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Whirlwind Fighter Project Update

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  • Beermat
    1 Registered Rank Loser

    Whirlwind Fighter Project Update

    Evening all.

    Well, it's been a long time coming, and I know some people had given up on us, but today we had our first fuselage skins shaped.

    A 'well known historic aircraft engineering company' on the Isle of Wight had recently purchased a 1941 vintage roller press from Westland (essentially Leonardo have quietly sold off a lot of the manufacturing capability down at Yeovil).

    This means that it is entirely possible - probable even - that these are not the first Whirlwind skins made on this very machine!

    Having already manufactured a couple of key (and very awkward) frames for us, Steve and Chris agreed to take on these complex-curved pieces. When all 10 are done and trimmed, we will be able to assemble a complete rear fuselage.





    Of course, having this sizeable chunk will be reassuring to those institutions who had previously suggested they could help 'if we were serious'.

    Anyway, just thought I'd share - and say thank you to all those who have contributed. While it's good of Steve and team put workshop time aside for this and devote their expertise, it's not entirely free! So thanks again for making this much possible.

    www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
    It's all good. Probably.
  • skyskooter
    Rank 5 Registered User

    #2
    Can you show us a picture of this vintage press? Who was the manufacturer?

    Comment

    • Beermat
      1 Registered Rank Loser

      #3
      Sure - it's Farnham - an American import with a 1941 Air Ministry stamp.

      www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
      It's all good. Probably.

      Comment

      • K5054NZ
        Rank 5 Registered User

        #4
        Fantastic news! I'm not a massive fan of the type but I'm also not one of the pessimists who say it can't be done: I love to read the updates especially when they're of milestones like this. Bravo to all involved, and thanks Beermat for taking the time to share it with us!
        "those who know keep quiet, and those who don't are frowned upon for asking." - snafu

        Comment

        • CeBro
          Rank 5 Registered User

          #5
          Great news, a rear fuselage goes a long way to see a full size Whirlwind completed. Keep it up.
          Cees

          Comment

          • Dr Strangelove
            Doktor Merkwrdigliebe

            #6
            Great to hear.

            Always had a liking for The Whirlwind, staggered that none remained.

            Sometimes it's better to be a bumblebee than it is to be Professor Heinkel.

            Comment

            • Beermat
              1 Registered Rank Loser

              #7
              Sadly the blame for that lies with Westland - they had a serviceable hack on the civil register as G-AGOI until 1948, but they had bulldozed it into a large ditch on the northern perimeter of the airfield by 1955. Pieces will doubtless still be there, and we were well on our way to being able to have a proper rummage when the Italians took over.
              www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
              It's all good. Probably.

              Comment

              • oz rb fan
                Rank 5 Registered User

                #8
                great news Matt

                Comment

                • trumper
                  Rank 5 Registered User

                  #9
                  Good stuff ,i look forward to seeing any updates

                  Comment

                  • Whitley_Project
                    If in doubt apply heat..

                    #10
                    Great news - well done!

                    Comment

                    • skyskooter
                      Rank 5 Registered User

                      #11
                      Was not the rear fuselage formed from magnesium? I could be mistaken.

                      Comment

                      • Beermat
                        1 Registered Rank Loser

                        #12
                        Yes, it was a very specific Magnesium-rich alloy - one of very many peculiarities of the aeroplane. We are not 'going there' - it would be very expensive to procure and corrodes in a way that makes it a bad idea for a museum piece meant for posterity. We are, however, building everything exactly the way it was.
                        www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
                        It's all good. Probably.

                        Comment

                        • Malcolm McKay
                          Rank 5 Registered User

                          #13
                          This is really excellent news. Keep up the good work.

                          Comment

                          • QldSpitty
                            Rank 5 Registered User

                            #14
                            Sorry for non Fb users but Airframe Assemblers have put up pics of the new parts recently built.
                            https://www.facebook.com/AirframeAssembliesLtd/
                            "If the C.O. ask's you to be Tail End Charlie...just shoot him!!!....A Piece of Cake.
                            http://spitfirea58-27.blogspot.com.au/

                            Comment

                            • ErrolC
                              Rank 5 Registered User

                              #15
                              No FB account required. More direct link:
                              https://www.facebook.com/merlinai57/...38258309579154

                              Comment

                              • Beermat
                                1 Registered Rank Loser

                                #16
                                Bit of video..The hand-held cardboard (or rather 'compacted cellulose fibre lightweight precision curvature gauge') is only a rough guide to check 'on the spot' but it's more accurate than it looks (my seven year old is very proud that she 'helped make an aeroplane, but don't worry, dad did the measuring). New drawings, one of which is visible at the end, thanks to Gunnar Olsen (with research input from too many people to mention). That's Mikey and Mick working it - the first Whirlwind parts made on this very machine for 77 yeas (apart from a few heli******s)

                                https://1drv.ms/f/s!Ai__pj6PjSL_aKIpB6JYQ0UZaX4
                                Last edited by Beermat; 24th November 2018, 08:04.
                                www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
                                It's all good. Probably.

                                Comment

                                • skyskooter
                                  Rank 5 Registered User

                                  #17
                                  Fascinating. It is just a big English Wheel. My mum used to have a similar device in her kitchen for wringing out wet washing. It was called a mangle.
                                  Last edited by skyskooter; 24th November 2018, 21:53.

                                  Comment

                                  • Whitley_Project
                                    If in doubt apply heat..

                                    #18
                                    Nice machine. I love the MAP logo

                                    Comment

                                    • Beermat
                                      1 Registered Rank Loser

                                      #19
                                      A big mangle, but the upper rollers are independently adjustable in how they relate to the bottom pairs. Where curvature varies along the lenghth (as invariably it does) this machine cones into it's own. Chris at AA tells me that working 14 swg in 12ft lengths in this way would be approaching impossible any other way. That it all appears straightforward using this particular machine and the parameters available does reinforce the idea that this is what it was imported for. - it's a long way to ship a heavy machine.

                                      I understand that initially these 'planks' were heated and laid over drain pipes, weighted by hot sandbags. I spoke to a chap who worked on the line in 1940 and he said that they never fitted and so the were taken away, tweaked on an English Wheel, brought back and tried again repeatedly.

                                      This was unsustainable, of course, and I am sure this machine was ordered very soon after the Ministry placed the order for the WW. By the time it would have arrived it is likely that a decision had been made about the type's future - but it is possible/probable that there were still aircraft to complete. On this depends whether we can say that we are continuing production on the same machinery or not - we will probably never know.
                                      Last edited by Beermat; 25th November 2018, 11:36.
                                      www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
                                      It's all good. Probably.

                                      Comment

                                      • 1batfastard
                                        Rank 5 Registered User

                                        #20
                                        Hi All,
                                        Matt - Many thanks for the update that was e-mailed to all, any update on the new web page yet please ? I hope you don't mind I actually just came off the Airframe Assemblies Facebook before coming on here and thought I would post a direct video as a addition to your link.....



                                        Geoff.

                                        Comment

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