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from latest news letter on vulcan, hope it is of intrest to some of you if you dont get the news letter
Regular readers will know XH558 is due a major and expensive structural
modification at the end of the 2013 display season if we are to have the
opportunity to fly the aircraft beyond this year. Apart from the obvious
high financial cost, the work is not without some element of risk, partly
because it requires work on a critical part of XH558's structure, but also
because required tooling and jigs are no longer available, and the
manufacturing techniques specified in the drawings are no longer used!
Read our 'End of Flight' document on the challenges here
Today, we can let you know that we have held several meetings with various
parties to discuss XH558's airframe life challenges and are delighted to
announce we have contracted Cranfield Aerospace, a well-respected company at
the heart of modern design and manufacturing techniques in the aviation
world, to begin detailed measurement, analysis and planning for how we might
best tackle the strengthening of XH558's wing leading edges in accordance
with the modification's specification using current techniques.
Find out about Cranfield Aerospace here
Their impressive provenance includes supporting the Battle of Britain
Memorial Flight and in providing support services for both the UK's Army
Historic Flight and Navy Historic Flight.
Stephen Rutherford, Cranfield's technical lead on historic aircraft
"Unlocking more flying hours for XH558 is a very challenging task. It's
early days, but this is the first step in one of the most important parts of
the jigsaw. Cranfield has very specialist expertise - possibly amongst the
best available anywhere in this field - and we are thrilled to be able to
apply it to such an important aircraft."
To this end, some visitors to the hangar would have already perhaps noticed
that paint has been removed from the key area on each wing, to enable
high-tech scanning to take place. This will very accurately map out the
external structure of wing, to build up a computer generated 3D model to be
used for analysis and detailed design of the required strengthening plate
that we can put forward as a firm proposal to our engineering authority,
Vulcan aircraft were hand-assembled on large frame jigs. No two aircraft
were exactly the same, so it's important when embodying the modification,
that we have all the data pertinent to XH558 correct as there will be no
second chance. Once one wing is digitised, we also have to measure the other
side, which although looking like a mirror image, we know has minor
differences in for example, the positioning of rivets.
The work that we have now commissioned is the first stage of four in
embodying the required fatigue life extension modification on XH558. The
1/ Research, planning and costing
2/ Design and approval
Very soon, we will have full costings for the work in Stage 1, and it is our
plan to ask for your support in funding this work by issuing shares for each
stage of the project. We will be updating you very soon and releasing this
share issue next week to help cover the costs.
It is essential that we begin early enough to ensure that the modification,
if it proves feasible, could be installed during the winter of 2013/4.
Cranfield Aerospace engineers will therefore be arriving at the hangar next
week to begin the measurement process and we will obviously keep you fully
updated as their work continues.
Please do remember that given the technical risks involved, we are as yet
unable to confirm that the modification is feasible, but the work we are
starting is firm evidence of our commitment to keep XH558 flying for as long
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