A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Blue_2 » Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:43 pm

20/03/2016 Update
Yesterday it finally felt like Spring had sprung! The sun was out (initially at least), the weather was dry, and we arrived at the museum with something resembling a plan of attack. The museum site itself felt like it was coming back to life after Winter hibernation too, as many of the aircraft usually found in the hangar were outdoors for a slight reshuffle and to put the Halifax back indoors after starring in the museum's nightshoot on Friday.
Back to Meteor business, our plans for the day were to remove the lid for the fuselage centre section to see what remained within, power wash the main undercarriage bays and the main u/c legs, and get a bit more air in the mainwheels. In addition Rich wanted to finish the removal of the wing leading edges; this was a job I had started, Andy had lent a hand with in the interim, and then Rich had taken on.
First job was to get the canopy cover off and the canopy open. Rich finding and closing the cabin depressurization valve on our last visit has made a big difference to the amount of moisture getting in, as we were greeted by that nice smell of old aircraft cockpit instead of the odour of dampness. I set about freeing the fasteners on the centre section lid off (after doing battle with a couple of seemingly invincible wasps, just coming out of hibernation under the rear canopy fairing!) while Rich battled the leading edges. After much work, and not a little filling the air with some good Anglo-Saxon, I had freed off the fastenings and extracted the remains of the upper rear fastenings. These have suffered a combination of time's ravages and simple old fashioned butchery. I may need to make new locking pins for them, but they will be restored and refitted. Rich had defeated the Port wing leading edge too, and after summoning me to help him, we were able to slide it off. The wing structure is in really good condition, and we found some AW builder's plates, dated 1953!
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He soon had the starboard one off, at which point we noticed an anomaly. The inside of the starboard one was painted in the same primer as the wings' interior, yet the port one was grey inside. Closer inspection of the port leading edge's data plates revealed why;
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It had in fact started life fitted to a Meteor NF.11. I wonder if it is a legacy of the accident marked on 788's record card late in her career...
Next job after lunch, after reinflating the mainwheels, was to get the canopy off which we soon sussed out. The canopy is lighter than it looks, and can easily be lifted by 2 people. 788, cabriolet style!
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We lifted the lid, then climbed in to the tank bay to see what chaos lay within.
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We found remarkably little corrosion, which was good. The fuel tank has gone, and there has been a lot of wire cutting-type tomfoolery carried out in there, but other than that it looks encouraging. One of the elevator control rods is still present; one of the things we are toying with reinstating is the control surfaces, so once we have sorted just what of the control runs is missing we will see if this is feasible, then start seeing if the parts are out there to be acquired. But at least that is one bit we don't need to source!
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With the paint in there being flaky I decided to photograph all the markings, inspector's stamps, pencilled notes etc. I could find to record them. In doing so we found this one on the rear bulkhead of the centre section
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Does this mean the centre section originally belonged to WS744 I wonder...?
It then started to shower a little, so we decided to get everything buttoned back up. Before we did I took this unusual view of the cockpit, just as Rich was closing the DV window
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Last job of the day was to break the power washer out and give the main legs and undercarriage bays a good blast out to clean out. I thought this was the easiest way to shift several decades of crud and layers of flaky paint. As you can see in the pic below, judging by the debris on the floor it worked!
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We then buttoned the jet up and called it a day.
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We had a welcome visitor in the afternoon, who had taken the time to photocopy and deliver the Vol.1 and the pilot's notes for the NF14 in exchange for a brew and a look around 788. He even helped us put the jet to bed at the end of the day! Many, many thanks, much appreciated!
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Blue_2 » Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:25 am

