A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

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

Postby Sooty655 » Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:06 pm

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.

I told you those large nails you found some months ago would come in useful. :) :)
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Blue_2 » Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:45 pm

I'm a Yorkshireman, and therefore never throw anything out fortunately!
I thought I would add a post covering Sunday's activity. Sunday was one of the museum's Thunder Days. For various reasons I cannot go into on here, these are currently restricted to engine runs and demonstrations on the museum site, however we hope that issues can be resolved and the Thunder Days can return to the old popular format including fast taxy runs on the airfield.
We were in bright and early for breakfast and briefing. There are certainly worse sights to be queueing behind than a Rolls Royce Merlin XX!
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After Brekkie and briefing was out of the way, I went to see one of the unsung heroes of the Museum, Ken. Seen here morse-ing away on his fully functional 1154/1155 set.
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He is the guru of all things comms, and has agreed to look at restoring 788's radios to working order. After all, we have them, so they may as well go in. And if they go in, well, they might as well work...
After that, we opened the Meteor up, then I went and helped Tony Agar and Peter Grieve setting up Peter's ex-Beaufighter Merlin XX. It was having a change of configuration, being fitted with a pair of Mosquito saxophone exhausts, which have been refurbished by Tony. These were last on a running engine in 1944! Seen here after a couple of runs, and blue-ing up nicely
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I missed the first run of the engine, and indeed the Dak/Devon paired run, as I was busy with visitors at the Meteor. But I caught the second run
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The ultimate big boy's toy perhaps...?
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I did catch the Devon's solo run from the hangar. Sadly only the starboard engine wanted to play though; the Port one must have gotten stage fright after its first run!
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I also caught the Dak doing its engine run too
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During the afternoon we had another Merlin visit.This time it was attached to a Spitfire, the BBMF's Vb, AB910. I photographed it while using WS788 as a stepladder!
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I also caught the Victor engine run, and before that the YAM fire service evacuation demo. Here the Pathfinder thunders towards Lindy, hot on the heels on the TACR
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After all the excitement, I went back to the Meteor to greet a few more visitors before putting the old girl to bed once more. She had a good number of previously seized screws on the port side forward fuselage freed off, but there are still a good number to do next visit.
It may be that next workday we have another move to report, and hopefully we will have power to the jet...
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Until then she will have to wait patiently for powers higher than us to decide we can really get to grips with her...
Team leader, Meteor NF.14 WS788 restoration, YAM Elvington.
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Blue_2 » Mon Jul 04, 2016 3:14 pm

