Shackleton WR963

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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Richw_82 » Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:57 pm

Just to add to the above - the significant step was what is the first site visit by the authorities, and consent was given by them for the team to crack on with it, while stood underneath the nose of WR963.

We're rather happy campers. :D
http://www.avroshackleton.co.uk/
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:09 pm

Whilst the winter engineering is going along at a steady pace, you may have assumed that the next update would be from Richw_82 saying that we had worked our way through the list methodically as expected etc...
Well as far as the engineering goes, it's business as usual with working parties progressing well, including sourcing some locally manufactured parts which saved the day when some originals were beyond further use or missing....

However, the big news in the middle of the month is that the Trust has a major sponsor providing the team with all the essential oils and lubricants required to complete the correct servicing schedules with the right products! Sil-Mid Ltd are locally based but a global supplier, and have shown a huge interest in the project and it's future! The news is spreading fast on social media as well as the company's own website, and their sponsorship deal is a massive lifeline for the project.

http://www.silmid.com/news/february-2015/avro-shackleton-wr963-sponsorship.aspx

The trust's website is soon to receive a makeover too, and it seems we are all over social media at the moment with this sponsorship...
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:11 pm

Just to let you all know that the website was relaunched today after a much-needed makeover ;)

http://www.avroshackleton.co.uk/
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Richw_82 » Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:38 pm

Hi all,

Work is still ongoing. The first attempt to wake WR963 this year only to find another oil leak behind No 4 propeller.... so it has to come off again. This sparked the hunt for a "Gits" seal that goes around the two propweller shafts where they come out of the reduction gear housing, some of which we apparently have in store. Somewhere...

In the meantine I'll leave this link here for our Kickstarter project. We're fundraising towards the structural inspections required on WR963; and have put together some interesting rewards - including the unique chance to experience a taxy run in the aircraft from the vantage point of the co-pilots seat!


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1811202265/avro-shackleton-wr963-return-to-flight


Kind regards,

Rich
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Sun Apr 19, 2015 11:54 am

Small update on progress:

The leaking Gits seal was successfully replaced and a test ground run of No.4 engine carried out - all is good to go!

The Kickstarter project has 9 days left to go now, and we are very close to reaching our target to take the next step forward in the return-to-flight project, so please take a look at the link and check out the amazing rewards on offer in return for pledges of support! Every little counts!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1811202265/avro-shackleton-wr963-return-to-flight
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Richw_82 » Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:47 am

6 days to go and less than £1500 to hit the target! Please help us if you can by pledging or sharing the link, it makes all the difference.

First public engine run of the year is on May 2nd for Airbase's reopening, so if you haven't heard the Griffon growl this year now's your chance!

Kind regards,

Rich W
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Tue Jul 07, 2015 9:56 pm

Firstly, a quick update on recent events
All the hard work by team members paid off when we carried out a full four engined ground run to close the show at the Baginton Air Pageant last Saturday - with a very appreciative audience being treated to a ground shaking performance in lovely weather... Website updated to cover that under "Latest News"

Secondly, and this is a rather special one........

There is an opportunity to have your name on a piece of aviation history. You can have your name on the bomb bay doors of what will be the only airworthy Avro Shackleton in the world. Once in the air will be the largest cold war bomber in europe. With the vulcan coming out of active display service and limited to the ground for good its a chance that will run out.

For the first 100 names a low cost of £10 will get your name in the air and history.

Click the "Donate" button on the homepage!

Come and have a look yourself at the vast area that used to hold up to 10,000 pounds of weapons nuclear and non will now hold its sponsors to keep her in the air.

http://www.avroshackleton.co.uk/
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Spitfire » Wed Jul 08, 2015 8:58 am

Thirdly - from your Facebook entry - you forgot to mention that some evil scrote has walked off with 4 of your new rear propeller blades ~x( ~x( How, why or when does not seem to be known.

As a result there are now only enough props to make 3 engines airworthy :-o :-o

So if anyone sees for sale - or are offered - any Shackleton propeller blades please contact the boys in blue.

This needs to be spread as far and wide as possible ....

Serial numbers are all listed and are known.
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:16 am

Thanks for the added bit about the prop blades, that was actually going to be my next post but things are rather busy for us over the last 24hrs....

