Lancaster NX611 ‘Just Jane’ – Restoration Update 161

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

The Rivet Club – Newsletter 161

by Andrew Panton

This week has seen some more visual progress and we got towards the end of skin-stripping for NX664’s port wing.

Bill has completed the stripping for NX611’s port wing No.1 fuel tank from NX611, and it is now clean of all its covering and adhesive. The next step will involve removing all of its attachments and the fuel jettison equipment, so that it is ready to go off for overhaul and repair with Retro Track & Air.

NX611’s port-side No.1 fuel tank with all of the covering and adhesive removed.

The first new production former was positioned in KB976’s rear fuselage and drilled off from the skins so it can then be pinned into place. This has proved the method and the wooden forming blocks used to shape the new part, so Dave has continued with the job of producing more of the new formers, with a second example completed this week. Dave will continue to produce these new formers ready for other team members to cut lightening holes and stringer slots before pinning them into the fuselage. This effort should gather pace in the coming days and weeks.

The first new former being drilled off from the skins and pinned into place in KB976’s rear fuselage.

The second new former produced.

Gerbs has finished servicing the starboard wheel and brakes, which will allow the team to lower NX611 back to the floor and remove the jacks next week. Many of her panels can then be refitted as she comes out of her airframe inspection period.

John and Keith have been forging ahead with skin removal from the topside of NX664’s wing, stripping all but four of the skins towards the fuselage end. John P has been continuing his work on the wing’s ribs and he has been able to straighten out some of the damage, but we need to source some U-shaped extrusions in order to fully repair them. John has also removed the outboard rear engine subframe mount, so that it can serve as a pattern for the production of new examples. These new mounts will be airworthy and fitted to NX611 during her wing restoration. NX611’s mounts are not airworthy, but they are in better condition than those on NX664, so we will transfer these examples to NX664’s wing before it itself is fitted to NX611 for the taxying season.

The top side of NX664’s wing undergoing skin removal.

NX664’s wing now has most of its skins removed from its top side.

The engine subframe rear mount from NX664’s port wing.

Another view of the rear engine subframe mount from NX664.

The Lancaster’s wing has some aluminium castings mounted into it to allow ease of lifting. These castings have an aluminium plug screwed into them for normal aircraft operations, but can be replaced with a lifting lug when the wing has to be removed for maintenance. Unfortunately, we have found that the aluminium plugs tend to get corroded, seizing them within, which prevents their removal. We have experienced this problem with NX664’s port wing, so the casting has had to be removed with the skin and unbolted from the rib. Hopefully, we will be able to collapse the hollow plug and remove it without damaging the casting. Interestingly, when you see how the casting is bolted into the wing rib, it is surprising to learn that it is strong enough to lift the wing from. Perhaps this suggests that the wing actually weighs less than we expect, or that the structure is far stronger than it appears!

NX664’s wing lifting point – still corroded in place.

We had a winter restoration tour on the February 5th and took attendees around the restoration area so that they could see the wing and fuselage close up. If you would like to book onto a tour, you can do so HERE

We are hoping to get our Gofundme wings campaign up to £30,000 in a very short time in an attempt to cover the ongoing costs with the wing and the prospective wing trailing edge jig which is being drawn up. If you would like to contribute to the Wings Fund and receive your special Wings Fund badge then please click HERE.

Stay safe and thank you for your support!

Andrew Panton


Below is the latest video of the restoration work…

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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