spares have been arriving from the various stashes that are held off site. One such load today included booster coils, Dowty undercarraige seals, and a large box containing a number of brake sacs. We're still trying to rationalise some of this, as there's a lot of stuff likely to never be used. One box for instance contained nothing but tailwheel centering mechanisms! There is the odd part we're coming across that will benefit other Shackleton groups, and we'll be doing our best to share out anything that won't be of use to us.

Over on WR963 herself things are pretty good. She survived the high winds without moving too much, our decision to face her into the prevailing wind seemed to have paid off... though I will admit to a few nervous moments after seeing reports of other larger aircraft moving excessively. The priming pump situation seems to have been solved, with the rebuilt pump still serviceable, and being checked each week.

The PTR-175 VHF is working properly, though we still have an intermittant issue, now traced to the antennae. As the system comprises of upper, lower, front and back with various switching systems; when you combine this with years of component robbing its a wonder WR963 could transmit/receive at all. We're looking to fit an approved 'whip' style antennae as a replacement for the blade type WR963 carries, something very near to what would be seen on early MR2 and some MR3 aircraft. This should bypass the disruptions, and give reliable communication - something that will be needed even more when the new PTR 1751 is fitted!

A few more electrical gremlins have surfaced, in that we're having fun trying to balance the load on the aircraft's generators. The priming pump issue intruded on this as the engines all need to be running to do this properly, with fine tuning done by removing a panel inside the aircraft and constant reference to the ammeters on the electrical panel at the engineers station. At the moment, the generator on No 2 engine is doing the lions share of the work, with the other three minimal. They're not dead, as they share the load nicely once No 2 is turned off, but trying to persuade all four to provide an equal current is tricky to say the least! We have some new voltage control units so intend to fit a new one and see if we can get things a little better.

On the airframe side we have some of the sealing tapes to replace, four years of outdoor weather has caused a couple of them to lift. We're just waiting for decent weather (stop sniggering...) and then its up on top of the wings again with the ceconite and dope. While we're up there we've also a plan involving a drawing specific to WR963, spar booms, and a man with an endoscope - the idea being to find out just how much WR963's structure has deteriorated in the 23 years outdoors at Coventry.

Its well known that the Shackleton has an issue with its top spar booms; in that some of the bolt holes drilled into it for the spar web, and wing skins very nearly intersect. The proximity varies between 1/16 inch to 1/4 inch, but each aircraft is different, and each of the last six serving AEW2 had their own spar drawings, along with a document highlighting the position, proximity and allowable tolerance if any cracking is found. The presence and severity of any cracking is what dictates the life of the boom. As you can probably guess, we're keeping our fingers crossed, as if the top booms are okay, we stand a better chance of seeing WR963 use up the remaining flying hours she has.


Lastly...

WR963 will be ground running on Saturday 8th March. The exact engine start time is tbc, but traditionally we run her up at about 1pm. Access is as always through the airport's West Gate just outside the village of Baginton, postcode for those that want it is CV8 3AZ. Its a going to be a day of celebrating all things Shackleton - as on 9th March it is 65 years since the prototype Shack first flew, and a few days later on 11th March is 60 years since WR963 first took to the skies (and the day we consider her 'birthday').

So, if you fancy the sight and spectacle of the UK's only live Shackleton* exercising 9,800 horsepower, come along to Coventry Airport, listen to WR963 growl, and share a bit of her birthday cake.

Regards,

Rich


*(WR982 at Gatwick will awake at some point, I know.)
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Richw_82 » Wed May 21, 2014 8:18 pm

Hot weather this weekend but maintenance goes on... the hydraulic hand pump supplied by the Victor XL231 team at Elvington has been built up with a new handle and correct fittings; and fitted into the No 3 nacelle. The old one is shown close up, and quite obvious is the failed seal which let full engine driven hydraulic pressure act upon its piston, shearing the pushrod. The new one was fitted, the fluid topped up and the lines bled off. We could then drop the flaps, and close the bomb doors, bleeding more parts of the system; but there is still air in the system. Overall though it works and is leak free! More OM15 will be added next week and another bleeding carried out to purge the last of the air.


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The CSU on No 1 engine was reset and is ready to try out on the next run, it shouldn't drop into feather range this time. From fine pitch (maximum revs) to coarse pitch (minimum revs) the arm has 61 degrees of movement. The next 19 degrees of movement puts it into feather range. This movement at the CSU has to correspond with the movement of the pitch levers in the cockpit. With the wear in WR963's linkages the CSU was into its feather range before the lever in the cockpit was past its gate. The adjustments we have done at the engine put it back into its correct position against the setting in the cockpit.

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Some general maintenance was done in and around the No 3 engine nacelle, involving lubricating various fasteners and fittings, and replacing a couple of DZUS fasteners that had broken or worn. Interesting to find was more Lancaster/Lincoln DNA in the wing... the inboard flap carries on across above the nacelle, but on the Shackleton it is split; as the rear of the nacelle doesn't move with the flap. Hinge and flap are still there though, though only a small portion of it moves!