Now for an update from the chairman himself regarding the Bomb Door names offer:

Thank you all for the fantastic response to the Bomb Door offer, Many of you donating more than the £10 requested. The introductory offer for the first 100 has now been reached but we will honour payments up to 12 am today 8th July 2015, to ensure this is placed on all the forums. You can still have your name or that of a loved one on the doors of 963 but unfortunatly after 12am today 8th July 2015 it must be at the full price of £25, still a very good deal as the name will remain there for the life of the Aeroplane, and yes that includes when she is back in the air. Once again thank you all for your support , The Chairman.
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Sun Sep 20, 2015 9:02 pm

It's been a while, but a lot has happened since my last report in July!
Many hours of work by the hard working volunteers made good a lot of outstanding tasks to bring the aircraft fit to carry out something very important indeed!

Sunday 13th September we were asked to perform our first ever public taxy demo infront of a crowd at Coventry... at the Vulcan To The Sky Club Members Day hosted by Classic Air Force. An incredibly long day for the team, but so worth it when Jon Corley took the Old Grey Lady for a walkabout down the taxiway and right past the crowdline... On the way back, we halted in front of the crowd, and showed them what 2175rpm sounds like on all four Griffons - giving their characteristic growl! Both before and after this, we opened her up to the public, and witnessed huge queues trying to glimpse up close what we have been doing...

Our website has been updated covering this in more detail - be sure to watch the videos with headphones on to get some idea of the noise :)

http://www.avroshackleton.co.uk/
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:14 am

Latest news, we're having a dusk run!
ImageDusk Run Poster 3 big by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

On Saturday the 5th of December we will be running Shackleton WR 963 and Nimrod XV232 at Dusk,
we will be running 963 up to 2150 RPM never before done in the dark,
gates will open at 1pm on the day to allow you plenty of time to explore both aircraft before the run,
The cost for entry will be £25 per person to include soup and a roll, and entry will be as last year on the list system,
Payments can be made to dawnsharon2002@live.co.uk
Be sure to state tickets, on the payment and clearly state the names of all people you are paying for!
Post code for Coventry is CV8 3AZ, This is limited to 200 places and will be allocated on a first come first served basis,
the run is of course subject to A/C servicability, I hope to see you there
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Fri Nov 13, 2015 5:47 pm

A reminder that we still have places available for our dramatic double ground run event on Saturday December 5th! The promise of spectacular noise and the glowing exhaust stubs on our Shackleton should make for some wonderful event photos of course, and we are a friendly bunch who would love to show you around onboard both aircraft!
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Fri Nov 20, 2015 2:03 pm

Still places available to come and see for yourself what a spectacle the Shackleton is when running at dusk!

ImageWR963 Dusk Run Poster by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Thu Nov 26, 2015 6:32 pm

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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Sat Nov 28, 2015 12:35 pm

STOP PRESS!

Haynes will be onsite on the 5th for the book signing of the Shackleton Manual!
These will be signed by the author Keith Wilson and possibly ex Shackleton air and ground crews, also the current crew of 963 if requested!
This is a never to be repeated chance to get one of these books!

ImageHaynes on white signed by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Tue Dec 08, 2015 5:55 pm

Following on from our last event of the 2015 season, here is a full report on the day’s activities.

Preparations for our event had been ongoing for weeks beforehand, with much discussion amongst members of the Trust arranging how we were going to put on a spectacle for our supporters whilst mindful of the current airport situation regarding Classic Air Force. We have been incredibly lucky to be able to continue our work on site with the airport’s co-operation at all times, and this event was planned to show how we will continue with our project to return-to-flight with WR963. With our neighbouring Nimrod XV232 also planning a ground run, we felt sure we had a crowd-pleaser to come!

Saturday December 5th dawned with crew members arriving from far and wide – indeed some members had travelled all the way from Scotland and North Wales to help us! The weather was forecasted high winds but no rain, not that this would deter operation of two former Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft really ;) Luckily for us both, we faced into wind on the day! We set up our merchandising stand and Haynes Manual Book-Signing table inside the Hangar, and put the urn on to provide hot soup to warm the spectators....

