Shackleton WR963

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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Fri May 20, 2016 6:55 pm

One long month and one huge update!

Since our previous double taxi runs that took place April 9th, an awful lot of engineering work has been carried out by the amazing team of volunteers that work hard to continue the success of WR963’s public appearances!
Going back to the runs – we suffered a few technical issues which required careful analysis after the event which then required the following work:

The hydraulic handpump decided it did not like being part of the main hydraulic system and let go in spectacular style including shearing off its handle attaching bracket! The internal seals had ruptured and subsequent high pressure fluid flowed around the system before dumping itself overboard.
The Pressure Relief Valve and Handpump were skilfully rebuilt by one of our resident engineers Mark Ward who regularly surprises us with his ability to make old parts like new again!

ImageMark Ward 3 by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

ImageMark Ward 4 by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

Even Richard Woods assisted by dismantling the long-removed original handpump to find the same problem had occurred before....

ImageRichard Woods 1 by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

The system’s filters had been long suspected of being a culprit in this problem, and on subsequent removal they were found to be totally clogged up and unable to filter anything in the system at all!

ImageGeorge Aldrich 3 by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

ImageGeorge Aldrich 2 by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

Once the gauze / mesh filters were cleaned up (for now), fresh hydraulic oil was replaced in the system, and after a very long hand-pumping session the entire hydraulic system was bled through and systems checked to make sure they all worked again. This work involved some very long hours and extended beyond our normal Saturday work days too, with good weather helping some of the team who worked mid-week on the system too...

ImageGeorge Aldrich 1 by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

Water ingress in the No.2 Fuel Tank has been another long standing issue to be dealt with, which was suspected of causing a premature shut-down of No.2 Engine during the taxy run, and on a subsequent test run too.... The fuel system is drained of water each time we attend to the aircraft, but the water ingress also crept into the fuel pump, so a suitable drain tap was installed to help us drain the water efficiently rather than continually having to dismantle the pump each time.

Water ingress may also be the culprit on the overhead panel above the pilot’s head, where the engine magneto switches are located. Previous corrosion had been found on the contact points of these switches which led to the belief that water was getting in – more noticeable after a downpour!
On the taxy runs, it rained between the two runs, and we then experienced problems on start-up for the second run. In the long term, we will need to replace the bank of switches of course (if anyone happens to have an example as illustrated that they wish to donate then please get in touch!), but we also need to address the water ingress itself. Our Chief Engineer (the one and only Druid Petrie of ex-8 Sqn Shackleton fame) assures us that the correct method involves an application of Cellulose Dope around the Escape Hatches, so that is being looked into as we speak once we source the correct Dope of course....

Image5CW 1252a by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

On various engine runs, the crew noticed that the Radiator Shutters were not working as they should on No.2 engine, so a replacement “Inching Controller” box has been installed to hopefully sure the problem. Another test run will confirm this.

ImageMario McLaughlin 1 by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

Nitrogen... a vital gas to top up the pneumatics system used on the Shackleton to provide braking etc. Well despite the aircraft not having any major issue with its own system, our portable trolley decided it required attention as it was leaking badly from behind the inflation control panel.
So another of our intrepid engineers, Mario McLaughlin took the panel apart, sourced and repaired the leak, and even repainted the control panel while he had five minutes to spare! These trolleys were a common sight at any RAF Airfield, but never before did one look so shiny as ours does now!

ImageMario McLaughlin 2 by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

On the subject of pneumatics, we had a brake hose fail on us, which was spotted before we taxied the aircraft. Suitably isolated to carry on the taxy runs, the hose was subsequently replaced with a newly manufactured one by Mark Ward once he had sourced the correct fittings needed.

ImageMark Ward by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

Engine Ignition issues continued to give the team a good reason to keep checking the points gaps on all engines, which is no easy task when you compare the average family car engine with the huge Griffon V12 ones we have! Nevertheless, another job tackled by our team of course!

