Time to clean the Beaufighter

Member for

9 years 6 months

Posts: 400

I have been quiet on here of late, mainly as we have had an insane number of large events going on (Cockpit Day, Wings and Wheels, Cruisers night #2) but with all that out of the way, it's time to re focus the Museum members towards working on the aircraft.

In my case, because it's my favourite aircraft bar none, I started on the Beaufighter.

This aircraft has not had a detailed clean in nearly 25 years, so the grime, dust and even accumulated sludge from the last engine run waaaaay back when (199?) so there is a lot to get through. But I'm happy with the first few hours effort.

In addition I donated an original engine starter cover and cowl gill switch which have been fitted into the cockpit. Also many boxes and wiring have been refastened and now being cleaned up.

A couple of before and after pics below for those interested. And for those asking about engine runs returning for the Beau........................................................ the aircraft is still alive, work to be done, let's see in 2015 and what it brings :D

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Before
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After
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Before
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After
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You can see the difference here
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Profile picture for user Moggy C

Member for

20 years 1 month

Posts: 16,831

Good job!

Thanks for the images.

Moggy

Member for

13 years 9 months

Posts: 3,778

Lovely, what a nice aeroplane to be spending time on, must be very enjoyable too.
Thank you and please keep the updates and phots coming.

Profile picture for user Oxcart

Member for

12 years 3 months

Posts: 2,090

Not many other people can say they've done that!

Member for

9 years 6 months

Posts: 400

Thanks all, did some more work today, this time focusing on the cockpit. The fact that I (at 6ft 6) managed to get into the cockpit seat for the first time was a feat in itself, and I was pleased as punch!

So, my view down the entry hatch
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Before
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After
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Coming back to life but requiring a toothbrush or two to get into the fiddly areas
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Before
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After
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Hopefully there are some who can use these as reference shots too, always happy to help where we can

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More to follow

Member for

9 years 6 months

Posts: 400

And one last one for the night (over here anyway)

This is a video I shot out of the Beau cockpit when I heard the Wirraway being fired up (the guys were testing for oil leaks after doing maintenance). I grabbed the phone, started filming through the gunsight glass and then moved up and out of the cockpit before going back in again. I can only imagine this was a sort of sound heard from cockpits on many an airfield during the war, and sitting in the Beau cockpit gave me goosebumps as I was filming.

Cheers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRfp5tHdPh8&feature=em-upload_owner#action=share

Profile picture for user Oxcart

Member for

12 years 3 months

Posts: 2,090

Why did they stop running it?

Profile picture for user Seafuryfan

Member for

20 years 1 month

Posts: 2,435

Great work Bellarine, wish I could be scrubbing away with you!

Profile picture for user Jack Ruskin

Member for

13 years 3 months

Posts: 1,375

Why did they stop running it?

I might be wrong, but seem to recall it was for safety over concerns for integrity of the props.

Member for

9 years 6 months

Posts: 400

I might be wrong, but seem to recall it was for safety over concerns for integrity of the props.

One of a number of reasons. The management at the time decided against doing any more engine runs on any aircraft so that was a big blow. The port prop is shot, very pitted near the hub, and there was talk for years that the engine had also seized. Whilst stiff, we have found that this is not the case :) The starboard side is fine.
The main reason in the end was that in order to preserve the aircraft better it had a hangar built around it. Of course trying to run the aircraft inside would blow everything else around it through the hangar walls.. but we are going to have a crack at changing that in 2015.

I will be doing the Christmas thing over the next day or so but then back into it, the hydraulic tank is leaking so want to get that fixed. Some interesting photos coming up again too. We would love to cycle both the props at the same time but the drain on the batteries is too great :( Still, we know the aircraft is live. I will aim to get some internal shots with the lights on too.

Member for

9 years 6 months

Posts: 400

Stuffed full of turkey and pudding, I figured best to avoid the Boxing Day sales and the Boxing Day Test and head back to the Museum for some more work.

Started on the rear access hatch :
Before
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After
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Looking up above the hatch - I can see we are missing a ram in there !
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I was struggling to get into certain areas of the cockpit, so figured the best way forward was to remove the "bulge" dome and the nosecone. So with a strong coffee in tow I got to work!

Before
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After - glad the armourplate is in storage otherwise I may have struggled !
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There is a lot of dirt in there but did some solid work removing as much as I could. This shows the rudder pedals - port is before and sb is after clean.
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Interesting perspective of the Pilots seat taken behind the instrument panel.
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I will continue the shots a little later today. Someone asked if they could share the pics - of course you can :) As I have said before, we want to share everything we have and if these can be used as reference shots (or just a collection for the regular avnuts) then job done. No point in it being hidden away for people to never learn from .... Cheers !

Profile picture for user K5054NZ

Member for

11 years 8 months

Posts: 1,130

I'm more interested in saving the shots for when I build a model of her (still need to get that Beaufort kit, too".

Great work and I only wish I was on the right side of the Tasman to help out. Thanks for sharing, especially the before and after shots!

Member for

9 years 6 months

Posts: 400

Just a couple today from the wing and oil cooler, I'm uploading from my phone so it's very slow. More coming!
Before
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After
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Before
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After
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Profile picture for user Oxcart

Member for

12 years 3 months

Posts: 2,090

Great work! Thanks for sharing!

Profile picture for user cabbage

Member for

8 years 8 months

Posts: 318

Please keep sending more pictures. Always liked the Beaufighter, in all its disguises.

Your problems of access to certain areas of the Beaufighter remind me of the convolutions required to access certain areas of the aircraft I worked on, namely the Vulcan and the Buccaneer.

Member for

9 years 6 months

Posts: 400

All good :) here's some from this afternoon. I had hoped the panel would be unwired at the rear but not the case so I just curled up in the seat and got to work. Very hot in there today so got quite a sweat worked up!

Before - old switch and jettison button
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Panel off and old switches off
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After - new switches fitted
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The DF loop cover was shot, and I doubt has been removed in a very very long time - older darker finish was under the very thick dust
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Cheers

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Member for

11 years 2 months

Posts: 31

1990 was the last time the Beaufighter was ground run.
Cheers.

Profile picture for user Maple 01

Member for

15 years 9 months

Posts: 439

Very nice,

I can see the ad campain now

'Take two bottles into the hangar?
'I just want to wash my Beau and go'

Member for

9 years 6 months

Posts: 400

Day by day she's starting to look better....
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Got one of the hatches open on the Starboard wing and stuck the phone up to take a peek. Not bad given it's been locked up in there since 1988 :)

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Spent the morning (ie 8am - 10am) cleaning the starboard outer wing area on top. The weather has gone off, two days of 40 degrees C so best to do this early.
Looks rather shiny, but also affords a great view back along the wing to the fuse.
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Profile picture for user D1566

Member for

13 years 10 months

Posts: 2,025

How good can life be; having your own Beaufighter to clean :)

Member for

8 years 1 month

Posts: 146

Very interesting! Keep on posting, please! :cool: