HAAF over winter from the engineer’s perspective.
This is traditionally our busiest time of the year. We start the annual maintenance straight after the last flight of the season which is usually after the Remembrance Day flights are completed. For the fixed wing, the bulk of the work is carried out by Wiltshire Air Maintenance with us assisting as required. For the helicopters we do the work and Weald Aviation come and inspect certain parts of it.
So, meet the team. Colin Gillespie is the Chief Engineer supported by Phil Russell as his deputy and Avionic engineer. The team of engineers are Dave Currie, Bob Gillan, Dave Smith and Kerry Thompson. Avionics support is provided by Phil with Mick Williams, we also have Ben Cartwright who assists as required. In the support crew, Chris Ballard has worked tirelessly in our tool store and brought order from chaos. Alistair Mellor, Neil Knowles and Paul Ibberson-Groves look after our Skeeter with Alistair also proving support to our spares database. Elizabeth Gillespie and Lindsay Murray-Twinn are in the middle of cataloguing and indexing all of our publications and are preparing to move into the spares back room to begin a stock check. The main crew day is Friday, Colin and Phil also do most Thursdays during the winter season and Colin, Elizabeth and Lindsay are in for a few hours on Wednesdays. This all sounds rather good, but it has had consequences. We have had to get insurance for the larger crew, so a bit more expense.
So, what has happened or is happening at the moment? First up, our fixed wing, the Auster and the Beaver. The Auster has had its annual service and is ready to fly. We have spent a lot of time incorporating a new radio modification to bring the aircraft up to a modern communication standard. The Beaver is almost finished its annual service and is also almost at the end of having a new radio modification. The modifications involve building the new cable looms from scratch then running them through the aircraft. Literally hundreds of metres of cable have been made into looms and run through the fuselage, front to back.
The Sioux had a huge mag drop on it’s last start (11 Nov 18). The aircraft was closed down and the fault was investigated. As a result the magneto was replaced. It has also undergone a Primary and Minor service which is almost complete. The hydraulic pump found to be faulty when inspected and rotated by hand as part of the service. The pump has also been replaced. The Main Rotor Head and mast were removed to enable us to remove the main blades. This allowed us to do some Non Destructive Testing on the blade roots and hub sleeves. The Tail Rotor hub and blades were also removed for Non Destructive Testing. The sides of the cockpit were paint stripped for respray as the paint was badly damaged. 12 hydraulic pipes were at end of life so we had to get 12 manufactured and then we replaced them.
The Scout was relatively easy this year, just an annual service. We did a couple of minor niggles which had been reported. The undercarriage dampers were refilled and bled to help prevent ground resonance on start up, this worked well. We also did a compressor wash to improve the engine performance.
Looking ahead…. Next winter (2019/2020) we have to face a Major Maintenance on the Sioux and the Scout. The Sioux will be carried out in-house but the Scout will go away and cost many thousands of pounds. After that its plain sailing!!!! Well, not really as elderly aircraft always have a trick up their sleeve to keep us on our toes. Its fun, that’s why we do it. Onwards, adapt and overcome…
Welcome to 2019.
Bids are now beginning to come in and we will endeavour to keep you informed of which events HAAF aircraft will be attending. See the calendar.
We look forward to seeing you all thoughout this year and thank you for your continued support to keep our aircraft flying.
Well we made it through the year of ups and down, major servicing and unforseen repairs…! Thanks to Colin and his wonderful team of engineers.
George, Matt and the team of pilots have managed to organise and attend various events throughout the year as well as being involved a few at Wallop (see Calendar of events). These have generated more interest in our wonderful historic aircraft and hopefully will help donations come in to maintain them for future events.
Also during this year:
3000 leaflets have been printed – Sponsored by Stuart Lennon of ‘Nero Notes’
5 New Aircraft information boards a HAAF banner and business cards courtesy of Mr Peter Mainprice
‘A’ Frames for New information boards courtesy of Malcom Oliver
50 HAAF Mugs courtesy of Silverline Ltd.
6 New Collection Buckets and gazebo. Donation
Set up this new Website – Thanks to Mr Keith Saunders without whose help we could not have achieved this
Updated the facebook and Twitter accounts – Thanks to Colin Gillispie and Neil Porter
Set up PayPal donation page through the Website and Facebook
So finally a big thankyou to everyone.
Especially Boscombe Down Aviation Collection who hosted the HAAF end of year wash up meeting. You gave us a wonderful spread and it was a joy to visit your museum.
Lastly to all our sponsors and people who have made donations. Without you we could not keep these aircraft flying. Keep up the good work.
We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. We look forward to seeing you at an event in 2019…..
In order to maintain these wonderful aircraft we need your help.
Our Paypal page is now up and running, just click on the blue donation sign on the right of this page to take you there.
And thank you…
Care to join us? We are looking for an ex air tech to join us on Fridays. Working on Sioux and Scout, looking after Beaver and Auster. Chipmunk coming on line soon. We are a small team of volunteers; Colin Gillespie and Bob Gillan (Blackies), Ben Cartwright, Mick Williams and Phil Russell (Greenies), Alistair Mellor (Mech Engineer). Volunteers in the Historic Army Aircraft Flight. Also looking for ex tech storeman and other willing groundies.
Contact us through Facebook, Website contact page or Email.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
A wonderful day of Classic and Vintage Aircraft and Motors at Bicester. Great crowd. Thanks for the loan of the Morgan. really made us stand out.
We are very pleased to launch our HAAF Mugs to help with our fundraising.
They reflect our new look as launched on our leaflets in 2018
2019 will see new aircraft information display boards and a banner for our stand .
Come along to see us.
Make a donation £10 towards our aircraft maintenance and recieve a HAAF mug
A great keepsake and a way to increase funds to maintain these wonderful aircraft.