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Vulcan XL388 update

by Ian Homer. Posted to category: Engineering

volunteers continue work at S.Y.A.M.

Vulcan to the Sky Trust volunteers who usually man the hangar tours are continuing with their help at the nearby South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum, as the refurbishment of the cockpit of Vulcan XL388 they have on display there continues.

They have sent us this latest report.  

The past few weeks have seen a flurry of action around the restoration of XL388, with major work being carried out to the Radome, Bomb aimers Blister and our newly acquired Navigator Plotters seat. While these have been the focus of our work, it hasn’t stopped us from making progress with other parts of the project!

Most recently, we completed the restoration of the Museums Safety Raiser. This had not been used for a number of years and having been sat outside wasn’t in the best of condition. After carefully disassembling sections to allow the moving parts to be lubricated, along with the construction of new barriers for the ends, it is now fully working. We haven’t just done that for fun though, we will be using the safety raiser to gain access to the upper surfaces of the cockpit in order to carry out the remaining preparation work before we start to paint the cockpit.

Work on the bomb aimer’s blister has been quite difficult as we are currently assessing the best way to swap the crushed blister currently on the cockpit for our spare. Work so far has seen two straps around the outside of the blister removed to allow us to assess the condition of the structure and form a plan as to the best way to carry out the swap.

The Radome work has been started and will take a few weeks to complete due to the amount of work that is required. We started by cleaning out the inside of the Radome, as a number of years of being open to the elements has resulted in a large amount of rubbish accumulating inside.  The Radome was one of the worst-damaged parts of XL388 when the aircraft was scrapped and we have a large number of scratches, splits and gouges to repair. Strips of fibreglass have been laid inside the Radome along the splits to add strength to these sections Work has also been done to the exterior of the Radome, with filler being applied to the cracks on the exterior. Once this has set and has been sanded back smooth, we will be applying a thin sheet of fibreglass over the top to provide strength and sealing against the elements.

The Navigator plotter seat we obtained has some corrosion on the rear panels, so the decision was made to recreate the panels out of a more durable aluminium alloy rather than the original Magnesium alloy. Visitors to August’s very successful Open cockpits weekend will have seen the new plates being riveted onto the seat. We have also had the headrest and back covering recovered as the originals were showing their age quite badly. 

We look forward to another update soon from the team.

Please note: No Trust funds or donations are diverted in completing this work. The museum is working completely independently on this project, with our volunteers providing their labour free. Many thanks to them for all their hard work. 

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