KG651 winter progress 2019.

The restoration of KG651 to represent a 1944 RAF Dakota continues throughout the year but the closure of the museum to visitors over the winter gives us a chance to do some larger tasks without disruption. With the aircraft being kept outside this means we are at the mercy of the weather. Luckily this winter has not been too harsh, although there were some very cold working days and even an ex-airfield can be a bleak place in Winter.

Our small band of volunteers has almost completed the essential inspections and anti-corrosion treatment of the underfloor areas. This involved lifting several floor panels for access, a lot of cleaning, some rectification and applying ACF50 before refitting the floors. The airframe is generally in remarkably good condition form a corrosion point, for a 75 year old that was built for an intended life of considerably less than that. We inspected the control cables while we had access to them, with a view to restoring them at a later date. Some are missing or damaged so that will be a lengthy task at some point and maybe not cost effective for a static ground display aircraft.

Some further work has been done in the Radio and Navigators positions to make them more complete. We now have some heating and ventilation trunking in place. The original hoses were perished beyond use so a more modern substitute has been used and “aged” so it doesn’t look too out of place. We have completed the interior LED lighting to improve things on dull days.

In March the team visited Coventry Airport to have a look at the progress with the rebuild to flying condition of a 1944 C-47A called “Night Fright”. We have helped with its restoration by exchanging some surplus items, both teams have gained some needed parts. It is good to see these parts will help another Dakota fly again. Our Dakota had an oil cooler fairing missing, not an easy part to fabricate. We now have the fairing fitted and that large visual hole is filled. We hope to retain our association with the Coventry team in the future.

Unfortunately not all the progress has been positive, as we have degraded our display by removing the Dakota’s propellers. We have had to return our loaned propellers to their owners after they terminated the loan. We have tried to acquire some affordable replacements without success, up to now, but are following up some leads and hope to have the Dakota looking less like a jet and more as it should again soon.