GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12948 posts, RR: 79 Reply 2, posted (11 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 758 times:
OAD, the 4th modified aircraft, is nearing completion. OAC will follow.
No dates have been set in stone for OAA and OAB, the kits have been ordered. But they need a lot of non-modification related work too.
The fuel tank mod is difficult and time-consuming. Work spaces are very limited and those working in the tanks have to be medically checked before and be supple enough to get in and out. BA found some small, slim engineers, including a petite young lady from the hydraulic shop, to do some of the work in the really confined areas.
For access into one small area of Nos.1 and 4 tanks, she has to enter via an access port on top of the wing, then do a forward roll inside the tank to get into a position to start work.
It's complex too, Concordes were hand-built, each kevlar/viton liner has to be made for a particular aircraft and fitted in a particular position.
You still get some liners sent back to Tolouse for modification after it's been found they won't fit, it's much better than on OAF when it happened every time.
Drilling the holes for the brackets holding the liners is no fun in those tanks, lot's of test fittings are done before liner installation.
Once installed, there is an extensive sealant application, with testing.
Then every piece of debris, drilling swarf, etc has to be removed, structual supports, pumps, fuel pumps, gauges and other equipment is then reinstalled.
During the mod, the aircraft is on computer-controlled stress jacks, with 7 different positions to simulate in-flight loads.
Once de-jacked, there is extensive testing of the tanks for leaks, then testing the fuel transfer systems.
A year ago, it looked a nearly impossible task, those at BA Concorde who originally came from BAC, said it reminded them more of building the aircraft than any maint. job they've ever done.
Protection for wiring in the undercarriage bays is much more straightforward, as of course is the change to the NZG tyres.
For a good overview of the mod. with a diagram to show what tanks have been lined, go to www.concordesst.com/return to flight/modifications.
The whole package of modifications was designed, tested, installed and flown on the first aircraft, in 10 months. As all this work was done in parallel, it cut the usual time from the 2 1/2 to 3 years you would expect.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12948 posts, RR: 79 Reply 3, posted (11 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 756 times:
In the West Pen hangar in Technical Block A, part of the BA maintenance base at LHR, we had an unusual visitor.
G-BOAF was completing some scheduled maint, and OAE had departed on time to JFK a couple of hours earlier, when a Fox appeared.
This wild animal had been spotted early in the morning, clearly he had not got out and was trying again.
Rather apt that he walked under Concorde 'Alpha Fox', we tried to shoo him towards some doors that were being opened, not good to have a wild animal walking around an area with fuel, hydraulic fluid etc.
He weaved in and out of tool boxes and stairwells, at one point I was a couple of feet from him.
Eventually we succeded, he bolted out across the hardstand to a grassy area he no doubt came from.
I didn't think to go get a digital camera we have for recording any ground handling incidents, otherwise I'd post pics, and the newspapers would have liked them too, but it all happened quickly.
It's not unusual to see foxers fleetingly at night around the airport perimeter, and rabbits, stoates and ferral cats too.
Being brought up in an urban enviroment, I've never seen one of these beautiful animals up close, he was over 3 feet from nose to tail, and looked well-fed with a shiny coat.
CPH-R From Denmark, joined May 2001, 5858 posts, RR: 3 Reply 5, posted (11 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 666 times:
Despite its late occurance, I'd say a shot with the Fox standing under Alpha Fox in some position that shows awareness (I lack words here, fellas!) would easliy have gotten a good position in Airliner Shot of the year.