24 August 2019

Another very busy day at the pan with visitors and the continuing work on preparing the number 3 engine for removal.
In engine bay 4, the firewire cable plug that had been damaged during the removal of the engine was repaired (luckily a maintenance loop was present in the cable!)
Elsewhere, more progress was made on making a serviceable cmfs unit and the painting and decorating team continued their work, despite the very high temperatures!
In the cockpit, the cabin lighting issue was found to be caused by a broken wire in the fuse box on top of panel 4p, behind the Nav Rad seat. The connection was remade and following a systems demo, it was tested satisfactorily.
We also had a lovely aircraft pay a visit to the airfield, the Hangar 11 Mustang, “Tall in the Saddle”
We even had a 655MaPS away team at Bruntingthorpe on the Sunday, selling various merchandise and spreading the XM655 word πŸ™‚
Needless to say, this was a very tough job given the heat!
Pictures courtesy of Isi, James, Matt and Ross and from one of our visitors, Clare

17 August 2019

Well! What a busy day Saturday turned out to be!! Lots of visits including a very large group from the Triumph owners motorcycle club who enjoyed not only a tour and systems demo of the aircraft, but also a distant display by the BBMF Spitfire over Stratford who then gave a lovely overflight of XM655 πŸ™‚ (see video)
Work wise, the strip down of the cmfs continued, engine number 3 was prepped for removal, the air start system was tested (see video) and the firewire plug which had been caught during the removal of the number 4 engine was dismantled ready for rewiring…
There was also time to look at the wiring diagrams for the cockpit lighting as the main cabin light is not illuminating when the abandon aircraft sign is lit
Our P&D team were also hard at work making good progress towards the repaint.
Pictures this week are courtesy of Isi, James and Matt

10 August 2019

A very busy and productive weekend despite the often atrocious weather!
At the pan, further inspection was done of the number 4 engine bay wiring and as this didn’t turn up any conclusive results, we turned our attention to the wiring above number 3. Here, we were to find a possible cause of our issues… Some cabling, that appears to be original, has succumbed to the years and the elements with the insulation and general condition in a less than favourable state!
While chasing our tails, work was going on, on the No.4 engine which has had a problem with fuel and oil leaking through the CMFS (Chassis Mounted Fuel system). While the engine was out for the wiring inspection it was thought to be a good time to remove the CMFS to cure this problem, a large amount of investigation had been carried out into how the CMFS is put together so that units can be stripped and repaired for our operation. Unfortunately the CMFS cannot be removed completely in our engine stand due to the proximity of the upright supporting the engine, so the engine will have to be suspended under the engine bay to allow the faulty unit to be removed.
We had a good number of visitors throughout the day on top of our organised visits which included the GBMCC and the High Wycombe and District rifle and pistol club. Our P&D team also did an amazing amount of work given the weather conditions they had to endure!
And we must not forget our “away” team who had a stand at the Woodford Wings and Wheels event and had a very successful and positive weekend spreading the XM655 cheer and news.
We also had time (out of the weather!) for a presentation to our chairman… Something to do with a birthday or something… πŸ˜‰
Pictures are courtesy of Isi, James, Kay and Ross

03 August 2019

A very busy day on Saturday with work continuing on fault finding with the wiring loom in the number 4 engine bay, lots of visitors and our equipment runs as it was the first weekend of the month. All equipment was run successfully with the exception of the Houchin which is receiving attention to the circuit breakers.
We also had chance to look at a way of providing cool air to the cockpit given the temperatures we have been experiencing lately! This involved an air con unit being installed in the cockpit, around the bomb aimers position with a hose running into and to a vent in the nose radome.
Work also continued on the number 4 engine itself, prepping for the removal of the CMFS.
Our painting team were also very busy on the port side and wing of the aircraft.
Pictures this week are courtesy of Helen, Isi, James and Matt

27 July 2019

A very busy but productive day unfolded on Saturday with a couple of group visits, lots of smaller visits and lots of progress on the number 4 engine.
Despite the rain, work was undertaken to remove the jet pipe and remaining connections to allow the dropping of the engine. With the tail pipe removed, the interior pipe was moved back away from the engine and the chain blocks were attached to their points on the engine and its bay.
Away from the aircraft, one of the cmfs units was receiving some attention with a strip down and clean which highlighted a problem with one of the carbon shaft seals.
We had a visit from the Midlands Region of the Bentley owners club in the morning who were able to park their stunning cars in front of XM655 and in the afternoon, a visit of a group from the Rotary Club Banbury Cherwel.
Whilst the visits we being shown around and given talks, work carried on with the final preparations for removing the engine.
Slowly but surely the engine was lowered onto its cradle and a long and exhausting day came to a close.
Pictures are courtesy of Helen, Isi, James, Matt and Steve

20 July 2019

Despite being a little thin on the ground volunteer wise, there was still lots of work to be getting on with!
One of the tasks was the removal of items to better facilitate the removal of the number 4 engine. These included the engine bay cooling ducts and the disconnection of Firewire and electrical controls. The connector that reports the state of the low speed switch was disconnected, all the cables were coiled and bagged to protect them from damp and to keep them away from the engine bay doors when closed. Fire extinguisher sparge pipes were removed from the side of the bay.
All of the removed components were boxed up ready for inspection and cleaning prior to re-installation.
To free the engine for lowering all that is left to do is clear the remainder of connections in Zone 3 of the engine bay, disconnect the jet pipe from the engine and pull it towards the rear of the aircraft. Before this can be carried out the end cap has to be removed and the jet pipe unlocked to allow it to move in the airframe.

