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Thread: Can A Wellington Fly Again? Searching For Parts & Information...

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    Default Can A Wellington Fly Again? Searching For Parts & Information...

    Hi, folks - I'm a "newbie" to this forum - tripped over it by chance cross-linking from another website...and I'm going to stick my neck on the chopping block, first time in!

    I had a mad moment last year (whilst writing part of my Grandfather's 101 Sq' memoirs), wondering if it might be possible - given time, hard work, luck, etc., and a huge fund-raising effort - to either restore or new-build a Wellington bomber...and get it airborne...

    There y'go - a certified nutter expounds...but I had more mad thoughts...and being of an engineering background, I thought, "Why not, indeed? What was made by mankind once, can be (re-)made again...(even if it's just a good modern-material replica)" so - I set up a Facebook Page to test the water, gauge the response, etc...then moved house & changed job - and only just got around to launching it properly last week; to my utter astonishment, it gained over 500 'Likes' in just eight days!!

    Well, I realise that that's probably largely emotional nostalgia powering those 'votes', but there have been many private messages of real interest and encouragement, setting off a bunch of e-mails and enquiries here, there and everywhere else, tracing this, that & Lord knows what else, plus CAA regs', etc...

    So, my request here is: does anyone, anywhere in the world, know of the whereabouts of ANY parts, airframes, etc - and particularly any relevant technical documentation - for any Mark of Wellington aircraft (or even it's descendants)? A tough challenge, for sure - but we're willing to recover or collect anything at all, anywhere reasonable...so please chip in with any hints, pointers & suggestions, if you can?

    Also, if you're Facebook users, please take a squint at the Page ("Fly Again, Wellington Bomber"), if you'd be so kind, to see how the notion is gathering momentum - and please do reply & comment here too, if you wish!

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fly-A...88964444533238

    The more opinions (and possible allies/campaign assistants), the merrier!

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    G'day Barry

    Well if you think you are nuts about building a new Wimpy, then move over, I'm right beside you in the same shell.

    Over the last three years, I have thought about an eastern European aviation manufacturer (Czech or Polish) that is starving for work, might jump at the chance to build a replica aircraft. You would have a large very capable work force and It would be far more economical too. All you need are the complete set of plans and a good project manager. With today's technology and tons (imperial measurement) of money, nothing is impossible. I support you in your efforts to see this dream fly!

    Cheers...Chris

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    I would suggest that you go to DORIS at the RAF Museum and ask to see their collection of RAF technical documentation relating to the Wellington in a generic sense, rather than a particular mark. Also go to the museum at Wisley/Brooklands (?) with a similar request and identify any Wellingtons in aircraft collections, where you can discuss the issues surrounding the problems of just looking after one.

    There will be a number of major components which might be common to other aircraft and which, if your project gets going, could be utilised (engines?). I suggest that you discount all the war fighting stuff at this stage, as that can come later. You need the advice of somebody who knows about the ageing process surrounding aluminium and other metals which were used as this might drive you towards a replica new build, rather than a restoration. The skills of covering the geodetic (is that the right word?) with fabric are still out there. The electrics, hydraulics and Pneumatics are relatively straightforward to substitute with modern equivalents, unless you are going to become obsessed with absolute authenticity

    Discussions with people at Old Warden, Duxford and the Beetham Conservation Centre at RAFM Cosford will all be valuable and worthwhile as you scope the size and complexity of the project. Get to East Kirkby and talk to the guys there about the problems of restoring NX611 - Just Jane

    If you start getting anywhere close to realising the project, don't forget that the CAA will want to throw its very large spanner into the works.

    As with all things; the 'Ps' are very important. That is: Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents P<>% Poor Performance.

    Good Luck

    Colin Cummings

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    Thank you, Gents - all advice is extremely welcome!

    I've been in touch with (and visited) Brooklands - even had the privilege of clambering about inside R-Robert for photos & get a feel for how my Grandfather saw things from the navigator's table in WW2; highly emotional & fascinating...

