British Phantom Aviation Group

ImageImageForum for all "old aircraft" related news, background, discussions and research.

Forum rules
ImageImageForum for all news, background, discussions and research on vintage aircraft, warbirds and wrecks & relics (stored, preserved, dumped etc). Actual logs -especially those of active airfields- are preferred to be posted in the appropriate Spotters forums.
User avatar
BPAG
Scramble Newbie
Scramble Newbie
Posts: 48
Joined: 02 Sep 2019, 15:58

Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

Post by BPAG »

Another busy couple of days at Manston recently. BPAG and 74 Sqn Association volunteers made more progress with ongoing issues and an important step forward.

Image

Side panel removal is continuing successfully, despite corroded fasteners eating through drill bits in a matter of minutes and the tailcone is now also partially disassembled.

Image

Image

Image

The RH aileron finally gave up its fight to stay in place and was removed and we have gained access to the leading edge flap actuators on both sides.

Image

Image

However, the biggest achievement of the weekend, which simultaneously gave us a milestone moment and an end to a major area of concern, was the replacement of both mainwheels. Using a custom built puller fabricated by the BPAG, the LH was the easiest of the two to remove, exposing the brake pack (which is free enough for towing purposes but will need cleaning and restoring later) pressure plate and bearing, which is turning nicely. RH wheel put up more resistance and had to be forced free with old fashioned muscle power. RH brake pack seized unfortunately so had to be disassembled for further attention. RH bearing also turning OK but will need around 10 new rollers due to damage from water ingress.

Image

Image

Image

Image

With the main wheel replacement taking priority, the outer wing and CL tank removal had to be left for another time. This was a price worth paying though, as resolution of the wheel issue has removed what could have potentially been either a serious hinderance to the restoration effort or, in the worst case, put it in jeopardy entirely. We are all collectively breathing a sigh of relief. Many thanks to all our volunteers for giving up their weekend to further the cause. Thanks also to Tony Clay & Nigel Hodgson for the photos.

Finally, needless to say, all this activity unfortunately comes at a price. Our volunteers are generous enough to meet their own expenses and provide their own tools and materials but the aircraft still requires parts, equipment and resources that we will have to provide. So, this is a general appeal for support. The BPAG and the 74 Sqn Association would be extremely grateful if you would consider donating funds to the ZE360 Restoration Fund. Any amount, however small, will be much appreciated and will really make a difference. You can donate via bank transfer to the following-
Account Name – Tiger360
Sort Code – 30-96-26
Acct. Number – 53212368
Alternatively, donations can be sent via PayPal to the BPAG merchandise address- phantomerchandise@outlook.com Please include a note that your donation is for ZE360.

We have reached a landmark point now that the main wheels are changed and with your support, we can reach the next one and be closer to moving the aircraft to safety. You are all as much a part of this as we are. Thank you.
facebook.com/BPAGofficial
twitter.com/BPAGofficial
User avatar
BPAG
Scramble Newbie
Scramble Newbie
Posts: 48
Joined: 02 Sep 2019, 15:58

Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

Post by BPAG »

This month's issue of Aeroplane magazine has a four page article on ZE360, how the preservation effort came about and the progress so far, written by our colleague from the 74 Squadron Association, Tony Clay. In the shops now.

Image
facebook.com/BPAGofficial
twitter.com/BPAGofficial
User avatar
BPAG
Scramble Newbie
Scramble Newbie
Posts: 48
Joined: 02 Sep 2019, 15:58

Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

Post by BPAG »

Due to current circumstances, we have been informed by DFTDC Manston that the facility is closed to all external visitors for up to 12 weeks. The British Phantom Aviation Group and the 74 Squadron Association have therefore put the preservation effort of ZE360 on hold until further notice.

