The week after Legends

admin corsair, flying-legends, Grumman Bearcat, TFC - engineering

Hangar Talk

I can only liken the feeling in the week following Flying Legends to climbing the steepest and highest mountain; (months in the planning and weeks in the execution) only to throw yourself off at the top once you reach the summit, such is the anti-climax post FL. This years FL brought us some extra challenges that we took on the chin and combined with the tenacity of our principals, volunteers, engineers, pilots and with the assistance of our partners at IWM Duxford developed innovative ways of bringing people closer to the action whilst simultaneolusy moving them further away!! ( Irish logic I know) Much has been written about the revised CAA regulations and whether you agree with them or not, they are here to stay, at least within the medium term and finding ways to minimise there impact is key to delivering and safeguarding the Flying Legends brand. It is also unfair to point the finger of blame entirely at the door of the Civil Aviation Authority; it is important to recognise the support of a number of individuals within the authority, who working within the confines of regulation and due process, have helped us to complete the UK civil certification of Curtiss Hawk P-36C (G-CIXJ) that arrived with us last ‘Legends’ from prolific Curtiss Hawk builder, Matt Nightingale’s, California Aerofab Inc, California USA. It has taken a sustained and combined effort between multiple agencies, individuals and organisations to complete the certification process in time for Flying Legends 2016; at a time when vintage and historic aviation is being scrutinised at microscopic levels it was refreshing to receive pragmatic and practical levels of support and assistance from the General Aviation Unit and its Design and Airworthiness Surveyors. We are also indebted to our fellow aviation ‘geeks’ at ACRO Aeronautical Services for once again reviewing the multitude of design and modification queries we generated as we completed the aircraft survey and type design review ahead of the (E4) design report being submitted to the CAA.

Anyway, here we are a week after a successful FL 2016 and we are about to launch the Corsair and Bearcat to Farnborough for the weekend and are already stuck into the annual inspection on the P-40C and Spifire MkXIV. The landing gear hydraulic issue we ran into on the P-40F and the reason for it not flying at FL is almost resolved; new seals have been manufactured by SKF Economos for the landing gear control valve and we have tested the first batch this week. We now need to manufacture a new batch of spring retaining clips for the poppet valves before completing final landing gear functional checks. This month all seems to be related to seals as we are now progressing into the manufacture of new leather cup seals for the Gloster Gladiators Hobson carburettor accelerator pump; the pump has sprung an internal leak caused by the leather seals by-passing during operation allowing fuel to enter the upper linkage chamber. Over the coming weeks we shall be removing the rear fuselage fuel tank on the P-40C to carry out an inspection on the rudder control cable pulleys; removing the propeller from the P-36C to fine tune the static balance; fitting new wing fuel cells to the Spitfire XIV (assuming the contractor actually finishes them; 7 months and counting!), installing new seals in the Wildcat brake pedal foot motors (told you it was all about seals this month) and finally having a well earned break away from computers, mobile phones and aeroplanes…