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A-W Meteor NF.14 WS788 Restoration Thread

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    In many publications from Janes via Putnams to the Boys Book of Aircraft the text usually has something like "and the longest of the Meteor night fighters at 51' 4 "...

    The following is the explanation I put in the instructions for my 1/48 kit some years ago.

    It was whilst preparing the patterns for the 1:48 range of NF Meteors, that I found a nose panel on the Mk.14 which if scribed to the (published) drawing didn’t look like the photograph. So it was off to nearby Newark Air Museum were I took some measurements and opened up a whole can of worms, even bearing in mind the codicil “museum aeroplanes can sometimes be odd balls”.

    The overall length of the Meteor NF.Mk.14 is almost always quoted in both major and minor publications and on most published drawings as being 51’ 4 and the text often includes a statement on the lines of “the NF.14 had an even longer nose”. I found this is not correct and that virtually all published drawings and length data for this aeroplane are wrong.
    At some time an error of 17 inches has occurred in dimensions of the NF.Mk.14 in print and this myth has been perpetuated time and time again.

    The first Night Fighter Meteor was the NF.11 which used the British radar AI.10 and was 48’ 6” long. This was followed by the Mk.12 and the first Night Fighter to use the new American AI 21 (ARI 5860) radar. To accommodate this new radar, the nose was made 17” longer ( than a NF.11) becoming 49’11” long. Note: the NF.13 is a Tropicalised Mk.11.

    NF Mk.14’s were also fitted with AI 21 and were identical in length to a NF.Mk.12 at 49’ 11” not the oft published 51’ 4”, This was confirmed by my borrowing Air Publication AP 2210P vol 1, the only differences, being the new blown canopy and a servo operated rudder. At some point someone has added 17” twice. No NF. Mk14 was 51’ 4” long. 17 inches is nearly 3/8ths of an inch or 9mm in 1:48 scale. The 12 and 14 both had the same increase in fin area to compensate for the nose extension.

    The NF.Mk. 14 nose looks longer than the Mk.12 as it has a shorter windscreen and shorter engine nacelles (the bigger bore Derwent 8 intakes are cut back in length). In service the length of some Mk.12’s and all Mk.14’s became shorter at 49’ 8.5” when a passive tail warning radar R3697 was fitted, and the tail cone was removed. Later in service as navigation trainers NF. (T) Mk.14. it sometimes occurred that when the redundant radome’s tatty di-electric was re-painted gloss black the first metal mounting ring was also painted giving the illusion of a longer radome. As a consequence of this new information, as far as I am aware, most Meteor NF.14 (model) drawings and/or data are in error with the exception of an early (1950's) Aeromodeller drawing those published length is correct.

    The Matchbox kit can be easily corrected by using the kit Mk.12 nose instead of the Mk.14 parts.
    I have also been able to check the aluminium evidence by measuring Mk’s 11, 12 and three different Mk.14 s thanks to our small volunteer Air museums.

    As far as I'm aware the first time (since Aeromodeller) that the correct length was published other than the AP, was when following a letter I had published in Aeroplane Monthly, Phil Butler contacted me and put the details in his and Tony Buttler's book on the Meteor.

    This is not the only wrongly dimensioned aeroplane out there.

    Last edited by John Aeroclub; 14th May 2017, 14:01. Reason: Grammar


      Thanks John, much appreciated! I'd have had no clue.
      "those who know keep quiet, and those who don't are frowned upon for asking." - snafu


        You have to know the type to know that. John certainly does!
        Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...


          At the weekend we said goodbye to Kobe, who has safely made his way back to Belgium. Both our Belgians' contributions to the project have been welcomed, and they will be very much missed.
          On Sunday I prepped and primed the port inner undercarriage door and both inner door stays. Today I broke the roller out and, using the last of the paint sampler supplied by the museum's preferred supplier, got the first coat of silver on it, the first bit of 788 to go under the roller!
          Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...


            23/05/2017 Update
            Firstly, pictures of the undercarriage door from last week. In etch primer...

            And with the first coat of silver rollered on!

            A taster of what the rest of the jet will come out like.
            Sunday saw 4 of us at the jet. Rich was there very early, and had given us another taste of what's to come by test fitting the intake ring again...

            Once we had had a brew and made a plan for the day, I left Ali removing yet more corrosion from under the port wing, Rich working on the GGS wiring, and Andy preparing 788's legs for a very close visual inspection after the news this week of East Midlands' TT20's undercarriage woes. I had to see a man about some Derwents...

            After lunch I got on with fitting Kobe's handiwork to 788

            Rich was still playing with wiggly amps

            Ali was removing grot from the wing...

            And Andy was still on with the undercarriage inspection. Fortunately nothing nasty was found lurking under years of RAF Light Aircraft Grey gloss...

            As the day went on, Ali got the pitot off. Now we have always known it was a bodge, but it turns out to be a Tornado item bodged in during her time at Leeming

            And interestingly,the 22mm socket that was for some reason rammed into the end of the pitot still wears what I assume is a Leeming tool control number!

            The jet loves chucking us surprises...
            A bit later, and a lot of work further on, and Rich was ready for me to fit the GGS to the tray, and the Instrument panel and Oxygen regulator (which I took out for a quick tidy; it will be coming back out as we have been gifted a shiny new one!) back in.

            Here, he and Andy are enjoying the view through the GGS...

            ...which, for probably the first time since 1957 when she left the night fighter fleet, now extends and retracts on demand! (I hope this video sharing works)

            A major milestone for 788. And something I am not sure you will see working anywhere else in this country...
            Finally, we did loose some working time late in the afternoon. It was all due to being visited by a lovely, inquisitive little lady called Darcey who brought her pet humans to see 788!

            As you can see behind her, we had a visitor from the West bringing part of the possible solution to our canopy woes, for which we are very grateful. More on that in future updates...
            So, another day of great progress. We may not be able to be on site as frequently as some teams, or indeed as much as the office would like us to be, but when we can spare a day from real life, I think you will agree we don't half chuck some graft at the old girl!
            Last edited by Blue_2; 23rd May 2017, 21:53.
            Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...


              Brilliant update Blue, it does the heart good to see all that rot being taken care of! And it's a big relief to hear the legs appear okay.
              "those who know keep quiet, and those who don't are frowned upon for asking." - snafu


                Wonderful stuff - keep up the good work.


                  did I see correctly? Derwents? Working?


                    We just want something to fill the very empty engine bays for now.
                    Surprised nobody else picked up on the mention of Derwents...
                    Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...


                      I picked up on it, but just took it as read that you would be looking for a pair of engines!
                      Hopefully runners in the fullness of time.....................


                        Brilliant stuff Blue, love the gunsight extending and retracting! I must say I'd always assumed that pilots in those days just had to hunch down to peer through the sight, I didn't realise that it would move up towards your face! Learn something new every day...
                        Armchair enthusiast, but also a fan of sofas and recliners.


                          We'll just have to see how good a quality pair of Derwents we can convince anyone to give us. Sadly lead after lead, including someone who claims to work for a certain UK based Meteor operator, have proven fruitless so far. Now there may just be a light at the end of the tunnel...
                          Glad you all enjoy the GGS doing its thing ☺
                          Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...


                            06/06/2017 Update

                            That was a busy weekend! On Saturday we were busy undertaking an aircraft ground handling course. Most of the crews did it and it was a very informative experience, well worth doing. I think it fair to say we all learned a lot; there is never any harm in learning and expanding your knowledge. And as a couple of us are assisting with running the Victor this year, it never harms to keep up to date with procedures.
                            We were on site till late on Saturday night, and I took the opportunity to get some sunset shots of our aircraft...

                            Sunday we were in bright and early to assist with the museum's Thunder Day. While 788 isn't a participant (yet...) we as a crew help as part of the bigger YAM team. Lindy looked good in the sun

                            As did some of the other participants. 2 Very different generations of British military aircraft...

                            Once we had helped set up, we did a couple of jobs on 788 while waiting for the fun to start. Ali removed 2 knackered pitot mounting captive nuts, riveted replacement captive nuts in place, then fitted the pitot mounting which I had de-corroded and painted during the week

                            We have a new pitot mast on its way for this, and just need the head now. I got round finally to painting the 2 canopy sills and the windscreen frame

                            We also did a bit of work on lubricating the aileron control runs still fitted. They are easing up nicely now.
                            The props were up first; Devon

                            Dak. After the prop Morris dance by the fire crew

                            She smoked into life

                            And soon settled down, sounding better than ever.

                            On shutdown, the usual flame from the starboard engine...

                            The SE5's Rover V8 sounded on good form too...

                            After lunch Buccaneer XN974, freshly painted by Andre, took a stroll in the capable hands of Ollie Suckling


                            After this, the Nimrod and Lindy took their turns, but I was too busy preparing for Lindy's run to get any pics I'm afraid. However Ali was issued with Ianf's camera, so her pics of the above should appear on the XL231 thread sometime soon I hope.
                            Back to 788 news, we will be in on Saturday, hopefully making a start on getting the hydraulic systems back to life... We need to do this as 788's airbrakes need opening to prepare the airbrake wells correctly before the repaint. Also, you may recall we salvaged a pair of upper airbrakes from VZ568 at Sennybridge? These are in much better condition than 788's own, so we need to swap them over.
                            As mentioned above; Mr. Mike Davey has struck again and unearthed for us a new unissued NF pitot mast! Many thanks Mike.
                            So... would anyone have a suitable head for it kicking around spare please?
                            Last edited by Blue_2; 7th June 2017, 12:56.
                            Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...


                              14/06/2017 Update
                              Just a little update from me. As you will see elsewhere shortly, we had a busy weekend but a few jobs got done on 788.
                              Ali got on with removing the aileron pivots in the cannon bays for a refurb. The top bearings are in good order but the lower ones need attention

                              Our rear cockpit intercom lead had been cut off and pilfered at some point...

                              But the Victor team came to the rescue, and donated us a shiny new one!

                              Today I have been working on our 2 spare ammo bay doors, readying them for fitting.

                              They now both have working latches, and we even now have a door key that fits!

                              I'm not saying the Meteor is elderly, but...

                              In other Meteor news, I was shown yesterday a vat of paint stripper acquired for our use. I am told the primer and paint are on their way, so it will soon be time for 788 to don her new colours. Exciting times!!!
                              Restoring Meteor NF.14 WS788, one rusty nail at a time...


                                Exciting indeed! Many thanks for another super update, this thread always makes me smile!
                                Armchair enthusiast, but also a fan of sofas and recliners.


                                  And it cheers me up enormously. Well done team!


                                    Lovely work being done - keep it up.


                                      What the rest said! A new '788 update is a real tonic and is always welcome.
                                      "those who know keep quiet, and those who don't are frowned upon for asking." - snafu


                                        Always a lovely read - thank you.
                                        BOLTER, BOLTER FULL POWER! Keith, if he bolts again we'll have to divert him to St Mawgan


                                          Thanks very much for the fascinating updates. And it's great that u were distracted by a dog! My kind of people!😁
                                          Give a man a fish and eat for a day. Give a man a fishing rod and he'll eat for a lifetime. Give a man religion and he'll die praying for a fish!