Building a WW2 plane from scratch, how hard can it be?

Building a WW2 plane from scratch, how hard can it be?

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Discussion

dr_gn

14,825 posts

154 months

Monday 13th July 2009
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Seems like I've posted this a dozen times on PistonHeads now, so apologies if everyone's heard of it, but there is a group of old blokes trying to recreate a Stirling cockpit and nose section from crash site bits, new build and random donations:

http://www.stirlingproject.co.uk/

They are doing fine all things considered.

A couple of wings and upper fuselage from a recovered Sunderland flying boat - one available in Pembroke Dock ripe for salvage - (very similar design, if not identical in some areas) and a fabricated new lower fuselage and they'd have something like! Obviously would never fly, but it would give an idea of just how big the thing was.

Cheers,

richw_82

966 posts

156 months

Tuesday 14th July 2009
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Apparently the Sunderland wing idea has been rejected as there are too many differences despite them looking at first glanc to be pretty much the same.

I think the wings they were planning on using were the pair on the Chatham Islands from the Sunderland wreck there.

There's also a group rebuilding an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley the same way, by collecting bits, and using a lot of reverse engineering.

I don't think building from scratch is a bad thing it all depends on what you want to do with the end product. If you just want to fill a gap in a collection then it's a great idea... the Halifax at Elvington shows this, even if there are a number of minor problems with it if you look too closely. If you want to fly it though it's a very different matter, which is why so many of the new build warbirds become "data plate" specials to give them an identity. So they tell me, it makes the paperwork just a little easier.

The number of people who build reproduction cockpit sections, either for their own hobby, or full aircraft for TV and Film shows what else can be done. Peter Jackson's 1:1 Lancaster model springs to mind as does the Lancaster fuselage built for the TV drama "Night Flight" that is now on display at Woodhall Spa.

I for one, wouldn't bother trying to build an aircraft from scratch when there is so much original material out there waiting to be recovered and used as a starting point; and some of it so rare.. examples are the B25H in New Guinea, the Avro York in Canada. If you know where to look there's plenty of substantial Lancaster wrecks too, and more and more Spitfires keep cropping up.

Given a lottery win though, I'd be heading to Cyprus to bring a Shackleton back!

Ric

dr_gn

14,825 posts

154 months

Tuesday 14th July 2009
quotequote all
richw_82 said:
The number of people who build reproduction cockpit sections, either for their own hobby, or full aircraft for TV and Film shows what else can be done. Peter Jackson's 1:1 Lancaster model springs to mind as does the Lancaster fuselage built for the TV drama "Night Flight" that is now on display at Woodhall Spa.


Ric
Speaking of Mock-ups for films, I read an interesting article on the making of 'Dr Strangelove'. There are some great in-cockpit sequences of the B-52 flight in which the crew runs through various nuclear attack checklists in surprising detail (much of it might have been a guess, but it makes intriguing viewing). I assumed the film was shot in a real B-52, but the crew were not given access. This is from the Wikipedia article:

"Lacking cooperation from The Pentagon in the making of the film, the set designers reconstructed the cockpit to the best of their ability by comparing the cockpit of a B-29 Superfortress and a single photograph of the cockpit of a B-52, and relating this to the geometry of the B-52's fuselage. The B-52 was state-of-the-art in the 1960s, and its cockpit was off-limits to the film crew. When some United States Air Force personnel were invited to view the reconstructed B-52 cockpit, they said that "it was absolutely correct, even to the little black box which was the CRM."[9] It was so accurate that Kubrick was concerned whether Ken Adam's production design team had done all of their research legally, fearing a possible investigation by the FBI."

Here's the full article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Strangelove

Strange the USAF personnel mentioned the CRM black box, because, (again according to Wikipedia) it never existed in reality:

"The C.R.M. 114 Discriminator is a fictional piece of critical radio equipment in Stanley Kubrick's film Dr. Strangelove (1964), the destruction of which prevents the crew of a B-52 from hearing the recall code that would stop them from dropping their atomic bombs on the U.S.S.R."

Cheers,






Edited by dr_gn on Tuesday 14th July 12:38

FourWheelDrift

82,926 posts

254 months

Tuesday 14th July 2009
quotequote all
The Handley Page Hampden P5436 being rebuilt at the Canadian Museum of Flight in Vancouver had been going quite well until "in January 2009 a heavy snowfall snapped off the aircraft's left wing. Despite the efforts of Museum staff to clear the accumulating snow, the wing's internal structure failed and the wing separated from the fuselage, falling onto a display case containing one of the aircraft's original engines. The wing suffered considerable damage and there is additional damage to the tail. The museum is currently seeking donations to repair the aircraft."

Before.


Story of the heavy snowfall accident - http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news/SnowfallSnaps...

After.


Invisible man

39,730 posts

254 months

Tuesday 14th July 2009
quotequote all
Mr_B said:
Eric Mc said:
Mr_B said:
Someone please build a Hawker Typhoon,even if it won't have a Napier Sabre.