04/07/16 Update

Afternoon all! Much to report from yesterday, and many pictures for your perusal from what was a very busy day with much achieved to transform our Meteor. Pull up a comfy chair...
We have had a plan in place for a while now, in fact 2 of my friends had been booked for over a month to lend us some extra manpower for yesterday's exercise. So we duly mustered in the NAAFi at bacon o'clock and, after the formalities of devouring bacon and exchanging insults with the Nimrod team, we talked through our plan before heading out to uncover the jet.
Simply put, our plan for the day was to refit the outer wings to the aircraft. If you say it fast it doesn't sound a big job, does it?! Well those 2 lumps of tin are, shall we say, rather heavy. As an aside I will just explain our logic for refitting the wings. I know I was hoping to get the aircraft back into the HP building, but this is looking less than likely so there is no point the wings remaining off. In fact, their undersides are far more accessible to work on fitted to the jet than they were on the trollies, so refitting them made sense. The jet may as well stay outside as things are going to get messy around her over the forthcoming weeks as the old flaky paint and corrosion starts to be shed!
First job for our team (numbering 5 for one day only!) was to remove the cover and open the cockpit up, which I can report is still staying pleasingly dry despite all the recent rain. Then we wheeled the port wing into position. Ali was issued my camera to record what would hopefully be a big day for our little jet! Here Rich is discussing his 'homework' with Mac before the lift
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He then adjusted the trolley to lift the wing as close as possible to its attachment points
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Meanwhile myself and Jon, a good friend of mine and guest Meteor fettler for the day, got to work removing the surface corrosion off the wing bolts and the attachment points
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After taking the cannon fairing off we prepared to lift. The plan was to lift the wing enough to fit the lower attachment points, then pivot the wing on them to allow the 2 top bolts to be fitted
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Rich, Jon and I lifted the wing, while Andy (our other guest Meteor-ist for the day) and Ali fitted the 2 lower bolts simultaneously. After they had been tapped home enough to take the weight of the wing, we moved to the wingtip with Jon and I lifting, Ali and Andy on bolt duties and Rich up top ready to 'persuade' the bolts home
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Then I took the hammer to make sure the lower pins were properly home
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And that was one wing back on!
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Even the castings that make the cannon doors/fairings opened happily!
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The good news is that the aileron controls from this point are fitted, so we just need to find a set of rods form the centre section pivot point to the cannon bays each side and we have ailerons. The control surfaces are something I am keen to return to working order as part of our intent to use the jet as an educational tool once she is restored.
Buoyed by the success of the port wing fit, we got straight on with the starboard wing. And to be honest the biggest problem we faced here was getting the wing to the jet as the trolley it was on had, to put it kindly, seen better days.
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She looks like an aircraft once more!
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See, I have faith in our handiwork...
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After a spot of well earned lunch, and with far more day spare than we had envisaged, we turned our attentions back to the ventral tank. Rich wanted to investigate the possibilities of a release unit in the centre section fuel bay, so seeing as we had extra bods we decided to lift the nice, light (in disguise) canopy off and open the bay up.
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While the investigations came to naught, it did mean we had chance to give the tank bay a good airing which never does any harm.
So, it was time to crawl under the jet to battle the 'canoe', as it got christened during the day. You may recall Sandy advised us on this matter when he visited, unfortunately neither of the methods he suggested bore fruit but, based on his explanation of the front latch system and some serious staring at the AP we devised a cunning plan. First we supported the tank then, very carefully, I spun the big nut off the front hanger. The hanger remained corroded in position, so we moved the supports slightly so the corrosion was effectively holding the tank in place then I tapped at the hanger until the corrosion gave and the tank was free to move down the hanger
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Sadly the wooden fillet piece between the tank and the aircraft's belly was fairly rotten; indeed part of it came away in Rich's hand! Fortunately this is something that the can replicate very easily, as his 9-5 job nowadays is wood fettling.
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Once the tank is down on the deck, the idea is then to simply unhook the hanger from the latching mechanism
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Easier said than done! We found that the Bowden cable for the release mechanism had snapped about a 1/2 inch from the mechanism. That explains why pulling the jettison T-handle did nothing then!
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So Rich and I tried to make the release mechanism budge, with him holding the pin out of the way while I attempted to persuade the latch to undo with a hammer and screwdriver. This moved the latch, but not far enough.
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Inadvertently though, we found that rocking the tank with the release pin held open worked brilliantly though, and the hanger dropped back down out of the belly of the jet and into the tank with a satisfying clunk!
Rich's pictures, the latching mechanism in the underside of the jet
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And the now bare underside of 788
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One reason the tank had to come off was to rectify all this damage...
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The tank will not be going back on until the aircraft's belly is repainted, so the jet is in 'racing' configuration for the foreseeable future!
So, to bring this week's update to a close, some pics of 788 now with her wings on, and her tank off
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With the belly tank on the trolley previously occupied by the port wing
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From the Lightning
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And from the top of the T33
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I am really proud of what we achieved yesterday, massive thanks to Jon (Slikk) and Andy for coming to help us!
Team leader, Meteor NF.14 WS788 restoration, YAM Elvington.
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Sooty655 » Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:44 am

Thanks for the update, Graham. That was a really productive day. I must make time to visit you guys.
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Aceyone » Tue Jul 05, 2016 10:30 am

Great work people,this is very interesting !
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Ray C » Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:39 am

Great work done under an angry looking sky :ymapplause: :ymapplause:
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Spitfire » Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:32 pm

Really interesting - good mix of pics and words too :ymapplause: :)
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Vulcan Bomber » Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:27 pm

...... Racing configuration for the foreseeable future.....


With the pace you boys are going at it'll be refitted next week.

