Scout XT617 Restoration Blog

Work has enthusiastically started today, 29 January 2023, on the Westland Scout – service number XT617, under the care and guardianship of Wattisham Museum.

Westland Scout AH1 XT617 prior to work

Peter and Bee have spent several Sundays over 2022 reorganising the museum workshop space to accommodate the Scout and to ascertain and note what there is to affect the restoration successfully.

Scout moved inside the workshop

Whilst there were some tools already available in the museum’s workshop, several specialist bits of equipment would need to be bought, begged, or borrowed, and the not-so-shy Bee has already put the feelers out via email to kindhearted and knowledgeable souls. The good news is her emails have garnered a few positive responses already.

So, before we start this journey, let me introduce you to Peter and Bee: –

Peter is now retired but has spent the last 10 years volunteering at Wattisham.  This is not his first stint here on base, as during his working career he helped install various heating systems as a contractor on base. Peter might be retired but still keeps his mind and hands active by tinkering, decorating, and shooting. He is a time served City & Guilds fitter and certainly knows his way around tools and things.

Bee has a 12-year background in panel beating and spray-painting.  Together with her husband Simon they own and run Hangar 53 Custom Motor Works restoring Land Rovers and all manner of Military Vehicles and Artillery; of which they are the custodians of The Gulf Collection, centering on the 1st & 2nd Gulf wars with a small but slowly growing overspill into Afghanistan.  Bee is a relatively new member (joining in 2019), and only becoming hands on active during 2022.

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Click the Bookmark links above to jump straight to whichever day you need.

Day 1

An early-ish start of 9.45am on a cloudy Suffolk morning, Peter and Bee convened in the museum car park to head out to the HAS. Today was the day when work would start in earnest. A learning curve for both of them, but a challenge eagerly accepted.

First things first, Peter got his trusty flask out and offered Bee a cup of sweet tea, she wrinkled her nose (sugar bleurgh) and politely declined. Peter then donned a set of overalls and fetched a few bits from his car. In the meantime, Bee found a torch in one of the drawers and they both did a close-up survey of hinges, catches and handles, taking photos as they went to record the condition, damage and progress.

Some work is needed

Treating the Scout as if it were a car (as will be explained below), they both agreed that when labelling what they took off, it would be called offside (O/S) and nearside (N/S). To them this made perfect sense and so sandwich bags and marker pens were set to one side to dutifully capture loose nuts and bolts; all bagged and tagged, with a note in each bag explaining the dismantling procedure.

There certainly is something to be said for the joy of going around what is supposed to be moving parts and giving it the WD40 treatment for that “just in case it’s sticky” situation.

Within about 10 minutes of figuring out how the doors should come off, the WD40 did its job and all 3 gave up the goods effortlessly.

Let me explain why the doors had to come off: –

              Broken perspex sheeting
              Brittle perspex sheeting
              UV damaged perspex sheeting

All needing some kind of replacement or TLC further down the line.

Scout cabin roof

The museum had already been blessed with a wonderful gift of some replacement perspex windows and these will, in the not-too-distant future grace the Scout in its beautification and restoration process.

Once the 3 damaged doors had been removed, they both set about figuring out how to dislodge the “slidey” part of the N/S and O/S front doors. It took some logical looking at, but they soon figured out that the “pretty” panel over the stationary side of the window was actually the guard to keep the “slidey” part from falling out.

I know, I can hear audible gasps from the gallery, but these are serious aviation technical terms, and we intend to use them wisely.

Now that the “slidey” and broken windows were separated from the doors, un-riveting and re-riveting is next on the agenda.  Conventional rivets are both understood by Peter and Bee and the process is pretty straightforward. However, these are domed rivets and require a different process of extraction and reseating, which neither Peter nor Bee have experience in.

Close up

However, Bee has been given a privileged opportunity of spending some time with a technician who will be teaching her this process.  This knowledge she will share with Peter, and they will both be wiser for it.  