    I have recently moved from Suffolk to Redditch, Worcs - a stone's throw from Cosford, which is on my priority radar for an imminent visit for exactly what you said, OldDuffer! There can't possibly be any better place for excellent working advice on restoration of a Wellington - though I firmly believe it'll end up a "fresh-build replica" from drawings and closely-matched parts. I'm not worried about authenticity - so long as it looks close enough, sounds right and flies [or can just taxy] reliably to prove to be a worthwhile memorial tribute, I'll be a very happy man indeed (as I suspect will many other folks!).

    I know what you're saying about ageing of materials, etc - I've been involved with engineering for about 40yrs by trade and understand a good deal about stress fracturing, metal fatigue, various forms of corrosion, etc - but aviation-grade materials suffer difference stresses, so that's a specialist field that will need...well, 'specialists'...

    Well - on we go, then; I just hope it can be achieved before all those who served and worked with them pop their clogs! I hope they'll still be around to see it and smile, once more...

    Thanks again - I'll definitely follow up your leads! (Czech/Polish companies, eh, Dakota? Hmm... What's their workmanship & material qualities like, I wonder...? ;) )

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    Barry L,

    The answer to your final question in Post 4 could well be given by somebody at Airbus/ Eurocopter or RAF Benson.

    The current major Puma helicopter upgrade is being carried out in Romania. I am told they are particularly skilled at metal working etc but clearly have the more advanced skills given the size and scope of the upgrade. Hence, don't get hung up on the eastern European skills set: it's usually pretty good.

    Colin Cummings

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    Just a thought but you may want to start pestering New Zealand movie director Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings, King Kong remake, The Hobbit) about building a Wellington (and a Halifax and a Mosquito for that matter) for his remake of the 1955 Dam Busters movie.
    It is rumoured that Jackson has 10 full-size replica Lancasters waiting for him when he finishes up The Hobbit movie.
    When Jackson makes a movie it seems like money is the least of his worries. So, to build and include, for historical significance, a Wellington, Halifax, and Mosquito in his Dambusters remake, would probably cost less than 1% of overall production cost.
    I am wondering what is going to become of the full-scale replica Lancasters he has now. It's just an idea and a long-shot, but if Jackson could be persuaded to make a replica Wellington, I wonder how one would go about acquiring it after the movie is finished.
    On the other hand, you'll have no greater satisfaction than by completing your Wellington project from concept to takeoff. And with the recent developments in 3D printer technology rare, obsolete, and non-existent parts are becoming more easily and cost-effectively produced.

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    Apparently, Jackson is unable to go ahead with the movie due to a major issue of authenticity - versus - political correctness.

    What shall they call Guy Gibson's dog????!!!

    Colin Cummings

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    Last I heard they settled on "Digger" for the dog's name in The Dambusters remake.
    But the longer the movie takes to get into production, the more time Jackson has to build a Wellington.

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    Hi chaps,

    I would like to react on Dakotas' post - well in in the 60s we were able to built up a Wellington from Lisunov Li-2 for movie "Riders in the Sky":-)
    Unfortunately the great Czechoslovak aviation industry we had before the WWII is only history, there are now only two companies surviving:Aero Vodochody and Let Kunovice...
    As Dakota wrote - having an original plans, capable manager and sufficient amount of money I think that it would be possible to built up a Wimpy or its replica.
    But I am afraid no one would be interested to invest such a big sum of money.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    I am afraid it shall remain a dream only. I understand, that the goal is a faithful replica, rather than anything resembling the Wimpy. Prior to any such discussion, the one should approach CAA or any similar body about their requirements. Then, there is the question of insurance, which, I understand was prohibitive in case of some warbirds. The effect could be no allowance for carrying any passengers, thus killing any possibility of any income from the project, to make any better balance. All of this prior to any actual work on aircraft. Then, there is an issue of blueprints. If they are available, then fine, if not, there is a big problem. Somewhat tied with the issue, is the question if CAA would ever allow original design to fly, and if required changes would not kill it. Add to this, original spec materials and equipment like all of the systems are not available. This means, they are to be built anew, and this could be a problem, or substituted with more modern items, thus being a diversion from original project. Given, it is all done, there must be some support retained, for provision of spares, etc. Finally, the major part of the cost would be tools and jigs. It means single piece could be just not feasible, and while I can imagine a number of museums interested in static Wellingtons, I doubt if they would ever be able to afford them. Well, quite a number of museums lack even much simpler aircraft.

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