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RAMP RAMBLINGS 4

RAMP RAMBLINGS……….By Keith Bradshaw, photo’s Steve Jeal.

During the run up to our two week Christmas break the DAS management treated the volunteers to an early prezzie when new lights and heaters were fitted to the workshops. No more being kept in the dark and freezing our bits off! With these new found comforts, effort in re skinning the Britannia elevators has come on apace, with Todd and the Sunday guys also painting the insides to prevent any further corrosion from taking place. Once these are finished the right hand aileron can take its place in the workshop for removal of the bad case of tin worm it is suffering from, you can actually push your finger through the skin as it is so bad in places. Monarch Airlines are very keen for the Britannia to be looking it’s best for their 50th anniversary celebrations, to that end we have been helped in some of the work by a group of present and past Monarch employees, for which we are very grateful.

Several evenings prior to Christmas there were a number of corporate events in the Airspace hangar for which we were asked to open our aeroplanes that live inside , Comet, York, Hermes and Concorde .

Comet web

Comet with the Dove hanging above.

York web

York with Comet behind.

Hermes web

Hermes situated under Concorde.

This is a good line of revenue for the collection and if anybody would like to make use of this facility please contact us for prices etc. Prior to the first event some running repairs were required on the Comet floor which had started to suffer from fatigue due to the large amount of visitors that come through. Many school parties use the Comet for presentations before they set off around the museum.

We of course had our own celebrations before the Christmas shutdown, with several groups going for lunch or dinner together. But the big event this Christmas was the retirement of our long standing office manager Brenda. A good turnout of members came to see her off with two coming from as far away as the Czech Republic and Spain, as you can see we are a very friendly lot! Whilst chatting to several members about the Herald the story came out that John and Mike, who replaced the cabin lights, had to resort to using an angle grinder on some of the more reluctant screws. Not something you would normally associate with aircraft engineering! Regarding the Herald, the fin and rudder are ready to receive the Air UK logo decal but due to the corrugated skin we will need it fitted by an expert. The decal supplier has had a look and is convinced it can be done ok.

Many times volunteer stewards are asked what is the difference between a jet engine and a turbo prop engine? If it’s got propellers it must be a piston engine right? And what’s that big fan on the front for? Well in an effort to clear this up here is another Technical titbit.

All jet engines, no matter what variant, work on the “SUCK-SQUEEZE-BANG-BLOW” principle. They have a compressor section at the front which “sucks” the air into the engine “squeezing” it into a high pressure before passing it into the combustion chambers. Here it is mixed with fuel and ignited to provide the “bang” before it rushes over the turbine, which acts like a windmill and spins the engine round, then finally the high speed air “blows” out the jet pipe nozzle at a great force. It is this thrust at the rear of the engine which makes the engine move forward. Another theory is that engines are breathing living things and are frightened of loud noises. Well we have all heard how loud the back of a jet is, so the engine just runs away from the noise. It’s up to you which theory you prefer!

So we now have the basic Turbo-Jet engine, used on most early generation jet airliners. If we now fix a gearbox and propeller on the front we have a Turbo-Prop, a very efficient kind of propulsion for relatively low speed aeroplanes. If instead of the gearbox and prop we fit a large fan we have a Turbo-fan engine.

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These are the most popular type of engines for modern day airliners. An example of a large Turbo-fan engine, the Rolls Royce Trent, can be seen at the entrance to the Airspace hangar.

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Most of the air from the fan is ducted around the outside of the engine before being mixed with the jet exhaust at the jet pipe nozzle. This fan air keeps the engine cool and also acts as a soundproofing blanket, which is why modern airliners are so quiet. Such a huge amount of air is produced by these large fans that up to 80% of the engines total thrust is produced by this fan air alone. The fans can be so large that the intake of General Electric GE90 engine is the same diameter as a Boeing B737 fuselage!

The one other type of jet engine uses Afterburner/Reheat, such as the Rolls Royce Olympus engines on Concorde.

Concorde engine web

This is a basic Turbo-jet but as the hot gasses enter the jet pipe fuel is again sprayed in, which due to the high temperature of the air immediately ignites to give another “bang” giving a huge energy boost to the exhaust air and hence the thrust of the engine. As you can imagine this uses large amounts of fuel which is why this is not a popular option on today’s airliners.

So what’s the plan here at the British Airliner Collection for 2016? The Herald and the Britannia will be taking centre stage, we hope to finish off the repainting on the Trident and carry out some corrosion control on the VC10. Concorde will hopefully see some fruition to all the planning that has gone into its displays revamp and of course there is always the day to day upkeep of the rest of the collection. As ever if you would like to join us give the office a ring where our new office manager, Rebecca, will be pleased to help you.