Friends of The Helicopter Museum

Whirlwind XD163 Restoration - The Third 8 Months

In early December 2004 it was found that there was some corrosion in the right hand sliding door as well as in parts of the airframe around the doorway. Removing the door for treatment was difficult because corrosion, around the sliding locking rod at the top of the door (above right), prevented it's withdrawal. It was eased out with some gentle hammering and application of rust-removing fluid
Serious work has started on preparing the cabin interior for cleaning and repainting. As usual the difficult decision has to be made as to whether the original paint is to be completely stripped off, in the knowledge that corrosion can often lurk beneath apparently sound paint. This was well illustrated on 4th December 2004 when paint on a channel frame below the right side cabin window, which seemed to be in fairly sound condition (above left), flaked off when disturbed and exposed patches of corrosion (above right). It appeared that the original primer had not adhered to the bare metal in that area.
In early January 2005, while removing heavy corrosion from the cabin roof, it was realised that one of the metal deck panels, below and slightly to the rear of the gearbox, was perforated in several places (above). To allow replacement, or even patching, of the panel it was decided that the main rotor head and gearbox would have to be lifted from the deck. 
Throughout much of January 2005 work continued to disconnect the maze of control rods, oil pipes and hydraulic lines (above left) which surround the transmission and main rotor head. The drive shaft from the engine and the drive shaft to the tail rotor were disconnected.  On 12th February 2005 the securing bolts were removed one by one and the entire assembly was lifted from the deck (above right) and lowered slowly onto a waiting trolley.


It was known that the main rotorhead would not rotate so, on February 26th 2005, it was disconnected and easily removed from its shaft (above left). The rotating and non-rotating swashplate assemblies (above centre) were very difficult to lift from the gearbox because of corrosion between the shaft and the spherical swashplate bearing. Eventually, using a hoist with pulleys, the lift was achieved (above right) revealing the corroded shaft.


As soon as the gearbox had been removed it was confirmed (above left) that the deck above the cabin would have to be stripped, cleaned and re-painted and that the corroded areas would have to be patched and treated. Work continued throughout March 2005 and, by April 2nd, patching and painting was in progress (above right).
The generator was missing from XD163 when it arrived, but, in April 2005, one was recovered from a spare Whirlwind gearbox and was completely refurbished and painted (above left) for later attachment to the transmission. In May 2005, with patching and painting of the deck completed, work started on replacing oil pipes, pressure sensors, hydraulic lines and fittings (above right).
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