Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Cosford Open Hanger Days

RAF Cosford holds an occasional Open Hanger Day for interested people to view the restoration projects for a set donation of £5 towards restoration work.  This week was an opportunity to see the progress of the cleaning of the Dornier 217 lifted from the Channel last year.  The publicity photographs show that a sizable portion of the aircraft was recovered.
 The fuselage has been treated in two parts, as an upper and a lower section.  Each section was treated on a support frame to allow ease of transport.  The cleaned structure has a very fragile metal skin.
Some of the preserved metal parts, like the air-screw gears have been preserved extremely well and look like they would have been seen at manufacture.  The cylinder head structures and cooling veins have not fared so well.
Whilst the interest lies mainly with the big bits of the aircraft, there are a lot of small fragments and components stacked on shelves awaiting further study.  The manufacture techniques and airframe structures can be clearly deduced from the remains.
In addition to the Dornier, there is a Wellington bomber in the restoration hanger at present.  This aircraft was transported from Hendon to Cosford on a lorry to undergo restoration of its fabric covering and other minor repairs.
The interior is quite sparse, with the geodesic frame and fabric covering visible on the inside.  The crew floor is plywood and block wood and all of the cables are exposed.  This was an aircraft designed to be built quickly and precisely from pre-fabricated frames.  It proved its worth as a medium range bomber. This one was built at Blackpool in 1944 and acquired by the Hendon Museum in 1982.  It is a Vickers Wellington T10 serial MF628.  The only other specimen, a Wellington 1A serial N2980, is at Brooklands Museum.
I have a wellington bomber on my flight simulator.  It is a pleasure to fly when it it not loaded.  It is however, quite slow to turn and quite noisy to fly.  This is an old sim aircraft and its artificial horizon instrument will not work on this more modern simulator.

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