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Latest from the hangar

by Ian Homer. Posted to category: Engineering

as wing work continues

Mod 2221 - the Flying Life Extension Programme.


Week two - update

Sam Evans reports from Hangar 3.



This week there has been steady progress on the leading edge modification. We were joined by James Nash who has reduced the average age of the team considerably! James and Brian have continued the work started by Ian Chapusadt last week marking out the rivets to be removed from the Port wing. This is considerably more complicated than it sounds, as the repair drawings have been prepared for the Starboard wing and everything has to be reversed for the Port side – and since each aircraft was hand built, a considerable amount of head scratching has been required.

All of the required rivets have now been removed from both sides and the lower plate for the Starboard side has been marked out. The existing rivet positions for the Port side have been picked up and we are well on the way to marking out the lower plate for the Port side. We hope to have had the existing holes examined by Aerospace NDT by the time you read this.

James Nash and Brian Hewitt marking out the rivets to be removed from the Port wing leading edge.


In the meantime, now that all of the necessary rivets have been removed from the Stbd wing, Malcolm Smith has been marking out the positions of the new rivets. Additional rows of rivets will be added to attach the plates to the leading edge skins. The aim of the modification is to re-enforce the leading edge skins in an area where the Fatigue test specimen skins cracked – specifically either side of this butt strap which joins skins Three and Four (the butt strap is behind the skins and is eight rows of rivets wide – four rows either side of the joint).

The rivets which have been removed will be replaced with longer rivets which will transfer the loads into the two new modification plates. Each of the holes where a rivet has been removed has to be tested to ensure that there are no cracks in the existing skins or structure.

Brian and Malcolm marking out the position of the new rivets. Eventually, the modification plates will be attached to the skins with over 800 rivets each side. There will be a double row of rivets around the edge of the lower plate and a treble row of rivets around the edge of the upper plate.


Malcolm marking the rivet positions from the original blue print onto the fibre glass splash. The holes are then drilled into the new plate and the aircraft skin.

The fibre glass splash for the Starboard wing has now been completely marked out and cut to size. The inner line marks the edge of the outer plate. The extra hole towards the left hand side of the picture is a tooling hole, used to line up the splash with the plates.

The two forming tools have been placed beside each other. Now that Malcolm has worked out how the rivet positions are applied to 558 (remember, each aircraft in the fleet was slightly different), it will make marking out the Port side a little easier.


Later today the technicians from Aerospace NDT, based at Doncaster airport, will come over to the hangar to examine the existing holes using an eddy current technique which has been specifically written by them for this modification.

The whole engineering team would like to thank you for the fantastic support that is allowing this work to progress. It could not be done without you.


Look out for another update from the hangar in our newsletter next week - to be issued on Thursday 30th as we approach the final 24 hours of the pledge redemption opportunity that will hopefully secure the balance of funding needed.

You can help XH558 right now with a simple text donation to give £5.

Simply text WING155 to 70070 from any UK based mobile phone.

Please have the bill payer's permission. Texts cost £5 plus one standard text message from your network provider. 100% of the donation will go to the Vulcan to the Sky Trust (a registered charity) to help XH558 and you will have the option to award Gift Aid if you are a UK tax payer, which can add 25% to your donation at no extra cost to you.


Thank you.








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