Down back of the Sunderland we’ve been making ready to mount the rear turret. I’ve checked out the row of anchor nuts around the rim where the turret is bolted down on, replaced missing ones and cleared threads on the others, I did the same for the row around the outside where the cover strip later seals the gap. Here are the other three fairings that enclose the top and sides of the turret when in place. turret_fairings by Ron Wilson, on Flickr
This cover closes an access port in the hull below the turret, the two arms clamp it in place from the inside. The rubber seal that it seats into has perished, so as soon as that has been replaced this assembly will be put back before the turret is lowered in. access_cover by Ron Wilson, on Flickr
We previously left off the back half of the cupola for a better view of the interior, but I’ve now bolted it back on and will shortly rivet the door hinges on too. That will leave just the seals for the gun slots to be finished, before the turret will be ready. turret_doors3 by Ron Wilson, on Flickr
Having to duck under this assembly each time going to and from the rear turret position, last time I decided to stop and check out its condition. That’s where all the Sunderland’s rudder and elevator control cables converge and are attached to the levers and torque tubes that they operate. Here’s the joint between the port elevator and the central torque tube.
port_elevator_joint by Ron Wilson, on Flickr There’s some bad corrosion between them and I suspect the hinge bearing is seized, so it’s best to remove the torque tube to gain access. Yesterday I brought down the external control locks from storage, rebuilt the port elevator one and fitted it. Now I can withdraw the torque tube without the elevator drooping. I’ve still to complete the lock for the other side but that will be installed next time. Once the rudder and elevators are bolted back on the torque tubes and moving freely, then we need to look at the trim tabs and their control runs in the tail. Both elevator tabs need finishing before they can be refitted. This is one array of sprockets, mounts and chains that move the various trim tabs and crisscross the compartment. Much of the small chain is rusted or missing so replacing that might be left for later.
Rex got the fabric covering on both trim tabs today, so they are now ready for painting.
I managed to wrestle the elevator torque tube out from the tail, and this is what the bearing bar looks like in daylight, not too pretty. elevator_ torque_tube by Ron Wilson, on Flickr
Anyway, the assembly came apart fairly easily. The bearing bar was made in two halves so once I take out a couple of rivets they will split. The two NOS spares that I found earlier are for other locations in the tailplane and are a different shape, so we’ll need to make the best of the original one. elevator_bearing by Ron Wilson, on Flickr
Making a second search for another spare bar was unsuccessful, but instead, look what I found in the shed! They were almost as happy to see me as I was to find them, after all this time: the anti-glare shield for the Sunderland’s instrument panel and the fixed mooring bridle that is shackled to the towing eye on the bow. shield_and_bridle by Ron Wilson, on Flickr
The elevator bearing assembly has now been paint stripped, the exfoliating corrosion on both halves of the bar has been removed with a grinding burr and the hollows filled. Tomorrow, the pieces can be primed, the halves joined together, followed by final paint. Before I return them to the tail, I’ll open up the two holes in the end of the elevator where the drive chain passed through and see if there is any remaining chain inside that we can reconnect to.
The elevator hinge now repaired and bearing cleaned. I found no chain inside the elevator, but we may be able to get a pull cord around the sprocket and draw the chain through with that. elevator_hinge by Ron Wilson, on Flickr
The mooring bridle has been overhauled and restrung with fresh binding over the wire strands. The existing shackle on the bow is stuck fast in place and we’ll have to get the pin out, that’s proving defiant, before we can attach this cable properly. mooring_bridle by Ron Wilson, on Flickr
While checking out how to re-attach the shield over the instrument panel, I remembered that the wedge plate for the camera control had been inadvertently mounted upside down. So yesterday, I swapped it back, connected the plugs and slid the controller down into position on the wedge. camera _controller by Ron Wilson, on Flickr
Things got off to a subdued and late start yesterday, but I returned a couple of items to the Sunderland for a test fit. The fuel jettison panel is now back in place in the cockpit, although still waiting for final adjustments before all the screw holes will line up. The bridle cable was then secured on the bow and tied to the lower shackle until we can budge its rusted pin. Afterwards I resumed my search for parts in the store shelves, especially looking for more of the small UV lamps that illuminate the instrument panel. The sole remaining example in the cockpit is shown in the previous photo above. I’ve located parts of 3 or 4 others but need more reflectors for them. The Stores Ref for this type is 5C/2454 and its common to the Hastings as well. Earlier in the week I’d been looking at an old photo of a Sunderland cockpit and recognised another assembly that I’d often passed by in the store but not realised it was S25. This is the filter and air dryer that’s installed in the pressure line between the compressor on No. 2 engine and the servomotors for auto flying controls. It's mounted on the cockpit wall alongside the left-hand seat. Once we’ve refreshed the paint it can be connected back into the circuit. air_dryer by Ron Wilson, on Flickr