This new development will fundamentally change our planned timetable but this is obviously due to circumstances beyond our control and we would like to apologize to our volunteers who may have gone to considerable inconvenience to make themselves available for this weekend's cancelled work party. We will issue more updates as events unfold. Many thanks for your support and understanding.
facebook.com/BPAGofficial
twitter.com/BPAGofficial
User avatar
BPAG
Scramble Newbie
Scramble Newbie
Posts: 48
Joined: 02 Sep 2019, 15:58

Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

Post by BPAG »

In view of yesterday’s instructions from the Government, we have taken the decision to close the BPAG webstore until further notice. The new lock down rules mean that we cannot currently access the merchandise storage facility and- of course- we will not be expecting our volunteers to leave their homes to dispatch packages.

Closing the store will also save the BPAG a monthly standing charge, at a time when we are unsure when fundraising activities will be able to recommence. Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far by purchasing items. The store will return when the current emergency passes.

We can also confirm that the new Cold War Call Up event, due to take place at Newark Air Museum in May and which would have featured XV490, has now been cancelled. The inaugural Cold War Call Up will now take place in 2021.

Image
facebook.com/BPAGofficial
twitter.com/BPAGofficial
User avatar
BPAG
Scramble Newbie
Scramble Newbie
Posts: 48
Joined: 02 Sep 2019, 15:58

Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

Post by BPAG »

Recently dug up from the archives by one of our members. A throwback to March 1966, when Flight magazine reported on the early days of the UK Phantom procurement. Many thanks to John Kendal for the pic.

Image
facebook.com/BPAGofficial
twitter.com/BPAGofficial
User avatar
BPAG
Scramble Newbie
Scramble Newbie
Posts: 48
Joined: 02 Sep 2019, 15:58

Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

Post by BPAG »

This isn't one of our projects but due to the unusual origin of the pic, its too good not to share. This photo of a 111 Sqn FG.1 was taken from the rear cabin of a Soviet TU-95RT during a QRA intercept at some point in the 1970's. Very rare to find shots taken by the other side. Original photographer unknown but the copy was kindly supplied by Dmitriy Ermolin. The aircraft in question is strongly suspected to be XV569.

Image
facebook.com/BPAGofficial
twitter.com/BPAGofficial
User avatar
BPAG
Scramble Newbie
Scramble Newbie
Posts: 48
Joined: 02 Sep 2019, 15:58

Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

Post by BPAG »

ZE360 UPDATE

While actual physical restoration work on ZE360 has had to be put on hold due to the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, this has given the team an opportunity to address other aspects of the campaign and make some choices that probably wouldn`t have been due until a little further down the road. One such decision was the aircrew names that would adorn the canopy frame of ZE360 once complete and restored. We can now share our plans in this regard, as we have opted for two sets of names- one set placed on each of the right & left sides.

Of the 15 F-4J(UK) delivered to 74 (F) Squadron only one aircraft (ZE358/H) was lost, during a low level interception training sortie near Aberystwyth, West Wales on 25th August 1987. Both aircrew- Ewan Murdoch and Jeremy Ogg- were unfortunately killed in the accident. In order to honour the memory of Ewan and Jeremy, their names will be placed on the right side of ZE360`s canopy. We would like to thank our partners, the 74(F) Tiger Squadron Association (and Squadron Secretary Bob Cossey in particular) who retained contact with the relatives of the aircrew and has received their blessing to pay tribute to Ewan and Jeremy in this way. In addition, Paul West (BPAG member and ex-74 Sqn Air Radar) is in the process of restoring two flight helmets, sourced from original 74 Sqn new old stock by fellow ex-Tiger Richard Proctor. These will be complete with masks, bags and embroidered name tags, which will also feature Ewan and Jeremy’s names. Many thanks to Paul & Richard for their hard work and generosity. We believe both these methods will be fitting ways to honour the memories of two airmen who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of their country during the Cold War.

