The right float is now complete and just in time as the work platform inside the shelter is about to be removed. That will provide clear access to the fuselage so that painting and signwriting can be done without obstruction. There will also be room then to hoist up the left float and attach it to the wing. In preparation for that I closed up the two remaining hatches on that side and did final touch up of paint on the screw heads. That just leaves bolt holes to be cleared of paint and greased so that the rigging job will be straightforward when that goes ahead. Both ailerons are now attached and control cables connected. Signwriting is complete on both wings.
Taking a holiday from floats, I turned to propellers and leant a hand to the painters who needed to mask off the backs of the Solent’s blades ready for painting them black. The rubber de-icer strips on each blade had perished long ago and were removed during previous paint jobs. So we also had the fiddly job of masking off their outlines on the leading edges so we could paint back where they had been. I was quickly reminded how big each of those sixteen de Havilland blades is. I’d only planned to help out for a couple of hours but it took two of us most of the day to finish this stage. Once additional protective covering is in place then they’ll all be ready for paint later in the week. After the black coat is done that just leaves the yellow tips for last.
All those Solent propellers are now finished and looking smart. We’ve laid out all of the loose engine cowls and started fitting the ones for No.1 and No.2 engines. This job will take some days to complete the four engines. We’re missing 1/4” BSF screws of just the right length to properly secure some mounting plates. So once we can fill in those holes then we can make final adjustments to the locking levers that clamp each cowling set snugly in place. There’s also one carb intake unit still to be rebuilt so it and the two cowls that hang from it will be fitted last.
Recent news from MOTAT is the original FAA display is being dismantled to allow new exhibition space , so the Avenger will be moved temporarily. Its a little sad to see the displays go , as the FAA Ass funded half of the original building ( along with the NZBCA) . The FAA group has dwindled over the years and contact with the original model makers and painters lost. Welcome news is that a helicopter exhibit is being arranged and this will fill a real gap in the ADH and MOTAT collection to illustrate their unique aeronautics and to recognize what workhorses they are in NZs civil aviation.
It also gives the museum the space it needs to cover Richard Pearce and Jean Batten. The FAA will still be covered in the ADH albeit on a smaller scale and a number of the items will go to the Navy Museum.
The Sunday team picked up from where they left off last time. All four oil cooler intakes are now fitted as are both spinners on the left side. All the cowl segments on No.1 engine have been adjusted and now clamp up evenly. 1/4” BSF screws proved hard to find so we’ve made do with M6 ones instead for this application. They’re a similar pitch and tightened smoothly enough into the existing anchor nuts without the need to re-tap. Fuselage painting will be the priority during the week so the cowling project might be left to continue next Sunday.