History lesson please

Profile picture for user AvgasDinosaur

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12 years 9 months

Posts: 305

Dear All, There was a black time in British aviation history ( No not Duncan Sandys no more manned aircraft) when the CAA or was it Ministry of Aviation had serious doubts about glue and wooden aircraft. When was this please? Was it as a result of a specific incident or accident? Your time and trouble appreciated Thanks in anticipation, Be lucky David
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Profile picture for user galdri

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19 years 9 months

Posts: 1,324

I do not have the exact date at hand, but the late 60´s seems about right. We had a completely airworthy Rapide in Iceland burned in 1967 because of an english airworthiness inspector (on secondment from the UK CAA) implimenting UK rules in Iceland. As for specific accidents leading to this outcome, I do not know. However, I´ve been told in conversation that a Gemini lost it´s stabilzer in flight due to glue failure. Whether it is correct, I do not know.
Profile picture for user keithmac

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19 years 9 months

Posts: 341

The late 60's/early 70's was a bad time for the owners of wooden aeoplanes. Around then I was involved with RAF Cranwell's Tiger Moth. It was Due CofA renewal and the CAA insisted on complete removal of the fabric covering so that inspection of every glued joint could be carried out. The aircraft passed with flying colours, but the expense of recovering commercially was immense. Fortunately the RAF glider overhaul section at St Athan did the job for considerably less than the commercial rate, and the aircraft was returned to the sky. It says a great deal for the standards of production at both DH and Morris Motors that many Tigers, built with a life expectancy of months are still flying nearly 70 years after they were built.

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13 years 5 months

Posts: 388

I think all RAAF Mosquitos had to be re-glued (and re-skinned) because the adhesive used in the UK could not take the tropical weather. Perhaps other air forces in hotter climates had the same problem with wooden aircraft? Bri :)

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15 years 7 months

Posts: 65

It was certainly the early to mid-60s. I was checked out on the Skyfame Oxford in 1964 and that was its last flight. Within a few weeks it had been grounded with suspect glue and it is now hung from a hangar roof at Duxford.
Profile picture for user low'n'slow

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13 years 1 month

Posts: 1,433

There were two significant issues, which I believe were triggered by airborne structural failures in the 1960s. One was the deterioration and failure of some wooden structures which had deteriorated and begun to rot under fabric coverings. This partly was due to age and equally because many aeroplanes had lived either out of doors or in damp conditions during war years. There were also significant issues with casein-based glues that were used in the 1930s, 40s and early 50s. These deteriorated both with age and moisture ingress and were (rightly) treated with a high level of suspicion. Both the above were reasons why a large number of aeroplanes such as Moths, Miles Magisters, Messengers, Geminis and Percival Proctors simply disappeared as the cost of inspection, let alone repair, was way above the value of a tired old aeroplane. Thankfully (he says touching wood-literally!) these issues are now less likely to affect airworthy survivors. By now, they'll have been rebuilt with modern formaldehyde or acrylate adhesives, while almost all such grand old ladies are cossetted in nice dry hangars. Mind you, every annual check, I still have all the inspection panels off the fuselage, wings and tail of my Tipsy Trainer, for a good look inside. Not to mention sniffing for a giveaway musty smell that might give an early warning of potential trouble!