15th November 2007 13:25
First Quarter Report
This is the first in a quarterly series documenting the restoration of Canberra PR.9, XH175, nose section.
This report details the restoration progress from 15th Dec 2005 to 31 March 2006.
17 December 2005 images on left :31 March 2006 images on right
Pilot Cockpit (Credit: Ross McNeill)
Navigator Cockpit (Credit:Ross McNeill)
This Canberra entered service in 1960, was placed into storage as a reserve airframe in 1989 and finally scrapped as surplus to requirement in 1995.
Background and Beginnings
In the 1970s my aviation interest was following two routes. On the restoration side I was actively maintaining an operating Type D4 Link Trainer and, whenever possible, doing an early form of work experience in RAF hangars. Moving through the 80s and 90s other interests took me away from aviation but with the turn of the century I started to collect post war cockpit instruments.
Purchase of a land plot in the late 90s set my thoughts to owning and restoring a airframe but reality soon kicked in and my aim reduced to a cockpit section which I thought would be more acceptable to the nearest residents of a rural area. Access to a supply of RAF instruments from the 50s and 60s pointed to a cockpit of this period. So I was looking for either a fighter of the Vampire/Meteor type or a trainer of the Chipmunk/Jet Provost type.
As I looked at available cockpits I realised that I wanted to do more than just populate panels with instrument dials and needed avionics with associated wiring to replicate the busy cockpits seen during my RAF hangar work experience. A source for 1950s avionics was hard to find so a Hunter or Jet Provost became the cockpit of choice.
The best of these two types were cherished by their owners and even basket cases were few and far between so once again I needed to open up the choice. In 2005 on the trail of Phantom or Lightning survivors I came across a Canberra nose in a sea of scrap at Hanningfield Metals.
Scrapyard (Credit:Hanningfield Metals)
Canberra PR.9, XH175, had been scrapped at RAF St Athan in 1995 and the cockpit section forward of the flare bay kept as a travelling exhibit for a few years before being left at the back of the scrapyard. Although 175 was much larger than I was looking for it ticked all the other boxes for era, exposed avionics, internal wiring looms so the deal was done and on 15th December 2005 left Essex for an interim home in a Worcestershire boatyard (crane lift facilities available).
All exterior handles were locked in the closed position preventing access to any equipment compartment and the nav cockpit. Locks on the pilot canopy were engaged but the canopy was ajar. The original 1989 external paint work was faded and scratched but untouched with only a few patches of flaking. Within the pilot cockpit the port console was missing trim switches, the starboard fuel panel was complete as was the take off panel. The starboard power panel and dimmer panels were stripped of all control equipment. In the starboard well all the equipment was missing from the wall racks. Fire warning lamps and press to test push buttons had been removed from the forward arch and although the other warning lamps were fitted a number of the lens covers were missing. The pilot main panel was fully fitted out but positions and types of instruments were highly suspect.
The hinged nose for the navigator was frozen in the shut position and looking through from the pilot starboard well I could see that the emergency release for the frangible hatch had been disconnected. The instrument panels in the nav cockpit were full but again the position and types of instruments were suspect. Avionic gear from the racks dividing the nav and pilot cockpits were also missing.
In general the condition of the internal surfaces under the accumulated dirt was good but a few places showed the powdery residue of intergranular corrosion.
A through wash down externally and internally removed the grime and allowed the areas of corrosion to be coated with ACF-50. This product is a lubricant/surface converter and would slow down the powder flaking until I could replace the surface coatings. An unexpected bonus was that when the scrapman had removed equipment he had allowed the screws/nuts/plates to drop to the bottom of the cockpit so these were collected and catalogued ready for refitting where possible.
Close examination of the instrumentation/avionics showed that most were 'hole fillers' and did not mate with rear pipework or electrical connectors. Leaving the pilot panel alone I set about removing devices where they were clearly not connected.
Prior to XH175 arriving I had considered how best to document the restoration process. Internal progress would be visually marked by a series of port to starboard photographs taken at appropriate intervals from the same camera positions. Planned tasks could be of short duration or prolonged with several non productive periods and could throw up a myriad of associated defects needing additional work. Some tasks would be of a temporary nature needing rework at a later date. I had experience in the 1970s of a tried and tested record system specifically designed for aircraft and so decided to apply some these RAF servicing forms to the task. All jobs would be authorised on a Form 720M (Job Card General) recording the start date, work to be done, work carried out, action taken, completion date and Manhours. Work needing to be revisited would be transferred to a Form 704 (ADD Log) as an Acceptable Deferred Defect. This system, along with the progress photographs, would form the restoration diary of work carried out on the cockpit and associated bay servicing carried out at other locations.
Appended to this report is a summary of the Form 720M raised during the period 17 December 2005 to 27 March 2006 covering 67 tasks equating to 156 hrs and 20 mins of restoration work.
