Restoration of the
Hawker Hurricane AM 274
John has now made his way back to the center section where he left off with the new leading edge nose ribs that he attached to the starboard side of the center section.
John will now need to find, or manufacture, the center section, trailing edge ribs, as well the rib cap strips. These rib cap strips have an ‘arch’ to them and are required in order to carry the ‘form’ of the airfoil over the top of the center section, and to blend in with the airfoil across the length of the wing.
John spent numerous hours milling this die, to press out the new, center section, trailing edge rib, cap strips he will need.
Once the die was completed, John was able to press out the FOUR cap strips he needed. He then began to assemble the trailing edge of the center section.
(The plastic that protects the aluminum during the manufacturing process can be seen still attached on the inside of the cap strip. John will remove the plastic before attaching the cap strip to the aircraft!)
Here you can see two of the four cap strips John pressed out, sitting on top of the center section above. We can see the ‘arch’ these cap strips form beginning at the leading edge (on the right) and extending to the trailing edge (on the left) of the center section.
While taking a break from some of the other things that needed to be done on the Hawker Hurricane AM 274, John decided to begin to straighten some of the tubing he will eventually need.
Almost all the tubes he found among the wreckage was smashed, mangled and/or dented …
One of the damaged tubes that John will need to straighten before he can use it again on the Hawker Hurricane AM 274.
… another piece of damaged tubing for John to clean up and straighten …
… this shows another portion of the above pipe. It has deep dents on two sides of one bend …
… and this one with multiple dents and a hole in the middle of one of the dents …
John devised multiple sized ‘tools’ he could use to do the job.
Using progressively larger sized tow-hitch balls, he cut them off and rounded the edges. He then drilled holes through the middle of the balls and inserted cables through each one.
John then greased the ball he was using and fed the cable through the damaged tube, allowing a foot or so of slack. He then attached the cable to the bench vise so that it would not come free.
Then, beginning with the smallest ball, and working up to the proper sized ball for the diameter of the tubing he was straightening … John pulled the ball through the damaged tubing … annealed the damaged section of the tube … and then pulled the ball through again … over and over again, repeating the entire process until that size ball passed freely.
He then moved on to the next size ball, and repeated the entire process until the tubes were straight once more!
This is the same tube shown above (with the hole in the middle of the dent) after John cleaned it, straightened it and repaired it!
It is now ready for NDI inspection and pressure test to assure that it is airworthy.
More of the damaged tubes that John has straightened by using the tow-hitch balls technique ~ now cleaned and waiting for NDI inspection and pressure testing.
Those tubes that come through the testing with ‘flying colors’ (no pun intended) will find their home again on the Hawker Hurricane AM 274.
John then went on to this radiator expansion tank (also called the glycol tank) that he removed from one of the other Hawker Hurricane wrecks he purchased from Ed Zalesky. This tank is also damaged, but not to the same degree the original one off AM 274 was.
He disassembles it in order to learn what he will need to do to make it airworthy once more.
Once the back is removed, the internal parts are exposed so that John can see where the worst of the damage is located …
We can see the damage (at the top of the tubing bends) to the internal parts John has now removed from the glycol tank casing.
Above we see the top and the bottom view of the internal parts John has removed from the glycol tank casing.
The now ‘empty’ glycol tank reveals the image of a “Happy Little Space Alien” grinning at us!
Now John can more clearly see what he will need to do to make this radiator expansion tank airworthy once again.
(It’s interesting what you can dream up when you let your imagination run away with you! Sometimes the job can appear so overwhelming, that you must allow yourself to acknowledge the fun wherever it may appear!)
After removing the original engine cowl mounts off the wreckage of the Hawker Hurricane AM 274, John makes new ones.
Above, one of the original engine cowl mounts still on tubing … and a new, replacement engine cowl mount John has made.
The lower engine cowl mount had to be straightened in order for John to have a suitable pattern to make the new, replacement, lower engine cowl mount for the restoration.
