Over the past few months the team at Vintage Fighter Restorations (VFR) at Scone NSW has been working on and conducting maintenance on several of the Pay’s fleet of Warbirds and this provides an opportunity to view interesting detail of some of the Warbirds internals that is rarely able to be seen.
Curtiss P-40E 41-25109 (RAF serial ET433) VH-KTY has been hangar bound for some months now, undergoing various maintenance, the most significant of which has been an overhaul of its Allison V-1710-115 liquid-cooled V12 engine. The aircraft had been flying since 2004 and was in need of routine engine work. Interestingly the aircrafts engine has undergone its refurbishment in house at the VFR engine shop under the expert hands of Alf Morgan. At the time of our visit the engines interior was going through the required work and its detail was on display, including the unique rocker arm arrangement of the Alison which utilizes one rocker to operate two valves as opposed to the Rolls Royce Merlin’s one rocker per valve – quite an innovative feature. One of the Allison’s combined cylinder head and cylinder banks was also removed from the engine and was being reassembled after being honed and having the valves reground which was also a very interesting process as it’s usually not possible to look into the interior of one of these mighty V12’s.
The Allison is now being reassembled and will soon be refitted to the P40 and other routine work carried on the airframe in readiness for a test flight in the next month or so.
It will be great to see this magnificent P40E back in the sky where it belongs. For more on the history of this aircraft please see our earlier story on the restoration and flight of Curtiss P-40E VH-KTY.
The other major activity in the Pay’s VFR Warbirds hangar was maintenance work being carried out on Hawker Hurricane, Serial No 5481 C/N 60372, Mk XII / IIB VH-JFW. Recently it was noted that the aircrafts radiator required an overhaul and given its location in the fuselage this has been an interesting operation. Once the radiator had been removed a number of options were pursued in order to have it refurbished both in Australia and overseas and in the end it was decided to have it rebuilt by a well-respected New Zealand company. The radiator has now been rebuilt and is in the process of being refitted to the Hurricane.
Other normal yearly routine maintenance is also being undertaken on the Hurricane and it too should fly again within the next 4 to 6 weeks. More history on this aircraft is in our earlier story on the restoration and flight of Hawker Hurricane, Serial No 5481.
Also within the Warbird Hangar work is being undertaken to ready the rest of the Pays fleet in anticipation of the much awaited Warbirds Over Scone Airshow to be held on Sunday the 25th of March 2018. This will be an excellent gathering of Warbirds including Pays P51 Mustang, Hurricane, P40 Kittyhawk and maybe a special arrival mystery attraction as well as the T6 Harvard and some of the resident Fire Bombers. Paul Bennet will also attend with his aerobatic aircraft and the much loved Grumman TBM Avenger and CAC Wirraway.
Also attending is the Focke-Wulf 190 from Albury, New South Wales. This will mark the first time ever that this impressive German fighter, once the backbone to the Luftwaffe’s Fighter Force, has shared the skies with a Hurricane in the Southern hemisphere. Both aircraft are the only airworthy examples of their kind in Australia and to bring them together is really something special.
Many other Warbird attractions will be attending including a Spitfire and other P51s. This will be a must attend airshow on any serious Warbird enthusiasts agenda.
Warbirds Online will continue to update progress at Vintage Fighter Restorations at Scone in the coming months. A very exciting time for all of us!!
© John Parker 2018