Not content with the technical items that formed quite a list of jobs to do, other work has been carried out on site.
The prominent red spinners on WR963 had started to look rather faded, so Andrew Clarke volunteered himself to polish them all up again with the assistance of young George Aldrich. They now look stunning in the sunlight again!

ImageMark Ward 2 by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

“Zebedee” or VP293 our loaned Mk1 nose section received some attention prior to heading out on the roads for the first time in a long while! This season will see Zebedee appear at various events away from Coventry, so a good tidy up inside was in order, plus making sure the trailer he is mounted on was ready for the journeys ahead. There is ongoing progress with the nose section itself too, with more internal refit of original equipment to take place soon, which will get the interior looking more authentic as well as replacing parts which famously vanished during a period of storage at another venue before we took charge of the nose on behalf of the owner on a permanent loan basis. Keep an eye out for a Shackleton Nose on the roads this year!

ImageDscf2685a by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

And finally....

A personal touch to raise a smile or two.

Ongoing crew training has resulted in another person able to operate the Engineers Panel during ground runs / taxy runs, giving us more flexibility with crew availability, with another member currently in training....
However, the post taxy run banter amongst our crew deserves sharing if only to show that we are all human (friendly ones of course).
Our crew training has been undertaken by our highly experienced Chief Engineer who apparently knows a thing or two about Shackletons, and has accumulated many hours / years of sterling service on the aircraft up until the end of service with Number 8 Squadron up at RAF Lossiemouth. We are constantly amazed at the depth of his knowledge, and he teaches us all an awful lot, which gains him the respect he fully deserves!

So picture the scene when the first taxy run was completely successful with a slightly nervous newly qualified Engineer on the panel throughout....
However, on the second taxy run, our well respected Chief Engineer decides to have a go, and brought back an aircraft on two out of four engines running; a hydraulic failure; and a suspected electrical generator fault too!!!!
We thought he was trying to recreate the pressure the Squadron were under back in the 90’s when faced with QRA alerts on an old aircraft – whereas we were told this was just to test our ability to work under pressure ;)


And then there is other BIG news too!

Number 8 Squadron (Royal Air Force) Reunite with The Avro Shackleton!


In the summer of 1991, the RAF said goodbye to a long-serving eye in the sky when the Avro Shackleton bowed out after 40 years of operational service – the last 19 years of which were with Number 8 Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland. Replaced by the state-of-the-art Boeing E3-D “Sentry AEW MK1, Number 8 Squadron continues to serve our country to this day.

July 9th 2016 marks two special anniversaries which we are happy to announce!

25 years ago to the day, our Shackleton WR963 flew in to Coventry Airport for preservation, and in the same month, it has been 25 years of operational service for Number 8 Squadron’s Sentry AEW MK1 aircraft!

The Trust were delighted to hear from a representative from Number 8 Squadron recently, and even more excited when hearing that the current squadron wanted to establish a formal working relationship with us, as we are looking after one of their old airframes!

Number 8 Squadron themselves have a long history, first forming on 1st January 1915 as part of the Royal Flying Corps as a Fighter Squadron. Over the years, the Squadron have operated many aircraft types ranging from the Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c, through De Havilland Mosquitos, Hawker Hunters, and of course the Avro Shackleton.

Despite operating a high tech aircraft in the current RAF, Number 8 Squadron have always acknowledged their long history, to the point of having an Number 8 Squadron Hawker Hunter as their current Squadron “gate guard” outside their HQ at RAF Waddington.
Our own Shackleton served with the Squadron right up to the end in 1991, and we do our part to keep its history alive too.

Our partnership with Number 8 Squadron means a lot to us, and the Squadron will be coming over to Coventry on July 9th to help take part in our special 25th anniversary celebrations, although sadly we can’t fit a Sentry AEW MK1 into Coventry Airport.... Members of the squadron will see for themselves their old aircraft, and we cannot wait to show them around! Despite being some 60+ years old, I’m sure our volunteers will delight in highlighting that the Shackleton could still perform the AEW task today if things got serious ;)
The Squadron are also offering to help us with providing manpower if possible during any intensive engineering times such as our anticipated NDT strip down checks this coming winter. Of course this will be subject to operational circumstances, but any assistance from their crew will be most welcome indeed at any time!

