In pictures: Aeroplane restoration work continues at IWM Duxford
January might be seen as one of the ‘quieter’ months of the year, but the team of dedicated restorers at Imperial War Museum Duxford is hard at work, as ever, in the recently reopened Hangar 5.
One of them is Andy Marriott, a large object conservator, who has been working on a Heinkel 162, a jet-powered German fighter used during the Second World War.
Andy said: “The restoration is right at the very start of the process, so we are doing sort of a forensic analysis of it to try and find as much of the original detail of the paint scheme that the aircraft wore when it was in service with the Luftwaffe.”
As the picture above shows, RAF markings had been applied over the original scheme. “Basically what happened was the squadrons that were operating these Heinkels surrendered,” explained Andy. “All of these aircraft arrived at this one airfield where they were planning on making a last stand, but then they decided that the best thing to do was surrender.
“So all the aircraft were captured by the RAF and then they were distributed amongst the Allies. So the RAF ones were put into RAF markings and then shipped back to the UK for testing, because it was a jet aircraft, it was cutting-edge technology. The Germans were miles ahead of us when it came to jet technology.”
Andy believes the Heinkel has belonged to the Imperial War Museum since 1961, arriving at Duxford for conservation work in 2012. He says it’s since been waiting its turn in the queue.
In the same hangar, Gordon Turner, a conservation engineer at Duxford, has been working on an Avro Shackleton MK3, a British long-range maritime patrol aircraft which was used by the RAF and the South African Air Force. This particular aircraft, Gordon believes, initially arrived at Duxford in 1972.
“We only just started it in November/December time last year,” said Gordon. “My main task at the moment is taking all the paint off so we can examine the aluminium scheme. It’s been sat outside for so long... it’s to see if there are any issues with corrosion.
“I’m halfway along with the fuselage, taking all the paint off, and then examine everything, put everything back together. Then we’ll repaint that end and I’ll move onto the forward section – that’s with all the props and everything.”
Gordon added: “Considering it has spent most of its time outside, the skin that I’ve uncovered so far is in a really good condition.” The intention is to eventually put both of these aeroplanes on display.
Meanwhile, lovers of vintage aircraft can also check out IWM Duxford’s Hurricane exhibition, titled Hurricane: Unsung Hero, which runs until February 19. Rebecca Harding, head of technological objects at IWM Duxford, said: “We have been delighted to see so many visitors enjoying the new Hurricane: Unsung Hero spotlight exhibition since it opened after Christmas.
“The history of the Hurricane is less well-known than that of the Spitfire so this is the perfect opportunity to come and learn more about one of the Second World War’s most hardworking aircraft. There are a number of things which make the Hurricane such a special aircraft including its rugged build, steadier gun platform to allow for accurate firing and its ability to absorb more damage than the Spitfire, which made it easier to repair.
“We hope more people will come and see this fantastic temporary exhibition which will be running until February 19.” For more information, visit iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-duxford.