As many of our followers will know, R4118 suffered a crack to the port cylinder bank towards the end of August 2017. Luckily, our engineering team spotted the “tell-tale” signs of a cracked block shortly before the aircraft was about to depart Old Warden for a flying display, preventing a potentially serious in-flight emergency developing.
With the aircraft subsequently grounded for repairs, we removed the engine from R4118 and uncovered a number of other issues that required rectification before the aircraft could be returned to flight. Notably, the starboard cylinder bank also showed signs of cracking and, rather than repairing these components, a decision has been made to replace the two damaged banks with newly overhauled units. This work is currently being undertaken by Maurice Hammond of Eye Tech Engineering.
In addition, it was discovered that the Rotol propeller hub fitted to the aircraft had sustained some damage and, once again, a decision has been made to manufacture a new hub to ensure that, once R4118 is returned to flight, she’s in pristine condition. Whilst the engine and propeller are undergoing overhaul, we’ve also commissioned work to repair leaks in the coolant header tank and conduct repairs to the radiator and oil cooler.
Finally, Clive Denney and his team at Vintage Fabrics have almost completed replacing the Irish linen skins on all of the flying surfaces (see attached). As expected, Clive has done a superb job and the work on these components should be completed by mid-February.
A New Home for R4118
Since the acquisition of R4118 by Hurricane Heritage in October 2015, the aircraft has been based at Old Warden within The Shuttleworth Collection.
Given the substantial amount of work required to rebuild the aircraft and return her to flight, we’ve decided to relocate her to Duxford where the team at The Aircraft Restoration Company (ARCo) have been appointed to conduct the rebuild. ARCo (under the leadership of John Romain) have a huge depth of experience with rebuilds of this type and, importantly, have enough resource to complete the rebuild work very quickly once overhauls to the various components have been completed.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank both the teams at The Shuttleworth Collection, and Bygone Aviation, who have been great partners on our journey of Hurricane ownership over the last couple of years. Even though R4118 will now be based at Duxford, I’ve no doubt she’ll be a regular feature of Shuttleworth displays in seasons to come.
The Move to Duxford
As you’ll see from the image accompanying this article, R4118 was loaded onto a truck this morning and moved by road from Old Warden to Duxford. Once R4118 has been returned to flight, I expect her to be placed on public display within one of the Hangars at Duxford.
We’ll provide further updates as the restoration of R4118 continues, but we’re keen to progress this as quickly as possible, and expect her to be gracing the skies over England once again this summer.
Published on 7th March 2018 in News
After hugely successful photography days in 2016 and 2017, we’re delighted to announce two dates for the 2018 season: 20th June and 23rd August.
In association with our good friends at The Shuttleworth Collection, and renowned aviation photographer Darren Harbar, this is a fantastic opportunity to get really close to R4118, meet our crew and sit in this historic aeroplane. What’s more, Darren will guide you through how to get the very best photos of R4118, and we’ve even got a re-enactor coming along to help you capture some dynamic “Battle of Britain” shots.
We’ve arranged a discount for “Friends of R4118” and tickets can be booked by clicking on the links below:
Published on 24th October 2017 in News
Over the weekend of 26th / 27th August, R4118 suffered a cracked cylinder block which has brought our flying season to a premature end this year. Although disappointing for the whole team here at Hurricane Heritage, we’ve begun work on repairs and will take this opportunity to conduct other essential maintenance tasks before next season.
R4118 is a highly original aircraft and around 70% of the aeroplane you see today actually fought in the Battle of Britain, including her rare Merlin III. These engines were distinct from later models in that their cylinder blocks (which incorporate a cooling water jacket) were engineered from a single piece of aluminium alloy. This made them particularly susceptible to cracking and – excluding those engines damaged by enemy action – around 60% of all Merlin III blocks cracked during operational service, meaning that most engines didn’t meet their design life before requiring overhaul.
R4118 suffered exactly this problem after a short practice display on the 27th August, unfortunately grounding her just prior to her departure to Little Gransden Airshow.
The engineering team here at Hurricane Heritage is now very focussed on using the current period on the ground to address a number of maintenance jobs to ensure that, when R4118 takes to the skies again next year, she’s in the best-possible condition. With this in mind, we’re now working on a couple of key areas:
- Firstly, and most pressingly, we’re working on getting R4118’s Merlin III operational again. This will either mean returning the welded block to the engine if the can achieve a sufficiently-high quality of repair that both we and the CAA are satisfied with; or sourcing new blocks to fit to the engine.
- We’re going to take this opportunity to re-fabric all of R4118’s flying controls. This will include the ailerons, fin, rudder, tailplane and elevators. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be removing all of these components from the aircraft and sending them for recovering.
- We’ll also use this opportunity to conduct a full annual inspection on the aeroplane and rectify any other small issues we find along the way.
Once all of this work is done, we aim to rebuild R4118 around February 2018, ready for next year’s airshow season.
It goes without saying that, whilst disappointing to lose the engine mid-season, the most important thing for the team here at Hurricane Heritage is to ensure R4118’s safety and long-term viability as a unique airworthy survivor of the Battle of Britain.
If you’d like to support us in our efforts to continue the legacy of this wonderful aeroplane, please become a “Friend of R4118“. A £25 annual contribution goes a long way to help us keen this unique Battle of Britain veteran airworthy.
Heartfelt thanks in advance from everyone here at Hurricane Heritage for your generosity!
Published on 30th September 2017 in News
We’re delighted to announce a new partnership between Hurricane Heritage and aviation merchandise experts – “Pride of the Skies“. The Pride of the Skies team specialise in providing high-quality, officially-licensed merchandise for a number of civilian and military display teams, including the BBMF and the Typhoon team, so we’re excited that Hurricane Heritage joins this illustrious group.
Pride of the Skies will have a merchandise stand at all of the major airshows this season, starting with The Shuttleworth Military Pageant on 2nd July, and Flying Legends on 8th / 9th July.
A proportion of every sale of Hurricane Heritage merchandise goes directly to support the maintenance of R4118, so please go along and visit the Pride of the Skies stand at an airshow this summer, or visit their website
Published on 28th June 2017 in News
We’re delighted to be amongst the first to announce that Peter Vacher has revised and updated his classic account of the discovery and restoration of our Hawker Hurricane Mk1 – R4118.
The book goes to press today and we’re looking forward to stocking it in our online shop very soon. We’ll provide updates as soon as we have stock!
Published on 24th May 2017 in News