The aircraft were both prepped by our eager engineering team, and the crowds started to arrive at 1pm. As always, we encourage visits onboard both aircraft to show people what we do and allow many photographs too. The Nimrod crew even had refreshments available in their aircraft galley (we are actively seeking to sort our Shackleton galley too I might add). Some of our guests had a special reason to attend, being ex-Shackleton aircrew, and recent supporters of our 2015 Kickstarter fund-raising project. The lucky few had booked places to be onboard the ground run, so a full briefing was carried out before the appointed time.

As the sun started setting, Nimrod XV232 started her run first, operating both right-hand engines in spectacular and rather noisy style! Once shut down, it was the turn of our Shackleton WR963 to provide some rather different noise complete with flames! The prolonged run also included running up all four engines to high rpm for the first time in darkness, which apart from vibrating through the ground, also showed how the mighty Griffon engine’s exhausts glow in the dark and emit spectacular flames too.... Many photographs and Video footage were taken, and some thought the ground run was never going to end! Eventually the aircraft was shut down and fell silent, to a round of applause from an appreciative audience, some of whom had not realised quite what a spectacle the Shackleton can be in the dark! With only a few relatively minor snags to be dealt with over the winter servicing schedule, the entire SPT team went home both exhausted and elated that we had fulfilled our promise and put on an event quite like no other!

2016 promises more to come, as our Shackleton is ready to taxy on a more regular basis, as well as carrying our static ground runs. We are also working furiously behind-the-scenes to get the required NDT inspections carried out on the wing spars which is a crucial stage in the project, and this will be carried out subject to hangar availability at Coventry. The SPT are delighted with how much support has been shown towards our project – there is most definitely something magical about the Avro Shackleton!

ImageWR963 / G-SKTN - Avro Shackleton MR2 - Shackleton Preservation Trust by Karl Drage, on Flickr

To find out more about us, please check out our website, and follow us on Twitter and facebook! We are currently running a competition to win one of the new Airfix kits (WR963 of course) as well as offering space on our bomb doors for your name to be carried there for life! Again, our website has all the details!

We are dedicated to this project, and if you would like to support us by way of donations / fund-raising, please check the website for more information on how to help us!
Our branded merchandise range is expanding – another way you can show your support to us!

Even during the winter months, we welcome visitors to see our aircraft, as we have work going on most Saturdays – please contact the Trust to check we are going to be there before planning a visit of course....

Regards

Pete Buckingham
Shackleton Preservation Trust
www.avroshackleton.co.uk
Email: avroshackletonwr963@gmail.com
Mobile: 07946 251098
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Sat Dec 19, 2015 5:45 pm

On behalf of the whole team at the Shackleton Preservation Trust, may we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and thank you for your support in 2015! We are looking forward to an exciting year ahead and hope you will join us to see what we do

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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:57 pm

Apologies for the slight gap in updates on our project, Christmas and other distractions etc I'm afraid ;)