Elsewhere, work continued servicing the glimmer lights and commissioning two new ones with two new chargers. The bench at the back of the “conservatory” was cleared ready to refurbish CMFS units. The CMFS units were looked at with a view to working out the next steps to solve the problems.

Sanding preparation work on the port wing was also carried out ready for painting.

A number of visits took place during the day with the groups taking part in cockpit visits and being given talks given by our Chairman Mike Pollitt and our Membership Secretary Len Hewitt.

Pictures courtesy of Damaris, Matt, Steven and Tim

13 July 2019

Early on Saturday morning, with a very small force of volunteers, we started work on preparation for the removal of the No.4 engine

Work commenced in Zone 1 of the engine, this is the area of the engine mainly behind the first 2 doors of the engine bay. Number 4 engine is being removed so that we can trace some cabling problems that are plaguing the power generation of this engine. A previous fault was discovered in this area and was cured by bypassing the damaged cables, but now that a second fault has occurred in the same area , it has been decided to tackle the root cause, so the engine will be removed, giving us the chance to carry out a CMFS (Chassis Mounted Fuel System) swap and on the removed unit review how to fix the problem of fuel flowing through the unit when the engine is shutdown. The cooling ducts for the alternator and various other parts of the engine were removed. The alternator cables were removed and labelled to allow their correct reconnection following the return of the engine to its home. On the port side of the engine the five 10H connectors were disconnected and bagged out of the way. Unfortunately we were not so lucky with the 1 of 2 10H connectors on the intermediate bulkhead that connect the fire detection loops, as the insulation that should turn smoothly in the connector barrel jammed and has damaged the pins in the fixed socket on the bulkhead, this will have to be replaced and the jammed connector stripped and lubricated to remedy this problem. The work will be continued next weekend to complete the preparation for the engine removal.

The continued work of painting the Starboard wing and the associated air intake is on-going by the painting crew, the slight changes of colour and of the matt to a more glossy finish indicating how the work is going. A more hardwearing epoxy paint is being used to extend the life of the airframe.

During the day we had quite a number of walk-in visitors, some of whom knew that the aircraft was there, but the highest hit seems to be β€œWe saw her as we were driving past”, the iconic shape catching their eye. Volunteers were on hand, even though we were shorthanded, to talk about the aircraft and for the majority of visitors conduct a short cockpit visit and talk.

Picture courtesy of Tim

06 July 2019

A very busy and successful day on Saturday as we were in a position to test the engine alternators that have been giving us some issues.

Early on, the aircraft was pulled forward from the pan and prepped ready for an engine run. This coincided nicely with the “first weekend of the month equipment runs” and also gave us the chance to test (and use) the Garrett as an alternative air start unit to the Palouste and we are pleased to say it performed admirably.

Following the first engine run, we were still showing faults with the number 2 and 4 alternators so after shut down and some head scratching the engine bay door to number 2 was opened in preparation for checking and cleaning of the alternator cable terminations. During this process it was noticed that some of the terminations were incorrectly wired so these were swapped. A further run was conducted and showed that the number 2 alternator was now functioning, however the number 4 alternator will require more fault finding.

We were able to cycle the volunteers through positions both outside of the aircraft and internally to make sure that as many as possible were able to experience being onboard with the engines running.

One of our volunteers also took a helicopter ride during the day and was able to catch some unique views of XM655.

Pictures are courtesy of Helen, Isi and James.

26 June 2019

A lot more fault finding going on this Saturday with the number 4 alternator issue being the top priority… Lots of checking of cables, terminal blocks, 10h pins and plugs…
But despite this we managed to run the Garrett and give her turbine blades a clean in a rather unconventional way! (video will be posted)
We also checked and cleaned/greased the number 4 throttle linkage before testing the movement.
All this in very high temperatures!! The power bay probably being the last place you wanted to be! But a hasty solution to getting at least some cool(ish!) air into there was found..
Pics this week are courtesy of Matt and James

22 June 2019

A glorious sunny day was the backdrop for a busy day of maintenance, fault finding and visits on Saturday.
The remaining fuel tanks that weren’t checked the previous week were inspected for water contamination and whilst the panels were off, the Dzus fasteners received a clean and some grease.
Chasing electrical gremlins from the no.4 alternator circuit was also undertaken where access allowed as we had a lot of visitors to enjoy the aircraft and the weather!
Finding some of the terminal blocks in the circuit proved troublesome however… We also identified a “typo” in the circuit diagram! We were looking for TB57 which was shown as being in panel 1J in the bomb bay… But after looking at the diagrams for the other alternator circuits, it dawned on us that it should be 21J which is in fact located in the power bay! This also proved difficult to access as it sits right behind a frequency and load controller.

Derek continued with the painting on the starboard side of the aircraft, even managing to strike a pose in the intake!

Our visits consisted of the Hartley Davidson Riders Club, a former Nav Radar from 101sqn who has hours on our very own XM655 and Cadets from 181 (Gloucester) squadron.

Pictures this week are courtesy of Helen, Matt, Steve and James