There is much more besides the above to formalise, but we really do look forward to establishing a great formal partnership between our two organisations!

Looking in to the future, and our own return-to-flight status, it goes without saying that 8 Sqn’s base is definitely on our own bucket list, which I’m sure will be a much anticipated event when that happens!

Bringing an element of Number 8 Squadron’s history alive is a unique and exciting prospect, and one that we, the Shackleton Preservation Trust will endeavour to accomplish with great pride!


ImageWebsite Logo by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

ImageWR963 Waddington 1991b by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

ImageJR7b by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

ImageJR4b by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

Image8 Sqn 25 Years b by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Ray C » Sat May 21, 2016 8:06 am

This is such an interesting subject concerning a great aircraft...And I have to
ask "How would you manage the restoration without former experienced ground crew"...?

Well done to you all :ymapplause:
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Sat May 21, 2016 8:21 pm

Ray, firstly thank you for your kind words...

From the start, the existing team had only ex-aircrew amongst them, with a few time-served ex-RAF techies too from different aircraft. They managed rather well indeed for a long time - the design has it's simplicity at times which helps.

Then in recent years the numbers were swelled by the arrival of ex-Shackleton groundcrew who continue to this day in providing a wealth of experience and knowledge which accelerated the progress rather a lot!

Myself - an ex-RAF Techie from the fast jet world, came along and got hooked by how straightforward if somewhat large the Shackleton is compared to my previous world of Hunters and Hawks etc....

We also have a smattering of mechanical engineers who have performed minor miracles in rebuilding or creating components as required - something we can actually do even when returning to flight!!

The aircraft was designed to be fixed easily, and it still is ;)

Regards

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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Ray C » Sat May 21, 2016 10:53 pm

"Returning to flight" ...What a sight/sound that brings to mind. Woodford would rejoice if she cast her
shadow over 603 and the Heritage Museum.... :) Ray.
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Richw_82 » Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:19 pm

Hi all.

Just a quick drop in by me to remind you all about the 9th July approaching, whch marks 25 years since WR963 touched down at Coventry and entered preservation. She's come a long way, and a short distance in that time. Usually you can find her providing shade for visitors and occasionally killing the grass in patches when the Griffons are run up just across from Hangar 7, Coventry.

Image

Then occasionally she takes a stroll. Its only been once or twice a year so far, but the bar is being pushed. The 9th July will see another taxy run, and there'll be more this coming year once this event is past. The intent is to try an bring her serviceability up to be capable and reliable enough to taxy once a month, something the team is pushing hard to achieve. I got lucky last year - I was Engineer for the taxy run in the Vulcan day. ONce everything was behaving I took a chance and got these two shots from the window, but the memory will last forever. A couple of chaps on the recent taxy run in April got even better footage... a chance that others can take advantage of too incoming months!

Image

Image

One thing that struck me when I visited recently was that although I've removed myself from duties with SPT; I still want to see WR963 fly and I still believe it can happen. I want to see this taxy past, become a turn onto a runway and off into the blue yonder. Hear the Griffon growl and watch '963 become a distant speck in the distance.

Image

SPT have got a hell of a long way, and managed to secure funding for the NDT work, then when everything seemed to be a done deal they then had a new problem in having to find the money to rent hangar space after our long time friends at Air Atlantique decided to start ceasing activities. So far without resorting to endless chain e-mails or campaigns, they've already got over half way. Please support the SPT, as visitors are still welcome as ever. Go and watch a ground run up, or visit. Book a taxy ride when the spaces become available. Or, if you have a spare minute online and fancy donating to help go here: http://www.avroshackleton.co.uk/fundraising.html

A Shackleton will fly again, and your help would make it happen that bit faster.

