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Moving the nose on G-BOAC Alpha Charlie at Manchester RVP.
This project is supported by Manchester RVP, TAS and Heritage Concorde
Heritage Concorde, TAS and the RVP are proud to announce that the nose on G-BOAC has been restored by Heritage Concorde on the 7,8,9th January 2019.
The long awaited restoration has been fully supported by all three groups and will enable us to repair the windscreen on Alpha Charlie with the added bonus of ongoing nose movements at Manchester.
The parts for the project have been funded by Primarily TAS and Heritage Concorde and other costs by the RVP
Heritage Concorde has been working on small maintenance jobs on G-BOAC since 2016 including inflation of the tyres, installing Marilake simulations for visitors and applying power to the cockpit for special occasions, the work has led to excellent relations between all groups at Manchester and has culminated in the restoration of the nose so the windscreen can be repaired.
The nose has been restored using proven methods used first at Duxford then at Brooklands with the help of Hydraulics Online Limited and ExxonMobil.
We must first start by thanking TAS, RVP, ExxonMobil and Hydraulics Online LTD for their continued support with this exciting project
Above: Engineer John Dunlevy tests the nose and indication
To lower the nose we used exactly the same process as at Duxford, firstly an inspection of all nose systems, the nose was in reasonable condition considering BOAC was outside for some time before the hanger was built, we found minor surface rust on steel components and solidified grease in some areas. A good clean of all moving parts and some new grease solved the issue.
Above: All panels removed from the aircraft for testing
All panels removed in the nose section back to the landing gear and all sections inspected, cleaned and checked for debris or problems. On BOAC no issues were found, some areas looked brand new however around the visor areas was showing some water ingress. For the most part we found her to be dry and in great condition.
Inspection of the hydraulic oil was found to be positive, the oil was clear and not contaminated.
Above: Inside the nose looking forward
Inspection of the actuators for the nose proved positive with only minor surface rust, inspection of the nose electrics again was positive and the gold connectors withing the plugs were in tip top condition, this is the first time these panels have been opened since retirement
Above: Electrical connections to the bottom of the actuators
Above: The all important nose actuators
Above: Surface rust
Above: A close up of the valves
Above: Nose hinge joint swivels
Visor rails were found to be in good condition, grease was removed and new grease applied, once this work was completed the rails looked brand new!
Above: Visor rails, dirty with old grease
Above: Visor rails once cleaned and greased
The Hydraulic power pack is installed and filled with original M2V oil. The pack was supplied by Hydraulics Online Ltd using money raised by TAS and Heritage Concorde Jointly. ExxonMobil have supplied free of charge all remaining stocks of M2V oil to Heritage Concorde for use on all remaining Concorde airframes so original oil can now be used to restore any Concorde that requires it.
Above: Hydraulic power pack
Above: The oil is poured into the power pack and there is always time for an artistic shot
Left you can see what a ton of M2V oil looks like, we can not thank ExxonMobil enough for their generous donation of the life blood of Concorde, this oil will mean generations of visitors can see restored Concorde wherever work is carried out. Worldwide!
Above: A pallet of M2V supplied by ExxonMobil
Above: John Hepple takes a look inside unseen nose parts
Above: Engineer John Dunlevy happy with his work
Above: Visor down
Above: Engineer John Dunlevy watches on
Above: Engineer John Dunlevy cleaning and testing
Final electrical checks are made to make sure the nose systems are giving the correct signals to the hydraulic systems. This takes some time but it's worth it in time saved later.
The final connections are made to the aircraft from the hydraulic power pack and we are ready to go.
John Dunlevy (Ex BAC/British airways engineer is given the ok to proceed with the test sequence.
Above: JD asks for permission to move the nose
We have a strict test sequence which if the nose fails to pass we do not proceed any further without correcting.
Step 1. Lower and raise the visor 5 times
Step 2. Lower the visor and then lower the nose to 5 degrees, return the nose to zero and lower the nose to 5 degrees 5 times
Step 3. Lower the visor and the nose to 5 degrees then lower the nose to 12.5 degrees and raise to 5 degrees 5 times
We complete step 1 and the visor hangs up for a short time then lowers faster than usual, this is normal if the visor has been up for this long, we complete the test cycle of 5 moves and the visor works perfectly.
Permission is given to John to lower the nose to 5 degrees and follow the test sequence, the nose lowers perfectly to 5 degrees and raises as if it were 2003.
The team celebrates, we are almost at the point where we have a fully tested nose we have one more test to perform and it's the big one, 12.5 degrees.
Permission is given to John to lower the nose to 12.5 degrees and the nose glides down perfectly and raises even better, the plan has worked!
We celebrate but we still have lots of work to do before we are finished today.
Above: Nose at 5 degrees, a new view
Above: Nose at 12.5 degrees for the first time since 2003
We tidy the installation and check for leaks, we have one small leak on the visor uplock which is quickly repaired all other joints are dry and the actuators show no oil around the seals, this is immensely good news!
We work into the night testing and cycling the nose and replace all inspection covers, today has been a good day for Concorde and for all parties involved.
Above: The artistic shots, the actual view and reflection in the window
Donations received to Heritage Concorde paid for part of this project (£1000 towards the total cost of the power pack), the remaining (larger) proportion was paid for by The Aviation Society at Manchester, the RVP provided scaffold, spill kits and accommodation including all meals for the team over the course of the three day period.
We would like to thank ExxonMobil for their generous donation of all remaining stocks of M2V oil without which the project would have been more expensive and more difficult.
We would also like to thank Hydraulics Online Limited who have provided support for the project, we used one of their power packs to power the nose, it's a proven power pack which has been tested on 2 other airframes at Duxford Aviation Society in Duxford and Brooklands Museum.
We would like to thank TAS (The Aviation Society) at Manchester who have given support and significant financial assistance for this project
Finally we would like to thank the managers at the RVP Manchester, it takes a true manager to make a decision to do restoration like this, my local Concorde is now a lot better.
Above: John Dunlevy, John Hepple and Graham Cahill Celebrate