Lancaster NX611 ‘Just Jane’ – November 2019 Restoration Update

Avro Lancaster B.VII NX611, known the world over as "Just Jane" seen here a few years ago during an engine run, has been undergoing a long restoration back to airworthy condition at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center at the former RAF East Kirkby in England. Here is the latest update on restoration progress. (image via wikipedia)
Aircorps Art Dec 2019

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, although it’s been some time since our last update, and we thought that our readers might like to see their most recent report, reproduced here with permission…

The Rivet Club – Newsletter 87

by Andrew Panton

We must say a sincere thank you to those of you who donated some extra funds following Newsletter 86 to help with the costs of the extrusion.  Its added a few hundred pounds back into the restoration account.

This week is the start of the winter servicing and restoration program. A lot of this week is of course the set up of the hangar and restoration area along with the post season ‘shake down’ for the engines. For this effort, all of the cowlings are removed except for the top cowling, and then various breathers and pipes are bagged for a series of sampling checks. The engines are then run up to get them warm and to zero boost for a thorough test and run. Any leaks or problems are noted and remedied within the winter servicing period ready for the following year.

The wing tips have been removed from the outer wings ready for the bottom skins to be removed and mounted onto their new jigs. The jigs have been built using a spare wing tip loaned by Tim Taylor, one of our pilots and ground crew.

Along with the set up of the hangar, we will also be jacking and trestling the aircraft ready for the long winter ahead. This gives the tires a rest, allowing us to service the wheels and brakes while also providing a stable aircraft that is safe to be worked on.

The rear turret has been readied for removal from the airframe, and is set for restoration over the summer period. It will be reverted back to its original structure and Perspex as it would have come out of the factory. The turret will look remarkably different when it is finished and put another ‘tick in the box’ for the restoration.

As some of you may have seen, we unfortunately had to cancel our fireworks event due to the atrocious weather that was forecast.  Regrettably, this has left the project seriously short of funds to help us through the winter, so we’ll be trying to raise money through a series of different methods over the coming months to ensure the project doesn’t falter.

As usual, I have filled the newsletter with photos from this last week so have a good look below and see how we’ve been getting on.

Thanks for your support!

Andrew Panton

The final parts of the trailing edge are now fitted to the aileron under restoration. (photo via Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center)

The next step for the aileron is to remake and dry fit the shroud that fits between the spar and trailing edge under the covering material. (photo via Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center)

Bringing the Lancaster outside for its post-season, high-power engine runs. (photo via Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center)

Rear turret rotation. The rear turret is being removed this year to rebuild the structure underneath and overhaul the Frazer-Nash FN82 turret. There is a ring of bolts that attach it to the airframe, but to unfasten them, you must first remove the skirt at the base of the turret. (photo via Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center)

The port wing tip removed for rebuild. Around 40 studs attach the wing tip to the mainplane. (photo via Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center)

Another part of this winter’s work is the final stretch of the underwing panel and anchor nut strip replacement. (photo via Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center)

In order to remove the turret base fairing/ring there are a double row of rivets that stretch forward towards the tailplane. In order to drill these the elevators must be removed. (photo via Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center)

Port elevator removed from the tailplane. (photo via Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center)

Port wingtip removed, ready to have the lower skins drilled off and mounted on a jig. (photo via Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center)

Kev starting to remove the port wing tip lower skins. (photo via Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center)

The skins beginning to come off; a very time-consuming job considering the number of rivets! (photo via Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center)

The port wingtip partially de-skinned. (photo via Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center)

An area inside the port wingtip showing corrosion on the structure. Yet again, we found no protection on the structure to defend against corrosion. (photo via Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center)

Drilling out the rivets on the lower skins of the starboard wing tip. (photo via Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center)

Just one example of the problem we face with the original magnesium alloy rivets. Here you can see an example of a couple of popped rivet heads. (photo via Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center)

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


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