The new replacement engine cowl mount now in place on the port side of the aircraft.
The new replacement engine cowl mount on the starboard side of the aircraft.
The new replacement lower engine cowl mount John has made for the Hawker Hurricane AM 274.
John begins the arduous task of rebuilding the landing gear ‘wheel box’. This is the compartment into which the landing gear retract when the aircraft is in flight. When the Hawker Hurricane AM 274 force landed on the tundra of the Rybachiy peninsula, the landing gear was still retracted which helped to preserve the landing gear itself, but left the ‘wheel box’ damaged by the impact with the ground.
A view from the other side of the original AM 274 ‘wheel box’.
… John disassembles the original wheel box … piece by piece!
Once the original wheel box is disassembled; John checks all the pieces very carefully to determine which of the original parts he will be able to use again, and which parts he needs to make new.
He uses the original pieces (like the one on the left) as patterns to make the new parts he will need.
One week later, the new ‘wheel box’ is held together with cleco fasteners.
Only the white parts seen here are new parts … all the rest are original parts off the Hawker Hurricane. John will wait to rivet the pieces together until he has completed the center section, and is able to ‘fit’ the box in the center section itself.
After several delays, due to the product being on ‘back order’ … we were finally able to obtain the JC5A Joining Compound we needed. This non-hardening compound is used where dissimilar metals come together to prevent any deterioration of either metal. In the Hawker Hurricane, this compound is required down the entire length of the fuselage, as well as throughout the center section.
John begins to disassemble the center section. This is a somewhat heartbreaking task, after having spent so much time and energy on the initial assembly of the center section
The original assembly was to ensure we had everything we needed to build an authentic, airworthy, center section. John cleaned and inspected the original Hawker Hurricane parts for airworthiness compliance.
John manufactured new, replacement parts for those found to be non-airworthy, or those that he could not find elsewhere; and he checked all the parts for proper ‘fit’ … knowing full well the day would come when he would have to take it all apart again before he could do a final installation using the JC5A Joining Compound!
This photo shows a close up view of the double layer, polygonal, spar cap as it fits around the inner spar tube (or liner). Once all the rivets are in place, the small gap seen now between the liner and the double layer, polygonal spar cap will disappear, making a perfect, zero tolerance, fit!
One can see the holes in the spar caps and some of the spacers that will go inside. Some spacers are singles, while others (like the one in the middle of the photo) are for multiple bolts, depending on what part needs to be attached to the spar in that location.
Single spacers near the holes they belong in ….
Same photo as above with the spacers and their hole locations identified.
John spent numerous hours applying the JC5A joining compound; getting all of the spacers inserted into the spar liner (or tube); lining them up with the proper holes on each side of the spar cap; and then passing the appropriate bolt through the part he needed to attach … through the spacer he had just inserted into the spar liner … and then attaching the nut on the other side!
During the center section reassembly process, John discovered that he could not locate the proper size hollow rivets that are used to fasten the stiffeners to the center section spars, and to fasten the compression struts together.
So, in typical John Norman fashion, he ordered the proper tubing he needed … and made his own!
Some of the original Hawker Hurricane wing attach fittings from AM 274, now cleaned, visually inspected and magnetic particle tested to ensure their airworthiness. All of these fittings will be able to be used in the final re-assembly of the center section for the Hawker Hurricane AM 274.
The forward center section spar now has all the spacers inserted in the lining. The stiffeners and mounts have been attached in their proper places; the fittings (shown in the photograph above) have been re-installed and John has put this spar back into the center section jig.
Interior side of the forward, center section spar for Hawker Hurricane AM 274, now back in the jig.
John inserting one of the compression members into the mount attached inside the forward spar for the center section. The aft section of AM 274 can be seen in the background.
John continues to add in the other compression struts (or members) in the center section.
John had to install the two landing gear pivot arms onto the two outside struts. These pivot arms are what allow the landing gear to swing up and inward (into the landing gear, wheel box, seen above) as the landing gear retracts after the aircraft is airborne.