Your doing well Graham and team... but you knew that.
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Blue_2 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 3:40 pm

Glad everyone is still enjoying the resto and my updates! Thank you all for your words and attention.
11/07/2016 Update
After last week's marathon effort by the team, I was the only Meteor-ist on site yesterday. The mission for the day was to move the jet closer to the hangar, so I can run an extension lead out from the hangar and finally set about 788's corroded nether regions with power tools! I had received word in the week that the Tractor God was willing to come in and move the Meteor yesterday, so I was in early moving equipment, barriers etc out of the way.
It is still quite a thrill to come round the corner and see a Meteor with wings on sat there looking at you!
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The original plan was to move the Silver Star out of the way, move the Meteor out, move the Lightning to where the Meteor was, move the Meteor to where the Lightning was, then put the Silver Star back. We had a consider and decided to make life easier for ourselves, and came up with plan B which was to simply move the Silver Star, fit the Meteor between the Lightning and the hangar, then put the Silver Star where the Meteor came from. Simple, eh?!
The Silver Star moved happily, then Brian carefully shuffled 788 out of her space
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788 slotted in tidily next to the Lightning, then the Silver Star was shunted into 788's old spot. We had a good idea, and put it as close to the Bucc as possible. One thing I have noticed over my time in the corner is the number of people who are a little disgruntled that the Javelin is inaccessible; putting the Silver Star close to the Bucc meant we could put a walkway between the SS and the Tornado, so people can now get much closer to the Javelin. Hopefully this will please our visitors!
Once all the aircraft were parked, I replaced all the barriers, signs etc, then decided it was brew o'clock. By this time the classic cars which were displaying on site for the day were starting to show up, so I opened the cockpit up and decided to get on with some work in between fielding interested visitors! Nothing exciting, only extracting some screws from panels we need off such as the belly panel and the airbrake access hatches in the back of the u/c bays.
One job I did get done with the help of John, the only Victor team member on site yesterday, was to get the jetpipe cover off and extract the wing join sealing strips which had as you can see been stuffed in there none too carefully...
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These are now stored, flat and safe, in Tony's Mosquito spares store, until we get them repaired and ready to be refitted. Thankyou Tony!
Another job I forgot to mention I did before the jet moved was check the tyre pressures. Each had lost somewhere between 8-10 psi which, given it has been a couple of months since they were checked, wasn't too shabby. While the compressor was out I also topped up the Lightning's nosewheel tyre, topped up one nosewheel tyre on the GR1 Tornado and got the other back on its rim and reinflated. I appear to be turning into the museum's answer to Kwik Fit!
Towards the end of the day a couple of the classic cars had their photos taken with some of the aircraft. Here, 2 classic 50's convertibles together!
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Once I had packed up and, again with John's help, put the jet to bed, I took a couple of pictures of 788 in her new position
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And with the Lightning's crew ladder temptingly close by, I had to get this pic...
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I imagine it will be a couple of weeks until we are back on site. Hopefully with more progress to report now that our arsenal of power tools can finally be unleashed on the poor unsuspecting jet!
Team leader, Meteor NF.14 WS788 restoration, YAM Elvington.
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Sploosher » Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:18 pm

great update Graham, will be good to see her in a new coat of paint, any idea when she will be `live` yet...........

P.S. Jan likes the new motor............. :D

when do you plan to start the rubbing down?
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Spitfire » Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:35 pm

Sploosher wrote:will be good to see her in a new coat of paint


That is right - a coat of paint will do wonders and bring her 'alive' again ... nothing worse than faded worn paint ... but I know from just doing an old car that the painting is the easy, and very rewarding, bit .. its the preparation that seems endless and very messy ;) :p

Bet you wish you could do it like this ....
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Blue_2 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:45 pm

Meteor update omnibus!

