Lancaster Conservation Progress Report – June and July 2002

Much work has been done on the Lancaster project during June and July.

Fuselage

The centre rear fuselage has now been repainted. An undercoat was sprayed over the 1977 paintwork and new coats of "Night Black" and camouflage were applied. Finally, the squadron code and roundel were stenciled in using the tracings researched and prepared during May.

Lancaster fuselage

Lancaster fuselage

Lancaster fuselage

Undercarriage

The last two months has seen the completion of the undercarriage, with the treatment, cleaning and repainting of the main wheels. Careful inspection revealed the positions of creep markings* on both the hubs and tyres. Analysis of photographs within the Memorial's database also showed that the black and silver colours on the wheel hubs were not identical on each side of the aircraft.

Main wheels

Main wheels

 

Port wing

Although work has extended into some of June, the port wing of the Lancaster is now nearly complete. Again, careful spot rubbing has been used to confirm the position of all changes in camouflage.

Port wing of the Lancaster

The original "Walk Here" markings were found and traced for re-applying. Interestingly, a wartime service modification to the aircraft (involving strengthening strips riveted to the wing above the outboard engines) partially obscures this stencil.

Detail of walk here markings

 

Sheet metal work

Greg Brazel, the sheet metal worker employed full-time on the Lancaster project, has been very busy over the last few months. In the years before "G for George" arrived at the Memorial, the port wing was involved in a number of handling incidents resulting in damage that was never properly repaired. The trailing edge had quite bad tearing of the aluminium skin around the aileron control horn, while the leading edge had been involved in a significant collision resulting in extensive internal damage. Despite the internal damage in this section, the leading edge skin had simply been re-sheeted. Repairs that are both structurally sound and aesthetically in keeping with the remainder of the airframe have now been completed in these areas.

Handling damage to port wing

handling damage

repaired port wing

Greg has also been doing repairs and fitting replacement hardware into the interior of the fuselage. Significant damage to the irreplaceable rear gunner's ammunition tracking is now barely visible.

Rear gunner's ammunition tracking

What next?

August and September will see the Lancaster team completing the port wing and get well underway on the starboard wing. Our volunteer teams will be working on the Merlin engine support frames and completion of the propellers.

Andrew Pearce
Large Technology Objects Conservator