This is not because we had nothing to write but because we had too much to do. !
The winter is almost away and we did a lot of things during the cold season.
Thanks to Stefaan we have now an air compressor. It was connected to the air network by Yves V & Vincent. The sandblasting station is also operational. Both hardwares already help a lot during restoration sessions.
Considerable efforts were done to have an IT infrastructure. Having the right hardware help today for archiving tasks. We have also the capability to check the technical manuals on the spot when needed. Most of our documentation are also stored on digital medias. They can easily be shared or taken at home for preparing the restoration tasks. Backups can be stored out of the workshop for safety. Finally only the needed pages are printed sparing rooms and money.
Flying Flea : Vincent finished the restorations of the wings. The parts are now painted. The hinges needed to assemble the wings are still under repairs or under manufacturing but the fuselage and the wings will soon be re united.
Slingsby : We started to work on one of these gliders. Nicolas begin by restoring the elevator to assess what need to be done. After removing old paint, he found the wood structure was still in very good shape and did not need repairs. Some metallic parts needed to be repaired and are already under process. Thanks to Firmin and Richard Cawsey. We have now some ideas about the identities of both Slingsby. The most serious candidates are WZ768 (For sure, once owned by Guy Englebert) and possibly XK788. We still hope to find the RAF serial number somewhere on the airframes. Richard confirmed to us it was common practice when the Slingsby's were in use to assemble parts from different aircraft when the gliders were used.
To end with the Slingsby, we are also near the end with the restoration of the support to use the Slingsby as a simulator.
Austria : We are preparing the display of this nice glider. We searched to find pictures of OO-… when he was painted as a Tiger (“Le Tigge” as said in Walloon). Thanks to Bob, we have now good pictures of the machine at this time. The fuselage was already cleaned and small repairs done. Painting will soon start. The target is not to fully restore the Austria but put the airframe in the best conditions to be preserved. This way to work avoid time losses in the future to repair damages caused by bad storage. The instrument dashboard of this glider is missing. If ever you have documentation to build a new one or you know where to find an original one, we are interested.
On February 3rd, the 11th airframe was delivered in Gembloux. This is a Croses Airplume, a variant of the Flying Flea. The airframe was found in Liernu and transported thanks to Yves V, Michel, Robert and Vincent. The Airplume is complete except the ignition key and undamaged. The only repairs will be to fix a flat tire and to clean the machine. There is no registration on the airframe, so if someone can help us to identify this particular machine, it will be great.
Claude Lesoil is known in our small community for his wonderful paintings. We have 2 of his works in Gembloux. Both are for sale. The first one (40 x 50 cm) depicts Mony Van Lierde scrambling his Tempest from Kluis (Nederland). The subject of the second one (40 x 50 cm) is Cheval Lallemant attacking a train in Normandy with his Typhoon. Both paintings are for sale (Van Lierde 350 Euro - Cheval Lallemant 525 Euro). If you are interested, do not hesitate to contact us.
Another interesting addition to the artifacts is a collection of airfield lights. It shall be an interesting project to explain how these devices are used for safety. Thanks to the donator.
Didier Campion deposited the tail wheel unit of a Republic P-47 Thunderbolt he found some years ago. He has also given us a window we cannot identify. This is a part of US origin (Olive Drab and Yellow Zinc Chromate). This is not from a B-25 nor a B-26. So if you have any suggestion, please mail us.
On the archives front, the last scanned documents are some issues of Luchtvaart. This Dutch speaking newspapers is an interesting example of the Dutch speaking aviation press in the years 1930’s. The Veys collection contains some of these newspapers from Nr 1 until the moment the newspapers stopped to be published with World War II.
And the masterpiece ?
Philippe Levecq made a 4th 1/48 scale model of the B-25. Now the model depict our aircraft as she appeared in the motion picture "Hannover street" as scale model. It was not a simple model to be build from the box since the Georgeous Georges Ann" artwork needed to be reproduced and it took a lot of time to Philippe but the result is perfect. The model is on display.
Sometime, on a restoration project you can have the impression, progresses are very slow. This is just an impression due to the fact some activities have not always visible results. Some actions are also done on small parts and a close examination is needed to see the results. This is what happen currently with the front undercarriage leg. Laurent spent a lot of time fixing details during the winter. What is sure is this part is making great impression to our visitors.
Thierry and Rodrigo made miracles repairing some small scratches on the front fuselage. It is still discussions about how to repair these damages. A classical way is to restore aircraft to "Factory Fresh" conditions. To reach such results, considerable resources should be needed to replace the original skin with a new one. Just removing the original aluminum plates is already a tour de force. On the other side, when checking actual pictures we discovered the operational B-25’s were covered with small scratches, results of the day to day missions. So in our current knowledge, we are repairing the damages caused by previous storage and try to keep as much as possible of the original aircraft.
Scratches on the Mitchell of the RAF Museum in Hendon
We are always looking for :
Volunteers to join us on our restoration projects, specially the North American B-25 Mitchell. No special expertise is needed to start but any previous experience in metal working, aircraft maintenance, CAD/CAM and 3D printing is hardly welcome. Joining our team, you will have the unique opportunity to work on historical aircraft and share the warm brotherhood of our association.
Sponsors to develop win-win relationships sharing the common enthusiasm for technologies. The size is not important but any collaboration is a plus. We can offer a lot of opportunities whatever is what you want to invest in our common future.
Aviation heritage : Aircraft, engine, tools, documentation, testimonies. We cannot save everything but until now nothing was impossible. Any gift or depot will be positively studied and will make our common heritage richer for the benefit of everyone.
Thanks again to all those we support us. Our finance status is healthy for the end of this year but we need to increase our capabilities in 2014.
Any support, financial as well in gift of tools, archive or aircraft is still welcome. See more at http://www.bapa.be/how-to-help-us
Many happy landings
All pictures available from our picture albums