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Thread: A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Thread

  1. #121
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    I would guess an element of that, and removing bits to ease her many road moves.
    Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...

  2. #122
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    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.

    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...

    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.

    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!

    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'...

    A mass of assorted NF spares, fixtures and fittings. Much appreciated!
    He also brought us these engine diagrams

    It'd be nice if we found we needed them one day...
    Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...

  3. #123
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    OM15 is a good easing oil to help loosen rusted nuts and bolts. Mineral hydraulic oil has good creep properties but does not lubricate that well. I use it in combination with a light oil once the OM15 has loosened it somewhat.

  4. #124
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    I put a big shifter on that nut and, despite appearances to the contrary, it moved happily. Some sort of magic potion will need to be applied liberally to the many other corroded fasteners on the jet though...
    Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...

  5. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue_2 View Post
    04/04/16 Update
    [/URL]
    ..
    Now this is a bit spooky. Sitting on my desk in front of my screen is the same grey Fire Extinguisher bracket visible in the lower part of the photo in the toolbox! This is for my J5F Auster project. Funny story. I bought it in lieu of payment for an Gipsy Engine part from another Auster owner here in New Zealand....................a visitor from the UK asked him to meet him at the airport here in Christchurch as he had an Auster part for him. Yep it was the same extinguisher bracket! Me: Him: Very interesting thread fascinating seeing an old airframe revealing her past.

  6. #126
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    Any chance of a view up into the nose gear bay. I'm building a kit of WS783 and wanted to see the recess for the nose wheel and the linkage from the bulkhead to the wheel oleo.

    Martin

  7. #127
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    Next time i'm in I need to remember to do that, and photograph the stick grip for someone else too.
    Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...

  8. #128
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    Hi, I'm new to the forum, hi everybody. Captivated by this makeover. What is the budget and how far you going to take it?😊

  9. #129
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    Hi Youngman, we are going to take the jet as far as we can, short of airworthy. We'll just have to see what parts surface, and how far back to an operational Meatbox we can take 788!
    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...

    Well with nothing to lose I stuck it in the vice, slowly winding up the pressure to bend the pin back straight

    After a couple of days of that treatment it came out pretty much straight

    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

    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

    Revealing the hatch. Would the wiring and mountings for the radios still be present? Or would I face a chopped, empty mess?

    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.













    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!

    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!

    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...

    We'll be back to the jet for a proper workday soon. Assuming the tide goes back out that is...
    Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...

  10. #130
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    Coo. The inside of that Nav panel looks familiar. I stuck my head in our NF14 a while back and was amazed at what was still left in there. We ended up robbing the pneumatic tank for our Horsa as it's the same part. Was amazed we still had a lot of black boxes still in place.
    "The best way to stop a crack in the fuselage spreading is to drill each end with a one eighth bit."
    @HorsaJed | Jet Age Museum Horsa Cockpit Project

  11. #131
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    Well if anyone has the black boxes we are missing doing little of use, we'll have them! I was frankly amazed just how complete she is in there after all these years.
    Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...

  12. #132
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    And I was astonished in what good fettle it all looked! Restoration of the radio systems would be exciting .....
    Charlie

    Keep smiling - it's never as bad as you think!!

  13. #133
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    That is one thing we are finding with this aircraft, just how much is left in situ internally and how good a condition it is in. Not bad at all given that, apart from the odd pillaging raid (which 788 had better have seen the last of, or else!), these components won't have been touched since the mid 60's.
    Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...

  14. #134
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    Some great photos there , don't you guys have any soft jaws? When you said you were taking it just shy of airworthy surely you should be doing all you can to ensure your not mashing up what's left of 788 I had to cringe when I saw unprotected vice teeth gripping the pin. If you do that on bracketry it will ultimately end in crack propagation. Just trying to help. Out of interest, how are you going to do the continuity and high voltage checks to prove the radio installation? Would be interested to know what kit you guys use. Great project. Might have to pop up for a brew sometime 😁

  15. #135
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    What was the radio/avionic fit on this aircraft? It would be useful to know what items you are looking for..................

    Andy

  16. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by Youngman View Post
    Some great photos there , don't you guys have any soft jaws? When you said you were taking it just shy of airworthy surely you should be doing all you can to ensure your not mashing up what's left of 788 I had to cringe when I saw unprotected vice teeth gripping the pin. If you do that on bracketry it will ultimately end in crack propagation. Just trying to help. Out of interest, how are you going to do the continuity and high voltage checks to prove the radio installation? Would be interested to know what kit you guys use. Great project. Might have to pop up for a brew sometime ��
    Yes, we have soft jaws, but they wouldn't have straightened out a badly pitted, corroded and mutilated pin satisfactorily. A pin, I might add, thats only getting used until a suitable replacement is found, as its needed to keep certain parts in place! We're not intent on mashing up whats left of 788 (a bit of an unfair comment..) but fixings and various bolts and fasteners are going to get slung if they're not up to scratch as will happen on any restoration.

