December 2010 saw the Engineering Team battle the weather, snow and ice aplenty. Keeping warm in the workshop was a good place to be!
The poor weather is unhelpful, both in working time lost and also extra cost in heating bills. Roll on the warm summer evenings! XL426 isn't old enough yet to get a winter fuel payment.
Unsurprisingly more work got done in the workshop than outside on the aircraft during December; with warmer weather during January the team ventured outside to work on the aircraft again, rather than just clearing snow.
Work continues on No.4 Elevon (no surprise to regular readers!) but light can now been seen at the end of the tunnel on this partcular area of our Return to Power programme. In the main the surface is now a reassembly job and work is focusing on everything required to refit it to XL426 before the end of Q1 2011.
The No.4 Flying Surface Bay is being put back together to be ready for the elevon. New anchor nuts have been fitted for the bay panel door to screw into when closed. Research into replacing the aerodynamic seal that goes between the surface and bay wall has started, and work continues on overhauling the No.6 PFCU (Powered Flying Control Unit) that will go back in the No.4 position. The overhauled No.4 PFCU has gone back in the No.6 position (a neat swap) and is working fine.
The replacement overhauled No.5 PFCU sprung a leak during post installation tests. This unit is ex- XM569, which was the Vulcan at the long-closed museum at Cardiff Airport. The last time it ran, presumably, was when XM569 flew into Cardiff in the early '80s. The leak is from the join between the ram and pump body and isn't to difficult to fix. We don't have a test rig to test the PFCU at normal operating pressures, so on the bench the PFCU is filled with the servicing rig and checked for leaks. However, this pressure is a fraction of the working pressure. The No.3 unit needs some post installation checks and tests; it appears to have a small leak and requires investigation to where this is from.
Talking of leaks, and probably caused by the freezing conditions, our Ground Power Unit (GPU) has developed a leak in its radiator and is now in our workshop. The radiator has been removed and has gone off-site for overhaul. The radiator filler cap is also seized and will be fixed at the same time. Whilst in the workshop a general service is being carried out on the GPU.
Seen in the photos below (top to bottom):
The No.4 Elevon leading edge area being drilled by Andy Wagstaffe and Matt Lawrence.
The Blue Steel Bomb Bay Mod panel being worked on by Colin Cockerton, shaving the rivets on the new skin.
Ground Power Unit in the workshop.
The Counterpoise Panels being worked on by Ian Tovell - drilling the anchor nuts for the removable access panels.
John Palmer riveting an outer top skin on No.4 elevon.
Marc Scutt and Matt Lawrence at work.
Powered Flying Control Units being re-fitted to XL426.
No.6 PFCU on the bench before and after initial cleaning.