Well I had better start where things left off when we had our successful Dusk Run back in December! The event was well attended and almost went to plan completely apart from a couple of 'tech' issues...
Firstly we had an embarrassing lighting failure despite checks having been made before the run. The portable generator decided it would be a good time to cut-out just as the lights were needed! We feared the worst for all the photographers, but having seen the results afterwards online - it actually gave some additional bonus atmosphere with photos taken with and then without lighting ;) Of course we will try better next time and maybe incorporate the split as a planned occurence rather than a total surprise to our crew ;)
The second issue occured nearly at the end of the run itself, when shortly after some 'smoke or mist' was observed from the starboard inner engine / undercarriage bay area; some rather odd comms were passed between myself outside at the end of the long lead, and our onboard crew. I was being told that flaps were being selected down..... nothing happened outside? Try again...... nothing? Ok, try the bomb doors then.... again - nothing moved? I'm sure the onboard crew were convinced I needed a trip to a certain Opticians, but I told them I knew what flaps and bomb doors looked when they moved, and they weren't. Luckily for us, our ex-8 Sqn engineer was onboard, and promptly requested the old standard hydraulic system check - turn the wipers on! Outside, I thought he had gone mad by then ;) I mean, firstly I'm accused of not seeing large moving metal surfaces, and then I hear they are going to put the windscreen wipers on!!!
The reality of this rather funny moment is that the Shackleton has no hydraulic gauge fitted, so the foolproof method to find out if you actually have any system pressure is to switch on other hydraulic circuits. There aren't many on a Shackleton, but windcreen wipers are one of them! And they failed to work too....
We knew then that we had a hydraulic issue, which coupled with the observed cloud of vapour only minutes before, meant further investigation would be needed after engine shut down.
On closer inspection under torchlight (it was very dark by this time), the oil residue over the entire undercarriage bay was plain to see, and the source quickly became apparent when we all looked up! A small pipe coupling right by the hydraulic hand pump had fractured, dispensing some of the system contents all around.
Luckily we have some highly skilled local engineers on our team, and a repair was sorted quite effectively and with relative ease along with some lateral thinking. Once the pipe was back in place and the system topped up and bled, we were back in business! Other winter maintenance has been the usual multitude of preventative maintenance such as lubrications and cleaning, and when time permits some of the team have continued the swapping over of our MR2 reverse engineering with the reinstallation of the Nav Plotting Table. Our ex-8 Sqn Chief Engineer has promised that we will be seeing the return of some repaired electrical items very shortly, which he assures us will bring back a healthy ignition system on one engine which had been causing a minor concern recently. But very soon we will be ramping up the work to prepare our Old Grey Lady for her forthcoming season, and for that, we need to awaken her from her winter slumber!
We have several events in the pipeline already, the first of which is our appropriately named "Valentine Ground Run" taking place on Saturday 13th Feb! We love the old girl, and we would like you all to share in that love too! By treating her nicely, she does behave ;) And what better way to blow off the cobwebs and make some more of that infamous Griffon Growl :)

Following that first ground run, our team have been planning to fulfil a promise made after we taxied 963 around Coventry last year, and this year we're back doing more of these! Only this time, we are able to take paying passengers onboard for the taxy runs too!!!!
Our first taxy run is scheduled for Saturday April 9th, and our Chairman has endorsed a special price package for this taxy run only, with limited places available onboard, so book early!!!

And finally for now, some important changes have taken place at Coventry Airport since last year, which have meant we had to change slightly too! With the closure of Airbase, we are now under the watchful eye of the airport authorities directly, and are now considered to be on the 'live' side of the airfield. The existing fenceline around us will soon be no more, and because of the security implications of being on a operational airfield, we have made some changes to the way we operate in order to satisfy the airport's requirements. This has meant that we have now changed to specific planned Guided Tour dates throughout the season, with intended visitors recommended to contact us to book a place beforehand. We have to meet & greet all visitors now, and escort them airside at all times. To achieve that without planning ahead would be problematic for our small team of volunteers as we also need to plan our schedule of work too. The guided tours are available in two options nowadays, and all the information needed is on our website pages of course. We are building on the successes of previous years, and looking to the future at all times! The team acknowledge the huge support we have been getting from far and wide, and with recent publicity enhancing our profile, we aim to show everyone what we can do now, and what we can achieve for the future - a return to flight of course!

Lastly, here are a couple of posters for the forthcoming events - and please check our website for much more information on all of our plans!

Thank you for your continued support

Pete Buckingham
Publicity Officer
Shackleton Preservation Trust

http://www.avroshackleton.co.uk/

ImageValentine Ground Run Poster 2 by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

ImageTaxy Run Poster by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Tue Feb 16, 2016 5:29 pm