This concludes several very fruitful and successful hours today and we both thank you for going on this journey with us and the museum………

Peter and Bee will be returning to the HAS next Sunday, 5 February 2023 to tackle the 2 severely damaged roof panels, 1 above the pilot (O/S front) and 1 on the N/S rear area, so watch this space.

Day 2

Scout cabin

The weather seems to be taking a turn for the better, this morning Bee and Peter convened in the museum car park with a spring in their step, there were blue skies, a very gentle breeze, and some warmth in the sun too.  However, it was noted and observed that the road gritter was out on base and they wondered if someone knew something about the weather that they didn’t know.

Today was going to be dedicated to the two roof panels (mentioned at the end of the previous blog post). The one above the pilot (O/S front) and the one on the N/S rear. Both had severe UV damage and had become very brittle and also having two gaping holes (see photos), meant they had to come out. The N/S rear having had a “repair” to it (see photo of cross-stitched copper wire and blobs of silicone), but really needing more attention than a patchworked effort.

Damaged roof perspex

The trusty WD40 came out and a pre-dismantling squirt was administered. Initial trying, but not very successful attempts at unscrewing framework holding the domed perspex in place yielded no satisfaction. Age and weather have aided in the rivnuts now being non-functioning and so every screw tried, just turned and turned with no release.

Both Peter and Bee know from experience that once a rivnut has “let loose”, the only way is to gently and carefully insert a prybar between the outer and inner surface, giving some pressure and seeing if this will help get the screws to budge. That worked to a fashion, but it was awkward working from the same angle, so, it was agreed that the perspex had to come away to create a hole for Bee to be able to stand up inside the heli, whilst Peter could stand on the outside.

Safety glasses, gloves and some elbow grease later saw the 2 roof panels give up their last bits and pieces (see pic of pile of perspex gathered together). This gave a stable platform for Bee and her prybar and Peter could then huff and puff (with the occasional insult directed at the hardware) and get the screws out of the frame.

Damage to perspex

It took an hour and a half for the first frame to come off and about 45 minutes for the second one (obviously learnt some lessons along the way), they have now been set aside to be worked on.

For next week, Peter has graciously accepted the delicate job of separating the top and bottom frame from each other and to remove the remnants of sandwiched perspex whilst Bee will clean up the bonding paste from the Scout frame, sand it down and start preparing it for corrosion treatment, paint and reinstallation once new perspex is sourced.

This concludes several very fruitful and successful hours again today………and Peter and Bee will be returning to the HAS next Sunday, 12 February 2023, so watch this space.

Day 3

It’s funny what you chat about when you’re beavering away on tricky parts. I don’t know how the conversation on eye sight came about but I, (Bee) learnt a very interesting thing today about sighting and knowing which is your dominant/lead eye.

Peter said, that years ago when he started his favourite hobby clay pidgeon shooting, this technique was explained to him. He quickly learned that he was better at clay pidgeon shooting (both eyes open) than target shooting.

He then explained what to do and so I went outside to put this to the test. I put my finger up to cover an object (a traffic cone) in the distance (both eyes open), closed my left eye and my finger was still covering the cone, then i closed my right eye and opened my left eye and……

Oh my goodness i could have fallen over because i am sure that my finger moved off the cone by at least 15 foot to the right! in fact when i walked over to the point my left eye had placed my finger and paced it back to the cone, i was shocked that it was 23 of my size 8 feet. That’s a massive difference. This obviously explains why i wear glasses now, but also explains that when i write on an unlined page, i can never keep my writing in a straight line it bends down towards the right and it makes no difference how i angle my page either!! It’s interesting, isn’t it!

Roof area before cleaning

Anyway, i digress and that’s not why you’re here, so let me get back on track and tell you about how we got on today.

