The 'Halibag' NewsletterWinter 2001
This has been our most productive period…EVER. Things have gone well with huge sections of work being completed and put away until final assembly. It has been quiet and routine.
We have had a lot of successes and are just waiting for the big move into our new quarters. Here are some of things that have happened.
RESTORATION - GENERAL
In our last report we showed the cockpit and forward fuselage and the progress we had made. We have now gone as far as you can go… We are at frame #1A, the Bomb Aimer’s Glass Section. In short, the aircraft is now assembled from the Rear Bay (Tail Section) to the Forward Fuselage…It’s entire length. The Nose Glass section is installed but missing a number of pieces of Perspex or Plexiglas.
You may remember that we sent our moulds and frames to the Yorkshire Air Museum. They were attempting to manufacture new glass for their aircraft and had offered to mould a second set for us. We have not been able to determine the status of this project. We will wait another quarter;if this route does not produce results we will go with a back-up plan. We can get this section molded commercially…But it will cost.
Our Halifax is as wide as it will ever be. We’ve dismantled the jigs and rigging that supported the fuselage…installed the Tail Wheel and have built a wheeled dolly system that supports the entire Rear – Fuselage. This section is nearly complete and mounted on it’s own wheel system. We did this to allow us to position the entire Wing Section within the building. It is positioned diagonally so that the outer wings and wing tips can be installed and restored.
This has work well for us but has played havoc with the Social side of things. The workspace is completely filled with only minimal walk areas in the perimeter. The RCAF Museum staff had planned to hold some of their Xmas events by the Halifax as we had done in previous years. They will have approximately 80 volunteers to the Xmas party. Unfortunately, we don’t have space under the aircraft for ten.
By the time you receive this Newsletter, the Horizontal Stabilizer will be complete and will have likely been installed. It has been a remarkable bit of work and is a significant milestone.
Both Port and Starboard Rudders are complete, painted and wrapped, and are in storage at #4 Hangar at Mountain View Airport. These items are huge and we do not have space at the Trenton site. #4 Hangar is unheated but I don’t think that will matter.
Major Ernie Sutton and his crew at the Air Cadet Operation at Mountain View have completed, refinished, wrapped and stored…all control surfaces. They too were inspected by us and moved into temporary storage in the West Side of #4 Hanger. Major Sutton and his crew have been working on these items for nearly 4 years. We did not have shops or space at Trenton to do this work and were most fortunate to find this group to help.
It is useful to note that as of this month, all costs for fabric, materials, etc. have been paid. We commend Major Sutton and his crews for their work. We will also share a few with them at our Xmas functions.
Many of you will remember the problems we had trying to get a Bristol Hercules Engine from St Andrews Manitoba to Trenton. (This is the Bristol Freighter engine that we traded for a pair of T33 Tip tanks.)
We did get the engine and it has been better than we ever expected. We’ve cannibalized it for missing components.
Propeller parts that were found in Holland have become hard to get with the crisis we now have in Afghanistan. We may eventually have to transport them to England and find a friendly C130 Hercules to bring them home from there.
The propeller domes and barrels are basically Hamilton Standard but built by Dehavilland in the UK. The dome we have on our propeller now was liberated from a DC3/C47 at Markham, Ontario. We have had offers of help in locating some of these parts from friends in the USA that still fly DC3’s.
Radio Controlled Halifax Model
In my last Newsletter, I had mentioned that Ken Robinson, a friend of the team, had offered to build a radio-controlled flying model of our Halifax. This model was to have been a part of our display in both of our Air Shows. We asked for help in finding a source of drawings for this construction. We received a number of good leads but no drawings.
In spite of the cancellations and lack of drawings we will still get on with the model. It will be 12 feet in wingspan; fully radio controlled and will be refinished in NA 337 colours.
Construction will start after the Xmas season. The paint and refinishing dope have already been purchased.
Medal Donation…Mrs. Ida Corker
We were pleasantly surprised last week to receive a gracious letter and a package containing the photos and medals of Alec Naylor, Wireless Operator on NA 337. Ida mentions in her letter that Alec was killed on her 21 st birthday.
She, of course has remarried and is now 77 years of age. She had mentioned that she intended to travel to Trenton at some time and deliver them in person but health may not allow.
The medals will be displayed permanently with the aircraft but can be viewed in the Museum in the interim.
Handley Page Association
Drawings and technical data have been appearing at the restoration over the past 5 years; arriving with little notice or fanfare. We would only have to advise Karl Kjarsgaard of our needs; he would contact Harry Fraser Mitchell and the Handley Page Association and drawing would arrive. We have had support from all of these people and would like to offer our thanks and appreciation.
Halifax Aircraft Association…travel to the other side of the world.
Jeff Jeffery, president of the HAA and his wife/Adjutant Elaine have just returned from 6 weeks in Australia with glowing comments about Australia and the Australians. Jeff was invited to speak with a number of Air Force Associations. They include:
SYDNEY.. the Halifax Branch of the Australian Flying Corps and the Royal Australian Air Force Association. They were also guests of the Annual Christmas Luncheon of the Halifax Branch of the AFC and RAAF.
ADELAIDE..the Adelaide branch of the Aircrew Association and November 11 th Church Service at the Veterans Legion Hospital.
PERTH..Aircrew Association breakfast meeting at the Air Force Heritage Museum..(held under the wing of a Lancaster). Several Australian Squadrons flew Halifax Bombers and were very interested and excited about the restoration. Generous donations were received on these occasions.
The year has passed quickly and we are getting some very lucky breaks. The restoration is well ahead of expectations and it appears that things are beginning to happen with the construction of the new addition to house our aircraft.
We have had so much help and encouragement from the public. It really is appreciated.
Please come and visit the restoration, you will be surprised and impressed.
The 'Halibag' Newsletter is produced to try to keep members of the Halifax groups and other interested parties in touch with the progresson of the project.
The views expressed in these newsletter are those of the author(s) and may not necessarily reflect the views of the RCAF Memorial Museum, the Halifax Aircraft Association or the Halifax Restoration Team. Material for inclusion in future issues may be e-mailed to BillTytula
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