04/04/16 Update

Yesterday was the museum's first Thunder Day of the year, with engine runs by the WW1 replicas, Devon, Dak, and the big jets. I will leave others to cover that though, as we were busy over in 788's corner of the site.
While the weather didn't look all that great when we arrived on site, it soon started to pick up and the sun even showed its face. For the first time the 3 of us who are working on 788 were all at the jet at the same time! Ali was making her first visit to the jet since her ankle op and was restricted to her wheelchair.
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While this meant she couldn't get hands on with the jet, she was able to do valuable work greeting our many interested visitors through the day, telling them a bit about the jet, and punching and filing the AP's which David brought for us a couple of weeks ago. Apparently if you are in a wheelchair the starboard intake makes a good desk, cheers Ali!
This left Rich and I free to receive wisdom and a crash course in the pitfalls (many, many pitfalls) from Sandy Mullen, who joined us for the day. Sandy had a pedigree with Meteors, the Malta NF14 and the Coventry based airworthy T7 being among his 'credits'. Now and again you get a visitor who is itching to get his hands dirty; Sandy definitely falls in that category and after a tour round the jet showing us the pitfalls and awkward jobs that await us (did I mention there are many of these?!) we made a start on getting the poor battered ventral tank off. Sandy could not coax either of the cockpit ventral tank jettisons to do very much, so he showed us the 'option B' method. This involves undoing a very rusty nut under the tank...
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And a bit of persuasion. More on that in upcoming weeks I suspect...
He also went through the airbrake removal procedure with us, as a result Rich ended up making a start removing the rear access hatches in the port main u/c bay.
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Another job you will be hearing more of over the next few weeks, as there are 4 of these blighters to shift. Again, I suspect these last saw daylight circa 1966!
Later in the day Sandy popped into the cockpit to show me how to remove and refurb some items (these will be done in the comfort of my kitchen, eh Sandy!). I'll cover those at a later date though. He looks quite at home in the Meteor's cockpit!
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He also mentioned he had a couple of little bits in his car that might be helpful to us. A couple of bits? Let me just check my dictionary for the definition of the word 'understatement'...
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A mass of assorted NF spares, fixtures and fittings. Much appreciated!
He also brought us these engine diagrams
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It'd be nice if we found we needed them one day...
In addition, this forum's very own Sploosher paid us a visit too. Always a pleasure Gordon! But I think I can see why you never made it as a pilot. Sitting the right way round in the pilot's seat is, after all, one of the more basic skills...!
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Sooty655 » Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:23 pm

That nut looks like it might consume a lot of the Plus Gas reserves, Graham. ;)
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Vulcan Bomber » Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:45 pm

A fair few swear words will probably be consumed as well Eric!
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Sooty655 » Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:04 pm

Sooty655 wrote:That nut looks like it might consume a lot of the Plus Gas reserves, Graham. ;)
Vulcan Bomber wrote:A fair few swear words will probably be consumed as well Eric!

That's why the Plus Gas can comes in blue, VB. ;)
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Blue_2 » Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:25 pm

Believe it or not it moved fine with the big ratchet and some good Yorkshire muscle behind it! It's the collar above it that is likely to be seized and give us headaches.
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Vulcan Bomber » Wed Apr 06, 2016 7:10 pm

Sooty655 wrote:
Sooty655 wrote:That nut looks like it might consume a lot of the Plus Gas reserves, Graham. ;)
Vulcan Bomber wrote:A fair few swear words will probably be consumed as well Eric!

That's why the Plus Gas can comes in blue, VB. ;)



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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Blue_2 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 2:08 pm

While we haven't had a proper work day on the jet for a couple of weeks, I have been tinkering away quietly. If you remember we found the 4 top pins which latch the hatch which makes the roof of the centre section? 2 were in the floor of the bay, looking like they had sat there corroding quietly for a while, and the other 2 were wedged in the rear latch points, one of which was, well, just a tad bent...
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Well with nothing to lose I stuck it in the vice, slowly winding up the pressure to bend the pin back straight
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After a couple of days of that treatment it came out pretty much straight
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For the next part of its rehab it joined its 3 friends in a bath of OM15 and diesel, and marinated for a fortnight, turning regularly
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I will come back to these rusty little critters presently. Meanwhile I found myself near the museum on Friday afternoon with 1/2 hour to kill, so I decided to go and do another little job Rich and I had been discussing. The radio bay sits aft of the fuel tank bay, and is accessed by a hatch in the underside of the fuselage. For some reason last year the hatch was replaced by a riveted on plate. I found the original hatch in the cockpit, and apart from a little surface corrosion I could see little wrong with it. It seemed sensible therefore to remove the riveted bodge, explore just how much equipment still remained in the radio bay, and refit the correct hatch. So, with a sense of trepidation off came the riveted plate
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Revealing the hatch. Would the wiring and mountings for the radios still be present? Or would I face a chopped, empty mess?
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The result was very positive. Here is a selection of the pics I took in there, showing the rear fuselage, radio trays, neatly taped off radio plugs, and all the wiring and equipment still present in the bay.
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Exciting times! Perhaps we will be able to restore the radio systems to get 788 talking to the world again...
The original hatch went back on, looking much better than that riveted thing!
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I still don't understand why that was ever applied. Meanwhile, the door pins from the tank bay lid had been enjoying their fragrant bath and were now ready for the next step in their rejuvenation. One by one they came out and with minimal persuasion the nuts and bolts were undone for the first time in decades, and the metal pins freed from the aluminium levers. Only one component was written off, a bolt whose head had corroded away to nothing. Every other component will be going back on the jet. I'd call that a result!
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Hopefully we can reclaim more of 788's original fittings using this method. If so it saves opening time capsules like these in our spares stock...
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We'll be back to the jet for a proper workday soon. Assuming the tide goes back out that is...
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Spitfire » Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:22 pm