Last week, Peter had graciously accepted the delicate job of separating the top and bottom frame from each other to remove the remnants of sandwiched perspex and Bee thought her time would be best spent cleaning off the bonding paste from the frame and generally getting it tidied up for the new perspex.

Roof section strip-down

An interesting discovery (well to them anyway) was made when the first frame finally separated to reveal the broken shards of perspex. Both Peter and Bee were convinced they were working with 2 thin aluminium strips either side of the perspex and was rather disappointed when a stress fracture broke as they both had been so very careful and delicate with it. But, it’s fibreglass (see photo) and so it can be easily mended when it goes back together again…..phew!

Most of what they had agreed to do this week got done, but ….notice i said most…..the second frame fought hard, so hard, that by 2pm and a 1/4 of the way into it, they both decided it needed more WD40 and for it to sit and think about itself and its reluctance to give up the goods.

Rusty pip-pin

After cleaning up the frame and roof area, and periodically helping Peter with some of the stubborn fixings, Bee decided that the co-pilot (and currently only) seat in the Scout, also needed a squirt of WD40 on the pip-pins (they are quite rusty – see photos).

This is in preparation for next week, when it could and should be taken out and put to one side for a later side-restoration project when work slows down on the main project. The other thing on next week’s agenda is carefully taking off the pouch on the pilot’s door (it’s rather brittle) and using it as a pattern to make another one. Yes, Bee isn’t just a spray-painter, restorer and panel beater, she can sew and thoroughly enjoys it too. This skill will also at some point come in handy at re-covering the seat base of the co-pilot seat (see photo).

Co-pilot seat base

Having the seat out of the way also means that, that area of the Scout can get a good brush down, hoover and a damp cloth, and then the task of dealing with the flaking paint and any broken bits can commence.

Well folks, this concludes our 3rd day on the old girl, fruitful in some ways and frustrating in others but, Peter and Bee will be returning to the HAS next Sunday, 19 February 2023, for more tinkering.

Day 4

Today was a really productive day at the HAS despite having a visitor walk in the door halfway through it and introduce himself as David with his accomplice Tootsie.

What this man has forgotten about helicopters is not worth remembering. I think he was impressed with how far Peter and myself had come with the Scout, considering today is only the 4th day of sympathetic and careful tinkering, with limited amount of tooling. But what we have at our disposal is backed up with a lot of common sense, some bantering and working towards a common goal on behalf of the museum.

David and Tootsie stayed for about an hour, and he promised to visit Hangar 53 very soon too. I promised the kettle would be ready for when he did, and I’d show him around our Gulf Collection and he could fill in some gaps for us as he did a few tours during that time too.

Co-pilot seat

After he left, we both felt really enthused and energised by his visit. I personally felt mega proud of what Peter and I have achieved thus far and with people like David to impart knowledge, we certainly will get this project looking smart.

As mentioned last week, we had a small list of THINGS TO DO TODAY which were: –

(1) The remaining roof section that needed coming apart, so we could get the perspex shards out, and once again trusty WD40 and some hard thinking about its reluctance over the week was just what was needed to tick this job of the list.

(2) I (Bee) had hoped we could remove the co-pilot seat and put that to one side for a side restoration project and with some WD40, huffing and puffing, a few taps with a hammer, the pip-pins finally let go and the seat lifted out with no fuss at all.

(3) Drilling out the pop-rivets on the inside of the pilot’s door (that’s O/S front) so that I could salvage what was left of a very brittle door pouch to use as a pattern to make a new one. I am pleased to say, it did come off, but also held a very fat (and very dead) hornet in one of the creases. I did squeal, but only a little bit and the body was quickly disposed of in the rubbish bin.

Sanding some damage

With all three main jobs ticked off the list and to make up for visitor time and being distracted by the curly haired Tootsie, some sanding of flaking paint and damaged areas commenced, as well as the big brush down of cobwebs and dust and debris both inside and out too. This brought us up to 2pm, which meant that it was time to pack up and head home.

