With everything progressing nicely on the forward monocoque build, we’ve initiated some work on the next phase of the rebuild; the cockpit structure. Nicolas has committed years of design work put into this area, and incorporated some of the key components that were reverse engineered by our sponsor E3D Technology Corp. in Langley B.C. This is busy assembly with many parts. While work is completed on the forward monocoque section, we will be plugging away at many smaller components of the tube structure, taking care of some of the heat treatment requirements etc. With a bit of luck, we will be ready to start assembling parts on the cockpit as the monocoque work winds down later this year.
As you can see, almost all of our fuselage frames are now formed and stringers are ready for fitting, I expect the momentum on these and other “in progress” aspects of the rebuild to advance well for 2020.
Due to the excellent progress in 2019, we will be starting with another significant Typhoon assembly earlier than we had anticipated; more news on this in the next few weeks
After getting a few hours of sleep in Normandy, Ian took off to the Somme to meet with our friend Pierre Ben and view his museum collection. Many followers will note that Pierre is the gentleman who provided the Typhoon wing spar fittings on loan to us, so they can be reverse engineered (an ongoing aspect of the project). Arjan and Ian were amazed when they walked into the museum. It is packed with some of the most impressive display’s I’ve seen at any museum, all carefully preserved and displayed with a respectful history of the pilot and incident. This is a museum not to be missed if you are in the area: Website link below
One of Ian’s first stops after arriving at CDG airport in Paris, was to the D-Day Academy in Normandy. It was here that he met with Dr. JP Benamou, who very kindly opened the doors for our visit. While the purpose of my visit was to meet with Dr. Benamou and discuss his Typhoon cockpit section, he quickly found himself immersed in D-day equipment and history. The details of the invasion provided were unbelievable, and really helped tell a story that books and other media can’t prepare you for. While there are many commercial activities in Normandy that relate to the invasion, this group strive to tell the stories, and they do it in a way that no others do.
Ian highly recommends that everyone visits the D-Day Academy if they are in the area. (Website link below)
During our meeting, Dr. Benamou very kindly donated surviving Typhoon Tailwheel pivot structure to the project, a component that will really help with development of this part of the build. We are humbled to have been provided with this part, and will ensure it goes to accelerate our efforts on JP843.
Ian’s visit through France and to the ceremony for William Hurrell was supported by Arjan Wemmers, project manager for the recovery of Hawker Typhoon MN954. A key part of the trip was to visit with Alblasserdam government representative, Laure ter Stege, at the crash site of MN954 in support of the potential recovery of the aircraft remains. Mr. Wemmers has done outstanding work, and significant research regarding FLT J.N.C.M.J Vandaele, the pilot of this aircraft, and it is hoped that his efforts will forever remind us of the sacrifice made by this young man. We will do our best to keep followers updated on the progress of Mr. Wemmers efforts on the recovery, and hope publish details on F/Lt Vandaele in the near future.
More information can be found at the following address:
With the week now past, I can report that collective efforts to help preserve the memory of F/Sgt William Hurrell (RAF 175 Sqn) were well received by his surviving family who had flown to Holland from Australia.
At only 21 years old, William was flying one of the most advanced, powerful fighters yet built, in some of the most dangerous missions of the war. He did this for a future that he would never have the chance to see.
We will never be able to thank William for his sacrifice; but we can honour him as we have this past week, and we can honour him by ensuring that future generations never forget his name, and never forget what it was that he fought for.
I would personally like to thank all who made it possible for me to take part in this wonderful act of remembrance. I have been so very impressed to see the efforts of the Dutch Air force, and all levels of government working together to recover the remains of this young man.
This is one of many recoveries of missing airmen expected in the coming years; a project started by the Dutch government to pay tribute to those who lost their lives fighting for our freedoms, yet have no known graves. This is an effort worthy of emulation, and one that must be highly respected.
The recovery work on this project has also sparked a new initiative to remember those who never came home. “Blue Skies”, an effort that can be attributed to Leemans Speciaalwerken, an initiative that we are honoured to take part in.
Blue Skies aims to ensure that these lost airmen can get their wings back. Typhoon Legacy Co. Ltd. will support this by carrying the name of each lost pilot on JP843 for a minimum of one year, upon retirement from active display on the aircraft, a panel will be hung for display to ensure the memory is not forgotten.
Normal production has been put aside for the past week or two so that we can focus on a very special project. The Cockpit Side Panel you see in the images below are part of this special project. We will be revealing full details towards the end of the month in another post.
Please note: This panel is a replica panel made from original drawings, using certified materials, but is not intended for fitment on an airworthy aircraft, it has also not been produced as part of the rebuild for JP843.
Cockpit Side Panel Work.
Ian Slater has been hard at work forming the individual parts that make up the starboard cockpit side panel. These are then temporarily assembled, using a wide variety of clamps to check for correct fitment of the parts, and trimmed or shaped (if needed) to ensure correct alignment.
The parts are then drilled for the rivets, being held together with Cleco temporary fasteners during this process.
The parts are then dis-assembled from the Cleco fasteners and then de-greased, etched & primed for paint top coats
The Parts are then riveted together, and then painted
Completed starboard Cockpit Side Panel-Interior
Completed starboard Cockpit Side Panel-Exterior
Wartime image of Hawker Typhoon JP834 with Dicky Harkness (RNZAF 609 Sqn) in the cockpit, showing the location of starboard Cockpit Side Panel, just below his hand
Some may have noticed that there were a few wing spar fittings
showing in a previous post, these are the fittings that we’ve been trying to
source for several years, and key to completing the reverse engineering of the
wing for JP843.
We have been very fortunate to acquire (on loan), not only fittings, but the complete joint assembly for the wing attachment points along with the tailplane spar fittings. This was only possible through the very generous loan of parts from the Hawker Typhoon JP600 recovery in France, by Mr. Pierre Ben.
The parts are being used by our
friends at the Jet Age Museum, and by ourselves, to completely reverse engineer
each joint. It’s been an effort by many that we are all very thankful for.
To remove the wing pins, the Jet Age team requested the assistance of their sponsor, SAFRAN, and their 50 ton press.
It took 35 tons of force to get the pins out, and when they did let go, it was with one heck of a bang!. These efforts allowed the shipment of key components to our shop here in British Columbia. While the main cockpit spar sections remain in the UK, we have the pin joint assemblies here in our shop where they are undergoing full measurement and CAD design work. Upon completion, all of the data we generate will be shared between our two Typhoon groups to help Typhoon advancement as much as possible. The original parts will be re-assembled and returned to France for display.
For further information on JP600 how these part were recovered, please take the time to Visit Pierre Ben’s fantastic website ( link below)