Regards,

Rich
http://www.avroshackleton.co.uk/
http://www.facebook.com/ShackletonReturnToFlight

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Update on July 9th Special Event!!!

Postby Hunterxf382 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:08 pm

Update on our BIG event coming up on July 9th!
We are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the last flight of WR963 which departed RAF Waddington and touched down at Coventry Airport on this very day in 1991. This marked the start of the next era in the life of this Avro Shackleton with the airframe being purchased at auction as one of a pair (the other airframe being WL790) by the late David Liddell-Grainger. The intention was to fly one of the airframes in civilian ownership with the other acting as a spares source.
After a few years of struggling with bureaucracy in vain, WL790 was flown out to the USA where she operated under FAA rules for 14 years until retirement into Museum life...
WR963 had been the chosen spares ship for WL790, and as such had been a test-bed airframe and stripped of many parts. In 1997 the Shackleton Preservation Trust took over looking after this airframe and set about returning the airframe to working condition as best they could...
Eventually, in 2008, a taxy run was achieved down the runway at Coventry which proved the viability of continuing to work towards returning WR963 to full working order once more!
In 2012, after a huge amount of careful research and gathering documentary evidence, the CAA was approached again to gain approval for a “Return to Flight” status... Amazingly, this time it was approved, and the hard work really began for the team!
In recent years WR963 has proved she wants to fly again with several taxy runs taking place, many ground runs, and an influx of dedicated volunteers increasing the ability of the team to overcome all the obstacles in our path!
Interest in our project soon reached higher places, with the recent surprise announcement that WR963’s old squadron (Number 8 Sqn Royal Air Force) wished to forge a unique working partnership with us to push forward this project! On July 9th they will be coming back to see their old aircraft for the first time in 25 years as a result, and we want you to be there too!

We will not only be welcoming the Royal Air Force at Coventry, but also have members of 8 Sqn Association attending too! Several VIP guests will be coming, who have been involved with WR963 in various ways over the years.
There are plans to have some airborne visitors too (though sadly not a current Sentry aircraft due to operational circumstances)
The entire team at the Shackleton Preservation Trust would love you to come and see what we have achieved and what our plans are for the future!
To celebrate this special anniversary with us, our Chairman has even discounted the admission price especially for this event too!

Public entry will be just £15 per person for the entire day’s activities where you can take a close look at our aircraft, meet the team, witness WR963 perform on the day, and be part of an historical occasion!
We do ask that if possible you book your place online via our website, and remember to include a message with paypal payments telling us that the payment is for “July 9th 25th Event” please!

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

You will not get an actual ticket, but your name(s) will be on a list at our gate as proof!

We will allow admission on the gate too, but it helps us to know who is attending if we know in advance!

You will be on a live airside apron at Coventry Airport for this event, so our team will be looking after you at all times for your own safety and airport security too of course.

Light refreshments will be available in our Cabin, but we would also recommend the adjacent DC-6 Diner for great value food too, although pre-booking a table might be advantageous as we expect them to be busy on this day!
DC-6 Diner can be contacted on: 07944 512305 or 02477 459020
ImageWebsite Logo by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

Image8 Sqn 25 Years b by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Hunterxf382 » Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:34 pm

Just a quick reminder to you all about this Saturday's special celebration event at Coventry!!!

£15 special reduced price to come and see us celebrate 25 years in preservation of our Avro Shackleton WR963...

Gates open 10am

Full Ground Run 2pm

Day finishes 5pm

Tours of our aircraft will be available during the day, and our neighbouring Nimrod is also being opened up by our friends who look after her too!

Chance to meet our team, and of course members of Number 8 Sqn Royal Air Force who are also bringing along some momentos to sell...

Our own freshly refurbished shop will be open - offering a range of our own merchandise and rare model kits which all go towards our fund-raising of course....

Click here for online booking:

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

Postby Hunterxf382 » Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:23 pm

A quick post to get the word out on an event being planned for 10th September which needs the word spreading as soon as possible!