Moving onto the left side of ZE360, this will display the names of Ian Hargreaves and Simon Hindmarsh, who delivered the aircraft to Manston in 1991. At that time both held the rank of Flying Officer and it was very rare to have the same rank as aircrew together. The original canopy markings reflect this joint status and will be replicated as a finishing touch at the close of the restoration, adding another unusual detail to the only F-4J(UK) to survive in RAF colours, anywhere in the world. .

Look out for more updates on the ZE360 restoration project in the coming weeks ahead.
facebook.com/BPAGofficial
twitter.com/BPAGofficial
User avatar
BPAG
Scramble Newbie
Scramble Newbie
Posts: 48
Joined: 02 Sep 2019, 15:58

Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

Post by BPAG »

This weekend, XV490 should have been taking part in Cockpit Fest at Newark Air Museum. Unfortunately, like all other events in the UK this summer, this has been cancelled. So here's a quick look back to better times. XV490, still in 74 Sqn colours, arriving at Newark in 2011 and meeting the public at Cockpit Fest 2014. Restoration and repaint to its current 92 Sqn camo scheme would begin, with the help of the British Phantom Aviation Group, in 2015. Many thanks to Howard Heeley for the pics.

Image

Image
facebook.com/BPAGofficial
twitter.com/BPAGofficial
User avatar
BPAG
Scramble Newbie
Scramble Newbie
Posts: 48
Joined: 02 Sep 2019, 15:58

Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

Post by BPAG »

Sometimes, it's not just about the aircraft. There is also the support equipment and other less glamorous bits and pieces that play vital roles behind the scenes. Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre recently contacted us regarding a piece of UK Phantom history that they had in their possession. What they were offering was the hydraulic systems trainer, which in its working life was installed in the Phantom Servicing School (PHSS) at Coningsby. This rig has been used to train countless numbers of airframe technicians in the complexities of the hydraulic system as fitted to UK Phantoms. As it's specific to the F-4K we can be fairly confident it's the only one in existence and as such is a unique and valuable addition to the group's collection.
So, on 2nd July 2020, BPAG members took a 700 mile road trip to collect the items and see them safely tucked away in our storage container. The British Phantom Aviation Group are extremely grateful to CAHC for contacting us and generously donating the rig and to Paul Wright and Matt Gilby for undertaking the journey. Special extra thanks to Matt, for the use of his trailer and towing vehicle and for doing all the driving (and sorry about the tail light Matt...)

Image

Image
facebook.com/BPAGofficial
twitter.com/BPAGofficial
User avatar
BPAG
Scramble Newbie
Scramble Newbie
Posts: 48
Joined: 02 Sep 2019, 15:58

Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

Post by BPAG »

Further to our update of 9th of June, the refurbishment of the two ex-74 Sqn flight helmets is now complete. Paul West (BPAG volunteer and ex-74 Sqn Air Radar) and fellow ex-Tiger Richard Proctor sourced these two examples from unused old stock. They have been carefully restored with genuine components and are now mounted, ready for display alongside ZE360 when the time comes.
Each one is complete with mask, bag and name tag paying tribute to Flight Lieutenant Ewan Murdoch and Flying Officer Jeremy Ogg, who were both tragically lost in an accident involving ZE358 during a low level interception training sortie near Aberystwyth, West Wales on 25th August 1987.

Many thanks to Paul and Richard for their generosity and hard work in preparing this tribute.

Image

Image

Image

Image
facebook.com/BPAGofficial
twitter.com/BPAGofficial
User avatar
BPAG
Scramble Newbie
Scramble Newbie
Posts: 48
Joined: 02 Sep 2019, 15:58

Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

Post by BPAG »

BPAG Chairman Paul Wright reports back on last weekend's resumption of activity at Manston.

"After 4 frustrating months away, a sunny Saturday finally saw the return of BPAG to Manston and our F-4J(UK), ZE360. The nature of the work needed, added to the short notice of access permission, meant that only two members were onsite, Clive Hammond and myself. We had several tasks lined up, with the principal one being to change the nosewheels. For as you can see, the ones that have been fitted for the last 28 years are past their best, to say the least. This job would have taken around half an hour ‘back in the day’ but owing to the bearings being corroded onto the axles, it took the best part of four hours and some creative engineering to achieve.

