Lancaster NX611 ‘Just Jane’ – Restoration Update 174

Avro Lancaster B.VII NX611 Just Jane at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center a few years ago. The aircraft is currently under restoration to fly. (image via Wikipedia)
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As most of our readers will know, Avro Lancaster B.VII NX611 Just Jane is under restoration to airworthy condition with the Lincoln Aviation Heritage Center at former RAF East Kirkby in Lincolnshire, England. The group has made magnificent progress, even during the pandemic, and we thought that our readers might like to see a recent (edited) report, reproduced here with permission…


The Rivet Club – Newsletter 174

by Andrew Panton

KB976’s rear fuselage has been coming on in leaps and bounds again. Dave has managed to trim and fit the entire floor intercostal area ready for riveting. This area serves, in part, as the fuselage floor, so it has a walkway skin riveted down to it on the inside as well as the outer skin on the fuselage exterior.

Phil has pretty much completed all of the reinforcing triple skin work around the door area except for the final trim once Dave has completed his structural tasks. The stringers are all completed and awaiting the cleats (of which there are hundreds) to be drilled and fitted; our new rigger, Norman, has taken on this big task. Dave has also produced a couple of new half formers which sit inside the door frame formers. These are, again, the result of efforts which Avro made to strengthen the doorway area. Even though this fuselage section will only temporarily serve on an aircraft in taxying situations (it won’t be on Just Jane when she flies) we have decided to fit it due to the possible stresses involved when taxying over uneven ground.

 

Keith has been ploughing on with the wing work for NX664.  Over the last month, Keith and John have brought together the front spar.  The spar web is now riveted together, and we have adapted the wing jig to allow the front spar to be built up next to the rear spar on the same style of pedestal. We have found archival footage and photos which show that all of the Lancaster’s wing sections are build up as individual sub-assemblies prior to final assembly as a complete wing. This means that the spars were built up in individual jigs and that each wing rib was built up and riveted together before all of these parts were brought together for fitting in an assembly jig. We will repeat this process. The front spar has been built up this month and will receive all of its leading edge ribs and the leading edge skins. The rear spar is already built and it has started to receive its wing ribs too. Once the ribs, stringers and top skins are all built up, the front spar will be lifted onto the wing and bolted down. The bottom skins will then be riveted on, finishing the wing. This month, Keith and John have made great progress with the front spar and it is now at the point where it just needs the installation of four further leading edge ribs. These particular ribs need replacing and will soon be on their way to Cunningham Aero for reproduction.

The leading edge stringers are all cleaned and media-blasted, with only their repainting to complete before they are ready for installation. John and Les have been working hard to get all of the stringers ready for new paint. Bob has been finishing up the wing rib painting effort in preparation for moving on to the stringers. We underestimated the amount of paint work required to complete all of these pieces!

The wing trailing edge is now being broken down into its individual parts, all of which will be stored in large boxes for each rib.  Dennis is working through all of these ribs and boxing them up ready for their assessment, cleaning, repairs and/or refabrication.  It’s a long job and Dennis is finding multiple issues due to the damage which NX664’s trailing edges received over the decades.  The trailing edges certainly suffered more that the mainplane, perhaps the result of their lighter construction, not to mention that the trailing edges are open to the elements when the flaps are lowered (this occurs by default when hydraulic pressure bleeds off  after engine shut down).  Many trailing edge parts will likely need replacing, but we won’t know the full extent of this work until Dennis has finished the breakdown effort.

Our Gofundme Wings Campaign has now reached over £36,800 of the £500,000 required! Thank you to everyone who has contributed, as you have helped us to pay for the jigs. The next goal will be to take the Gofundme campaign to a level covering expenses for the aluminium sheet metal required for the wings project – a further £4,000. If you would like to contribute to the Wings Fund and receive your special Wings Fund badge, then please click HERE (badges are sent for donations above the £50).

Stay safe and thank-you for your support!

Andrew Panton


The latest restoration video…


That’s all for this particular update. We hope that you have enjoyed reading it. As can be seen, a lot of work remains to be done, but the aircraft is well on the way back to flying condition. It is being done in a methodical and careful manner in order to keep the aircraft available for ground-running operations during the summer months. For those interested in helping support this important project, please click HERE

Be sure to check out their store HERE as well… There are many cool items to buy which will help get Just Jane back in the air!

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