22/08/16 Update

Sorry it has been as couple of weeks since we posted anything, but to say it has been an interesting couple of weeks would be an understatement... Anyway, on with Meatbox-related doings. As I mentioned in my last post, 788's missing step has now been reassembled
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And it even works!
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After a good coat of primer and a splash of good old Humbrol yellow on the step itself, it was ready to be reunited with the rest of 788
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And now we go from putting parts on a Meteor, to taking them off one. Sat on a lonely windswept hillside on Sennybridge Range in south Wales lie the mortal remains of Meteor F.8 VZ568. We were told she was still there, so Rich got busy emailing the range to see if firstly the jet still existed and secondly if there was any chance of reclaiming anything useful off her. The O/C Sennybridge's response couldn't have been more encouraging. Not only did he confirm it existed but he sent one of his staff out to photograph it for us, to assess whether there was anything of use left on it. There indeed was, so after all the correct permissions and authorisations were obtained we were on our way!
On arrival at the range, we found our target sat in the middle of a moor, being blasted by heavy rain and gale force winds. In Yorkshire we call that Summer, so we cracked on.
Our first look at 568. Encouraging, but bear in mind the port side is by far the better side of the jet!
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A quick look around, then after ensuring there were no live nasties lurking in the aircraft we broke out the generator, angle grinders etc and made a start. Our first target, the fuel tank, was sadly too far gone, but there was still plenty of interest on the jet. Ali and Andy made a start removing the aileron control rods and their guides and bearers, Chris started digging into the cockpit to see if there was anything salvageable, and Rich and I started on with the cutter. We were very pleased to see that the pivot in the radio bay for the elevator controls was still present and had taken only one bullet hit, so we cut a square round its mounting on the port side of the fuselage. While I was on the port side I also cut access holes for Rich to access the airbrake hinges. Amazingly 568's upper airbrakes are in much better order than 788's, so we decided to retrieve them.
I then moved to the starboard side, and cut that side of the elevator pivot free. then Rich, Chris and I pushed, pulled and wriggled the thing out of the jagged hole where the radio bay had been. Success!
We started to make a pile of salvaged items by the jet. After I had made access holes for Rich round the starboard airbrake I took a breather and a couple of shots to show the conditions we were working in.
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Finally we had picked the aircraft clean of anything useable, so decided to call it a day.
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We found this signature on the port wing join; a long gone BDR student at St. Athan signing his work perhaps?
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We added our own mark, in the port cannon bay
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A last view of the rear fuselage
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Then we left 568 to her lonely hilltop vigil once more.
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How much longer will she survive? Not long given she is under fire 345 days a year. She is still a valuable training aid though, albeit dying a death by 1000 cuts. When she is finally cleared there will be little or nothing left worth saving. Several fires, explosive devices, exposure to the elements and light fingered soldiers since 1965, hundreds of small arms rounds and of course our visit have seen to that.

So, the final tally of bits recovered from a wet windy hillside? See for yourselves.
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Worthwhile I think you'll agree. Just to give you an idea how holed the aircraft is, here is the starboard cut out section I removed to access the elevator pivot. It is about the size of an envelope, yet has at least 7 holes shot in it!
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Surprising find of the day? The only surviving instrument in the cockpit.
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It will be restored and fitted to 788; it deserves it after surviving for so long!
Many thanks to the O/C and his staff at Sennybridge, Minster Van Hire, and of course my team (Ali, Rich, Andy, Chris) for making this happen.

I should point out this is the first, and will be the only, salvage visit to 568's resting place for which permission ever has or ever will be granted.

01/09/16 Update

Another week, and another troll has crawled out from under his bridge to scorn the Meteor project. Not on this forum, I hasten to add.
Are we disheartened? No! Such oxygen thieves just make us more determined to carry on our work.
Speaking of which, while the team have not been present on site with 788, we have been making inroads into the pile of bits we retrieved from Sennybridge. Firstly, the flap indicator out of 568. As you may recall it was in a sorry state when we brought it home.
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Now not only does it look much happier having been dismantled, cleaned, decorroded, received a new perspex face, but having had one broken wire replaced it now works too.
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The slight bluish tinge to the face is the protective film which is still on the new perspex. I have also added 568's serial. This will be done with all the components we use off the F.8.
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I spent the Bank Holiday Monday (sorry Scottish readers!) dismantling the elevator layshaft we salvaged. I shall refer to it as the layshaft as that is what it is down as in the book of words!
This lives in the radio bay, across the fuselage just aft of the wing, and transmits elevator inputs from the control column to the elevators. From the control column to the layshaft inputs are transmitted through a series of rods. from this layshaft aft run a pair of cables to the tail, and then to the elevators. It is attached to each side of the fuselage by 4 bolts. When we were as Sennybridge, we didn't have the time to strip these 8 bolts out so we simply cut the 2 fuselage squares out around them. This left me the task of removing the 2 scrap fuselage pieces from the useful layshaft. Every time I have walked past the layshaft I have given it a good squirt of penetration oil on each nut and bolt, more in hope than expectation of anything undoing. Imagine my surprise when 5 of the 8 mounting bolts undid, and all of the bolts holding the individual components of the layshaft together complied too! Here the layshaft is split into sections, prior to having the corrosion treated and then receiving a shiny new coat of paint.
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The bolts which unbelievably undid, and many of which can and will be reused
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Sadly one of the end bearings is frozen in its holder; I will attempt to free it off but I'm not holding my breath. The other bearing was shattered by a glancing blow from a bullet. I was able to remove its remains without damaging the layshaft, and repaired the damage to the layshaft bearing holder, so given we need one bearing we may be as well just to try and find a brand spanky new pair.
While I had the tools out I removed the rivets and freed the aileron control rod ends. These are essential as they are specially shaped to fit round the generators fitted in the leading edge. Both the ones we retrieved off 568 will be serviceable after a sandblasting and repaint.
Finally I thought I would show you the bullet damage to the layshaft, at the base of the 2 arms to which the elevator control cables attach.
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As we are not going flying this will be staying. It is after all part of the history of the jet the components came off!