The next priority was to assess what else we needed to do before towing the aircraft out of its current position. The grass will need cutting, it has grown considerably since we already last here and the remnants of a Canberra are in the way, but easily moved. Both speed brakes will have to lifted up otherwise towing bridle will impact them. The LH one was moved quite easily, but the RH one is currently seized and an attack of bees stopped any further work there. The plan to pull the aircraft back using heavy duty strops was assessed and found to be sound. This is very similar to the procedure we used in the RAF, if an aircraft came off the runway or taxiway.

The final task would have been to remove the CL tank, but as it is currently resting on the ground, this will have to be done once the aircraft is out of the hole into which it has sunk. This tank is the property of Ulster Aviation Society and will be going to Belfast at their convenience.

One final curveball was thrown at us, when it was discovered that the R.H mainwheel, which was changed in February, has deflated during the time we have been away. Fortunately, we have a spare ready to go on as a replacement".

Many thanks to Paul and Clive for giving up their spare time.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
facebook.com/BPAGofficial
twitter.com/BPAGofficial
User avatar
BPAG
Scramble Newbie
Scramble Newbie
Posts: 48
Joined: 02 Sep 2019, 15:58

Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

Post by BPAG »

Following on from our recent visit to ZE360 to change the nosewheels, BPAG Chairman Paul Wright decided to strip down one of the wheels to see how they had stood up to 28 years of inactivity. Thanks to them having been previously assembled with anti-seize grease, the wheel half bolts came out easily and the wheel separated cleanly. The internal o-ring seal is a little stiff but undamaged so we will happily reuse it, suitably greased.

Now for the bearings...not such a good story. Due to being sat in one place for so long and exposure to the salt laden air at Manston, some corrosion was inevitable. However, after a trip to the wash tank to scrub away the congealed grease, the moment of truth came and brought with it a happy surprise. The bearings themselves are in relatively good condition, they run freely and only a couple of rollers showed any surface corrosion, which polished off with 400 grit abrasive paper. Now repacked with synthetic grease and although not to flight standard, the bearings are fine for ground use.

However, the outer races have fared a little worse, as you can see. Using a Dremel and increasing fine emery cloth to polish out the damage, a point where they are good for static use was eventually reached. Replacement races is something to be investigated for the future. The cover (tyre) is only fit for scrap and replacements are on our ‘bits needed’ list. Final task will be to repaint the wheel halves and store it all away, protected from the elements, until the time comes to refit the covers and reunite them with the nose gear.

One further item for attention are the dust/grease seals from the outboard side of the bearing. These are completely gone, so we will have to source replacements.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
facebook.com/BPAGofficial
twitter.com/BPAGofficial
User avatar
BPAG
Scramble Newbie
Scramble Newbie
Posts: 48
Joined: 02 Sep 2019, 15:58

Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

Post by BPAG »

BPAG Chairman Paul Wright was busy on wheel duty again last weekend.

“As mentioned previously, during our recent visit to Manston we found that one of the mainwheels on ZE360 had deflated during the time that the facility was closed to visitors. Fortunately we have another wheel, which wasn't fitted originally as it wouldn't hold pressure. A couple of hours work saw the inflation valve removed, cleaned, tested and refitted resulting in the unit now holding pressure correctly. Attention then turned to the wheel bearing and outer race. The captive bearing was inspected and re-greased, nothing further needed. The outboard bearing race required slightly more work however, with surface corrosion being removed by the tried and trusted method of increasingly finer grades of emery cloth, then protected with a coat of synthetic grease. The actual outboard bearing for the wheel is fitted to the brake pack backplate and is still on the aircraft. The anti-skid exciter ring was removed just to keep it safe from damage. All this was a purely functional servicing task, the wheels will receive a full overhaul at a later date”.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
facebook.com/BPAGofficial
twitter.com/BPAGofficial
User avatar
BPAG
Scramble Newbie
Scramble Newbie
Posts: 48
Joined: 02 Sep 2019, 15:58

Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

Post by BPAG »

The first day of August saw the biggest working party the BPAG has assembled so far recommencing work on our F-4J(UK), ZE360. The weather promised to be clear and sunny and didn’t disappoint.

