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Avro Shackleton WR963 Project Thread

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    Avro Shackleton WR963 Project Thread

    Hi all,

    This is the new project thread for WR963, at AIRBASE, Coventry Airport!

    I know a lot of you were following it closely, and were disappointed when the original thread disappeared. Well, for the dedicated Shackophile that's been missing their fix.... here's what we've been up to in the last couple of months or so... and hopefully we'll put a few of the internets better rumours to bed too!

    Visitors to Coventry have noticed by now the scafffolding that has gone up around the starboard wing.. the rumours have been quite interesting to hear! (we've been breaking her up, we've taken the undercarraige off.. ) The truth is far more mundane.

    WR963 is getting a much needed repaint. The scaffolding is there to help us work on the wing in safety.

    So far all the old paint has been taken back on the top surfaces, areas of corrosion addressed, and we've used yards of ceconite sealing tapes and dope to make it all weatherproof, all done as per the original AP's.

    One of our group is a carpenter, and is attacking all the areas of woodwork on the aircraft (balance tab horns, de-icing strips to name but a few). The paint scheme is going to be her old 224sqn colours from back in 1954, so she will be white overall. She will be carrying her own former code letters of "B" on the fuselage, and "M" on the nose.

    The work on the engines continues, the engineers are making great progress on fitting an onboard pre-oiling system. It's something I believe has never been done before on the Shackleton. For someone like me, who delights in oily greasy bits, it's a joy to watch it come together.

    Other stuff going on that you won't see is internal, such as the lubrication of all the flying controls (I'm still having nightmares regarding chains and sprockets and seized cables..) and the testing of various pressure vessels that are normally housed in the nose.

    We still like to have visitors, so when you drop at AIRBASE on a Saturday (as a number of you have done so far) don't be put off by the scaffolding or the generator running. We're quite happy to have a chat. We've had visitors from all over, today we had some all the way from Australia, and also some very friendly young ladies from the British Forces Sweethearts...

    Progress photos to follow, as soon as my cameraman's had chance to put them on the internet.

    We've also had it arranged that the official progress reports from the SPT will be featured here:

    Big thanks to them for doing that, it is appreciated.


    Last edited by richw_82; 6th February 2013, 11:17.

    richw 82. Thank you for keeping us informed ! It's been some time since we had an enthusiastic account of the goings on around WR963 ?
    Hope we will be getting regular updates from your team again :diablo: :diablo:

    NOSTALGIA ..... It's not what it used to be .....


      To put it in words that im sure many will understand


      I am very glad to see that sense (appears) to have prevailed in your case richw_82 May WR963 Live long and prosper in your hands.
      Im more of a lurker than a poster but I heartily enjoyed your updates in the last thread, will the new one be the same sort of vein?

      Kindest Regards

      Last edited by Muttley; 31st July 2010, 22:46.


        Its good to be back. Regular updates will follow, you can be sure of that!


          Yearns to.?
          NOSTALGIA ..... It's not what it used to be .....


            Ahh Keith, never a more correct summation had been made


              As promised a few photos! sorry they're a little later than the initial post, I just had to go up to Elvington today and have a peek at things up there.


              Remember the wings used to look like this?

              Well now the first one is ready, and looks like this. The dope you use to seal it is a disgusting green colour, and you can smell it from quite a way away! Good job we're working in the fresh air.

              The scaffolding allows us to work without falling off the wing. Even so, with all the stuff we're doing on there it does become difficult at times.

              But we're still open. Here's a couple of our visitors from Saturday...

              The young lady and several of her friends are going to be part of a charity calendar, which the photographer said should be available in September.

              That's all for now folks...

              Last edited by richw_82; 1st August 2010, 17:47.


                Sexy Lady

                Hmmm.... Very nice!

                I'm talking about the old grey lady of course ha-ha....

                Good to see these updates again!


                  Welcome back 963!
                  Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...


                    Is she still capabale of running up all four engines? If so ,maybe a night photoshoot might generate some funds towards restoration?



                      Yes! When there's no scaffolding around her, the engines are capable of running. At the moment the new engine on No 2 position needs its propellors building up, and the pre-oiling system finishing on all four.

                      The last run was in late January this year. There's a very good shot by Karl Drage on the internet of it (I think it's posted on and also some footage on Youtube. When the work is done, she will be running regularly, in order to avoid re-occurring snags that have cropped up due to inactivity.

                      I don't think a dedicated nightshoot for 963 to raise funds would be the way to go, for a couple of reasons:

                      a. Visitors have already paid for entry to Airbase.

                      b. Classic Flight have held night runs/photoshoot events in the past. It would be unfair to tread on their toes... both times I attended this before joining the Shackleton group it was a superb event.

