British Phantom Aviation Group

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BPAG
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Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

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A busy weekend for the BPAG. With one team occupied with ZE360 at Manston, it was up to a separate small detachment to collect the fin of XV494 from Brenzett Aeronautical Museum. This piece was surplus to museum requirements and space is needed for a new items. The BPAG have gratefully made it part of their collection and another piece of British F-4 history has been secured for future display.

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Many thanks to Stuart Forth and Mike Davey for giving up their Saturday to sort this one out and to Pauline Judge for the pics.
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BPAG
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Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

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As mentioned above, this weekend was a busy one. The main focus of activity was once again on ZE360 at Manston and as such the British Phantom Aviation Group and the 74 Squadron Association are pleased to announce that another milestone in the preservation effort has been reached. On Saturday 15th August, ZE360 was towed away from an area of waste ground, where it has sat since 2015, and back onto hardstanding elsewhere within the facility.

This event was delayed by the current Covid-19 pandemic, when work at the site was forced to cease for four months, and follows replacement of the main wheels and nose wheels by the BPAG engineering team, which allowed movement of the aircraft to be attempted. The relocation to hard, level ground will now allow access for engine removal apparatus and once this process is complete, permit entry to the inner fuselage area to commence the wing/fuselage split. This will be the final step before transportation off site can be planned.

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Firm ground also meant that the stabilator could be safely removed and the extra overhead clearance gained has allowed work on previously inaccessible areas of the underside to commence.

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The rest of the weekend would inevitably be overshadowed by Saturday morning's achievement but that does not mean that what the team got finished through the rest of the day and into Sunday is in any way less vital. More progress on leading edge flaps and panel removal and the RH hydraulic reservoir was also taken out, which is necessary to access the ring mounting bolts. CL tank is still stubbornly hanging on but that should hopefully be sorted on the next visit. Many thanks to all our volunteers for their hard work. We also couldn't have got this far without the unstinting support of the officers and staff of DFTDC, our gratitude also goes out to them.
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Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

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The weather gods smiled on the BPAG as our largest volunteer contingent to date assembled at Manston last weekend. Further progress made with stripping out systems and components inside D22 but there's still a long way to go there. The front cockpit was relieved of many of its remaining parts, including the main panel and some instruments. The latter have gone off site to be refurbished by Paul West, in his own time.

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Elsewhere, both full sets of engine doors are now lowered and engine disconnection has started. Both sets of lateral control runs and a plethora of hydraulic lines and electrical looms have been removed, along with the left hand leading edge BLC duct. Access was also gained to the trailing edge flap actuators and these are scheduled to be removed at the next visit.

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As ever, it was an ongoing battle with the corrosion and lack of servicing, meaning that even simple panel removal takes much longer than it would normally.

Effusive thanks to our volunteers, who braved the hot weather and the usual terrible jokes. You really are the lifeblood of the group. Many thanks also go to all at Manston, for your ongoing hospitality and tolerance.

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Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

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Recently received back from refurbishment- original nosewheel from ZE360. Cleaned up and prepared by Paul Wright and powdercoated by Andy Groves at JW Smart Services. Many thanks to Andy and JWSS for donating the time, labour and materials to get the job done.

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Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

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The new social distancing rules and a dodgy looking weather forecast meant that activity at Manston had to be downscaled for last weekend's work party. With just a small group present, any milestone moments or herculean efforts were unlikely but some good headway was still made on vital smaller tasks.

Saturday saw further progress on engine disconnection, also pipework removed for access to LH wing root and RH inboard leading edge was finally lowered (without cutting) before increasingly poor weather called a stop to proceedings at 14::00

Our volunteers persevered with undoing the electrical plugs on the engine harness on Sunday. What would have been a minute's work when in service ended up taking around 5 hours. The RH inboard fixed leading edge removal was made up to withdrawal of the hinge pins, at which time our old friend corrosion took control and the pins refused to move. They're currently soaking in penetrating oil, ready for next working party.

Our gratitude once again goes out our volunteers and, of course, to everyone at DFTDC Manston.

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Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

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With opportunities and progress on the main work at Manston being dictated by the weather and the rules of social distancing, this may be a good time to take a look at some of the more intricate restoration tasks going on elsewhere. The instrument and electrical work is being done by our very dedicated and skilled member, Paul West, in his own home workshop.

It's incredible to see these items coming back to life after many decades of being sat unused. First up is something you dont see every day, the components making up the mechanics of the accelerometer-

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Accelerometer, pneumatic pressure gauge and slip and turn indicator-

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Generator and external power control and warning panel-

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Finally, for now, the KD41 radar scope camera, before and after-

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We are always on the look out for instruments, components, gauges or other parts. Please feel to get in touch at BPAGinfo@gmail.com if you have something you feel we might be interested in.
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Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

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Five years ago today, the British Phantom Aviation Group (in the shape of David Butterfield and Paul Wright) started work on a small touch up job at an exhibit at Newark Air Museum. We think that it came out alright in the end, if we do say so ourselves...

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Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

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With the work to extract ZE360 from Manston on pause due to lockdown, the ongoing process of restoration of parts still continues elsewhere. Andy Groves at JW Smart Services has once again produced another amazing transformation, this time on the nosewheel steering torque links.