Following our winter servicing period, the Trust planned to awaken WR963 from her ‘winter slumber’ on Saturday 13th February by holding a special “Valentine Ground Run” open to visitors! A large contingent of volunteers assembled at Coventry Airport by mid-morning, and there seemed to be a definite sense of purpose as the aircraft was prepared for her first ground run of 2016. Some last-minute engineering tasks were completed in reasonable weather, and a small group of visitors were shown around both WR963 and VP293, our neighbouring travelling nose section, as the groundcrew got 963 ready for her scheduled 13:30 start time.
Once everyone was onboard and the steps removed, 963 was ready, and the start sequence commenced. Except this was no ordinary start-up, as we had crew in training too, so our latest Flight Engineer In Training – Mario Mclaughlin sat in control of all four mighty Griffon engines for his first ‘live’ run!
The usual sequence of start-up was carried out with No.3 first, followed by No.4, then No.2, and finally No.1........ well that was the plan? We had been more concerned about No.2 engine following replacement of the Injector Pump recently, but this engine started with relative ease! No.1 engine however, seemed reluctant to show any signs of fuel flowing to it, despite several attempts made to start it. The onboard crew eventually decided to abandon further attempts at starting it to save excessive wear on the starter, and continued the run on 3 engines only. Once fully warmed up, the 3 engines were taken up to 2150rpm for brief periods, which made sure everyone heard that distinctive growl for sure....
Once the run had been completed, and all engines shut down, the team descended on the reluctant No.1 engine to carry out some tests to see where the fault lay. Very soon it became apparent that we had a sticky solenoid as the culprit, which decided to suddenly work again when power was applied during ground testing. Our Chief Engineer decided to try a test run of No.1 engine only, but by this time our Trolley Acc ground power supply had suffered a voltage drop in the cold weather which by this time made it impossible to get enough power to start engines at all. With the weather closing in and a tired crew, it was decided to leave further testing until our next engineering visit and to recharge the Trolley Acc power supply fully too...

Other tasks carried out that day were the continued application of more Bomb Bay Door names for those supporters who have donated to the project via our website, as well as a good spring clean inside the fuselage. Noticeable on the day was how the winter weather has given 963 a coating of dirty residue, so we are looking at a special ‘Wash Day” coming soon to bring back some of that sparkle on 963!
There are other tasks to be completed in readiness for her next BIG day in April when we plan to Taxy 963 with paying guests onboard for the first time! Places are limited onboard, and they are selling fast if you want to experience the unique sights and sounds of being onboard a Shackleton as she trundles around Coventry Airport! We’re making that a special full day’s experience for you too, with lunch with the crew and making sure you will go away with some lasting memories of being onboard! We will also welcome visitors to watch the Taxy Run from the ground too, and all details are on our website of course!

ImageTaxy Run Poster by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Aceyone » Thu Feb 18, 2016 11:29 am

Very good read,I remember seeing the Shack at airshows and still have ( somewhere ) an article by a display pilot explaining his routine !
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:09 pm

The Team had a good day working on '963' on Saturday 27th February, isolating the problem that stopped No.1 Engine starting on the last ground run. It was found to be a faulty solenoid valve in the fuel priming circuit. After stripping and cleaning it, the valve was refitted and tested. All appears to be working correctly now. Other work included servicing the port side priming pump which required new shims, checking the gearbox oil levels on each power plant, more names added to the bomb bay, batteries removed ready for replacement and work continues on the plotting table. Towards the end of the day engine covers were strapped over the Griffons to safeguard the work. Congratulations and many thanks to all the members of the Team for their help today. Great work done.

And finally.....

We have just sold out places onboard on our first taxy run of 2016 on April 9th, but due to unprecedented public demand, we are now taking bookings for a second taxy run the same day!
Still plenty of 'ringside' places available on the ground, but for that extra special day out, the place onboard offers the chance to become an honorary crew member for the day, helping prepare WR963 for her activities, then stopping for lunch with the crew, before climbing onboard and enjoying the spectacle of seeing how she comes alive and stretches her legs at Coventry Airport! Plenty of opportunities for photos too, and of course we will have our SPT merchandise available too! All those onboard also take home various momentos of their special day!

See our website for more details, and please remember this is a 'first come first served' offer!!!!!

ImageTaxy Run Poster by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Sat Mar 12, 2016 5:27 pm

A timely nudge about our Hangar Appeal! We still need your help if possible please, we're some way off the target figure to be able to book the space to get WR963 inside for the vital NDT checks to be carried out!
No NDT, NO chance of flying the Old Grey Lady.... it really is that vital that we can fund the costs of the hangar fees. Please donate if you can, and please share this post around on your profile, your friend's profiles, any aviation forums you belong to, in fact anywhere you can PLEASE!!!!

http://www.avroshackleton.co.uk/fundraising.html

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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:16 pm

Just a reminder that our Hangar Appeal is still looking for your help if you can please!
We're some way off the target figure to be able to book the space to get WR963 inside for the vital NDT checks to be carried out!
No NDT, NO chance of flying the Old Grey Lady.... it really is that vital that we can fund the costs of the hangar fees. Please donate if you can, and please share this post around on your profile, your friend's profiles, any aviation forums you belong to, in fact anywhere you can PLEASE!!!!

http://www.avroshackleton.co.uk/fundraising.html

ImageHangar Appeal Logo by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:07 pm

An update on a moment in history!