    The radios - we have some TR1985 units on the way to fill a couple of the shelves, but we'll be calling on the expertise of a few radio/electrical specialists we know to make sure the smoke stays in the wires. We can do some checks with a multimeter, but not all of them as you correctly guess!

    Regards,

    Rich

  17. #137
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    A pity you can't fit it out as original, with AI Mk21 and later type GEE
    Man is not lost. Only temporarily uncertain of his position.

  18. #138
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    Just out of interest, are there any skin patches on the rear fuselage ?
    As I believe many Meteors suffered with metal fatigue in that area ?
    Engine Failure:.... A condition which occurs when all fuel tanks mysteriously become filled with air.

  19. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by ~Alan~ View Post
    Just out of interest, are there any skin patches on the rear fuselage ?
    As I believe many Meteors suffered with metal fatigue in that area ?
    I meant to look yesterday Alan,but I forgot. Apologies!

    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

    looking forward

    and back. Note where the covers are in the battery bay, there is normally the battery hatch cover, pictured elsewhere in the thread.

    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!

    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

    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

    One of the retaining rings cleaned and polished up, the other awaiting attention

    Reassembled



    And reunited with 788.

    But before they went back to the jet they had an encounter with a 12V battery in my garage...

    So the first parts show a spark of life!
    In other news, the radios kindly acquired by Rich Woods arrived last week.

    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!
    Last edited by Blue_2; 9th May 2016 at 12:44.
    Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...

  20. #140
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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.

    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.

    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!

    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

    And Andy watches while I open the lid

    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.

    We then declared lunch, on the way back from which we saw the Devon being brought back in off the airfield

    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!

    Offered up

    the 3 locating pins home

    Tapping the locating catches home

    Job done, and 788 has that distinctive Meteor NF nose profile back!

    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!

    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

    Behind the panel, I found cut piping (not a problem) and cut wiring (potentially a problem).

    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

    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...!

    After lending a hand with 974, we put the cover on 788 and called it a day

    Hopefully we can make as good progress next time we are in, and put a smile back on this face!
    Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...

  21. #141
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    Great update

    Is there anything that can be done to restore the canopy? I have previously restored plastic lensed car headlights by sanding and polishing the haze out, but I've no idea if it would work on a canopy?

    And is there any news on getting another hangar up? There was a lot of talk about that, but it seems to have died down. It would be a shame iff she had to live outside permanently after all the great work you've been putting in

    Also, on an unrelated note, is there any news about the Mirage IV?

  22. #142
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    1) Thankyou!
    2) No. The damage is such that she is cracked through. We need to look at having another made.
    3) No. Still talk.
    4) No. It gets about ready to come across... then all goes quiet.

    I mentioned the Dak being out to play out on the airfield on Saturday. I took a stroll down the field to see it in action.Thought I'd share...





    The BBMF hoped to send their Dak over too. It went u/s sadly, but compensation arrived in the shape of their Spitfire XVI!
    Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...

  23. #143
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    Excellent update Blue and she looks so much better with her nose radome refitted!! Dare I ask about the Flea?
    Charlie

    Keep smiling - it's never as bad as you think!!

  24. #144
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    Meteor is priority one. Flea is a "wet day, hide indoors" project now. But the Meteor is both my and the museum's priority now. The Flea is safely indoors, and out of harm's way.
    Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...

  25. #145
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    Who owns the Lightning these days - is it still privately owned or does it belong to the museum?

    Andy

  26. #146
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    Still private.
    Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...

  27. #147
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue_2 View Post
    Meteor is priority one. Flea is a "wet day, hide indoors" project now. But the Meteor is both my and the museum's priority now. The Flea is safely indoors, and out of harm's way.
    Fair enough Blue, fully understood. I will continue, avidly, to follow the Meatbox story - it is fascinating!!
    Charlie

    Keep smiling - it's never as bad as you think!!

  28. #148
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    Just caught up with this thread, if I wasn't several thousand miles away I'd be in boots n all!
    I maintain (amongst others) an ex RAAF F.8 A77-868 at the Camden museum of Aviation.

    Name:  _4284774_zpskanlf6qn.jpg
Views: 727
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    She's quite complete and electrically live.
    We'll both be watching your progress with interest
    Steve Long
    Ex RANFAA A-4G / TA-4G Maintenance & RAN Historic Flight
    Supervisor - Camden Museum of Aviation.
    Passing interest in Sea Venoms.

  29. #149
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    Is that a firefly I spot in the back ground? What model is it?

    FB

  30. #150
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    Fairey Firefly TT.5 VX.388
    Only surviving RAN Mark 5 in existance.
    Steve Long
    Ex RANFAA A-4G / TA-4G Maintenance & RAN Historic Flight
    Supervisor - Camden Museum of Aviation.
    Passing interest in Sea Venoms.

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