Another area where I was sadly lacking was information on the PR.9 instrument fits. I had assumed that it would be similar to other Canberra Mks but even the most basic inspection showed the error in my understanding. For help in identifying the missing equipment on the pilot starboard power console I tried No.39 Sqn at RAF Marham and the RAF Museum at Cosford. Help was forthcoming from F/Lt Flynn, No.39 Sqn JENGO and Mr McLean Curator of the RAF Museum at Cosford with descriptions and photographs of the console as fitted to the aircraft they had access to. In both cases the fit out was vastly different so not only did the PR.9 differ from other Canberra Mks but that Modification state for the PR.9 fleet also had to be considered.
Just as I was pondering over how to determine what gear was fitted to XH175 in 1989 a boat owner in the Marina came over with a few pages from the PR.9 Air Publication showing the pilot cockpit for the 1995 fit. This showed a panel that post dated the Cosford example, predated the Marham details and exactly matched XH175 in 1989. Armed with this I could identify that the main pilot panel currently fitted to XH175 was not the one that it was scrapped with but belonged to XH133. When the panel was removed this was confirmed by the cut wiring looms instead of the carefully attached plugs and sockets I was hoping to see.
Having established what indicators and controls were fitted to my chosen restoration date for XH175 I was able to clarify the remaining avionics as correct or spurious. I could source equipment of the correct type but in most cases it was not the as fitted Mark e.g. I had a Mk17F Oxygen Regulator which was correct for a 1960s fit but not the Mk21B fitted post 1970. I decided to do a temporary installation, record the incorrect Mark on the ADD Log and replace when the correct item was sourced.
Another task undertaken during the period of this report was to gain access to the navigator compartment. Both the external main access handle and the emergency rescue handle did not operate the associated locking bolts so I needed to enter the compartment to reconnect/free the locks. Some damage to the external skin had occurred when the scrapman had tried to open the nose for my initial inspection visit but thankfully he had given up before causing irreversible harm. Where the MDC had been removed from internal and external faces of the frangible hatch it had left a groove in the surface exposing the inner glassfibre honeycomb construction. Rain water had entered causing local damage to the glassfibre. Since I would need to repair by cutting away the effected areas I decided to use this line to stitch drill the frangible panel, gain access to the compartment, then finally rejoin the cut away section with resin/matting. Cutting through took 6 hrs 30 mins of work on the 22 Jan 2006 but the subsequent freeing up of the nose hatch bolts took, in all, 8 hrs 50 mins worth of application time with penetrant oils before until finally opening on 14 May 2006.
Once again the navigator compartment was confirmed as having a large amount of 'hole filler' instruments and controllers which were removed to store. MOD fits for the PR.9 navigator compartment were mostly 'bolt on' to the existing panels/equipment with only the post 1995 having any major replacement of fitted equipment. Published photographs of the 1970s fit were found to mirror the 1989 arrangement allowing rapid replacement of erroneous gear.
XH175 was one of the aircraft fitted in the late 1970s with the Sperry Gyro Platform and Tactical Air Navigation System (TANS) replacing the GPI Mk IV/Green Satin combination navigation equipment below the forward panel. Since I also had a pre TANS main pilot panel I considered altering the planned restoration date from 1989 to 1970 and modifying the side consoles but deferred the final decision to the Summer to see what equipment came on the market. Most of the instruments replaced during the period of this report were sourced from Internet Auction sites but one notable exception was the pilot UA60 intercom switch box which was generously donated by Jon Hartley of Ultra Electronics.
XH175 had been delivered without a trailer from Hanningfield Metals on the back of a flat bed truck and due to the costs for contract crane lifts had resulted in a temporary location of the Marina boatyard where on site craneage was available along with secure storage. A bespoke trailer was purchased and 175 was transferred onto this in March 2006 before being moved to it's current location. Restoration work is subject to weather delay as the new location is open storage so all actions are true Line Servicing in dispersal conditions with all the associated problems.