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Meanwhile Paul West is tackling our increasing store of instrumentation and panels, for ZE360 and our other projects, which in this case is the simulator cockpit from Leuchars. We must tell you more about the latter at some point, it is a project with great promise but has had to take a bit of a back seat this year.

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The ultrasonic cleaning bath works miracles on the years of accumulated dirt and grime, including the switch internals. Also seen here is a cockpit 'wander lamp' which was a recent donation and is now stripped and cleaned, ready for reassembly.

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Many thanks to Andy and Paul for their hard work.
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Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

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Many thanks BPAG, for the continuous updates. Your Phantoms bring back good memories, like the first time up close with XT597 at the Air Tattoo, or all of us wondering what the logic behind 74 Sqn's codes would be with ZE350/T, ZE351/I, ZE352/G et cetera. :mrgreen:
The restoration and cleaning really works miracles, incredible how the parts and instruments re-emerge. Interesting too, from a technical point of view as I never realised the accelerometer would be both sensors and indicators contained in just one unit; fascinating. May all your projects be successful!

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Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

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Key wrote: 23 Nov 2020, 00:36 Many thanks BPAG, for the continuous updates. Your Phantoms bring back good memories, like the first time up close with XT597 at the Air Tattoo, or all of us wondering what the logic behind 74 Sqn's codes would be with ZE350/T, ZE351/I, ZE352/G et cetera. :mrgreen:
The restoration and cleaning really works miracles, incredible how the parts and instruments re-emerge. Interesting too, from a technical point of view as I never realised the accelerometer would be both sensors and indicators contained in just one unit; fascinating. May all your projects be successful!

Erik
Many thanks Erik. Your kind words are much appreciated. We will keep the updates coming whenever we can, we have plenty to share with you in the future.
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Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

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The BPAG are saddened to report that on 30/11/2020 the scrapman came and removed the mortal remains of FGR.2 XV411 from the grounds of the former DFDTC Manston. Unlike ZE360, which luckily avoided burning, XV411 was used in live fire training exercises numerous times and for the past few years could only really be described as a derelict airframe. Despite this fact, it is always a shame to see a mighty Phantom pass away.

However, the aircraft will live on in a small way through the BPAG. The owners of most of the remaining aircraft at Manston, Spey Bay Salvage, generously agreed a deal to allow us to recover as much as would be useful to us from the airframe during its last few days. This ended up including the fin and a multitude of internal components that are still in restorable condition. Although in rough shape, the fin is intact and will be repaired and preserved for future display.

Many thanks to our members and volunteers for getting their hands (very) dirty, Wayne and his crew from Spey Bey and Stuart Mann from Reclemet for their invaluable assistance and the Commandant and staff at Manston for their co-operation. Finally, sincere thanks go to Richard Murray, owner of SBS, without whom this could not have happened.

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Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

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A kind and thoughtful recent gift from the O/C of DFTDC Manston to the BPAG was a copy of this photo from 1991, showing ZE360 being towed across the road from Manston airfield to the fire school premises. A process that almost ended in mishap if recollections are to be believed.

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Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

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Good Evening everyone. We were going to wait until we’d finalised every single detail before releasing this info but after this most extraordinary year, we all need some good news. So, we can at last confirm the speculation that some of you may have recently heard and announce that The British Phantom Aviation Group we will become residents of Cotswold Airport/Kemble in the New Year.

This represents a change to our initial plans but given the facilities of an active airfield, the co-location of The Buccaneer Aviation Group, the growing collection of classic aircraft on site and the ambition of the airport's management, it was decided that this was in the best interests of both the Group and our aircraft in the long term. We will look forward to sharing more details of our plans and preparations with you at the appropriate time.

Thank you for your continued support and we would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the merriest Xmas possible under the current circumstances and send you our best regards for a brighter and happier 2021.
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Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

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Want to wish you too a Merry Christmas and a big thank you for your continuous updates.
It is amazing what you are doing!!!
All the best for 2021.

Marcus
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Re: British Phantom Aviation Group

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As many of you will be aware, we were recently fortunate enough to be able to undertake a spares recovery process on FGR.2 XV411 before it was finally scrapped. We are very grateful to Richard Murray of Spey Bay Salvage for allowing us this opportunity, which brought up some extremely useful bits and pieces. Below is a selection of some of the items we recovered and a brief description.

As we have a lot more of these, we’ll spread them out over a few posts and then follow up with some 'before and after' pictures and extra information. Work on ZE360 is once again on pause due to lockdown, so in the meantime we hope posts about the restoration of these parts will be of interest and we'll also share some details of other items that we have recently received.

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General view of hydraulic components.

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Hydraulic unions. Phantom are notorious for leaking and these are not the sort of thing that people have on their shelves. They can be bought commercially, but they are not cheap.

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Hydraulic reservoir. We managed to recover both Power Control (PC) reservoirs, but were unable to get the utility one in the time available.

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Stabilator actuator. As this is situated at the rear of the aircraft, it didn’t suffer too much heat damage. A useful spare.

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The RAT, or Ram Air Turbine. This took two days of concerted effort by our volunteers to free, but they succeeded, and also managed to extract the associated generator. As we will never need to use this, it will be restored as a display piece.

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More hydraulic components. The silver ones are from D22, and the red items are blanking caps from the hydraulic servicing point in D23.
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