Friends of The Helicopter Museum

Whirlwind XD163 Restoration - The Seventh 8 Months

After overhauling and replacing the skid components, Mike Addicott refitted them on 7th July 2007.
On 8th August 2007 Stuart refitted the cabin step, after refurbishment and repainting. The two forward oleos and castoring wheels were rebuilt before installation in mid-August 2007. 
On 16th August 2007 work started on the refurbishing and painting of XD163's three main rotor blades. This work was finished by late October 2007 and the first blade was refitted to the rotor head. On 3rd November 2007 the remaining two blades were fitted and installed in their folded position.
By mid-December 2007, work on the refurbishment of the under-floor fuel tanks was nearing completion and the flooring panels were being cleaned, repaired and re-painted (above left). Re-laying of the floor panels was completed on 29th December, with some paint retouching finished on 5th January 2008.
It had been hoped that XD163 could be rolled out into the Display Hangar on 13th January 2008 but it was found that the left side main undercarriage leg, which acts as a radius strut for the assembly, had not been properly secured into its underfloor, inboard, bracket bearing (above left). The consequential extra load on the outboard bearing had caused it to fracture (above right).
A replacement outboard bearing bracket was obtained from a donor Whirlwind and fitted to XD163. On 9th February 2008 the left main undercarriage leg and strut were refitted (above left) with close monitoring to ensure that the spigot, on the end of the strut, was pushed home before being rotated and fully locked into its inboard bearing bracket (above right). The integrity of the right side fittings was also carefully checked and found to be satisfactory, before the flooring was replaced.
By 15th February 2008 the Whirlwind restoration was 99% complete so the machine was rolled out into the Display Hangar to facilitate other aircraft movements, which were delayed four weeks previously because of XD163's problems. With XD163 in its display position the tail rotor assembly was installed and the nose cone was re-fitted. A few interior details still needed some further work but most of these were attended to after the helicopter went on public display.
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