I would like to thank you all for choosing to follow the Buccaneers of The Buccaneer Aviation Group and welcome you to our first official TBAG News Letter


XW544

Work on XW544 has slowed because of the work required on XX894, We have changed the nose wheel for the winter but still have to remove the main wheels so they can be re-greased. We are aiming to give XW544 an anti deterioration run every month throughout the winter but this depends on the weather and how much resource the work on XX894 is consuming.


XX894

Since the engine boroscope revealed internal engine damage the rectification work has gathered pace. The port engine has been removed from the aircraft and is now stood on its nose in the “Tree Tops Hangar” at Bruntigthorpe Airfield. Dave Walton has kindly allowed us to undertake the work under the cover of his hangar, which will help shield us from the worst of the winter weather.

The strip down of the engine has commenced, but it’s going to be a long job. This work has never been undertaken in the field before and would normally be done at a specialist facility and we consequently need to be extremely careful to ensure all the parts are safely removed and stored.

Fortunately, we have a serviceable spare Spey engine that only requires some work on the fuel control system to make it live and this work will be started very shortly. Once this has been completed we will undertake a test run of the engine in a purpose built stand. If the engine runs correctly it will be refitted to the port side of XX894 from where the other engine was removed.

The Royal Navy paint scheme added just before XX894 retired from active RAF service has somewhat faded over the years and the group plan to repaint this aircraft over the winter. However, we need access to one of the “Rubs” on the airfield to get her under cover and as soon as one becomes available she will be put inside and the sanding down ready for the repaint will commence. This will result in our group splitting into two teams for the separate engine and repainting tasks.  All being well we are hoping to have XX894 back to fast taxi condition by the spring.


Yours

Dave Webber

Chairman The Buccaneer Aviation Group

 

From The Chairman

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It’s been a while since I’ve been to the airfield as my day job means I’m working almost every weekend.  My last time in XX894 was the August Cold War Jets Day.  Despite running okay the previous day the port engine would not start after three attempts and, with XW544 turning and burning beside me, I decided to taxi her to the crowd line and just do a Hydraulic demonstration (hook, wings, etc) after XW544 had shot off down the runway. XX894 joined XW544 for another run later in the day but the port engine was still not well and displayed some abnormal readings in the cockpit.  I am looking forward to hearing news of the strip down to see what that reveals about the condition of the engine.

From Mike Birt - Pilot XX894

It's been a busy year for XW544 with the unveiling of the repaint in March, two Open Days, plus a score of test runs where she hasn't missed a beat, which is fantastic! The biggest improvement to the running of XW544 during the year was the work on the brakes. The old ones were very snatchy and not progressive at all. During the winter maintenance a new set were fitted and the braking is now progressive and strong. This meant that during the Open Day in August I was able to achieve my highest speed yet in XW544, 120kts! More to come though I think!

In November we ran the engines and systems in XW544 for the last time this year so we could get on with the winter maintenance. The port engine was reluctant to start but once it had started it ran nicely. The starboard engine was perfect as usual. All services were exercised and the engines ran up to high power to check that the Inlet Guide Vanes moved correctly and generally check all was well, which it was! There are a few small residual snags to fix that we have carried throughout the season, although these should be remedied over winter!

I'm going to be a bit further away next year as I’ll be flying the Tornado GR4 in Lossiemouth, but I'll still be coming to Bruntingthorpe to pilot XW544, come wind, rain or extortionate air fare!


From Ollie Suckling - Pilot XW544

Our spare engine is now installed in a loaned roll over stand (our own roll over stand restoration is not yet complete)












allowing work on the fuel system to commence.













To date the fuel flow regulator, low pressure fuel governor and airflow regulator have all been removed for overhaul.













The old fuel nozzles have also been removed and a serviceable set already made ready for fitting.














Unfortunately the inlet guide vane mechanism is stiff and so has necessitated the removal of the top section of the engine casing for lubrication.













All being well the engine will be re-assembled, serviced and prepared for ground running by early January. If all goes to plan the engine will be fitted back in to XX894 shortly afterwards.

From Francis Wallace - Crew Chief XX894

From Colin Robinson - Member of TBAG

Dave Webber, Francis Wallace and Colin Robinson from The Buccaneer Aviation Group (www.TheBuccaneerAviationGroup.com) where invited by Mike Beachy Head and Ian Pringle for the experience of a lifetime – a 55 minute flight each crewing the back seat of Buccaneer ZU-BCR. This was in recognition of the groups work with Buccaneers XW544 and XX894 based at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground in the UK and the close relationship that has been built between the respective groups Buccaneer jets on all matters of preservation.

















 

We cannot praise highly enough the level of safety and professionalism shown at all times during our 2 days at Thunder City from the safety briefings and requisite tests through to the ground crew, the safety officer and the pilots themselves– it certainly felt like we were in the Air Force! At all times it was clear that we were operating at the highest standard of operation under the demanding rules of the aviation authority

 

These flights took place on November 1st at Cape Town International in glorious flying weather – not a cloud in the sky.


From a personal perspective I have to say it was an experience of a life time and a real honour to crew the back seat of a Buccaneer, 55 minutes that will never be forgotten.

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