Lancaster NX611 ‘Just Jane’ – Restoration Update 154

Avro Lancaster B.VII NX611 Just Jane is steadily progressing back to flying condition at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Center in East Kirkby, UK. Here is a recent update on restoration progress. (image via wikimedia)

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. The group has made magnificent progress, even during the pandemic, and we thought that our readers might like to see a recent report, reproduced here with permission…

The Rivet Club – Newsletter 154

by Andrew Panton

Work this week took place in the structures side of the hangar…

Dave has been making progress with one of the skins for KB976’s rear fuselage – it is the last of the new skins we can attach before we require the new formers. This is the forward-most skin on this fuselage section’s port side, and slightly rolled due to the large area it covers. The skin is riveted to the all-new stringers but must also be riveted to the new formers once they are in place, so it is very much bridging between the original parts from KB976 which we have managed to save and the new parts we are having to fabricate. Once this skin is trimmed, drilled and de-burred, the work on KB976’s rear fuselage must halt while we await the arrival of the wooden shaping blocks with which we shall produce the replacement fuselage formers.

New skin for the forward port area of KB976’s rear fuselage.

Back-drilling the holes to attach new skin to KB976’s rear fuselage.

Phil has also been working on the rear fuselage crew access door area. Working on this door requires removing some of the structure to which it mounts, including the stringers, which will obviously place significant stress on the remaining structure if we don’t brace it properly. As such, we have come up with a scheme for temporarily beefing up this part of the airframe while we work on the door area. To counteract the stringer removal, we will place a series of strong aluminium profiles which encase the doorway and transfer the stress around the rest of the structure. We have had these profiles formed in Lincoln, and Phil has been trimming them to match the drawing. These profiles again require the new formers before they can undergo final trimming and fitting, but they are another step forward and another item off the list.

New structure for KB976’s doorway.

John and Les have been working on NX664’s port wing and its jig. The end of this week saw the jig receive its end columns and the wing mounted securely atop them, connected via the rear spar attachment plates. Next week should hopefully find the front spar attachment points in place and the wing finally positioned and bolted into the jig so that the real work can begin on its restoration. We successfully lifted the wing into place last Tuesday, and John should be commended for his work in aligning it and its attachment plates so skillfully that it slipped onto the jig with ease. We need two tele-porters to lift the wing into position -while the wing is not particularly heavy, its shape and the lack of a lifting point made the whole process far more awkward than it should have been!

NX664’s port wing being lifted into the jig. A pair of tele-porters are lifting each end of the wing into position atop the jig pedestals so that the assembly can be bolted down and leveled up.

NX664’s port wing in the jig awaiting the top attachment points and end-post bracing.

A view of the wing’s top side as the assembly sits in its jig.

Les has been cleaning the wing’s many top hat profile stringers… indeed we are now building up a large quantity of parts for repainting. As we have mentioned in recent weeks, we have initiated a Gofundme campaign to raise the approximately £30,000 in financial resources which we will need to reach the next stage with this wing… please do help if you can. To contribute to the wing rebuild, please click the Wings Fund button HERE.

Keith has been working on the final parts for the static wing tip. This week has seen the wood trimmed, drilled and varnished, the skins drilled, dimpled and painted and the top skin riveted into place. Next week will see Keith begin final riveting for the lower surface skins, while the tip skins will be screwed into the wood. This will complete the wingtip so that it can come out of the jig. While the process may be simple, it does take a lot of time and effort!

Keith pinning out the wingtip skin ready for final riveting.

Keith and Les riveting the top skin onto one of the wingtips.

And lastly, Jim has now completed his time with us, but not before he finished rebuilding the panel for NX611’s port wing. This component is now ready for painting, and then fitting onto the wing’s trailing edge section.

A replacement panel for NX611’s port wing is ready for painting.

Stay safe and thanks for your support!

Andrew Panton

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!


1 Comment

  1. On the one hand, I commend the effort to get this Lancaster flying. But on the other hand, looking at the images, I cannot help but feel much of the “fabric” (albeit metal) of this still very original airframe is bow being sacrificed. I guess this is one of the problems with the warbirds movement. Sometimes, I wonder if certain aircraft should be left alone.

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