Friends of The Helicopter Museum

Westland Wessex Series 60, G-AVNE, Restoration Page 2

In early April 2008 work started on removal of the covers for the main gearbox and transmission. Accumulations of dirt and birds' nests were removed to allow full checks on the condition of the deck and surrounding structures.
Initially it was thought that the tail cone should be separated from the main fuselage to allow work on both sections to be carried out more easily. The tail rotor drive shaft, control cables and wiring harnesses were disconnected appropriately but the idea was abandoned when it was realised that, in the absence of suitable substantial cradles, the stability of both sections would be seriously compromised after separation.
Later in April 2008 the tail rotor transmission drive shaft sections and the intermediate gearbox were removed, followed by the tail rotor head itself (above left). On 17th May 2008, after removal of remaining control rods and electric cabling, the hinged tail rotor pylon was detached from the tail cone and placed in a small, locally-built, cradle (above right).
It was known that there was corrosion in the transmission deck, so equipment surrounding the main gearbox (above left) was dismantled to allow better access. The worst corrosion was found (above right) below the mounting plate of the tail rotor drive shaft brake assembly, where the deck and cabin roof were penetrated.
Initial inspection of the cabin (above left), in April 2008, showed that the original furnishings and fittings were still in place and in good condition. First glances indicated that the interior airframe was sound, but when ceiling trim panels were removed it was clear that serious corrosion (above right) had taken hold, perhaps because of restricted ventilation. The many affected areas will be cleaned, treated, primed and repainted.
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The main instrument panel appeared to be in good condition (above left), with a full set of instruments. However, closer examination showed that there were a lot of patches of light corrosion in the panel so, because it was also intended to clean and check each instrument, it was decided, in July 2008, that the panel would be removed, stripped, treated for corrosion and re-painted (above right).
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