More info on this will be shared once confirmed, and of course there are other SPT updates coming very soon with regards recent work and the results of our 25th anniversary event....

Keep an eye out too on our website which is undergong a transformation as I type following the addition of another web editor Aaron ;)

ImageWheels At Coventry Poster by Pete Buckingham, on Flickr

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Ground Run Saturday 20th August Cancellation Notice!

Postby Hunterxf382 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:46 pm

Hello everyone, due to safety concerns arising from the forecast adverse weather conditions due on Saturday, the Shackleton Preservation Trust have decided to cancel WR963's engine run this weekend. This run will be moved now to Monday 29th (bank holiday Monday) at 2pm. Entry as always is by the West gate CV8 3AZ We are sorry for any inconvenience caused and thank you all for your support.

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Urgent Update from the Trustees

Postby Hunterxf382 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 9:24 pm

Due to unforeseen administrative circumstances, the Shackleton Preservation Trust has been forced to cancel the programmed public engine run on Bank Holiday Monday, and the Wheels event on the 10th of September. Unfortunately, we are also unable to allow public access to the aircraft at this time. We ask for your patience while we work through this situation, and we will update you all as soon as we possibly can. As I have said above, it is an administrative situation, and is not due to any form of incident.I appreciate many of you will have made plans to attend either or both of these events, and on behalf of the Shackleton Preservation Trust, I hope you will accept our apologies to you all for this very short notice.
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Mayfly » Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:25 am

Just been reading about the problems on another forum. I hope the situation soon resolves itself and the project gets back on track without losing too much time and enthusiasm.
In memory of a very dear friend - Mike Pearson

Very fond memories of Robbie Gilvary - DTs 1st Vulcan Captain who taught DT all he knew.
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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Spitfire » Tue Aug 30, 2016 1:19 pm

One of the saddest statements I've ever read ....

Everything seemingly going so well to crashing down around the ears in one fell swoop ... :( :(

A statement from Dave Woods,
Chairman of Trustees - Shackleton Preservation Trust (reg charity no 1020951)
Legal owner of Avro Shackleton WR963/G-SKTN

I first got involved with Shackleton WR963 in late 2008 just after ownership had been taken back by Mike Collet following the failed attempt by ASCET to return her to flight. The aircraft had three engines present at that time, and numerous systems damaged or non-functioning.

My first job was to remove the front spinner from the No3 engine which I managed without breaking anything, then shortly after as WR963 looked in a bit of a state the decision was taken to repaint her. The then Chairman (John Cubberley)knew well of my modelling skills and asked me to head up the painting team which I was happy to do, I just approached it like a big Airfix kit. The final painting was completed over the course of five days and has lasted well since.

Over time I established a good working relationship with the management at Coventry and Mike Collet in particular as we are both northern boys . When the SPT Chair's health took a turn and he decided it was time for him to step down I was invited to join the board of Trustees and later to become Chairman, this job involved steering the activities of the Trust in maintaining and operating WR963 on behalf of Air Atlantique, and raising enough money for the project to be self sufficient.

Mike must have been impressed as in 2011 he asked me to take over the running of Air Atlantique's "Airbase", who would turn down that opportunity? Not me - so I said "Yes please!", and we did rather well at it. Then in 2012 it was decided that the whole of CAF would be moved to a new facility in Cornwall. Mike at that time realised that moving the Shackleton and Nimrod was really not an option, so on being called to the office one day he offered the Shackleton to me.

Had I declined WR963 would have gone up for auction, and YES this would have also included the scrap man. What would you do, buy the aircraft that by now you have worked on for a number of years, or say "No thank you," in the knowledge that she could be turned into scrap? It was bit of a no brainer for me really, so I bought it - out of my own pocket I might add.

Some of you may ask why I bought it myself and not on behalf of the Trust, that is simple, at that time the Trust did not want the liability that may have come with the purchase (indeed there were howls of horror from the other Trustees when I proposed handing it over to the Trust), as this may well have included insurances and parking fees which are substantial for an aircraft of the Shackleton's size and the Trust just did not have the funds to cover this.

