|In March 2004 a new cockpit roof for Whirlwind XD163 was cut from alloy sheet and drilled (above, top), using the remains of the original corroded roof as a template, before being primed and pinned to the newly-renovated canopy frame (above). It was then partially painted while riveting was carried out.
|While the cockpit canopy was being refurbished Mike Reading was dismantling the instrument panel, cleaning, repairing and overhauling the instruments, replacing broken components and then reassembling everything (left). Meanwhile the cockpit floor was being cleaned up and several small corrosion patches were being treated before fresh primer was applied (right).
|The bulkhead between the upper rear cockpit and the gearbox was in a severely corroded state (left) when removed in April 2004. New alloy sheet was cut to size, riveted and bolted to build a new bulkhead. New acoustic board was attached to one side. Whenever possible original fittings were reclaimed, renovated and used again. On 12th May, after thorough priming and painting, the new bulkhead was mounted forward of the gearbox and over the slanting transmission shaft tunnel (right) covered with the original acoustic insulation fabric.
|On 15th May 2004 the renovated and partially repainted cockpit roof and glazing frame was lifted and replaced over the cockpit after preparation and painting of appropriate sections of the fuselage and interior. All went well and, after a bit of gentle persuasion, the frame was refitted and bolted into place (above).
|In June and July 2004 most of the windscreen glazing was refitted (above left). Unfortunately there were several deep scratches in one of the perspex panels, which proved difficult to remove. They were eventually cleared, using some graded abrasive papers, though at the expense of some localised optical distortion. The cable harnesses and control panels, for the UHF radio, have been replaced within the cockpit canopy frame (above right).
|In late August 2004 a fuselage skin panel (above left), below the aft radio compartment, found to be badly corroded, was replaced by an almost identical panel removed from G-ATKV, a donor Whirlwind. The mounting box, for the lower UHF aerial, which was attached to the panel, was also replaced (above right) on 4th September 2004, the original box having suffered similar corrosion.
|On 16th October 2004 the refurbished instrument panel was raised onto the scaffold platform and installed in the cockpit.
(above and below)
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