Arrival (Credit: Ross McNeill)
Line Servicing (Credit: Ross McNeill)
15th November 2007 13:26
Form 700 for First Quarter
Job Reference Work to be carried out Completed ManHr.mm
01XH17517125 External surfaces to be cleaned 02/01/2006 5.30
02XH17517125 Free up Nav access hatch 14/05/2006 8.50
03XH17517125 Take & archive photographs 17/12/2005 0.50
04XH17524125 Take & archive record photos 24/12/2005 0.50
05XH17524125 Collect FOD from pilot cockpit 16/04/2006 4.40
06XH17524125 Pilot access ladder loose. Examine 26/12/2005 0.30
07XH17526125 Take & archive record photos 26/12/2005 0.50
08XH17526125 Corrosion treat autopilot/dimmer panel & control column 26/12/2005 1.20
09XH17527125 Take & archive record photos 27/12/2005 0.50
10XH17527125 Attach pilot ejector seat leg straps 30/04/2006 1.10
11XH17531125 Trace external stencil & markings 02/01/2006 6.00
12XH17501016 Take & archive record photos 01/01/2006 0.50
13XH17502016 Take & archive record photos 02/01/2006 0.50
14XH17502016 Anticorrosion treatment required 02/01/2006 1.00
15XH17503016 Bench cleaning of dimmer panel and IFF fail panel 06/01/2006 1.50
16XH17503016 Take & archive record photos 03/01/2006 0.50
17XH17504016 Take & archive record photos 04/01/2006 0.50
18XH17507016 Measure & record cockpit external dimensions 07/01/2006 1.30
19XH17507016 Remove dimmer liteflow panel for bench servicing 07/01/2006 1.20
20XH17507016 Take & archive record photos 07/01/2006 0.50
21XH17507016 Bench clean dimmer liteflow panel. XREF 19XH17507016 07/01/2006 3.30
22XH17508016 Remove all liteflow panels for bench cleaning 08/01/2006 3.10
23XH17508016 Mk10 Autopilot equipment to be fixed down 08/01/2006 0.30
24XH17508016 Bench clean liteflow panels 12/01/2006 4.10
25XH17508016 Sort & bag FOD from cockpit. Create and enter into parts holding database 17/01/2006 7.40
26XH17512016 Record details of Mk10 Autopilot controller. Fit Mk10 Autopilot controller 15/0112006 2.00
27XH17512016 Coat UA60 with microcrystaline wax 12/01/2006 0.40
28XH17512016 Take & archive record photographs 12/01/2006 0.50
29XH17515016 Refit all liteflow panels 15/01/2006 3.20
30XH17515016 Take record photographs & archive 15/01/2006 0.50
31XH17517016 Clean parts in store. Take & archive record photos 17/01/2006 3.50
32XH17518016 Take & record images of minature stick, demister pipe & demister perspex 18/01/2006 0.50
33XH17519016 Clean demister pipework & perspex block 19/01/2006 1.20
34XH17521016 Remove Nav frangible hatch 22/01/2006 6.30
35XH17522016 Take & archive record photographs 22/01/2006 0.50
36XH17522016 Remove loose equipment from nav compartment 22/01/2006 1.30
37XH17522016 Treat corrosion in nav compartment 22/01/2006 0.30
38XH17524016 Cleaning of stock held parts 02/02/2006 4.20
39XH17524016 Take & archive record photos 24/01/2006 0.50
40XH17525016 Take & archive record photos 25/01/2006 0.50
41XH17526016 Cleaning of recent instrument purchases 16/03/2006 5.20
42XH17526016 Take & archive record photos 26/01/2006 0.50
43XH17529016 Remove all loose instrumentation from nav compartment 29/01/2006 1.30
44XH17529016 Anti corrosion work to be carried out in nav compartment 19/03/2006 8.00
45XH17502026 Take & archive record photos 02/02/2006 0.50
46XH17505026 Install Oxy Reg, Tacan, U/VHF selector, IFF & UA60 into nav stbd console 05/02/2006 3.40
47XH17512026 Install Mk17F Oxy Reg into pilot compartment 12/02/2006 0.30
48XH17519026 Install UA60, freq indicator & dimmer switches into pilot stbd console 19/02/2006 4.50
49XH17519016 Take & archive record photos 19/02/2006 0.50
50XH17524026 Collect trailer & trail to Stourport 24/02/2006 5.00
51XH17525026 Transfer XH175 from temp trailer to new 03/03/2006 1.50
52XH17504036 Trim trailer for towing 05/03/2006 4.50
53XH17511036 Move XH175 to Cozzieland 11/03/2006 1.10
54XH17511036 Take & archive record photos 12/03/2006 0.50
55XH17516036 Take & archive record photos 17/03/2006 1.40
56XH17518036 Take & archive record photos 18/03/2006 0.50
57XH17518036 Fit Autostabiliser Mk2 Amplifier into pilot compartment 18/03/2006 0.30
58XH17519036 Remove Nav Mk7 Rad Alt & pilot panel, refit pitot tube & crash axe 19/03/2006 4.30
59XH17520036 Take & archive record photographs 20/03/2006 0.50
60XH17520036 Remove incorrect instruments from main pilot panel & replace with type 21/03/2006 6.40
61XH17520036 Clean main pilot panel 21/03/2006 1.20
62XH17521036 Take & archive record photos 21/03/2006 0.50
63XH17523036 Clean stored instruments 23/03/2006 3.40
64XH17523036 Take & archive record photos 23/03/2006 0.50
65XH17527036 Clean removed instruments from main pilot panel 27/03/2006 2.10
66XH17527036 Fit ASI & Mach meter to pilot panel 27/03/2006 2.30
67XH17527036 Take & archive record photos 27/03/2006 0.50