Since our last review of activities, a lot of work has been ongoing in the background by our incredible volunteers. Months of planning came to fruition on Saturday April 9th when we made a little bit of history when we carried paying passengers onboard WR963 for not one, but two taxy runs carried out by our Chief Pilot Jon Corley assisted by our highly experienced onboard crew.

Prior to this momentous day, preparations had included a big wash day to remove accumulated algae and residue which had settled over the winter period and changed the white surfaces into a slight camouflage appearance! Much work has also been carried out on the engine issues which had bothered the team recently, with magneto and fuel pump niggles to overcome particularly on No.2 engine. Luckily for us, not only do we have spares available, but our own knowledgeable ex-Shackleton Chief Engineer Druid Petrie able to pluck essential data from his memory as if it was yesterday, rather than 1991 when he last had the pleasure of engineering outside in all the weather that Scotland could aim at him and his colleagues....

Several test runs of all engines were carried out in the weeks prior to the big day, and all seemed good for us to have a special reason to enjoy our moment!
Not content with dealing with just the aircraft, huge strides had been made by our illustrious chairman Dave Woods at meetings with the Airport Management at Coventry who have helped us enormously since the demise last year of the resident “Airbase” and “Classic Air Force” operations. We not only received sponsorship from the airport which is helping financially towards the costs of being on site, but we were also offered the use of a large portacabin which had previously been the Visitor Reception for Airbase! The airport’s help means that we finally have somewhere undercover to act as a welcoming visitor centre and shop, but also a crewroom for our hard working team to have a much needed brew....

Saturday 9th April finally arrived, and the arriving volunteer team who had travelled from far and wide were greeted with pleasant sunshine! We were busy right from the moment of arrival with a quick set-up of our new shop and crewroom facilities, as well as starting to prepare the aircraft. Well that should have been the plan, but your ever-busy publicity officer had other ideas, and made everyone stop and stare by arriving in our brand new support vehicle which has been loaned to us by our other new partnership with SsangYong GB. The pick-up truck is complete with sign writing and will appear at events towing our Shackleton nose section amongst other duties!

After a crew briefing, we all set about preparing WR963 to be towed out onto the concrete ready for her performances later on, and also greeted the visitors who had started to arrive for their unique experience...
Part of our plan involved pairing up public with key volunteers so that they could take an active part in some of the vital pre-taxy preparations themselves! That was hugely enjoyed by all, and gave a small insight into how hard we work to achieve just one day in the life of our aircraft!
The next stage was another unique treat – lunch with some of our crew onboard the resident DC6 Diner which has recently re-opened as both a cafe and formal diner! The public really seemed to enjoy chatting to us whilst gazing out across the airfield and eating a fine meal...
After lunch, the pace quickened as we finished off a few tours onboard, and finally got the teams mustered prior to start for the first of two taxy runs! All seemed to be going well until one of our crew spotted a broken brake hose, which couldn’t be changed right away, and so was capped and isolated from the rest of the system to the satisfaction of our pilot.

The crew may have been nervous inside, but showed little sign of that as they climbed onboard with our first group of public. As soon as Jon Corley had obtained clearance, it was time to start those mighty Griffons! All went well, and after clearing the start crew and equipment away, Jon eased WR963 out onto the taxiway and trundled slowly down to Bravo Apron, turned, and then came back! Of course we couldn’t just leave it there, so whilst alongside the “Airlock” gate adjacent to the old Airbase hangar, Jon stopped, and opened up the throttles for a few minutes of “Griffon Growl” resonating across Coventry, and shaking the ground where our groundcrew stood....
Once back at our allocated parking area, the aircraft was shut down for a brief rest, and once the entire onboard crew and public were disembarked, a group photo was taken in front of the star of the day!

