Canberra PR.3 WF922 at Midland Aviation Museum - Update December 2004
Malcolm Lambert
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December 2004
As the renovation progresses the aims and achievement goals seem to get further apart. None the less in the second half of the year a great deal has been achieved. Again it will be written as it comes to me rather than in the chronological order in which it was done. I tend to have to skip from job to job sometimes depending on weather and parts etc.

The electrical system has behaved itself very well one or two small snags but in the main it is proving very reliable.

After yet further inspections of the hydraulic system I thought it was about time I had a go at getting it operational. I had to repair a pipe in the port undercarriage bay by brazing a new pipe on to a broken end, not very satisfactory but access to remove and replace the pipe was thwarted by the belly tank being in the way. The reservoir was filled up and with fingers crossed a younger, fitter museum member sat in the seat and started pumping. Very soon the leaks started to appear, unions that I hadnít tightened enough, some flared ends that had split, pipes that had been undone for no seemingly good reason that I had missed. Anyway after about a day I think all the leaks were cured and then we had to bleed the whole system. Not much you can write about it except that it was a satisfying feeling seeing the life blood of the aircraft doing its work once again.

piping hyd
Re-piping in progress and the flare-bay door jack (forward)

All the systems were exercised and although it does take a lot of time with the hand pump at least its fairly non destructive and movement is slow if something goes wrong or starts to leak again.

One of the things that I did monitor carefully was my repair to the hinge on the stbd outer flap, this passed the test and although it wouldnít take aerodynamic loads it will hold up for ground test purposes.

flap paint
Flap hinge repair          Shiny new paintwork

I then had to fabricate from scratch the rear camera door operating mechanism that had been robbed or removed for some reason. The jack was now working satisfactorily so a new pivot bar and operating rods were made, complete with micro switch operating pads to give full movement and cockpit indication of the rear camera doors once again.

The flare bay doors operated without a problem except for the cockpit indication. I adjusted the open micro switch to give the cockpit indication but I couldnít decide which of the two closed switches I needed to adjust. So in true Sqn spirit I chose the smallest and lightest museum member on hand to be shut in the flare bay as it closed and monitor which switch wasnít doing its job. The outcome was the discovery of a bent switch operating bracket on the port door which when straightened and the doors re-cycled, gave the satisfying dolls eye indication just as the doors closed completely. The museum member was unceremoniously dumped on the floor at the end of the exercise.

I must mention the flying controls as it involved a lot of museum helpers during the summer. I had often wondered why the control column showed no inclination to move even when all the external locks were removed. I had put this down to someone securing the control rods at some place in their run. To cut a long story very short it turned out to be the cockpit pressure bulkhead box through which the rods run. This had seized completely. With all rods aft of this disconnected we, through controlled force and perseverance gradually freed off all of the controls until the movement was as good as new. A further tribute if it is needed to WD40. Nothing got broken and every one agreed that they all felt a lot fitter after the exercise. Needless to say we will not let it get back to that state again.

stuff box pnl
The offending box and controls (with new access panel)

I have acquired for the aircraft a selection of F95 cameras, the correct Periscopic sextant, used starter cartridges, gloves, fire ext, first aid kit, axe, survival pack (desert), all stowed in their correct locations again.

The cockpit area has seen a little progress with the re-installation of all the pilots and navs pitot static system. Once again it was a case of finding the pipes from the museum stock and cutting and bending them to shape. To top this off I fitted a brand new pitot head to the nose cone. Not having the correct pitot static test set I did the unthinkable and had someone blow gently down the pitot head to make sure that the instruments indicated correctly which of course they did.

The Webmaster of the Canberra Tribute Site no less, donated an E2A emergency compass to the aircraft and that now sits proudly right in the pilot's line of sight.

E2A pitot
E2A Compass and lighting panel Pitot Static pipes (pilots)

Not strictly the cockpit area but just behind it, I have had a skin repair completed on the original top hatch for the aircraft. This contains the DF loop for the radio compass and retains the originality that I think is important for the project. The DV window has been re-wired, as have two fully working Type 35 camera controllers that sit in the navs starboard station, it just begins to feel like a Canberra should, but understandably I am a bit biased.

type 35 tail
Type 35 controllers          Ready for the tail cone

Several days were spent on the tail cone as this has been an area of water ingress mixed with birds nests and was in a bit of a mess. On removing the tail cone I could get access to the upper and lower tail plane micro switches. I replaced them both and straightened the damage to both their mounting systems that had somehow become very bent. All the tail corrosion was removed and the areas treated and then primed on the inside, something that no visitor will ever see of course but if you are going to do a job etc. I even replaced the lower tail nav light perspex which was badly cracked and replaced all the anchor nuts securing its little panel.

From the public's standpoint probably the biggest difference is the re-painting of the underside from the engines inboard, this was done during the hottest part of the summer and although only rollered on, the finish is really good. Thatís down to the paint more than the painter though. No more external painting will be done until next summer when it is hoped that I can tackle the topside of the wings, these are in need of further cleaning and are almost down to primer in places.

So thatís it really, a lot of teamwork involved, support from all quarters and the museum is heading towards a very usable exhibit that the public can, under supervision have unlimited access to.


Malcolm Lambert
Midland Aviation Museum
Coventry Airport.

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