Friends of The Helicopter Museum

Whirlwind XD163 Restoration - The Fifth 8 Months

By April 2006 the reinstallation of XD163's transmission and gearbox was complete and the rear fairing for the oil cooler, with air intake and exit louvres, was in place.
The reclaimed hydraulic winch, with its components cleaned and overhauled, has been re-assembled and painted ready for installation when the restoration of Whirlwind XD163 approaches completion. Two removable access panels, on the rear right side of XD163, were found to have patches of severe corrosion. In May 2006 new panels were being manufactured, with one now in place on a trial basis.
It had always been known that the Rolls- Royce Gnome Mk.501 turboshaft, installed in XD163 (above) many years ago, for display purposes, was not the original engine or even a military version. In the interests of authenticity it was decided that this civilian Gnome would be removed and that an available Mk.101 military version would be installed in its place. No suitable trestle was available so a horizontal beam, with adjustable supports, was manufactured locally and used in conjunction with a compact 2-ton hoist. A roller trolley on the beam allowed the freed engine to be swung out sideways and lowered onto a waiting transit stand. Removal took place (above), as planned, on 13th May 2006.
A week later, on a fine Spring day,  the military 1050shp Gnome turboshaft was taken out of the Restoration Hangar to be given a pressure wash (above). On 27th May 2006, with the clean military engine returned to the hangar, a team effort was applied (above) to refurbish the engine, prior to installation for display.
Work proceeded on a complete external refurbishment of the Gnome Mk.101 military engine through June and July 2006. Most of the fuel pipe and actuator rod assemblies were dismantled and cleaned. On 12th August 2006 the engine was installed in XD163, using the horizontal beam and roller trolley which were used for removal in May. It didn't work as smoothly as then, but useful lessons were learned. 
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