The crew carried out a turnaround check on the aircraft whilst the public passengers went off to get their souvenir certificates and have a brew with the rest of our team.
Second group were mustered, crew found from their hiding places near the tea urn, and it was time for the second taxy run, or so we thought!
Once we had got everyone onboard and secured the door, Jon started going through the usual pre-starting checks.... only to pause when it came to requesting our usual fire cover from the airport’s fire station only a few hundred metres away. After what seemed like an age, the welcome sight of a fire truck who had been rather busy on a tea break meant that we could carry on with our rigorous checklists.
Engine start seemed to go ok on the starboard side, but when it came to the port side, No.2 engine was reluctant to start! Knowing that we may have faced a ‘hot start’ situation with a small risk of exhaust fires, we were being extremely cautious with this second start. After starting No.1 engine whilst resting the starter motor on No.2 engine, this was tried again, and finally came to life, albeit with a resounding backfire that gave a brief scare to our crew-chief standing only a few metres away on the comms lead....

With all four running, it was time to go for another trundle around the taxiway, which followed the same pattern as the first, almost! On the return stop by the airlock gate and the higher rpm blast – the watching team wondered why No.2 Engine seemed to be running slightly rougher than the others, which soon manifested itself into a premature shut-down of that engine! With due consideration given by the team onboard to the prospect of slow taxying being made difficult with asymmetric power, it was decided to also shut down No.3 engine too, leaving both outboard engines to provide the means to taxy back the short distance to the parking area...

Once all had gone quiet again, the entire onboard crew and public posed once more for the group photo, and the public made their way over to our crewroom as the weather had declined somewhat during the late afternoon. This left the crew to debrief with our pilot on the engineering situation with our beloved aircraft...
Typically for aircrew, the engineers gave him a near perfectly serviceable aircraft to go and play with, and it came back with a list of ‘snags’ which aircrew expect to be easily fixed in time for their next sortie...... but we really like our pilot so we are only too happy to get dirty once again and repair the issues, test it all again, and get WR963 ready for her next starring role!

To summarise the issues left with us as our pilot made his way home:
No.2 engine ignition issues to be investigated as not only was it reluctant to start, but ran rough on the second run, before finally shutting down completely.
No.1 engine seen to develop a small oil leak underneath, which needs investigating by closer inspection with the cowlings off.
One brake hose to be changed
Hydraulic system to be investigated as we found that the handpump handle locating bracket had sheared off and caused the handpump handle to strike an adjacent hydraulic pipe resulting in a breakage and subsequent total loss of the hydraulic system.

Anyone familiar with aircraft will know that these engineering challenges are just part of what we expect when dealing with a 62 year old airframe, and we will just fix her up and carry on smiling as usual!

After an exceptionally long day, the last few team members left the site after 8pm leaving WR963 resting in her usual parking position on the grass. It took a few days for most of us to recover from this one, but we would do it all again without question!

By creating this event, we hope to have given an insight into just what is involved in maintaining our Shackleton, and given the paying public a real hands-on experience that they won’t forget in a hurry! Every single person onboard went home smiling, despite the weather change in the afternoon, and some are coming back for more now that they have experienced the appeal of the Avro Shackleton close up!

Without doubt, the day was a success, and raised vital monies towards keeping WR963 alive and moving towards our long-term goal of return-to-flight! We are fully aware that she needs to be run on a regular basis to keep all systems healthy, and are already planning more events like this throughout the year! Our website and social media will give more on these as soon as we can!

Finally, and on a nice note to finish with, it was especially wonderful to see Richard Woods pay is a visit to see how we were getting on! Richard had been a vital part of the team for many years before personal circumstances meant that he had to take a break from the constant travelling to Coventry, but couldn’t resist a return to see how the old girl was behaving!

ImageGeorge Aldrich by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

ImageAndy Rowlands 1 by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

ImageGeorge Aldrich 4 by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

ImageGeorge Aldrich 2 by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

ImageAaron Hiscock 2 by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

ImageIan Preece by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

ImageAndy Jones 1 by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

ImageGeorge Aldrich 5 by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

ImageSPT Edit by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr


Hope you enjoyed this very brief review of our historical day, and we hope to see you all down at Coventry soon!

Regards

Pete Buckingham
Publicity Officer
Former RAF Tech now a volunteer in Aviation!
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Ray C » Fri Apr 15, 2016 6:00 pm

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