Image

First surprise of the day was discovering that the RAF crew from Manston had moved the remnants of a Canberra which was previously just behind ZE360 and cut all the long grass from around and behind the aircraft. This saved us several hours work. Our aims for the weekend were the removal of both outer wings, the fuselage tailcone, replacing the deflated RH mainwheel and progressing access to the internal structure, which needs to be removed to separate wing and fuselage.

One of the major challenges of this project is the fact that the aircraft has stood outside, fairly close to the sea for nearly 30 years, which means that almost every single part is corroded and stuck- fasteners, panels, connections and hinges. For example, it took a couple of hours of concerted effort to remove the RH outer wing as it involved lowering the leading edge flap to gain access and removing the hinge pin (using the hinge pin puller kindly loaned to us by the Ulster Aviation Society- many thanks to them for helping us out). The process was also complicated by the fact we can't get hydraulic pressure on to lower the flap. The successful removal of the first wing gave a big boost to the team, who by now had an increasingly hot day to contend with. The LH outer wing, which presented some additional challenges to the RH one, came off relatively easily despite the corrosion on the hinge pin. Both outer wings off is a major milestone in the project.

Image

Image

Image

Image

While these tasks were going on, team members were tackling several other jobs around the aircraft. Panel removal is a tedious, unloved but vital task and is made exceptionally difficult owing to the aforementioned corrosion issues. We estimate that around 75% of all the screws have had to be drilled out in the panels we have removed so far, although in the worst cases the only option has been to cut the panels away (corrosion would have meant replacement anyway, so no loss).

Image

Underneath the aircraft, the team continued panel removals and stripped out a bay containing one of the hydraulic reservoirs and subsequently removed the reservoir itself and a lengthy process of jacking and trestles had the RH side raised enough to lift the landing gear out of the hole to allow the replacement of the deflated wheel.

Image

Image

Transportation restrictions mean that the stabilator has to be removed, a process which firstly means removal of the tailcone. Once again, many screws to drill out, some in the most inaccessible positions and all achieved under the full glare of the sun while perched on a stainless steel surface that you could have cooked eggs on…however, a combination of the stoicism of our volunteers and some professional head scratching meant that it was eventually off and on the floor.

Image

Image

Finally, Sunday saw us visited by two of the remaining RAF personnel from Manston. This included the base commander himself, as he is taking a personal interest in the project and reiterated his continued support and encouragement. Our thanks go out to all the staff from Manston, for their help and assistance. Our appreciation and thanks and appreciation also go out to all our volunteers for all their hard work over the weekend.
facebook.com/BPAGofficial
twitter.com/BPAGofficial
User avatar
BPAG
Scramble Newbie
Scramble Newbie
Posts: 48
Joined: 02 Sep 2019, 15:58

Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

Post by BPAG »

Another event that occurred during the recent working weekend at Manston was the handover to the BPAG of the two flying helmets obtained and refurbished by Paul West. These are dedicated to the memory of the only two aircrew lost whilst flying the F-4J(UK), Flt Lt Ewan Murdoch and Fg Off Jeremy Ogg. These have been donated to the Group and after a suitable cabinet has been obtained, they will be ready for display when events and gatherings are permitted once again. Many thanks to Paul for his hard work and generosity.

Image

Image

Image

Image
facebook.com/BPAGofficial
twitter.com/BPAGofficial
Post Reply