05/09/16
A busy day yesterday at YAM. Our last really big event of the year, Allied Forces Memorial Day, meant all hands were needed on site. As well as engine runs by the resident Dak, Nimrod and SE5 we were expecting airborne guests in the form of the BBMF, a Spitfire, a C-17 Globemaster, and the BBMF. Sadly the C-17 and Spitfire cancelled, however the other side of that particular coin was that instead of just the expected Lanc we got a BBMF Spitfire and Hurricane too!
The day started with an early briefing. It was nice to see Tony's Mossie outdoors, with the wartime watch office as a backdrop
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After briefing, breakfast and a brew we opened up the jet and got on with a couple of jobs, seeing as we expected to be busy later in the day with visitors. As Ali and Andy made more progress at rubbing down corrosion on and under the jet's wings, I swapped the restored flap gauge into the cockpit.
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Here it is in its new home, still with the protective film on the perspex, hence the blue tinge to the instrument face.
After reassembling the cockpit our visitors started to arrive, so we had to down tools and look after interested persons. We were then press ganged into assisting for the Nimrod's engine runs, so we shut the jet for lunch, then headed off to help with 250's engine run.
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After this we had more interested visitors, until our first flying visitor of the day rightly took everyone's attention
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After the Lancaster left, we had a half hour or so wait until the fighters arrived. And when they did, they certainly didn't disappoint!
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After they had departed we fielded a few more visitors, then put the Meteor to bed for the week. We should be back in next Sunday; hopefully we will be able to get a lot more work done next week!
Team leader, Meteor NF.14 WS788 restoration, YAM Elvington.
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Sooty655 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 6:50 pm

Thanks for the update, Graham. Exciting times for the Meteor. :ymapplause: :ymapplause:

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

Postby Dougs » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:13 pm

Wow I Really like what your doing, I am so envious. I absolutely love fixing up old stuff.she is so lucky to have you guys giving the jet some more life, keep up the good work :D
B-)
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Blue_2 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:52 am