                      I mentioned the night runs a while back to a couple of the senior members of the SPT when we were in the bomb bay of the Shackleton looking at the lights. They agreed all lit up and running she would look quite spectacular. I don't know if Airbase will be doing the night shoot again this year (I'll have to ask) but if they are, and WR963 is fit, I'm going to put it to the group that we take part.

                      I'm sorry I can't really comment on the funding side too much; purely as I'm not involved in the finances side of the group (I'm a spanner wielder). We have a donations pot inside 963 though for those feeling generous!




                        The difference in the wing is amazing. Using proper materials to seal the joints is a bonus and hints at the steps you chaps are willing to go to make sure it's done right!This really does show that she is in caring and experienced hands.
                        "Merlins always drip oil, when they don't....worry!"



                          Way back in the original thread we said everything would be done to airworthy standard, even if we aren't going flying. Everything is done to how the AP's specify, and no corners are cut... in this case we deviated slightly as we looked at the original linen, and went for ceconite instead as it lasts longer and is better for an aircraft that's going to be outdoors.

                          It's taken a long time to get the wing like that.... but hopefully it will last for a good many years. We've had to go round all the drain holes (hundreds of 1/8" holes) and found some were quite blocked despite looking clear. The spar to trailing edge joints had to have anti corrosion treatment, then a mastic sealer, then the ceconite applied. We're still taking advice on whether to do the tapes on the wing underside as being on grass there is an awful lot of condensation.

                          We've consulted with a paint supplier to make sure the paint we are using is of a good quality and will last outdoors for a while. What is good for us is they can mix BS381c colours, to order... so the colours will be accurate. We're investigating UV resistant laquers too, in an attempt to halt the fading.

                          She is getting an awful lot of care... it's credit to the older guys for being willing to share their experience with younger members like me. Such things as allowing me to copy irreplacable documents and AP's to learn about the aircraft at home; as well as showing us how to do things "hands on".

                          It's going to be a little while longer before she wears her new colours but she will look stunning.




                            She looks pretty good ric


                              Great to see this thread 'back'

                              Originally posted by richw_82 View Post
                              ...........We're investigating UV resistant laquers too, in an attempt to halt the fading..........Rich
                              Has anybody sought advice from other museums/groups who have used these laquers?

                              I vaguely recall about 20 years ago a 'new' laquer coming available that would greatly extend the life of paint on aircraft preserved outdoors. The Midland Air Museum's AW Seahawk had it applied and I think Newark AM used it too. At first all seemed fine then, after 2 - 3 years, it all started peeling and left a dickens of a mess.

                              Roger Smith.
                              A Blenheim, Beaufighter and Beaufort - together in one Museum. Who'd have thought that possible in 1967?



                                Cheers! Told you we'd been busy. She looks loads better in the flesh. (HINT!)


                                That was pretty much what we had heard too. The line of enquiry I'm chasing at the moment is through my contacts in the car trade, so far with little success.

                                If anybody's got any info on UV resistant lacquers being used successfully, I'd be glad to hear it; otherwise I'm going to spend a lot of the coming years with a large polishing mop. I'm determined the paint's going to stay in good condition.




                                  Might come down as we discussed mate

                                  Its kinda difficult though you know? lol


                                    Does 963 have fishtail exhausts?


                                      One of the biggest problems with keeping the paint in pristine condition is the paint itself. Even in service after a full respray it only took a couple of sorties in bad weather for the paintwork to look bad again. If you look at the airline indsutry I believe that you will not find them using cellulose based paints. We are currently slowly repainting our Hunter T7 using acrylic based paint, this is already showing great benefit especially with colours like red. The finish is excellent, doesn't fade and the plastic feel to the finish gives it clean look. Another benefit is that it is easily cleaned, we suffer from the exhaust emissions from Gatwick causing black trails down the airframes when it rains.

                                      I would suggest it may useful for you to look at the type of paint you intend to use, it may be the greatest asset in keeping the airframe in good looking condition over a prolonged period.
                                      Peter Mills



                                        No, WR963 doesn't have the fishtail exhausts. She has the pipe style later exhausts. I'm not sure we would fit them even if we had them (exhaust stains = more cleaning!). I know they are more fitting to the period, but we are only trying to represent how she would have looked. We still have the majority of AEW lumps and bumps on the aircraft!

                                        Peter Mills;

                                        We got a lot of good advice and discarded the idea of using cellulose early on. One, for the fact that it does degrade very quickly, and secondly that spraying cellulose where we are is near impossible. The health issues with spraying large quantities of cellulose have to be taken into account too.

                                        The paint we are using is enamel based. We have done a few test panels and it looks to be a good choice.

                                        I want to say thanks to the people at Aeroventure here and now, for being so friendly and open when we went up there asking loads of questions about paint. Thanks guys!