The 'Halibag' Newsletter
Once again, the Editor of our Now-Famous Halibag Newsletter is still AWOL; sitting about at a Trailersite in Naples Florida. With so much happening.....we'll attempt to master this machine and bring you up to date. Here's the latest.
Work on all projects is accelerating. We have had more volunteers and visitors during the winter months; many more than were expected. The work goes on 7 days a week and the odd bit in the evenings. Some of our volunteers still have day-jobs. Some of them take the work home with them.
Centre Wing/Centre Fuselage... This section is defined as a Major Component. It is the first of the many that will be assembled to re-create the aircraft. It is taking shape quickly now that all of the disassembly and clean-up work has been finished. It has been completely taken apart, cleaned, refinished and is about 60% complete.
Some areas are proving troublesome; Bomb Door attachments and Hard Points are lost. We may find some of the needed items in the Remnants of Halifax LW 682 that was partially recovered in Belgium recently.
A C130 Hercules should be home before this letter gets to you. It will have approximately 3000 pounds of the recovered items on board. We will get a chance to inspect all of it to see if we can recover any useful items.
Rear Fuselage... NA 337 broke-up on ditching. It separated at the rear fuselage crew entrance. Much of the structure was lost in the process or in the subsequent recovery. In previous letters we told of purchasing a section of Rear Fuselage from Mary McKenzie of Stornaway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland. It had been a Hen- House for nearly a half a century.
We have it now and it has been integrated into our fuselage construction. Slowly each frame, stringer and skin will be removed and replaced with new. The only original portion retained will be the shape.
It is in place and aligned and the first of the frames are being replaced. This is done by carefully removing the original, copying it and inserting the new one.
This section is now our Master Piece. The new extruded stringers are installed
and the skin is going on easily and quickly. The Port Side is nearly done.
Murray Leedham and Glen Brunton (right) have been working on this for many
months. Glen will be going sailing for a few months of this summer. We
hope the Starboard Side is also skinned before he leaves.
Click on pics for a larger view.
Rear Turret... Dennis Tugwood and Gari Webster have this whole assembly nearing completion. With 13 Browning Machine Guns done, the Rear Bay progressing well; we could see the Turret fitted in place by the end of the summer.
Tail Plane... The port rudder section was lost in the ditching; the horizontal stab was also damaged . The rudders are nearing completion, the starboard one being repaired and a new one made for the port side by copying the intact
rudder. These sections have been re-covered with fabric by Ernie Sutton and his team at Mountainview. (They operate the Maintenance Facility for the Air Cadet Gliding Program.)
They have also finished one aileron and will begin the elevator restoration later in the summer.
You may be aware that the Chipmunk Aircraft that was donated to the RCAF Memorial Museum by the RAF, was vandalized recently. It must be repaired and preserved soonest. We will defer our work on the Halli done at Mountainview until the Chipmunk is finished. July is our present target.
John Ashbee & Dave Ablett
|Engine and Propellers... Dave Ablett and his crew are doing fantastic work on the engines. Stripping down of #4 is going well. The others have been done. The first three engines look clean and in excellent condition. We still need to find 112 spark Plugs for Mk XVI Bristol Hercules Engines along with other items such as ignition wiring, baffles and oil sumps.|
We have restored the propeller from #4 engine and are making new blades for the remaining engines. These blades will be made of Hardwood, Epoxy- finished and painted to original colours. They will be used until authentic blades can be found.
We are still looking for propellers and gear-boxes for these three engines. We have many components that can be used to create replicas should originals prove elusive.
Crew Stations... Stu Thow has completed much of the restoration of the Rudder controls and the Pilot's Control Column. The main control wheel evaporated and a new one was needed. Karl K arrived one day recently with one that I think he purchased from a Flea Market in London. Stu has re-laced and painted it. It looks like the original.
We now have a very rough Wireless Operator's Seat. We got this From Tony Southern in England in exchange for drawings. It is leather- covered and in need of a bit of TLC from someone that is competent in Leather Upholstery .
Al Edgar, an old Yukon Driver, has joined our team . Al has been working on the Pilot's and Flight Engineers Stations. He appears to be a good choice for this part of the restoration.
Much of the equipment has already been found or acquired; we are still missing a few items.....things like Boost-Gauges and Fuel Qty gauges.
We have manufactured new Armor Plates for the crew areas. They are ready to install.