13/09/16 update
After the excitement of last weekend's event, this Sunday was a proper working day for the WS788 team. We were on site good and early as we had a lot of work on the agenda! First job for Rich and I was to lift the canopy off as we needed to be in to the fuel tank bay. While we were doing this, Ali went around doing the monthly tyre pressure checks, before making a start on her mission for the day, beginning what will undoubtedly be a marathon job of getting on top of the corrosion on 788's underside.
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After Rich and I had got the canopy and the tank bay door open, he and Ali went all round the jet's underside with the AP, unblocking the many drainholes in the jet. A lot of these had been blocked with paint for decades, but all are now clear. Here Ali is attacking corrosion round the rear outboard section of the port nacelle
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So with the jet emptying her bladder, Ali attacking the corrosion with a fibre wheel on a drill and Rich removing the riveted in engine intake blanks, I was in the tank bay removing the control rod which had been fitted across the bay as a brace for some reason. It had been fitted somewhat interestingly to say the least, and was in fact slightly too long for the job it was doing. The fuselage sides now sit straight and as a result, as we found out at close of play, the tank bay door now latches and de-latches much easier!
The control rod is not we think Meteor, but it will with a slight extension and fitting of the female end we retrieved from Sennybridge pair up with the other existing rod in the tank bay to give us elevator input as far back as the layshaft in the radio bay. The layshaft has just come back from my friend Ben (Benyboy) who has done sterling work cleaning up both it and the aileron control rod ends we retrieved out of 568, as well as various other sundry items. Cheers mate!
They will soon be painted and, once I have acquired some bearings for the layshaft ends, fitted to 788. Then we simply need to acquire and fit cables and 788 will have elevator control back for the first time since 1966!
The ailerons are a slightly different matter. We are missing the 2 small control rods from the fuel tank bay to the ends of the main rods. If anyone has these, or even just the ends, and would like to part with them please get in touch. Similarly we need the short ends/rods to go through the cannon bay too.
Speaking of the layshaft, I had a climb into 788's radio bay to check the condition of the mounting points for the layshaft. I was pleasantly surprised. Not only had 788's original layshaft been removed correctly and carefully, but whoever did it even took the trouble to put the mounting bolts back in their holes! So actually bolting it in should be a doddle. Accessing it through the myriad electrical equipment shelves which clutter up the NF's radio bay will be a different matter however. Definitely a pre-lunch tasking!
As the day progressed, Ali managed to get lots of the corrosion down both sides of the port nacelle and along the wing/nacelle join strips converted to shiny aluminium
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And Rich made a start on getting two small but important hatches off on the starboard side.
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The top one gives access to the canopy motor, and the bottom one gives access to the elevator control rod joint. Seeing as the electric canopy opening mechanism is one of the systems we wish to reinstate if at all possible, and we cannot reconnect the elevators without getting the hatch off, you can see why we need to be into these panels.
While I was waiting to break out the etch primer to protect the areas of bare metal Ali had de-corroded, I decided to do a bit more work in the cockpit. The inside of the windscreen frame looks very scruffy, so I decided to make a start removing the demister rail. This in turn means removing the gunsight tray. Which means removing the main panel and starboard glareshield. You can see how the job snowballed! Anyway the main panel is out, the gunsight tray is also out and will go home as homework to be refurbed and returned to working order, and the demister rail just needs the pipe joint unbolting and it too will be out. Working through the cockpit a component at a time over winter at home should mean that, come Spring, we have a nice tidy 'office' for our visitors when the museum's big events restart.
A shiny new piece was fitted to the jet too. One of the inner u/c doors I took off the jet was badly corroded. Fortunately this forum's very own Bruce had a spare just kicking around, and donated it. It was stored in one of the nacelles but, with these now open (we took the intake and jetpipe blanks off to let some airflow through the nacelles as they were staying damp inside. Between Ali's efforts with the drainholes and taking the blanks out we hope to have cured this problem) there was nowhere safe to store it. So it made sense to fit it!
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It just needs a quick clean on the outside, the inside is already painted.
Speaking of paint, once Ali declared she'd done for the day I got busy with the etch primer
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That's a start made. There is still a lot of rot to shift, and weather allowing we will continue with this over the next few working days.
After this we put the jet back together, and to bed. Once I got home I decided to have a go at taking the control rod apart as we will need to extend it by a couple of inches and change one end. To my surprise the 3 bolts undid, and the end came out of the tube with little difficulty!
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More next time...
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Sooty655 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 2:08 pm

Thanks for the update, Graham. It is good to see real progress being made. :ymapplause: :ymapplause: :ymapplause:
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Aceyone » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:37 pm

Great to see such progress :ymapplause:
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Blue_2 » Fri Nov 18, 2016 8:31 am

