Canberra PR.3 WF922 at Midland Aviation Museum - Update July 2004
Malcolm Lambert
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July 2004
A lot of progress has been made since writing the original article and, although I may not get it down in the order it was achieved, this report will bring the reader up to date.

I managed to get a couple of switched mode power supplies that give a total of 100amps output, I installed these in the battery bay and connected them via the two battery connectors so that switching power on and off can be done from the main ECP.

Inverter problems were overcome and consisted mainly of sticky brushes and squealing bearings, once I had a stable AC supply, instruments were either replaced or persuaded to work, this did involve some loom manufacturing for the pilots panel and now I have the G4B plus its compass repeaters, altimeter, artificial horizon, turn and slip, and at least one fuel gauge all working. DC wise, the external and internal lighting have all been brought to life by some rewiring, especially around the coaming area. I had the usual fight with the Plessey Plugs but copious amounts of WD40 won through eventually and all the plugs I have tackled are now mated.

Rewiring the control column wasnít easy, but it gave a sense of achievement when it all worked (except the tail plane as that is disconnected at the tail end for safety). I made a complete new port console from scratch and wired it according to the PR.3 AP's diagrams. Apart from some amendments to the wiring of the most recently installed red grimes anti collision lights, it is completely standard.

Both the UHF ARC52 and the VHF/UHF PTR175 now work (although I had to finish off the work that Marshalls had started on the PTR175 installation) a newish intercom amp was fitted and along with a functional ADF we now have a nearly fully working radio installation. The Radio Altimeter, IFF and Tacan remain with the correct controllers but no working black boxes.

The mechanical side of things that have been tackled consist mainly of re-fitting all those parts that were left off when the aircraft was hurriedly moved from Cambridge. Heat exchangers, fuel pipes, and hydraulic pipes even the engine cowling rear mounting struts had to be re-fitted. Luckily someone had the presence of mind to put most of the parts in the rear fuselage. Engine cowlings were all removed cleaned and re-fitted with occasional help and the stbd engine has been externally cleaned to allow viewing on open days with the cowlings off. Even three out of the four High Energy Ignition units still work. As you might expect a lot of drilling out of stubborn rusted in panel screws took place and where possible they were re-tapped again for re-use. Even the rear camera hatch has been re-hinged, making it a lot easier to use.

A lot of work has gone in to the careful T-Cutting of the fuselage to bring back the original finish, along with the re-spraying silver of the tip tanks. In conjunction with the curator I eventually decided that due to the orange finish on the leading edges (which has been given a face lift of new paint) indicating its most recent usage we would not put any squadron livery back on the aircraft.

The fin had to be partly re-skinned on both sides with marine ply, covered in new fabric, varnished and roller painted, this was preferable and easier than fitting the replacement fin we hold in store. Also a mountain of birds nests were removed from the lower fin area and the access gaps they used were all taped up.

Inside the fin
Re-skinning the fin

The flare bay has been re-painted and tidied up just missing a flare beam if anyone has got one.

The cockpit re-furbishment has gone well, all the correct instruments in the right holes, lots of cleaning, painting, new cushions, fire axe, first aid kit, even down to a spare (used) starter cartridge. I have made some of the camera control panels and although they are not wired up they re-introduce the correct feel to the cockpit area. Unfortunately during its refit life all of the camera looms were removed. The reasoning is that I will re-introduce the camera panels but leave in all of the trials looms and fittings. After all that was an important part of the aircrafts life and may prove of use to a future historian.

That in a nutshell is progress to date, lots left to do on my ever growing list of jobs, lots of parts still to find, and a constant battle to keep the rain from getting in and letting it get out again when it forms pools inside the aircraft skin. Going around the water drain holes after a shower makes the aircraft look like a shower head. It is now a useful, part functioning museum display aircraft that can only enhance the visitorís perception of the importance that the Canberra played during the cold war. There are not many Canberras in museums that as a visitor you are allowed to sit in with power on to enhance your visit, and we are proud to be reported as the friendliest aircraft museum on the circuit. All the work I do is documented and held by the museum, if anyone ever wanted a blow by blow account.

I must give credit to the RAF museum at Hendon who have been a tremendous help in providing paperwork, copies of the Vol 1 and photos of their PR3 aircraft, there help has really been invaluable.

Malcolm Lambert
Midland Aviation Museum
Coventry Airport.

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