John was able to use the original Hawker Hurricane AM 274 pivot joints again on this center section.
On 25 July 2010, John was able to paint the center section for the Hawker Hurricane AM 274. He paints it silver, just as it had originally been painted at Canada Car and Foundry in Fort William, Ontario, Canada when it was first built, some 68 years earlier!
The fuselage structure of the aircraft can be seen behind the center section in this photograph.
A view of the interior of the center section, now painted, that shows the compression struts in place, along with various mounts and brackets that hold critical components of the Hawker Hurricane right where they need to be.
John was only able to salvage four-original fuel tank mounts off the Hawker Hurricane wreckage he purchased in 2003. He was going to need eight mounts to be able to install both the port AND the starboard fuel tanks in the center section.
Since he was unable to locate any others off ‘donor’ aircraft, he simply cast new ones! The originals can be seen in the back row, and the newly manufactured ones are in the front row in the photograph above.
After painting the fuel tank mounts silver to match, John installs all eight of them on the center section. We can see the two rear (or aft) port side mounts now in place in the photograph above.
Once again, John discovers he needs more brackets than what are available in the wreckage of original parts on hand. So, once again, he remedies the situation by manufacturing new ones.
The three on the left are original and the four on the right are newly made brackets that hold the rudder control and stick assembly on the center section.
John then moves ahead with the installation of the rudder control and stick assembly as can be seen in the photograph above. We can also see the wheels tucked in place below the assembly.
Then John moves on to installing the trailing edge parts he has been working on. Here we can see the starboard side, trailing edge ribs being attached to the aft center section spar. The trailing edge flap torque tube (still in primer green) can be seen running between the port and starboard sides midway along the trailing edge ribs, and a piece of original flap and tubing sitting to the left of the ribs.
Overview photograph of the center section shows the landing gear up, and the rudder control / stick assembly in place. We also see ‘empty’ compartments on either side of the wheels where the fuel tanks will one day be installed. The shape of the leading edge ‘form’ is seen along the bottom of the photo, with the oil tank on the right, and leading edge nose ribs on the left of the center section. At the top of the photo we see the trailing edge ribs in place on either side of the aft, center section.
On 6 September 2010, John decided it was time to put the center section in place on the fuselage of AM 274, and remove the assembly ‘jig’ that has been her ‘home’ these past few years.
Here we line the center section up with the fuselage as we prepare to make the transition.
John built a tail support (trestle) stand with casters on it for easy maneuverability. The photo above shows the trestle point where the tube goes through the fuselage to support the tail of the aircraft.
The Rolls-Royce Merlin must be removed before the center section can go under the aircraft …
For safety sake, the Merlin will rest on this engine stand until it’s time to go back on the motor mount …
Next, the motor mount will need to be removed …
With the engine and motor mount out of the way, John uses cargo straps to slowly lift AM 274 off the assembly jig she has been resting on the past few years …
John lifts the front of the fuselage off the assembly jig … then uses another cargo strap to lift the tail section off the assembly jig … and finally rolls the assembly jig out from under the aircraft …
… leaving the Hawker Hurricane AM 274 suspended in air, allowing her to ‘fly’ for the first time since she force landed on the Rybachiy peninsula in June of 1943!
John rolls the tail support stand in place and slips the tube through the trestle point to secure the stand in place.
We get the center section (now removed from the wing fittings that held it IN the jig, and lowered onto the steel beam that makes up the lower support of the jig itself) lined up with where it belongs under the fuselage …
… and slowly roll it into place …
… getting the center section lined up with the fuselage in just the right position …
… and then John lowered the fuselage onto the center section in order to join these two major parts of this one magnificent aircraft!
A view from aft, starboard of the fuselage now sitting on the center section of AM 274.
Next, John removes the center section assembly jig from beneath the aircraft, and mounts the center section wing attach fittings onto stands that allow for free movement around the center section …
Then it’s time to re-install the motor mount once again.
The next day, John returns the Rolls-Royce Merlin to its proper place on the motor mount on the Hawker Hurricane AM 274. He then paints the center section stands and installs casters in order to be able to move the plane around with ease.
Not one to ‘wait around’, John decides to ‘drop the gear’ to see what he will need to do before he can get the Hawker Hurricane AM 274 ‘standing’ on her own ‘feet’ once more!
John crawls up on the center section of AM 274 in order to measure the distance between the windscreen and the bottom of the rafters to see if he will be able to get her on her gear without having to modify the shop ceiling first.
Fortunately there IS enough room!
John lowered the gear and removed the center section support stands he had used to support the center section when he removed it from the assembly jig. He was then ready to roll the Hawker Hurricane AM 274 out the door!
On 11 September 2010, the Hawker Hurricane AM 274 is supporting herself on her own landing gear for the first time in more than 67 years!
One month later John made some necessary adjustments to the cockpit area, securing the seat with the proper bolts, etc. to make sure that he will be able to get safely inside the cockpit and sit in the pilot seat!
John checking out the stability of the pilot seat after securing the seat in place.
View from the starboard side of the aircraft, of John in the cockpit as he checks the controls.
View of the instrument panel, stick control unit, and floorboards from the pilot’s seat.
View of the cockpit and what can be seen (inside the shop) looking through the windscreen of the Hawker Hurricane AM 274.
John has installed replacement electrical boxes and junctions onto the electrical panel on AM 274.
The port side of AM 274 after the electrical panel is re-installed with the replacement electrical boxes and junctions in place.
One of the original AM 274 landing gear leg fairings (also called “spats”) John has
disassembled. He will be able to be use this one again with only a few minor repairs made to it.
This one required considerable more work, and a whole new skin in order to be able to use it again!
This photo shows the landing gear leg fairings (spats) secured in place on the landing gear itself.
The landing gear leg fairings (spats) in place. These fairings make for ‘smooth lines’ underneath the aircraft when in flight with the landing gear retracted, as they blend in with the belly of the aircraft.
By mid-November, John has shifted his focus back to the woodwork that surrounds the cockpit of the aircraft. This section of the aircraft is very time-intensive as many of the wooden panels need to be ‘hand-formed’. John begins by ‘steaming’ the wooden panel; then securing each panel in a mold he has built for the specific contour he requires. As the wood to begins to dry, he places the wood in the correct location around the cockpit section, where it continues to dry ‘in place’.
The woodwork in progress on the starboard side of the cockpit …
Twenty days later, John has almost completed the woodwork surrounding the cockpit of the Hawker Hurricane AM 274.
For fun, our nearly four-year old Granddaughter dons a British World War II leather flight helmet, and crawls inside the cockpit of “Grandpa’s” Hawker Hurricane AM 274, to test the controls while Grandpa watches!
Although the wings that were in the wreckage John bought from Ed Zalesky were NOT the original wings off AM 274, John HAS located the originals and hopes to be able to obtain them for the final restoration of the aircraft.
In the meantime, he moves forward with the wings he has.
He had begun to disassemble the starboard wings in 2005, but stopped in order to build the doghouse when the templates arrived. He has now returned to the wings ….
All the skins have been removed from the starboard wing. John can now see what inner structure will able to be used again, and what structure will need to be rebuilt, or re-manufactured as new.
Then begins the process of disassembling the port side wing.
This is the gun-bay … where the guns are mounted in the wings. John has removed the Russian gun mount that had been in this wing, and if you look very closely, you can see it on the floor, leaning against the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine beside the wall on the other side of the wing.
John now has the skins off the port wing as well.
He then begins to make new replacement wing ribs to replace the damaged ones …
… and installs them in the wing. Notice how damaged the next two ribs are ~ in the gun-bay!
John builds two new gun-bay ribs to replace them with …
… and installs them.