Monday, 23 July 2012

"Never Again!"

"Never Again" well, haven't we all said that and after time the memories/pain fades and we're back there again..................

"Never again" those were the words I said 6 years ago after the last re-paint..... and guess what I'm back here again! Several weeks in and the wettest summer in history and I remember all too clearly why I uttered those words.

This will be the third time XL231 has undergone a full re-paint in the 18 years she has been out of service, we're all older and wiser (well maybe not!) and fully prepared for the sore knee's, dust and countless hours of sanding.

With 2012 marking the 30th anniversary of the Falklands we had hoped to have put the old gal back in to camouflage but unfortunately it would have proved just too costly and in hindsight it was the right plan as with rain stopping play every week since we started you would have seen us still applying that grey/green this time next year!

During XL231's 50 year span she has donned several colour schemes:

Anti-flash white from 1962 - 1964 for her nuclear role, designed to reflect nuclear flash.

Grey & Green Camouflage with white under surfaces, in high gloss, from 1964 - 1975, originally for low level operations. Then in satin finish from 1975 - 1983.

Hemp upper surfaces and light aircraft grey under surfaces, 1983 - present.

Rich doing his bit for the war effort!
Sanding the aerodynamic fairing the 'Kucheman Carrot'

So how do you repaint an aircraft with a 2,406 sq ft wing area, a tail 33 ft high and that iconic nose art? First you rope in some 'willing' volunteers, including; Ian, Pete, Graham, John, Christine and a special mention to Rich, who decided very early on who needs holidays and weekends when you can paint a V-Bomber! Then comes the prep - sanding, sanding, sanding and more sanding and just when you think you've finished sanding even more sanding! Nothing fancy just a mountain of 120 grit paper and enough sanders to give B&Q a run for their money. One thing a wing area that size does is 'eat' sanders - so if there are any generous people who would like to donate a couple of sanders to the project we would love to hear from you.

Then comes the primer. Any flaking paint or corrosion is taken back to bare metal and treated. After over 18 years stood outside, taking everything the Yorkshire weather can throw at her Lusty Lindy is in fantastic condition. There was some very minor corrosion on some of the rivet heads and fasteners but other than that all panels are free from corrosion, a real tribute to British engineering and the countless hours we have spent tending to her over the years.

Olly in the port intake
Next, the paint - synthetic enamel; hemp upper, light aircraft grey undersides and white intakes, all applied by roller. Look out for part 2 of the blog detailing the work done.............. 

Find out how progress is going here 'Never Again' part 2

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