This is fascinating stuff :YMAPPLAUSE: ... I jus loves de fettlin' ... ;)

Isn't it strange - there's nowt so folk as queers - why on earth would anyone remove a perfectly serviceable hatch and store it and then replace it with a riveted plate :p
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Blue_2 » Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:52 pm

I have no idea why they did it! Perhaps they did it as an engineering exercise, never thinking for a moment that a keener, more ambitious team would take over the rebuild...!
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Blue_2 » Mon May 09, 2016 2:33 pm

Much to update you on; I know I have been quiet for a couple of weeks but I have been a busy chap. This doesn't mean that 788 has been forgotten though; far from it!
Firstly, someone requested pics of the nosewheel bay. Here you go!
Up
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looking forward
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and back. Note where the covers are in the battery bay, there is normally the battery hatch cover, pictured elsewhere in the thread.
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I snuck a day on the jet last week, just to do a couple of little jobs. The mainwheels look a lot better with some air in them again!
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I also jacked up the nosewheel to rotate it. In accordance with Sod's Law, last time we moved the jet she ended up with the valve hidden behind the u/c fork. Typical. So she briefly got airborne while I spun the wheel a touch, ready to be reinflated
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I spent most of the day undoing, spray greasing and refitting hatches. Now the jet is getting some attention it is important that all the 60+ year old hinges, catches etc are looked after as they are once more called on to be used regularly! I did take a bit of homework away with me though. The landing lights have been sat, unloved and disconnected, in a box in one of the nose bays since I took the project on. I decided to take them home for some TLC, and see if any life could be coaxed out of them. Here they are stripped on the bench, with the shells given a good coat of fresh paint
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One of the retaining rings cleaned and polished up, the other awaiting attention
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Reassembled
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And reunited with 788.
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But before they went back to the jet they had an encounter with a 12V battery in my garage...
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So the first parts show a spark of life!
In other news, the radios kindly acquired by Rich Woods arrived last week.
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2 TR.1985's, and a 1986. We need one 1985 and 1986, so hopefully the museum's radio shack can take these 3 in and produce 2 workers from them. There was a nice bit of history on one, in the form of a servicing label from RAF Laarbruch!
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To bring the thread bang up to date, we have had a busy weekend at the museum. On Saturday the Devon and Dak were out on the airfield for some exercise, so on Friday aircraft were moved here, there and everywhere to accommodate this. In addition we had Ollie and Kay from Bruntingthorpe on site for the weekend doing surgery on Buccaneer XN974's hydraulic systems, and Andy who is now looking to maintain our Lightning wanted to pay some attention to the nosewheel on XS903. So Ali and I turned up to get a few jobs done on 788 too. Ali is still far from 100% fit, so she was mostly recording the day with my camera.
First job after the obligatory visit to the NAAFI for bacon and a brew was to get my compressor fired up to try and get the Lightning's nosewheel reinflated. It had completely lost pressure so, after taking all the weight off it, we managed to get the tyre back on the bead with a combination of the compressor and carefully placed hammer blows.
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The jet now looks much happier, and is sitting much better. Andy will be keeping a close eye on the tyre over the next few weeks, to see what it does.
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While we had the compressor out, we topped the Meteor's nosewheel up. It's surprising how much difference these little jobs make to the overall presentation of the jet!
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We had another job scheduled for the day which would alter the appearance of 788 dramatically, but first we opened the jet up. Here I am removing the ties for the cover
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And Andy watches while I open the lid
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Ali then spotted a heap of rusty flakes off the nose weight in the bottom of the fuselage, and set too diligently sweeping them out.
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We then declared lunch, on the way back from which we saw the Devon being brought back in off the airfield
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Then Andy and I went and gathered the Meteor's nose radome from the Handley Page building. We had decided this should go back on as its absence was allowing the weather into the nose bays on the jet. In addition there was no good reason for it to be off as it wasn't giving us any access to any areas we need to be in to, and refitting it just makes the jet look a bit less unloved.
I recruited 2 of my former colleagues from the Victor team, Ian and Sam, and between the 4 of us we proceeded to fit the beastie, with Ali recording proceedings! Andy had already given the catches another greasing, and in preparation for the nose fitting I had popped in and greased the latching points on Thursday. First we rolled it onto its underside, and Ian took the opportunity to be rude towards a camera rather than from behind one!
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Offered up
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the 3 locating pins home
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Tapping the locating catches home
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Job done, and 788 has that distinctive Meteor NF nose profile back!
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Another job I had wanted to take a look at was removing the instrument panel to see what if any wiring and plumbing still existed behind there. As you may recall we want the lights etc. to work on the jet, and this is one of the areas which needed accessing and assessing. Here I am making off with the panel!
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Which is home with me for cleaning up. I won't paint it or anything though, as we want to maintain the patina of an operational jet rather than make her look factory fresh
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Behind the panel, I found cut piping (not a problem) and cut wiring (potentially a problem).
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This all needs a good clean up, and a good looking at by Rich, as he has more patience for getting the magic smoke back into the electric string than I have! There is something to work with though so I'm not too disheartened.
After all this we prepared to close up a jet that once more looks like a Meteor NF
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But first I went to help Ollie and Kay shift a particularly reluctant bit of plumbery in the Bucc. The sight that greeted me on entering the hangar was, well, different...!
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After lending a hand with 974, we put the cover on 788 and called it a day
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Hopefully we can make as good progress next time we are in, and put a smile back on this face!
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Sooty655 » Mon May 09, 2016 7:50 pm

