Classic Aviation Tech Support

Background

I was lucky to get into the UK classic aviation scene at a young age.

Tony Hulls gave me the great opportunity at 11 years old to start helping to restore and maintain his T5 Lightning XS452 at Cranfield, which led into T5 Lightning XS458 too. This 18 year experience on these aircraft formed my "unofficial apprenticeship", and I'm eternally thankful.

Help and support

Some 20-ish years later, I can't commit every weekend to aviation due to family life, but do give remote tech-support advice to help aircraft preservation groups as and when I can via email & phone, to help troubleshoot, and repair issues. In varying capacities these have included:

  • English Electric Lightning T5 XS458 - Every Saturday for years, and now occasional support.
  • Avro Vulcan B2 XM655 - Helped fault-find radio and intercom issue.
  • Avro Shackleton MR2 WR963 - Helped discuss removal of old PTR-175 equipment.
  • Hunting / BAC Jet Provost Mk4 XS186 - Gave fault finding guidance on ARC-52 issues.
  • FlightGear flight simulator Lightning model development - Gave photos, information, and system descriptions to make the software models as realistic as possible.

This tech support help normally involves sending me scanned diagrams and information, photos, and a description of fault-finding work already carried out. I can then sit down, study the information and put together a logical test procedure to be carried out on the aircraft, which will give us enough information to figure out the root cause of the fault. This process is effectcively part of what I do for work, but on industrial gas turbine control systems.

As I have zero budget for any of this work (and of course I have no fee for my time), I have been lucky enough to receive some kind donations of, manuals, drawings, parts and equipment that's helped me to fault-find aircraft issues. I'm still trying to find some parts, listed here: Wanted.

Test rigs

Below Left - I previously constructed the dedicated Lightning T5 radio installation test rig which helped us to diagnose two separate issues on XS458: a faulty thermionic valve causing permanent receiver mute; and relay contact microphony causing vibration related noise during engine runs and taxiing.

Below Middle - I am now working on finding the parts for another general ARC-52 and PTR-175 test rig that can help many aircraft types.

Below Right - A small test rig I built years ago for testing a G90 Gun Camera installed in the nose of an EE Lightning, it could test the aircraft, and the camera independantly.

Click on the above images for test rig project info.

Experiences

Over the years I've carried fault-finding work on PTR-175 and ARC-52 radio systems, engine systems (R-R Avon mainly), fuel systems including reheat, and other aircraft electro-mechanical equipment. I've also restored a number of Martin Baker ejection seats, and aircrew flying helmets, etc...

I initially led the project to re-engineer T5 Lightning XS458's engines to use electric starter motors. I sourced the DC motors and starter control panels, and carried out the initial design and installation work. I handed the lead role over to Rod Barker when we had our first child, as family life took over.

Thank-You's

I've received some very kind help from people who have found my projects by stumbling across this website and made donations, so to acknowledge their kindness, many thanks go to: