|G-PASB in July 2001
|Many years ago The Museum acquired, from Police Aviation Services Ltd., two MBB Bö.105D helicopters, G-PASA in Devon and Cornwall Police livery and G-PASB in Wiltshire Police livery. Both airframes were incomplete and were, frankly, just shells. To cut a long story short, G-PASA was chosen to be The Museum's 'Gate Guardian' and G-PASB was, with the permission of the Trustees, given to the Friends. The hope was that the Friends could refurbish the machine, concentrating on the fuselage initially, with the object of using it as part of a mobile display to help publicise The Museum and to recruit new members and restoration volunteers.
Unfortunately G-PASB had initially been regarded as a surplus airframe and was used as a source of components to restore the future 'Gate Guardian' machine. Work on the Friends' helicopter proceeded intermittently in the latter part of 2001 and through into 2002. Regrettably it was not found possible to move G-PASB into the Restoration Hangar for the 2001/02 winter period, as had been hoped, but the pace of work was stepped up in Spring 2002 with priority placed on exterior refurbishment and getting the machine mobile with the interior made relatively tidy.
|Above left. Fred Tooke does some exploratory work on the rear clamshell door attachments in April 2002. Above right. Sleeve brackets, manufactured by Harry Willis, were used by Andrew Peters to attach reclaimed skids to the legs, in May 2002.
|It had been planned that the fuselage would sit in a cradle fixed to the bed of a trailer. The skid track is nearly 2.5 metres, too wide for any trailer we are likely to acquire, so the legs would have had to be made easily removable where they attach to the fuselage.
New doors were to made up from sheet aluminium and work on this task started in earnest, in September 2002. A surplus door and an instrument panel were to be acquired from The Museum Collection. In October 2002 a new tail pylon rear fairing was manufactured and fitted (below left) and, in February 2003, quick release connector plates were manufactured for attaching the tail boom to the fuselage (below right). Replacement floor panels were being cut to size in October 2003 but little outside work was attempted through the winter.
|New tail pylon fairing.
Quick release boom connectors.
Progress in subsequent years was very slow, partly due to the distance of the machine from a covered workshop and tools. New efforts were made to bring a section of the Bölkow into the original Restoration Hangar and this was agreed in principle, but there was difficulty in creating a suitable space among the many other items.
It was suggested, in late 2005, that the project should be abandoned because of the continuing difficulties. However it was decided that efforts to restore G-PASB, to a state in which it could be used for a mobile display, should continue. In 2006/07 Fred Tooke, involved in the work from the start, was attempting to source more of the required parts. A rotorhead and blades were already available. Fred obtained access to the large red trailer which, until 2001, had been used for tool storage inside the Restoration Hangar. The trailer has since been used for the storage of some of the smaller components and tools, acquired for G-PASB, but progress was disappointing.
In October 2010 the Friends committee decided, with regret, that the project would be abandoned, due to continuing difficulties with working conditions and availability of staff. The machine was offered for sale at over £3000.00.
|The Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB) Bö.105D was an all-metal light helicopter carrying pilot and passenger on front seats with a rear bench seat removable for carrying cargo or two stretchers. Powered by two 420shp Allison 250-C20 turboshaft engines the Bö.105 was popular for police and ambulance services because of its rugged construction and rear clamshell loading doors.
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