It's been a while since we posted any updates on here it seems, how remiss of us! Quite a bit has happened since our last post though, all of it good. This update from me will be a 2-parter, as I unexpectedly got a few more working days in on 788 this week! But first let me cover our activity up to and including Remembrance Sunday.
I have recently changed jobs, and the nature of my new work means I get the odd few hours on an afternoon sometimes to go and tinker with 788. In early October I had such an afternoon free, and decided to spend it freeing the ailerons off. As you may recall, 788 has spent many years dormant as a display/gate guard airframe. As part of the conversion work to prepare her for display, all her control surfaces were locked in place using riveted plates. Now as regular dabblers in this thread will know, we intend to bring as much of 788 back to life as we can. Obviously this includes all the controls, so I decided to remove the plates and get the ailerons free. Now having not moved since 1966 I expected this to be not an easy task. 788 still has all her aileron control runs fitted from the ailerons up to and including the pivot in the cannon bay in the leading edge of the wing. I accessed all the joins in the control runs I could, lubricated them thoroughly, and then removed the plates that have locked 788's ailerons in place for 50 years. The starboard one behaved perfectly straight away, but the port one was uninterested and reluctant. Disconnecting it from the cannon bay pivot meant it travelled much more freely, so I removed, stripped, cleaned, lubricated and rebuilt the pivot and now all is well and the ailerons move very happily. Come Spring we just need to connect them back to the control column!
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We knew that, having steel access plates in their leading edges, the ailerons would present us with our old enemy dissimilar metal corrosion, and having moveable ailerons means access to correct this is greatly improved
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Another little job that week was done by Ali, fitting the NOS fire buttons we were donated to the glareshields. These are now stashed away and, once we have new mounting springs for the fire warning lights will be complete and ready to refit to the jet.
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Another bit of homework has been the layshaft we recovered off VZ568. It is now painted and, once I have sourced new end bearings for it, ready to fit.
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With a day of nice weather I continued my campaign to remove all the jet's access panels too. We want all the access panels reliably removable before we go into paint next year, as it makes no sense repainting the jet then going at her with hammers, angry screwdrivers, drills etc...! One such panel was this belly panel.
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Rolling forward now to Remembrance Sunday. Not really a day for working, but Ali and Andy had a lot of fun peeling the old paint off the belly tank.
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When you look how shiny the paint is underneath, and see that zero prep had been done, it's a miracle any of the paint stayed on at all!
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The Meteor Team thought it was only right we remembered the many crews who were lost in the early days of the Jet Age, flying 788's sisters
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One very good thing for the jet happened on Sunday too; 788's gunsight's safe storage place was rediscovered! It is now with me for sympathetic restoration over Winter.
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And so to this week. I found myself unexpectedly free on Tuesday, so given that we had been predicted decent weather I decided to fire up the drill and continue the campaign to get all 788's access panels, well, accessible!
We had previously started on the port side, so it made sense to continue with the hatches we had started, namely a plumbing hatch and the triple oxygen tank bay. A surprising number of the screws gave and undid, but a good number were obliged to succumb to the drill bit.
Yet again 788 surprised us with how complete she is internally. All the plumbing, bracketry, even the oxy charging point are present!
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And there is little doubt the door was originally 788's...
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The good news is that we have been offered oxy bottles for this bay. While they will be rarely seen, we will be fitting them just to make 788 that little bit more complete...
I decided next priority would be the panels on the starboard side of the nose, just ahead of the transport joint. We need to be into these bays as they house the linkage for the elevator control rods, and the motor for the electric canopy opening, which Rich is determined to reinstate! Proportionally more of these screws had to be drilled, but the panels eventually yielded...
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...revealing that the canopy motor is indeed still present!
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How likely it is to be returnable to working order is, of course, a different matter.
Wednesday I decided that, seeing as Winter is coming, we should endeavour to make the jet as weatherproof as we can. Tony Agar has been very kindly storing the wing jointing strips in his Mosquito stores container after we found them unceremoniously stuffed in the engine nacelles of 788. So I retrieved them and, using a kit of new parts from our stock, decided to refit them.
The strips, much straighter than when we first found them!
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And the kit of parts, some brand new, that makes up the strips' rear clamps
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Wrestling with great long strips of ally, in an increasingly gusty wind, meant that I couldn't stop to take many photos of the process of fitting the strips. But here they are on the jet.
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They will come back off in Spring when we refit the aileron controls and reinstate the wiring to the wingtip lights, after which they will be hopefully permanently fitted. The jet looks much better for them!
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After that I went back to the excitement (!) of mole-gripping out the stumps of screws from around the access hatches
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With the port hatches back on, and the wing strips fitted, she really is looking a much happier jet!
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And so to yesterday. It was a day of sunshine, showers, everything but plague of locusts really! I arrived after lunch, in a downpour, and hid in the NAAFI and waited for it to pass. Once it had I gathered the 3 removed panels from the starboard side to prep and prime them. I decided to do this as there was a considerable amount of bare metal on them, and on that side of the jet they will be exposed to the worst of the winter weather. So into the hangar for a rub down; do you think there are enough layers of paint on them?!
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Into primer
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And then back onto the jet, with lots of grease on the screws, along with the canopy cover
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Finally, with the jet put to bed, the sun appeared briefly and lit up 788's tail feathers
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We are working with some very good contacts to secure the rest of what we need to make 788 a complete, living aircraft once more. I can't say too much at this point but all being well 2017 should be a very exciting year for 788!
I'll leave you with some pictures from the museum of the interesting weather and light conditions late on yesterday afternoon.
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I'm hoping Rich will post an update of his own soon, as he has been doing some 'homework' which will greatly improve how externally complete 788 looks!
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Aceyone » Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:18 pm