As mentioned in the Day 1 blog post, Bee had been given an opportunity to spend time with a technician and it has been a case of learning patience and waiting for things to fall into place.

Co-pilot floor section

Well, when she got home, there was an email asking her to come for a Risk Assessment meeting before any paperwork could be signed off. With a lot of excitement and also some nerves, this was her thoughts (see below) as she drifted off Sunday night (she wrote it down at 6am on Monday morning as she wanted to add it to her blog)…………

Dear Lord, let me not have a clumsy day at the risk assessment meeting, where I trip over my own shadow or fall over my own feet.

Let me also not choke on my cuppa and spew its contents out through my nose and over everyone or spray cake or biscuit crumbs when I talk. And if I should have to go up and down stairs, please don’t let me fall up them or miss-step down them either.

Lord let me leave my menopause brain at home too, I really can’t be forgetting everyday words, have a hot flush and want to strip down to my underwear in desperation, cause it ain’t a pretty sight, trust me…….oh and put a guard on my mouth too please especially when it comes to the f-word, cause sometimes it just slips past my lips when I talk.

And finally, Lord, if they ask me any questions, please let me know the answers cause it really is all about common sense and I know I have a lot of that…..thank you…amen

Sanded down damaged area

Well folks, I am pleased to say, it went well, I now await a date to step into my overalls and spend some very valuable time with a technician who will teach me what i need to know. I shall be Rosie the Riveter for a day!

This concludes our 4th day on the old girl, and we will be returning to the HAS next Sunday, 26 February 2023, for more tinkering.

Day 5

Two interesting things happened today, totally non-Scout related, so before I tell you about the Scout, I’d like to tell you about this.

(1) The wind has been rather merciless today, especially on the hands and face, but apparently it’s been a good day to fly gliders. Peter and I met this dear little lady with beautifully curly hair (she was on a mission to find her gloves) and had a rather brief chat with her….. I nipped off to the toilet block and when I rejoined Peter in the workshop again, he said to me….. “you won’t believe it but that lady just told me she used to be a Lynx pilot, she couldn’t chat much as she was about to get launched in her glider, so she had to hurry back” ………………… Absolutely AMAZING, how flipping cool is that, I’d love to chat to her on another day for sure
#girlpower #lynxpilot #admirationforsure

(2) Just as Peter and I were getting ourselves ready to go home, Nathan pulls up saying “we have an interesting visitor popping by in about 1/2 hour or so, he is bringing over old framed photos of his time on base. He is none other than Tony Alcock“….. I said, “well you’re welcome to show him around, but we’re heading out now and I’ll pop in to the museum for a bit to meet him and to scrounge a cuppa tea as I’m frozen

Well…..what a charming, very upright man, with a firm handshake as well. It was such a pleasure to hear him talk about some of his career and we talked paint and gloss paint and grey gloss paint too…….so once I’ve done writing this blog update, I will go and do some research on Mr Alcock because Nathan was giddy with excitement to meet him.

Looking alive – clean windows

Righto……….let’s get to today’s update.
Peter had the last of the shards to dismantle and dispose of and Bee got on and gave the old girl a real good hoover and scrape inside, as well as putting water to a rag and cleaning the front screens in the process.

To tell you the truth, it seemed like she (the Scout) woke up and looked alive after her peepers were cleaned inside and out and today Bee fell just a little bit in love with her (see a photo of her cleanly washed). And…… Bee now believes the Scout is not just going to become a restoration project, but that she has firmly placed her skids into Bee’s heart and a whole new love of all things helicopter is being cultivated here in the museum workshop.

Bee has taken quite a few photos (which will be uploaded in bulk to the museum’s FB group page) and would like to ask specifically here if people who know the Scout and/or Wasp, know what some of these loose bits are:-

Before I ask, I just want to say that they may just be random bits of trash thrown into the Scout over the time she’s stood outside, but until I have a manual to look things up (it’s on its way), I’m going to tap into your knowledge-banks if I may.