Wheels and Tires... Ian Foster and Gillian Ashmore of Grangemouth, Scotland have located a Dunlop Tire dealer that has researched the inner tube problem. Our tires are Dunlop 24x19 in size. They have located an industrial tube, 24x18 with spud valves that should work for us. I wired the cash, they purchased the tubes, delivered them to RAF Station Leuchars in Scotland and at this moment they are heading here on board a #426 Sqdrn , C130 Hercules.
When we receive them, they will be quickly installed in the assembled wheels and inflated. This will set the beads and finish the restoration of these massive monsters. They will then be taken to our holding- site at Mountainview and stored until ready for use. This will give us more room to work on other things.
Incidentally, Ian and Gillian have found a number of Bomb Doors. They were apparently used as Edging for Flower Gardens in a Church Yard. Unfortunately, they did not make the flight and will be pre-positioned at RAF Leuchars awaiting the next Herc.
Engine Nacelle and Air Intakes... Rick Tinga has just finished building his new Catamaran Sailboat. He is now putting his skills to use for us....he is recreating the Engine-Intakes of fibreglass. We have only one that even resembles the original. He will have the other three finished shortly.
Things we still need... The missing bits and pieces that would allow us to finish the engines are still elusive. In essence, we could use another complete Bristol Hercules, Mk XVI engine to cannibalize for parts. The plugs and wiring , baffles, oil sumps and cowl gill parts are beginning to bother us now. We need these to finish.
Gear-boxes and propellers are still in need...but we are working on these.
We are in good shape with regard to Materials, Drawings, Stringers and other similar stuff. We are trying to find some additional tools and machines at this time. A small Drill Press is the next item we will be searching for.
With the replacement of much of the material on NA337; the acquisition of other remnants from other crashes and the completion of many major components is causing a space problem.
We recently visited the Mountainview Airport Facilities and we have found Hangar- Space to store many of our completed items. It will mean transporting them one more time...but it will give us more room for Restoration.
The Big Ticket item will be the construction of the Addition that will be the final resting place of our Halli. It may be a while.
We are not overly concerned with rushing to finish the aircraft. We intend to carry-on in a careful and diligent manner. We will take time out from the work to host the public and those who served with the Halifax. We have so many that visit us regularly offering advice and appreciation.
Where we are and where we are going... On Monday, 30 March, about 45 members of the Team and some spouses will travel to the Smithsonian in Washington DC for a 4 day trip. We will tour the back-rooms of their restoration shops.
On April 1, Hilary Weston, our Provincial Lieutenant-Governor will tour the RCAF Memorial Museum and the Halifax Restoration.
On 1,2&3 May the Halifax Aircraft Association will have a booth at the Toronto Aerospace Show at Downsview for those three days.
Jeff Jeffries , the President of the Halifax Aircraft Association is recovering and doing well after hip-replacement surgery.
Final Word... As you may have gathered, everything I have on the Restoration is on computer. Two weeks ago...it crashed.
Fortunately, much of the stuff on it was backed up on paper, and some on diskette. Steve Pape and Steve Doidge have helped me piece it all back together along with new programs, scanner and printer. This will allow me to update and modernize the whole system.
We have nearly 300 people who are now on the Restoration Team Mailing List. Since I have to start over it will all be on a Data-Base with automated mailing and all that stuff. Steve Pape of Internet Concepts, manages our Halibag Webpage and he has offered to update it regularly with photos, news items and our Newsletters. This would be a good way to keep our mailing list informed...but only those who have Internet and email.
If we can hear from those of you that do, we could use this method of keeping in touch. We expect we will have to mail Newsletters to most of our list. But for those of you that want to try something new, here's all the data.
W/C Bill Tytula (Ret)
10 North Elm Dr.
Phone...(613) 392-6302 Home Fax.......(613) 392-6191
It has been a busy and productive winter...we'll stay in touch.
Regards Bill Tytula
Photos in this issue of the Halibag Newsletter were taken by Peter Hypher
The 'Halibag' Newsletter is produced to try to keep members of the Halifax groups and other interested parties in touch with the progress on the project.
The views expressed in these newsletter are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of the RCAF Memorial Museum, the Halifax Aircraft Association or the Halifax Restoration Team. Deryck Brown, Editor. Material for inclusion in future issues may be sent to:
RR#3, South Bay
Canada, K0K 2T0
Tel/Fax (613) 476 4513
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