It wouldn't be a Typhoon then, would it?
Ideally it would have, but the chances must be too slim ? Although, I did read somewhere that Kermit Weeks was building a Sabre to working condition, so maybe not totally a dream.
whistle I know where one can be found

http://www.brooklands.org.uk/reunion/naprail.htm

dr_gn

14,825 posts

154 months

Tuesday 14th July 2009
quotequote all
FourWheelDrift said:
The Handley Page Hampden P5436 being rebuilt at the Canadian Museum of Flight in Vancouver had been going quite well until "in January 2009 a heavy snowfall snapped off the aircraft's left wing. Despite the efforts of Museum staff to clear the accumulating snow, the wing's internal structure failed and the wing separated from the fuselage, falling onto a display case containing one of the aircraft's original engines. The wing suffered considerable damage and there is additional damage to the tail. The museum is currently seeking donations to repair the aircraft."

Before.


Story of the heavy snowfall accident - http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news/SnowfallSnaps...

After.

Don't know the details of that project, but the props, wings and nacelles look distinctly 'artificial', as does the whole thing for that matter.

FourWheelDrift

82,926 posts

254 months

Tuesday 14th July 2009
quotequote all
It's real, here's the full info on the Museum's website - http://www.canadianflight.org/content/handley-page...

dr_gn

14,825 posts

154 months

Tuesday 14th July 2009
quotequote all
FourWheelDrift said:
It's real, here's the full info on the Museum's website - http://www.canadianflight.org/content/handley-page...
Well, there's real and 'real'. There will be one hell of a lot of fibreglass and wood in there. For example, there is a complete abscence of engine cowling gills. The wings (at least externally) just look 'wrong': too smooth.

Theres this one too:

http://www.lincsaviation.co.uk/museum/brian-nichol...

Cheers.

Edited by dr_gn on Tuesday 14th July 15:40

richw_82

966 posts

156 months

Tuesday 14th July 2009
quotequote all
This weekend I was looking around the Hampden under rebuild that is at East Kirkby, Lincolnshire. It flew into a mountain in Norway in the early 1940's. The wing's spars are huge compared against those in that photo, and the remains of the wings are still attached to what's left.

I remember photo's of the Canadian Hampden of when they recovered it, there wasn't that much to start with.

Either way it did look the part and had to live outside. I hope they get it fixed soon. It would be rude to leave it looking like the Spitfire at Castle Donington, with one wing off.

FourWheelDrift

82,926 posts

254 months

Tuesday 14th July 2009
quotequote all
It does not have any engines fitted so the engine cowlings are just for show (and lightness) because it is too fragile to have them fitted (as you would have seen from the snow fall crash) but over the last 20 years they have rebuilt it using parts from 2 other crashed examples. It has been re-skinned in places as many aircraft have been, it was submerged in water for 40 years and it isn't a finished project. Stored outside it has been subjected to covering, sealing with modern materials in places until the funds and time are in place to complete the work.

Vancouver 1986 recovery from salt water.




East Kirkby ongoing restoration of AE436.


Recovery of P1344 in September 1991 with the RAF museum Cosford for restoration.




dr_gn

14,825 posts

154 months

Tuesday 14th July 2009
quotequote all
Invisible man said:
Mr_B said:
Eric Mc said:
Mr_B said:
Someone please build a Hawker Typhoon,even if it won't have a Napier Sabre.

It wouldn't be a Typhoon then, would it?
Ideally it would have, but the chances must be too slim ? Although, I did read somewhere that Kermit Weeks was building a Sabre to working condition, so maybe not totally a dream.
whistle I know where one can be found

http://www.brooklands.org.uk/reunion/naprail.htm
That's a Napier Lion...not a Sabre.

dr_gn

14,825 posts

154 months

Tuesday 14th July 2009
quotequote all
I was chatting to one of the Shuttleworth Collection Engineers at Duxford on Saturdy, and he mentioned that a new *Ahem* Townend Ring for the Gloster Gladiator (the exhaust collector/cowl around many old radial engines) would cost in the region of £20,000 to fabricate from scratch.

Gives you some idea of the costs involved.

Cheers,

Edited by dr_gn on Tuesday 14th July 16:25

Mojocvh

16,837 posts

232 months

Tuesday 14th July 2009
quotequote all
FourWheelDrift said:
The Handley Page Hampden P5436 being rebuilt at the Canadian Museum of Flight in Vancouver had been going quite well until "in January 2009 a heavy snowfall snapped off the aircraft's left wing. Despite the efforts of Museum staff to clear the accumulating snow, the wing's internal structure failed and the wing separated from the fuselage, falling onto a display case containing one of the aircraft's original engines. The wing suffered considerable damage and there is additional damage to the tail. The museum is currently seeking donations to repair the aircraft."

Before.


Story of the heavy snowfall accident - http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news/SnowfallSnaps...

After.

Oh what a shame, the Hampden was one of the archetypal British WW2 designs.
I do hope that it can be repaired.

MoJo.