Below you will find the latest updates to both this website and the progress of the restoration of the aircraft. If you wish to keep more up-to-date with the restoration, then please follow us on Facebook.
With Christmas here again and the year drawing to an end, we would like to say a big 'thank you' to everyone that has helped and supported us during the year. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2020.
May you all have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Another static season has drawn to a close, and the winter cover has now been placed back on '456. We've managed to achieve more than we hoped this year, with several jobs and issues addressed.
Most noticeable this year was the completion of the cockpit facia. '456 now has a complete and correct fascia for the first time since leaving RAF Binbrook in 1988. All that is now left to do now in the cockpit is fit both ejection seats, which will be done at a later date due to other things we want to look at.
Work will continue on '456 during the winter months but it will be behind the scenes, so please check back for updates. Or you can view our Facebook page for more regular updates.
As you might imagine, we’ve been extremely busy of late working on ‘456. Upon the discovery of some concerning corrosion inside the fuselage, all work on the cockpit stopped. Phase 1 of the anti-corrosion work was completed in 3 weeks, with another phase planned for late September and October this year.
Following on from the corrosion problem, the last few weeks have been spent back in the cockpit. This work has now resulted in ‘456 now having a complete and correct cockpit (minus ejection seats), for the first time since leaving RAF Binbrook in 1988. There is no time scale at present for putting the seats back in, as this is dependent on an assessment of the electrics in the cockpit.
Now that the weather has started to play ball, work in the cockpit has once again began. It is hoped that the cockpit will be finished (minus ejection seats) before the end of the summer. But as with everything to do with the aircraft, this is weather dependant.
The focus this year will be the internal fuselage, with anti-corrosion work expected to take several months. So, while externally there may not appear to be anything happening, internally it's full steam ahead. As with all static aircraft, corrosion is our worst enemy made worse in our case due to the location. So anti-corrosion work will be a constant ongoing thing.
With the warmer weather now on its way and the ambient temperature now evening out, we have removed the winter cover from '456.
But due to the ongoing concerns about the condition of the canopy, we took the decision over the winter months to have a summer cover made. This will not only help preserve the canopy and cockpit longer, but also stop the small amount of water getting in.
Viewing of the cockpit via the access platform is still restricted to restoration personnel only until hand rails have been made. We are currently getting quotes for these to be made and hoping to have them in place during the next few months.
There are no new updates of any note about '456 due to only winter maintenance taking place over the last few months. But as normal during this time of year, we are busy drawing up the coming years plans and sourcing any materials needed.
But there has been a major addition to our inventory with the addition of an ex-USAF platform. This will not only aid in helping us reach the tail, but also make our excess in the cockpit much easier.
While access in to the cockpit itself is still restricted to restoration personnel only, visitors will now be able to view our progress (once hand rails have been sourced).
With yet another year drawing to a close, we reflect back on what has been an indifferent year to say the least. While putting '456 winter coat back on.
The high's off the year came in the form a small reunion of former LTF ground crew, one of which had travelled over from France. At the same time we welcomed a former pilot whose name is adjourned on the starboard side, Sqn Ldr Clive Rowley. We also made some headway in the cockpit restoration, with the screen frame being painted and several instruments being placed back in position.
But despite discovering a few water issues in the cockpit and a problem coming to the surface regarding the canopy, we've managed to move the project forward. Plans for next year are already on the drawing board, and we're looking forward to meeting even more of you.