Photo 1, below, is of this wooden something or is it wood, or is it kevlar perhaps, Peter thinks its bakelite…. I’m not sure. It is rather tactile and a pleasing shape, but does it belong on the old girl?

What is this (1)?

Photo 2, below, is of a rectangle piece of aluminium; to me it looks like the “tag” holder on a filing cabinet, but this one is definitely painted Nato Green. What is it and where does it belong?

What is this (2)?

Photo 3, below, is of a bar on the rear bulkhead (it had to come off so we could get the kevlar floor up to clean underneath it), it looks like it should take a strip light but the underneath is perforated. We believe it sits under the rear seats (she didn’t have her seats). Is it a light? Peter thought a type of heater perhaps because of the perforations, i can’t see a heating element inside though, so what is it’s purpose, we know where it goes but we don’t know what it’s for.

What is this (3)?

Well then, that’s it for today, so to sum up, scraping, wiping, hoovering, picking up random bits lying around on the floor and putting them in a MISC bag of stuff and things……..also taking off this light/heater bar so that the the floor could come up for hoovering and scraping purposes……..

Next week will consist of the continued job of scraping and brushing and hoovering but with the added job of starting to do a few repairs on the bodywork with fibreglass and filler.

This concludes our 5th day on the old girl and we will be returning to the HAS next Sunday 5th March 2023.

Day 6

Today has been so satisfying listening to Peter scrape and lift off old flaky paint, he did however have the help of Nitro Mors to aid him in this process. Whilst packing up a few hours later, Peter said that he was chuffed with progress and looks forward to every Sunday now…………….they certainly make a good team.

Filler and Nitromors

Bee on the other hand started the old girl’s beautification on the outside with the help of a box of fibreglass and resin, a little travel hairdryer (it was so cold that it would take hours before anything else could get done) and a pot of filler to skim over all the other imperfections as well.

Today has also consisted of Bee excitedly talking about her upcoming day at the base workshop with a skilled technician and how much she was looking forward to it too. Bee also informed Peter that she was going to dress up as Rosie the Riveter (which she did) and would also be taking home-made cakes as a thank you (lemon cake and red velvet cake with cream cheese icing)…….

Fibreglass repairs

Well, the cakes went down a storm and throughout the day various bodies wandered into the workshop for a slice, all commenting on the fact that there was a real-life Rosie the Riveter with them today and that Rosie could certainly bring cakes again.

Nick (Bee’s tutor) made her feel very welcome (well everyone did actually), he was methodical, patient, answered questions and also concluded that another day had to be organised to learn how to re-rivet.

I bet you’re thinking, “but it’s only a small sliding section/window of a door” and yes you would be right, but once Bee had a good look under the guidance of Nick she realised that there were numerous amounts of rivets that needed to be undone, some hidden and others so thick with paint, they were only discovered because Nick was so good at his job.

Tuition in progress

What a lovely man Nick was and Bee being Bee teased him for his accent because his Welshness came out strong every time he said the word “here”……Bee would then copy him, point at a few other rivets and say “and here (with a Welsh accent) and here and here”……. he really was generous with his time and enthused by Bee’s interest and at the end of the day, said that Bee could borrow one of his prized books on riveting until she could track one down and get her own copy….. yes, she is now the proud owner of a “Standard Aircraft Handbook”.

Bee left at 3pm and whilst in her car in the car park, made a quick call to David (the visitor a couple of Sundays ago who had a companion called Tootsie) and asked if he was still about and could she disturb his day for 1/2 hour or so. David was available and Bee excitedly ambled over to his place of work.

