XP745 - the Vanguard Lightning
One of our most intricate yet rewarding projects to date, XP745 - F.3 English Electric Lightning - owned by Vanguard Storage Ltd since 1993, arrived at Weald Aviation Services ready for a full recondition - the plan for the aircraft was for it to ultimately become the centrepiece in the Vanguard Bristol facility which at that point was under construction.
The aircraft was fully and thoroughly degreased to counter years of storage, after of which skin repairs and panel replacement began. Once repairs were completed, the aircraft was again degreased, and high-build primer was applied. It was critical that maximum care and attention was upheld throughout, due to the nature of the display of the aircraft - let alone to help Vanguard properly pay tribute to such an iconic and legendary aircraft.
The 56 Squadron scheme was selected - fitting well with the history of the aircraft, and application began - not before a meticulously high level of research was carried out to ensure historical accuracy and precision. Our in-house paint team's favourite part being the 'chequered' tail of course. Another noteworthy element of the restoration was the manufacture of parts of a full scale deactivated missile, which was mounted to the aircrafts hardpoint to make for a mathich pair
Towards the end of the project, by luck - a visit was paid to the airfield by active members of RAF 56 Squadron, also shown below. After a quick comparison of the squadron insignia we recieved the 'nod of approval' from members of the squadron, a gratefully recieved compliment.
The aircraft was completed within the time frame, and was transported by one of the most expirienced aircraft haulage compaines accross the U.K over to Vanguard Bristol, where it took pride of place above thier reception desk.
A huge thanks to Mac McCullagh, Will McCullagh, and Paul Bradford of Vanguard for partnering with us for the restoration of XP745, and for helping keep British Aviation History very much alive.
G-VIVM - Sprucing up the Prototype
VIVM has been within our duty of care for a decade + becoming one of our favourite aircraft to work on, and watch take to the skies, and in 2018 the owners of the aircraft made the call to change the finish of the aircraft, for the first time in 30+ years (back during the era of the Empire Test Pilot School)
The aircraft - being a prototype T.5 Jet Provost was already unique, however the jetblack topcoat coupled with the red white and blue hard-lines made for an exceptionally striking change.
The aircraft was stripped back to bare metal, after of which high-build primer was applied to ensure a high standard of even finish could be achieved. The top coat and fin flash were applied, and the lacquer made for the perfect finishing touch.
G-BYKJ - Secret Scout
We cant talk about this one just yet...
G-RNHF - Centaurus Power
We've had the priviledge of servicing and maintaining all elements of G-RNHF - the Royal Navy Historic Flight's flagship aircraft for nearly 10 years, which has included everything from hard landing repairs, propeller servicing and installation, the rebuild of the ever powerful Rolls-Royce Centaurus Engine and more.
Working closely with Navy Wings and the Royal Navy Historic Trust, we ensure the Sea Fury T.20 runs and flies in the best possible condition, whilst holding and reconditioning a surplus of spares to keep it airworthy despite being built in 1949.
The aircraft resides in the Heritage Hangar of RNAS Yeovilton, U.K.