Lancaster NX611 ‘Just Jane’ – Restoration Update 164



As many of our readers will be well aware, 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 164

by Andrew Panton

This week has been another involving great visual progress. The team has lowered the front spar for NX664’s port wing from the jig onto trestles, where it will undergo inspection and 3D-scanning. The team has also unbolted the rear spar from the jig to enable evaluation of its previously-obscured rear face (when we first had a look at the wing in France, its trailing edge was still attached, denying visual access, and since its arrival at East Kirkby the wing has sat vertically on that face). With access to this area now, we found a portion of the spar webbing with  significant corrosion, which necessitated its removal for replacement with new material. The spar web plate attaches to the booms with specialized bolts – nothing that can be bought off the shelf and they are all different to each other. Luckily each of these bolts unscrewed and slid out without too much difficulty, allowing us to remove the web plate for reproduction. Keith took on this task and is all-but-finished with the endeavor – it just needs de-burring and cleaning before it can be sprayed with primer paint.

Keith and John preparing to lower the front spar from the jig.
The end rib, removed from between the two spars.

Lowering the front spar was easier said than done, of course. We were very much venturing into the unknown again, as the component’s weight is not mentioned in any of the drawings. We decided to use the A-frame lifting hoist to shoulder the heftier end for lowering to the ground while the team bore the weight of the lighter end. This seemed to work well and, as it happened, we found that 6 of us could lift the whole spar.

The front spar, now unbolted from the jig, is lowered for removal and repair.

Almost there… we didn’t know the spar’s weight before we started lowering it.
This image shows the spar after we lowered it from the jig, and just before we lifted it onto trestles for restoration.
The forward spar, turned over on trestles, and with the jig brackets removed.
The view along the forward spar, looking from the inboard end.
The front spar top boom showing corrosion where the wing ribs mate to it.
The rear spar unbolted from the jig and with a section of spar web removed for replacement.
The bolts/studs removed from the spar booms and web to facilitate repairs.
The corroded section of spar web from the rear spar.
The new replacement section of spar web cut and drilled off ready to be deburred, cleaned and painted.

Dave has been continuing to plug away at the production of replacement formers for KB976’s rear fuselage; he has remanufactured 8 of the 12 halves required so far. Phil has been working with him this week and has started to drill and cut one of the new formers ready for fitting to the rear fuselage. In preparation, Phil removed the damaged former from the fuselage and pinned it together to preserve the correct shape. He has then been able to transfer the lightening holes to the new material and work out the locations for the stringer cut-outs. This is a time consuming process and very much demands following the ‘measure twice and cut once’ theory, because a misplaced hole will ruin the newly-made part and necessitate its replication – again!

Phil starting to cut the lightening holes and stringer cut-outs in a new former.

Sticky has been able to complete the rebuild of NX611’s number 2 engine, and it was ready to fit on Thursday however he has had to await teleporter availability for the refit. This will hopefully occur in the coming days so that NX611 can be ready for taxiing events in the coming season.

Sections of leading edge skin ready for repairs to begin at the far end.
More leading edge skins undergoing inspection before repairs begin.

There are lots of little pockets of work going on with many of the details and unseen parts from NX664’s wing undergoing repair. Les and Bill are repairing one of these components, a buffer which sits in the number 2 fuel tank bay. It has needed some rivet replacement and skin repair. Les has also started cleaning the front spar booms. All of this smaller work takes many hours labor and will go unseen in the end product, even though it is equally vital to the more visually apparent details.

Bill repairing a piece of wing structure from the number 2 fuel tank bay.

We are hoping to get our Gofundme wings campaign up to £30,000 in a very short time in an attempt to cover the ongoing costs with the wing and the prospective wing trailing edge jig which is being drawn up. If you would like to contribute to the Wings Fund and receive your special Wings Fund badge then please click HERE.

Stay safe and thank you for your support!

Andrew Panton


Below is the latest video of the restoration work…


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!



4 Comments

  1. When it was built the thinking was to get as many in the air as fast as possible, not we must stop any corrosion, now I suppose your string to keep the corrosion away for many years as possible with much better materials. Good luck to you on that and may she fly soon.

  2. The panton boys and family are lovely people . But this has been going on years now . The restoration brings interest and also brings much needed money in …..and if Just Jane ever did get into the air ….it would not be doing anymore engine wearing taxi runs . Plus it would be well away from the public for obvious reasons. Fred used to say before he died he would like to see it fly over his head in remembrance of his dear brother . Sadly too say I cannot ever see it flying again ,those days are long past . I feel it should stay in the museum ,where people can see it . I admire the Panton family for the dedication and hard work they have put into this wonderful project …..but keep it down . On the ground , Lincolnshire don’t want to lose it .

    • Dear Mr . Sakinsky ,
      I read yor thoughts , and I have 2
      reply . I know , it won ‘t
      register , but those are THE MOST
      SELFISH , LUDICROUS , MEAN THOUGHTS .

      My father was a Flying Tiger , Pilot
      / Instructor , during World War II .
      Later , He was called up , for Korea .
      He flew ; ” T – 6s , P – 38s , P – 40s
      ( The Flying Tiger ) , P – 47s , B – 25s , and finally in Korea the F – 84 .
      His aircraft designation was , AF Jet
      # ” 474 ” . His last duty station was
      n Alexandria , LA . attached 2 ,
      Dobbins AFRB , n Marrietta , Ga .

      Apparently , u sir , have never
      BEEN A PILOT . If u have , u will
      UNDERSTAND , THE MAJESTY , THE
      BRAVERY , and THE COMRODERERY ! Even
      from the ground , to see these
      BEAUTIFUL AIRCRAFT , soaring , n
      DEFIANCE , of gravity , Flack ,
      Fighters , deposit their ordinance ,
      return to base , with the majority
      of their crew to fly , and fight ,
      FOR LIBERTY , and FREEDOM , ONE MORE
      DAY , BY THE THOUSANDS ! What an
      Awesome sight that MUST have been !

      Don ‘t deprive a future pilot , of
      the ‘ feel of ” seat of your pants ”
      flying ‘ , bcuz they didn ‘t have
      the opportunity , to see these
      MAGNANIMOUS BEAUTIES , in flight !

      Best Regards ,

      A Proud World War II Veteran ‘s Son ,

      Belton C . Plowden , II

  3. Such amazing progress. Well done everybody. The thought of two airworthy Lancs in one country boggles the mind. My late dad would have loved to see this. He certified Lancs fit for flight during the last war. Reserved occupation for Avro’s based at Bracebridge Heath.

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