Lancaster NX611 ‘Just Jane’ – February 2020 Restoration Update Pt.2

Avro Lancaster B.VII NX611 Just Jane at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center a few years ago. The aircraft is currently under restoration to fly. (image via Wikipedia)
United Fuel Cells

As many of our readers will be well aware, Avro Lancaster B.VII NX611 Just Jane is under restoration to airworthy condition with the Lincoln Aviation Heritage Center at former RAF East Kirkby in Lincolnshire, England. We have been reporting on their progress periodically, and we thought that our readers might like to see a recent report, reproduced here with permission…

The Rivet Club – Newsletter 102

by Andrew Panton

This week we’ve had Cees back with us from the Netherlands. He has been working on the starboard ammunition box for the rear turret so that we can refit it to the aircraft when we restore the forward-rear fuselage section. There are many new skins on the box, so Cees has been countersinking the holes ready for the flush rivets. There are still some clean-up jobs to do on these parts, but they will soon go for painting before being riveted together.

We have re-fitted a propeller to number 4 engine, so we now have all of the props back on the aircraft, along with half of the prop domes. We have re-fitted the number 2 fuel tank from the port side, and connected it back up to the fuel system after solving the minor weep we found in the fuel pump connection. Next week, we hope to have the fuel tank panel refitted as well.

Many of the parts for the rear fuselage/turret section restoration have been through the paint shop. There is always a discussion in the wider world about the colour of ‘interior grey/green’.  The British Standard colour recognised traditionally as Interior Grey/Green has never been quite correct in comparison to the photos and wreckage we have seen, neither has it matched the colour visible inside NX611, although she has been repainted inside several times during her life. The key to finding the correct interior grey/green colour came this winter, as we found an untouched mating surface on the bulkhead just forward of the rear turret. This has revealed the original colour in which NX611 left the factory at Longbridge, and it has never been over-painted since those days. We took this paint sample to Witham Specialist Oil and Paint for colour-matching and now have new paint mixed and ready for use as a result. We now call this color ‘Avro Grey/Green’ and will use it throughout the Lancaster’s interior.  Not only does the new paint match the un-touched part we found in NX611, but it also matches the remaining on wreckage we own from at least two other WWII Lancasters. We now know that it is correct for NX611, but could it also be the original Cockpit grey/green, or did different factories mix their own batch of paint and have variations in pigment?

The wingtips are progressing well. The extrusions and webs are being built up ready for final-fit into the jig. The majority of the work on the port wingtip’s spars and ribs is complete, leaving the stringers and new intercostals to be drilled off and finally dry-fitted. Once these parts are drilled off, any remaining bare aluminium parts will receive a coat of paint. The structure will then be pinned together, ready for riveting. Kev is away next week, so the port wingtip won’t progress during his absence.

The starboard wingtip has had its stringers riveted with their strengthening strips, and the extrusion/web built up. The parts from Mark Cole that arrived last week have progressed through trimming and cleaning up. They are now ready for the wingtip structure to be trial-fitted and drilled-off. The coming weeks should see a lot of visual progress with the wingtips; it will be good to see them built up in the jig again.

The rear fuselage section is ready for riveting next week, so we should soon begin to see the Lancaster looking more complete again, with the turret support section back in place. We’re still waiting for some of the skins to come back from Cunningham Aero, but they should be along soon, giving us all of the parts we require.

Don’t forget to checkout our new RAF Blue/Grey Rivet Club t-shirts on the links below. We have changed the colour from the khaki green to try and offer some variation. I could see no better colour than RAF Blue/Grey!

Thanks for your support!

Andrew Panton

Cees working on the rear turret starboard ammunition box.

Countersinking the internal faces of the rivet holes inside the ammunition box.

All of the propellers are now back on NX611.

Many of the rear turret parts are now painted and ready for riveting back together.

The real shade of the Lancaster’s interior grey/green paint.

Painting the rear fuselage former/frame.

The empty port wingtip jig.

A newly-drilled and shaped wingtip extrusion.

Matching the new extrusions to the web.

Hundreds of wingtip parts awaiting painting.

Some of the small winter parts following painting.

That’s all for this particular update. We hope that you have enjoyed reading it. As can be seen, a lot of work remains to be done, but the aircraft is well on the way back to flying condition. It is being done in a methodical and careful manner in order to keep the aircraft available for ground-running operations during the summer months. For those interested in helping support this important project, please click HERE

Be sure to check out their store HERE as well… There are many cool items to buy which will help get Just Jane back in the air!


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