This update intends to let you know where we are with the project.
Restoration of Gannet AEW.3 XL500 started with HFL back in July 2008 at Exeter Airport, it was moved here to St Athan by road in February 2012.
A new team has been established to continue work on the Gannet including engineers, avionics specialists, and electricians will also be working on the aircraft as required. Volunteers are also helping out to provide support and labour to ensure that this large and ambitious project gets the attention it deserves. Vernon carries out the vital administration of the project, while HFLs’ Chief Engineer, John Sparks, will inspect and sign off the work as necessary.
The previous work carried out is a long list, but included inspection, stripping, and reinstatement of corrosion in the rear fuselage, some excellent metal work has been carried out in this regard. The main undercarriage legs have been replaced by brand new units, and various other jobs and testing has been carried out.
Our first job after unloading the beast at St Athan was to familiarise ourselves with the unusual airframe and engine arrangement, catch up with the previous work carried out, and to get to grips with the Air Publications and records of the aircraft.
Our first major task is to remove the current engine (Armstrong Siddeley Double Mamba Mk.112) and propellers. This is partly so that we can gain access to the forward structures for thorough inspection, but also because these engines are not flight worthy. We have completed the 40 plus engine disconnections, and once the three main engine mounts are disconnected the whole powerplant will be withdrawn forwards on rails and cleared of the aircraft. We are just awaiting support equipment to remove the propellers for their rebuild.