Thanks for the update, Blue. More good progress. :ymapplause: :ymapplause:
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Blue_2 » Tue May 10, 2016 9:50 am

My pleasure!

I wasn't sure anyone lurked around here anymore to be honest... 8-}
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Dougs » Tue May 10, 2016 4:16 pm

Posts are reasonably well read but not many post anymore, loving your progress :D :D :D
B-)
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Sooty655 » Tue May 10, 2016 6:25 pm

Blue_2 wrote:My pleasure!

I wasn't sure anyone lurked around here anymore to be honest... 8-}

The lurker in chief is still here. ;) ;) ;)
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Aceyone » Tue May 10, 2016 8:23 pm

Following the progress with great interest,tanks for posting
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Spitfire » Wed May 11, 2016 9:34 am

Aceyone wrote:Following the progress with great interest,thanks for posting


What he said :D ;)
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Kermit » Thu May 12, 2016 12:51 pm

What they said ! :)
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Ray C » Fri May 13, 2016 7:07 am

I'm still lurking as well.... ;)
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Blue_2 » Thu May 19, 2016 1:40 pm

Glad to see we still have lurkers! :))
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Sooty655 » Thu May 19, 2016 2:40 pm

Every fettler should have a lurker or two. ;)
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Vulcan Bomber » Wed May 25, 2016 10:04 pm

I'm still lurking..... Tend to give you more input through farcebook however.
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Yorkie » Wed Jun 01, 2016 2:56 pm

having seen this aircraft many many many time it is great to see someone working on it.

Also nice to see the lightning getting some love, has the owner now allowed people to work on it?

About due another trip over to Elvington as its only round the corner.

I often lurk around these parts but don't often sign in (LAZY)

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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Blue_2 » Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:59 am

I took the main instrument panel home for a spot of tidying up. It was filthy, and had some chipped paint and corrosion needing attention. A couple of hours' work at home saw it looking much happier and ready to return to the cockpit.
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It will of course need to come back out when we are ready to look at wiring it back in properly, but for now it is back where it belongs which is the safest place for it. It also means our visitors have something better than a gloomy hole full of cut wires to look at when they have a sit in! After a bit of a fight the panel was back on its mountings.
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Next job was to retrieve the nose door from the store, and refit the landing lights to it.
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While I did this and Rich chased a fault on the wiring accompanying the landing lights, Andy got busy with the wire brush cleaning the battery terminals up. I think the Meteor makes a most fetching looking hat for him...!
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The door was soon in place. It will have to pop off again to be repainted, but that is no job, simply 2 bolts and 2 wires
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I then put the test battery in, and we borrowed a trolley acc for the moment of truth. Sam got the job of plugging it in...
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...the battery relays engaged, but that was our lot. After much poring over the AP, Rich has come to the conclusion that the 3 main fuses are missing, so among my jobs on Sunday will be checking this out. But the satisfying thump of battery relays engaging after 50 years was enough to put big silly smiles on our faces!
While tidying up, I found the control locks. While the stick is currently not attached to any control surfaces, it will hopefully be sometime. So we put the locks in position rather than chucking them back in the nose bay again to be forgotten about.
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Finally, while cleaning out debris, old nests etc. form the nose bay, I found this surprisingly bouncy rubber ball
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It has clearly been in the nose bay for a good long time, quite how and why it got there I don't know! But it is now the Ball of Shame, to be chucked at any member of the team (including me, I'm not immune despite being team leader!) who does a particularly silly thing while working on the jet. I'm sure any instances of its deployment will be relayed on here...!
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Old Rigger » Fri Jun 03, 2016 2:44 pm

Thanks for the updates, hope you get the fuses sorted, cannot remember seeing it written in the thread (bit lazy with regard looking), but do you have the outer wings and if so can they actually be refitted?
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