Things were working well as they were, so I saw no reason for things to change so WR963 continued to be maintained and operated by the SPT as Mike had set up and all were happy with that arrangement. A few months later when Nimrod XV232 failed to sell, the transport cost was found to be atronomically high, and the aircraft was deteriorating rapidly, Mike asked me as Chairman to take it under the wing of the Trust on the same arrangement as WR963 had enjoyed, in that the aircraft would still belong to Mike but we - the Trust - would maintain and operate it. This the Trustees were happy to do as it would give us a nice little collection in its own right when all the other aircraft had departed, we would still have Shackleton, Nimrod and Shackleton Mk1 nose all together.

Time passed and we had highs and lows, members of the crew came and went as they do, then came 2015 and the Vulcan To The Sky day. The week before this saw WR963 up on jacks to change the brakes on both wheels to allow us to taxy on the day, it was a damn near run thing but we did it in front of the biggest crowd seen at Coventry in many years. We followed this up in April 2016 with a taxy run with paying passengers onboard, the first time this has been done EVER!!

The Trust at that time was solvent with plenty of cash in the bank, what I didnt know was that things were about to change and I'm afraid to say not for the better. WR963 became unservicable and remains so to this day.

Where did it go wrong?

At the beginning of the year I asked the crew to hit all the usual sites with messages pushing the Hanger Fund and the names on the bomb bay doors, they didn't want to do it, why? They were worried that it may be seen that we were spamming people. Thinking I may be pushing too hard and with my wife's failing health taking more of my time, I decided, wrongly, to let them run things largely their way. Things fell away further and faster than anticipated.

A small group of the newer members for whatever reason felt that they needed to have private meetings to which the Chair and members they didn't favour were not invited. The whole thing degenerated into a Saturday morning "boys and their toy" club and not a group of like minded people with a common goal. Things I asked of them as Chairman of the Trustees of SPT in an attempt to try and halt the decline were ignored.

Little to nothing has been done with the Heritage Lottery Fund Application which would have given the trust £70,0000 development funding , the "Friends of WR963" has been run down and ignored with no updates and newsletters since the first one under the new Membership Secretary, so that is another source of funding gone.

The result? Since the middle of May we have had just £338 in donations.

There can be no doubt that the unserviceability this year, little to no income from events (such as monthly public engine runs) combined with the huge expenditures has killed SPT. If we didn't have the Kickstarter funds the Trust would be out of funds completely now. The majority of the newer members treat this as if it is of no concern, the only idea that was brought up to raise funds is to scrap Nimrod XV232, I have to tell you that as long as I draw breath as Chairman I will not allow this.

To add to my stress level, this year new untrained members of crew have been put in positions on board the aircraft for private "test" runs when I wasn't on site. Not only is this poor behaviour from a safety point of view, it equates to some £3000 used in fuel this year alone for private - not public - "test" runs. Given I am the culpable person in that my name is on ALL the insurances, if there had been an incident and someone was injured or killed I would be facing criminal charges despite being 100 miles away at the time.

Speaking as the owner of the aircraft would you allow this to continue? I am no longer willing to let this happen so I have with the greatest reluctance removed ALL the insurances on the aircraft.

The SPT is now so divided that I doubt it can ever be brought back together. Weighing up all the above I feel I have had no choice but to call time on the work on WR963, and look to her preservation for future generations above all else.

As such I have to say that that brilliant dream of flight for the Shackleton is now gone.

Kind regards to all

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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Mayfly » Tue Aug 30, 2016 1:24 pm

Beat me to it David - I have just finished reading that.

Very sad.
In memory of a very dear friend - Mike Pearson

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Re: Shackleton WR963

Postby Dougs » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:47 am

that is such a shame as i did think we would have two flying lancasters and a shackleton in the future. However the way airshows are going no one will bother to watch them doing slow flat turns from three miles away anyway #HSE X(
I do hope it can be turned arround as they have enough workable spares to get her flying again.
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