Phew ,I get exhausted just reading about it ! great update ,thanks !
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Gaz » Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:35 pm

Cracking work! Cap doffed to all involved!
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Old Rigger » Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:22 am

Enjoy the updates and it is coming together nicely.

I asked a question previously about the outer wings and they were then fitted which answered my question, have another one; do you have intake rings or are those part of the engine, if part of the engines do you have any to fit?
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Blue_2 » Sun Nov 20, 2016 6:51 pm

You have indeed done it again!
Rich is well on with making 2 new intake rings; Maybe even before Christmas these will be fitted. They simply bolt to the front of the nacelles; if you look at any of the pics from the front you will see the holes they bolt to.
As for engines, we have one, and if all goes well I'm off early next year to pick a second one!
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Old Rigger » Sun Nov 20, 2016 7:47 pm

Thanks Blue, appreciate the response and at least this time I can look forward to seeing the results when the work is done.
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Spitfire » Mon Nov 21, 2016 5:28 pm

Indeed ... a most absorbing thread ...

What would frustrate me is why owners of indoor museum exhibits of planes that are shiny on the outside but will never turn a wheel or fire up again don't allow restoration projects to remove bits that will never be seen again or missed to enable another project to move forward .... and that would save you scrabbling about on wet hillsides cutting questionable bits off scrap airframes :-o

There must be Meteor exhibits that wouldn't miss bits you need?? :p ;)
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Re: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Project

Postby Blue_2 » Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:06 pm

I'm sure that many museums have just what we need, sadly they are not all that eager to part with them! However we are hopefully able to source what we need from one or two other friendly sources...

27/11/2016 Update
See, quick off the mark today I am! An update on the same day as the work I am reporting on is done; how's that for service?!

We had the full compliment of Meteor 788's regular fettlers in today, so with the weather on our side we got on with a number of jobs on the jet. Rich was in, and test fitted the port intake ring he hes been working hard on at home. While he was doing this Ali and I got on with another job, prepping and painting the interior of the cast cannon bay doors. Here the port one is done, and look, the intake ring is bolted temporarily to what will eventually be its permanent home! What a difference!
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The inside of the corrosion-prone doors looks much happier too.
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Andy then cracked on with painting the doors on the starboard side, having already removed, rubbed back and primed the oxygen bay door I got off last week.
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Rich and I spent some considerable time in the radio bay, inventorying what electrical equipment was still fitted to the forward bulkhead (including all 3 main fuses, which lifted spirits considerably!). While we were in there I noticed one of the radio racks had suffered very badly from corrosion, so I decided to remove it as I have a rack at home I can reduce to parts to use to rebuild it.
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The one on the right will, once reduced to components, provide everything I need to rebuild 788's rack
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One of today's main jobs though came about after a chance find in Meteor WK800's owner Trevor Stone's Meteor archive. He came across this picture of 788 as a Nav trainer
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On closer inspection, the photo revealed that 788 wore nose art!
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And according to the pencilled notes on the back of the photo was named "Dixey".
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This really caught the team's imagination so, armed with a sander and some fine paper, we decided to carefully sand back where we thought the artwork was on 788's nose to see if we could bring "Dixey" back! Here Ali takes a spell on the sander
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Sadly it appears that, while we have found the paint 788 wore before her silver period, no trace remains of Dixey
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We really would like to find more info on her nose art and maybe reinstate it. Anyone out there on the forum got any ideas where this info will be found?

One final thing, Ali's hard work a few weeks ago clearing 788's drain holes has paid off as you can see from the very neat pattern of damp under the jet where this week's rain has drained out
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The floor of the radio bay was bone dry too. Well done Ali!
So, after about a year in our care, I think it is fair to say that WS788 is in a far better place. If the parts acquisition negotiations we are in the midst of pay off, 2017 could be a very exciting year for 788, or Dixey, indeed...
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