Excited …….much…… wobbly knees…..much……had to contain herself…..for sure, David guided Bee into this immaculate workshop, the first thing she did was walk over to one of the sexiest helicopters ever and kiss it square on its nose. David laughed, shook his head and said…”come on woman, let me show you around”……what was supposed to be 1/2 hour, was nearly an hour, it consisted of much oooh-ing, aaaahhh-ing and also crawling on all fours underneath to look up into the belly of this magnificent beast……

Like a professional

To tell you the truth she could have just sat there breathing in the fabulous smell of aviation fluids and fuel for the rest of the afternoon, but people had work to do and she had to get home to get ready for her lindyhop lesson that evening…..

To make sure that no helicopter felt left out, she made it her mission to give each one a kiss on its snout before leaving the building………….

#lifegoalsrightthere #icingonthecake #apachetopofthefoodchain

And breathe……. right, so another day is in place for Nick to teach Bee how to re-rivet and she is looking forward to that day too, she had promised to bring in another home-made cake or two as a thank you and she will certainly let you know next week how that session went….

This concludes our 6th day on the old girl and Bee’s 1st day of 2 on riveting. Now to get back to the HAS next Sunday 12th March 2023 and teach Peter the ins and outs of aviation rivet-drilling…….

Day 7

This morning started with a bit of confusion (well on Bee’s part that is). As she stopped at the gate to show her credentials, the young man said “someone was asking about you this morning, about 10 minutes ago” I said, “oh…..was it someone called Peter?” He said, “yes, he asked if a yellow mini had come through the gates for the museum” ……I said “OK, that’s strange, i hope he’s OK” and off i drove to the car park (no Peter), then onto the guardroom (no Peter), i stopped, hunkered down at the window and said “has anyone signed out the museum keys this morning?” The lovely guy said “Yes, not 15 minutes ago” I said, “So where the heck is he then, surely he hasn’t gone off to the HAS without me, I’ll go back to the museum car park and just wait“…….

Well, mystery solved, it was Peter, but not my work buddy Peter, it was the other Peter and his other half Julie and they had made it their mission early this morning to give the Hunter a good dust down and some serious elbow-grease-polishing before the museum opens its doors in a couple of weeks – phew, I really had a mini-meltdown not knowing who would be wanting the keys on a Sunday and it not being either myself or Peter!

High build primer

Anyway……..Today has really been very much dedicated to scraping, sanding, nitro mors-ing, more scraping and getting last week’s filler profiled on the nose section as well as a small squirt or three of high build primer on the area too, so I’m happy to say that it has now ticked that job off the list YAY!

Peter was on form today:-

1) I got schooled by him in the art of nitro mors-ing… he’s kind of taken that job on and when there was an area he couldn’t quite reach, he asked me to help him out. I took the tin and the brush and “painted” the area that needed doing…..”oh no, not like that, oh no, you’re doing it all wrong, you don’t brush Nitro Mors, you dab it“……I laughed and started dabbing furiously and said, “like this, dab dab dab…….you know, I’m gonna put that into the blog Peter“……he laughed and said, “well it says so on the tin, you can’t just follow your own rules, you’ve got to read the instructions“…hahahahaha…….anyway, now i know if i am ever to be trusted with Nitro Mors again, I’m going to have to remember to dab!!

Scraping flaked paint

2) I also had scraper-envy……….yup, my scraper is rather pants, in fact, it’s downright pants, so I bemoaned the fact that my scraper isn’t working as well as his and that I’d very much like a scraper like that too. So bless his heart, not only did he let me use it for a bit (whilst he wire brushed stuff down), he said he would rummage through his toolbox at home and see if he has another scraper that i could have. So I’m excitedly waiting and have fingers crossed that by next Sunday I will have my own fabulous scraper for the job at hand…..

Well…… that’s all for today, but that doesn’t mean I’m done writing this blog, day 2 of riveting is happening this Monday (13th) and I shall let you know how that goes below. I did say in my previous blog post that today I would show Peter the art of de-riveting, however that didn’t happen because we had so many other things to do and it’s all about moving forward and ticking the jobs off the TO DO list. He did however borrow the book I now own (thanks to my husband who bought it for me) which is “Standard Aircraft Handbook” for some light bedtime reading.

