Since our last report on the restoration of Jack McDonald’s Hawker Demon much change has taken place at Caboolture.
The major event has been the relocation of the project to the new ”Beaufort Restoration” hangar along with the DAP Beaufort , tools and other aircraft in the collection as well as Jack’s MiG 17 fighter. The relocation has slowed the restoration of the Demon a little, however of late the rebuild has accelerated again and is moving along very well at present.
All of the major structural sub-assemblies that make up the fuselage have been completed and recently the “marriage” took place with all the components coming together to complete the assembly of the fuselage frame including the “dog house” cockpit assembly and even a trial fitting of the front instrument panel. Also, now in place are the firewall and finally the engine mount, all looking resplendent in their as new finish. Now that the fuselage is together the actual size and shape of the aircraft is apparent.
With all the fuselage sections in place, work has commenced on the internal fit out of the cockpit and fuselage in general, which is a bit of a large scale mystery puzzle. This is because the components have been stored in boxes for many decades and it takes a considerable amount of consideration and trial fitting to determine where the parts go and in what order. In the end, though with the collective knowledge and experience of Jack McDonald and Ron Lee, most issues are solved by common sense and good memory!
On the day of our visit the pedal assemblies for the front cockpit were being fitted and the complexity was readily apparent with the series of gears and chains for the control stick also in place. The fitting of the instrument panel as a trial was an anxious process as it has to fit precisely inside a lip inside the cockpit doghouse and is mated to two brackets on the fuselage frame. Any error in construction would require a considerable amount of rework and adjustment as it simply will not fit if it’s not accurately constructed. Thankfully, there was nothing to worry about and the panel dropped flawlessly into place, much to Ron Lee’s relief.
The next phases of the restoration will see the many hundreds of internal components and brackets etc. fitted and adjusted. The Fin is largely constructed, but will have to be completed, as will the rudder assembly, as well as the horizontal stabilizer and its moveable surfaces. Once the tail is complete the wooden stringers and frame for the fuselage will be added and the cloth covering completed. Next the engine will be installed to allow the cowlings to be properly formed and installed.
The aircraft can then be mounted on its undercarriage and finally the wings will be fitted once they have been constructed. As the intention is to make this an aircraft capable of being taxied and eventually even made airworthy, the wings will be constructed to the highest standards possible.
Warbirds Online will be continuing to report on this great Warbird Restoration project as it progresses and we thank the restoration team for their assistance with this update.
© John Parker 2015