Last week, while searching for tubing adapters and blanking plugs to complete the air dryer assembly, I uncovered more, small roller chain and enough to finish the trim tab connections in the tail. It proved too difficult to reach the gearboxes inside the elevators, so I’ll run a shorter loop around the closest sprockets. Here’s the port one, ready for a test fit for length. chain_loop by Ron Wilson, on Flickr
To remove the old pieces of chain I found it easiest to take off this protective guard. It hangs down in the lowest point within the tailplane and you have to duck below it to pass through to the turret. We’ll paint strip and repair now that it’s off. I discovered on an earlier occasion, at my cost, that one of the bumpers was missing. So, there’s added incentive to mend that. chain_guard by Ron Wilson, on Flickr
Returning to the cockpit, another item that was once installed on the starboard side is this recuperator. It regulated the hydraulic pressure feed to the front turret. Although it was removed in the later service life of the Sunderland along with the rest of the turret plumbing, there’s still the bracket where it can be re-mounted. recuperator by Ron Wilson, on Flickr
Post by planecrazy on Nov 13, 2023 18:42:47 GMT 12
Loving all this updates, there are so many small details in these restorations, will it maybe be possible to do interior tours of the Sunderland, have been through the Solent. Be great to do a comparison tour though both of these ladies. Probably a no no with associated risk these days?
Last Edit: Nov 13, 2023 18:43:19 GMT 12 by planecrazy
You were lucky to get the chance and capture that video of the Solent, back in the day. The interior is still not as good as it was then, waiting for funding and expertise to finish relining the upper deck. Even when the insides of both flying boats are back to their presentable best, it’s unlikely that either will be open to public viewing, apart from the most special of circumstances. These days the Museum’s approach is to provide virtual access through interactive 360-degree images. Once we’ve completed painting of the lower deck of the Sunderland and installed the rear turret and all loose equipment throughout, that will open up more options for enhanced views and detailed video walkarounds.
With that in mind, yesterday I managed to remove the starboard elevator bracket and trim tab sprockets and they have been paint stripped. Once they are overhauled and painted again and the bumper pad replaced on the central chain guard, that will allow us to complete the rigging of all the flying controls in the tail as well as secure the rudder and elevators to their torque tubes. That will leave only a few minor repairs to be done in the entire rear compartment.
Talking about interior photos, here’s a couple of helicopter, ISJ, from the patient’s point of view.
On Wednesday, all of the elevator fittings that had been previously paint stripped, were first passed through the blasting booth to remove any corrosion, then had primer and finish paint applied and bearings re-greased, In advance, I’d also shaped up the new bumper pad for the chain guard, so that was riveted back on too. Today, I took all the finished parts, as well as the torque tube, back to the Sunderland and started bolting them back on. Before I could fit both brackets for the elevator bearings I had to punch out two sheared off bolts on each side. Once I had done this I realised that it left only one bolt holding this cross-tube at each end. I took the opportunity to take it off as well. It was soon back in the workshop, cleaned up and ready for return next time.
Yesterday I got all of the major elevator control parts back in position and began to secure them in place, starting with the two bearing brackets on the front of the bulkhead which share four bolts each with the cross-tube mounted on the back. Next, I fitted the hinge bars into the brackets and then levered the torque tube in and engaged its end slots over the bars. There are now enough bolts in the torque tube to hold it in line until I can get back to finish off the rest.
Confident that I got the elevator torque tube fitted the right way around last time, I started today by clearing out corrosion and excess paint from the bolt holes on the starboard end. I had already clamped it up tight with a few undersize bolts but when I tried a podger to align the two holes in the hinge bar, they wouldn’t shift. So, I slackened off the bolts, prised the three pieces apart again and with the help of a tapered punch I was able to set the first of the permanent bolts. The rest followed more easily, and I moved over to the port end to do the same there. Once I fitted enough bolts for it to be secure, I reached for the top control rod to link it back on to the crank arm. Soon there was an “Oh Bother” moment as it dawned on me that they didn’t connect. I’d been careful to fit the tube to the correct end but was 180-degrees out! The offset arms were angled forward instead of back. An hour or two later it was wrestled back in the correct position, secured again and time to go home.