Maintenance Projects Past and Present

Case Study 1

Bristol Pegasus 30 Engine, Serial No P38804. One of Retro’s most recent & challenging projects was to take on our first mighty Pegasus radial engine, arguably Bristol Aero Engines are the pinnacle of design & quality in the Pre-war era. This engine had been with drawn from service prematurely by the operator due to unserviceability & dismantled prior to shipping to Retro. Initially a 100 + page strip & survey report was produced to ascertain the baseline condition & configuration standard of this engine. Acting on the findings & recommendations a series of works orders were generate to provide new replacement parts including, cylinder barrels, supercharger roller bearings, ignition harnesses the list goes on….. to some 135 + part No’s. Huge effort  was also given to salvaging original spares were ever possible, for example the cylinder heads were the subject to many hours of repair to return them to OEM standards. This bespoke Fairey Swordfish engine is  the Centrepoint of the wider propulsion system, so running in parallel all other aspects of the system were rebuilt inc;- Propeller & Spinner, Exhaust Townend Ring & elbows, Inertia Starter, Fuel Cocks, Starting Booster Coils & Harness, Oil Cooler & Viscosity Valve, Oil Tank & Engine Bearer. Having been contracted to start in 2021, all of this is required for the 2022 Platinum Jubilee year, and that is the challenge our team has risen to.

Case Study 2

Pratt & Witney Twin Wasp 90D Engine, Serial No.140519. Subject of a Major Overhaul and released in 2017. This engine was meticulously inspected, any necessary replacements & repairs carried out to return it to service, specific areas of interest were the removal of non standard configurations of parts, close attention to cylinder barrel overhaul together with piston ring matching and bedding to factory specifications. When tested on our uninstalled engine test facility, the engine performed remarkably smoothly, developing its rated power with cylinder head temperatures holding at the lower end of the range, a mark of great combustion with low blowby losses. After successfully passing test the engine was built in to a completely overhauled power plant. This included;- engine mount, exhaust shield assembly, exhaust system, fire suppression system, fire detecting system, breather system, cowling fittings, governor & controls cables.

This unit was supplied as a complete change unit on its storage frame ready for use, to minimise down time and aid the forward maintenance team.

Case Study 3

Spitfire P8208, Model F Mk 2B, operational with 303 Squadron was subsequently damaged & lost on the mud flats of the River Severn, England, on 26th January 1943. Recovered from the mud in between September 1984 & March 93, by members of the Severnside Aviation Society, England, where it was stored until 1998.

Registered as G-RRFF and stored pending restoration to airworthy status. The aircraft has been the subject of a long and meticulous restoration. The intention is to return the aircraft to flying status in as authentic a condition as possible. Retro have been responsible for all the work, which includes the now completed primary structure, engine mount, tail plane, fin & rudder. Her  Merlin engine is fully overhauled together with a propeller assembly waiting overhaul. The next major stage to tackle are the wings, having completed main spars, spar webs & nose ribs a good start has already been made. To be continued….