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We have put together a few winter warmers while the skies above Duxford are quiet. Martin has given us a news update on the engineering front and a tour of the P40-F.
There are some new items as well as sale items in the TFC Shop : Find out more under the “New In Store” Tab.
We plan to make it possible to buy hi -resolution images from the web site either as prints or downloads, more in the next edition of Online Fighter Log.
With the launch of the Flying Legends Website and Facebook sites we should be all geared up to provide the latest news in the build up to the best airshow of the year (in our opinion of course).
Final note is the departure of the Hellcat to the U.S. one of our fleet travelling in the opposite direction to the P-40C which arrived with us last year.
With 2014 firmly behind us and Flying Legends a mere 5 months and 3 days (and counting) away there is still much to do completing annual inspections and permit renewals on the fleet. But first some vital statistics to digest: 2014 saw some 168 sorties flown; 174 imp. gallons of oils & lubricants consumed and 4554 imp gallons of avgas 100LL consumed!
UK registration and certification of the P-40C continues with the submission to the CAA of the design report relating to the restoration and aircraft build standard. From this design report the CAA generates an Airworthiness Approval Note (AAN) which once signed off by the Design and Airworthiness Surveyors will result in a Permit to Test being issued. The permit to Test allows us to complete all the necessary check and test flying as may be deemed necessary to verify or establish all the normal flight and engine parameters and limitations. Flight and engine limitations are all based upon the original pilots notes/handbook and other than the reduction of VNE by 10% (CAA Requirement) are matched exactly to the original horse power and boost parameters. On satisfactory completion of the testing phase the authority will issue a Permit to Fly validated for a period of 12 months.
Our investigation of the suspected broken piston ring which necessitated the removal of the left cylinder bank assembly post Flying Legends proved (thankfully) to be incorrect, however as a precaution the rings were changed on the piston anyway save having to remove the cylinder block assembly again. The engine has been re-assembled and all the ancillaries refitted ready to carry out a series of engine runs which will be done once the weather improves (full power tie down runs in the depths of winter are pretty chilly affairs believe me). The Allison C15 engine fitted to this aeroplane is one of just a handful of these early long nose Allison engines still flying today. Much of this is as a consequence of our friends Bill Moja and Richard Allen at Cascade Engine Service Inc who have overhauled no less than three of these engines in recent times. Bill has over 37 years experience on Allison engines as engine Shop Supervisor for JRS Enterprises in Minneapolis before setting up his own shop in Arlington Washington USA.
A water leak from the Nimrod radiator necessitated its removal which has now been repaired and pressure tested by Anglia Radiators and has since been refitted to the aeroplane. During our engine runs to leak check the cooling system it became apparent the left magneto wasn’t at all happy and this in turn meant a trip to Vintage Engine Technology with the offending magneto to remedy the situation. A faulty condenser was latter diagnosed which has since been replaced. The magneto has undergone endurance testing to prove the repair and will now be refitted to the Rolls Royce Kestrel as time and manpower allows.
The annual inspection on the Hawk 75 is under way with replacement brake cylinders being fitted to alleviate a persistent leak from the original cylinders which had developed corrosion pits in the bore. Excessive wear was detected in the aileron torque tube bearing fittings which has necessitated the removal of the torque tube assembly and the manufacture of replacement fittings and procurement of OEM self aligning bearings. Thankfully we have the OEM drawings for the parts affected and new component parts are being machined as I write which should be with us in the next three weeks.
The Hawk 75 has a most peculiar fuel gauging system fitted to the rear fuselage tank comprising of a servo piston assembly attached to a float arm in the tank which displaces oil stored in the servo piston cylinder down two copper capillary lines to the contents gauge. The displacement of the oil in each capillary causes two bellows housed within the contents gauge to either collapse or expand which in turn drive a gear sector that turns the indicator needle from full to empty and any variation in-between. The system has never been particularly accurate however we were fortunate enough to discover Knowsley Instrument Service in Liverpool who specialise in all manner of vintage capillary instrumentation and who can repair and refill our gauging system in the hope it will provide a more accurate indication of tank contents in the future.
The annual inspection has recently started on Bearcat F8F. Other than requiring a replacement brake disc looks like a straight forward job.
The propeller assembly is due a periodic inspection this time around therefore each blade in turn will be removed rom the hub and the bearing assemblies and root ends inspected for evidence of corrosion or galling. Once complete the blades will be paint stripped, inspected and repainted before being refitted into the hub and a static balance check carried out on the propeller assembly,
Typical of the maintenance tasks we encounter is the fabrication of exhaust system support brackets. This bracket was introduced to the original exhaust system fit to mitigate a problem with the front and rear pipe sections flexing on the engine and ultimately cracking and causing the failure of the joint. In 1948 of course this would be no great problem as you would simply demand from US Naval Stores the replacement section of exhaust you required;Today its a bit more of a problem as the Naval Stores no longer holds stock of Bearcat exhaust section so occasionally we seek to “improve’ the OEM design by the introduction of simple fixes to stop the flexing in the first place. With the aid of a CAD program we designed a simple plate bracket which could be laser cut quickly and easily to bolt between the cylinder and the joint interface to provide support to the section. Our simple fix then becomes the subject of a modification action to appease the position on taken by the authority of ‘any change is a modification’ which ultimately results in a design organisation validating our simple fix with the issue of a minor modification leaflet.
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