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Now for some good news... we had a meeting recently with a top notch company willing to give A8-20 E4/M5 support to the Shackleton so things have just taken another big step forward. We will be upping our fundraising efforts as a result, to include making a HLF application in the near future. We may have mentioned it before, but we really need your help to see WR963 fly again now more than ever! If you haven't already donated we encourage you to do so, as every little helps get a Shackleton closer to flight.


Regards,

Rich
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Vulcan Bomber » Sun Sep 28, 2014 5:30 pm

Someones been for a small walk......

Last edited by Sooty655 on Sun Sep 28, 2014 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Video embedded
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Ray C » Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:14 pm

Wonderful bit of footage....Those props are mesmerizing..... @-)
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Sploosher » Tue Sep 30, 2014 4:51 pm

great bit of video............................. :ymapplause:

just might have to tag along to the night shoot if it goes ahead............... :D

and will take more warmer clothing......... :))
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 2:40 pm

I have only just joined the forum but as a member of the Trust now, I am keenly following this thread and enjoying working on the Old Grey Lady of course :)
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Kermit » Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:08 pm

Hi Pete, as you say elsewhere, highly recognisable webname ! Very glad to hear that you have joined the Growler crew too ! Their gain..... Hope the Grey Lady appreciates your help, see you some time soon :) is she on track for her next walkies ?
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 7:23 pm

Why thank you "Kermit" (sorry I don't recognise who you are right now) :)
As fas as the winter engineering goes, she'll hopefully be growling again sometime around Easter, and in better health than before judging by the work being done at the moment having the new expert guidance of a certain 'Druid' ex-8 Sqn chap working on her too!
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Richw_82 » Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:18 pm

Hi all,

Sorry for the lack of updates, the back end of 2014 wasn't great for me but I'm trying to get on top of things again. The work on WR963 has been continuing though!


So... 2015 is here and what have we been up to? Well, we've mostly been hefting propellers about, and on a Shackleton there's plenty of them to go around.

Investigation into the No 4 prop oil leak revealed some issues that had long been hidden from years gone by; probably during her time as WL790's propeller test bed. This included fitting a vital part that had either perished and been destroyed, or may have been overlooked when the prop was fitted - an O-ring that goes right next to the rear propellers rear cone. So with a team comprising of one ex-Shack engineer (camlobe), a rigger turned grollie (hunterxf382) and plenty of willing hands, the propellers from No 4 engine were removed, cleaned, and refitted.

Then it was onto No 3. This propeller had a badly cracked backplate on the front propeller, fortunately we had a few spares in store.

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With the team getting better at prop removals, this was the site that met visitors after an hour or so of us being on site...

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While it was off it allowed the cleaning of a lot of accumulated oil and grime. 24 years worth by the look of things inside this spinner shell.

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We were also able to clean around the rear propeller and translation unit.

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It seems trivial, but it helps massively with tracing any leaks if and when they happen. Once things were as they should be and with the new backplate fitted it was time to get the whole lot back together again.

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All the other props are now being checked for similar issues, which has turned up some stiff/seized spinner latches, and and no other problems.

Around the rest of the aircraft the ongoing saga of the hydraulic hand pump resulted in a second attempt at fixing it. We ended up fitting a brand new one, as the ex Elvington one kept things working long enough to get to the end of teh year, then suffered a similar failure to the last one meaning it wouldn't pump fluid around the system. Despite it being funny to watch new volunteers trying to pump the bomb doors open with it, something had to be done and replacing it was the speediest way to solve the issue. Both old pumps are being rebuilt to provide a source of spares should we need them in the future.

Fitting the new pump meant we could inspect the flap operating jack and if necessary replace it, as there has been a telltale weep of fluid from around that area.

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Thankfully the weep was nothing serious and the jack won't have to be replaced. We did find that the rubber gaitors that take the flap operating tubes through to the wing have perished and fallen away though, so we'll be back in here again at some point soon once replacements are found.

The front bomb bay doors are now open, as we're reviewing our options as to how best to reinstate these, and the way forwards is looking to be using the drawings and a significant amount of manufacturing new half ribs to fill the gap. Even with a chunk missing, the full length of the bomb door does look rather good, and eases the servicing of the throttle and pitch control systems.

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So thats the aircraft. Now what of her future?

Well, in 2012 the Shackleton Preservation Trust announced the decision to attempt to return a Shackleton to the skies and since then most of what has been done since has been maintaining the aircraft in a ground running condition. Three weeks ago, things took a significant step fowards and following further discussions with Civilian Aviation Authorities, the green light has been given to proceed with the restoration to flight.

As a consequence the way we have been doing work, recording it, and the way we will be doing things as we take things forward is under review to meet the requirements of the authorities. The majority of pieces in the puzzle are in place (hangarage arrangements, spares, tech documents and manuals etc, etc) and there is feverous activity happening behind the scenes in getting the word out and chasing up more support. This will hopefully allow us to make swifter progress towards our goal, and we'll increase our efforts accordingly and step up the pace of work on the Shackleton herself.


Regards,

Rich W
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Spitfire » Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:50 pm

Richw_82 wrote: Three weeks ago, things took a significant step forwards and following further discussions with Civilian Aviation Authorities, the green light has been given to proceed with the restoration to flight.


What amazing news - brilliant - well done to you all :ymapplause: :ymapplause: :ymapplause:
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