Fiddly cleaning

I’m off home now to bake more THANK YOU cakes for my workshop day tomorrow…….

That’s it………… 2 fantastic days spent with Nick plus the bonus of extra tuition from Paul at the workshop and I cannot thank everyone involved enough for getting me into the workshop for this wonderful learning experience, I shall cherish this forever.

Today has seen a couple of banana loaves as a THANK YOU offering from me. They disappeared as quickly as last week’s cakes hahahaha…… I didn’t dress as Rosie the Riveter this time, just plain old me in my Swiss army camo trousers and dezzie-boots; with a smile on my face and an eagerness to get stuck in and learn.

So, what did I learn today…….well, I learned how to drill holes (properly), how to drill countersunk holes (need I say it again…properly) and I got to rivet, solid, countersunk and cherry max rivets, I also undrilled a few to get the hang of that technique and I used 3 different types of pneumatic riveters as well as a hand riveter which required some muscle flexing on my part.

Grid for drilling and riveting

As you can see from the photos, I marked my mistakes and compared my work to Paul’s and even joked with Nick that I’m “gunning” for his job……he looked up from his workbench and did a big roaring belly laugh; I don’t know why he found it funny, I was quite serious, hahahahaha. I was also told that I could take my sample plate home with me and it will certainly take pride of place in my craft room once I’ve shown Peter and talked him through each row.

Completed tasks

And that folks concludes our 7th day on the old girl. Can you believe it a whole WEEK OF SUNDAYS we have spent in the HAS working on the Scout! Next Sunday 19th March 2023 will once again be dedicated to the ongoing de-flaking and sanding, so I hope you’re not getting too bored with that task. I shall try my best to keep the blog interesting and engaging, so watch this space.

Day 8

Today was a busy day, we had last week’s Peter and Julie in again, this time there was no confusion, this was pre-organised as they had volunteered to put together a really smart display unit for the museum. It has been agreed that this display unit is going to house some of the museum’s merchandise during open season.

Donated instrument

Once it was put together and positioned artistically, “something” interesting had to be found for the very top to just kinda “finish” it off…… 2 ideas were brought to the table, but the one that won in the end was the one with the face on it….. yip, put a load of artistic souls together and they are bound to look at screw and knob placements and see a face staring back at them! It just needs a quick wipe over before the museum doors open in April, but it’s all good to go.

We also briefly had the lovely company of Margaret at the HAS, and Bee neglected her duties for 1/2 hour or so (poor Peter was left scraping and a nito morsing).

Donated instrument

This last week has been another week of excitement for Bee, her kind and dear friend David, certainly pulled out all the stops and Bee thinks it was her offering of banana loaf that triggered it all off……… hahahaha. Thursday just gone, Christmas had arrived early, or could Bee claim it as an early birthday surprise (in restoration terms that is).

Well now you’re thinking, what could be so epic that it could be classed as Christmas and/or birthday, let me tell you……….perspex roof panels and a box full of defunct instruments, all graciously donated via David through the sheer kindness of people.

Roof Perspex and windows

If you have every wondered how much stuff can be fitted into a little yellow mini, just ask Bee….. let’s just say, all of it!! So….. a huge THANK YOU to David (he’s the one with Tootsie as a sidekick), without him the process would have been pretty slow!!

And, during the week, Bee had also been chatting to another David. That’s 2 Peter’s and now 2 David’s, how lucky can one girl get hahahahaha!!

This David has been following the blog posts each week, is also involved with 3 other museums, so knows his way around various projects. It’s just wonderful of him to get in touch to say that he has a few instruments available if we are interested and that he also has his beady eye on an instrument panel for the Scout too.

From rear bulkhead. What is it?

YES YES YES…..that would be another huge step forward as well. I mean, how truly blessed to meet, chat and get to know all these amazingly kind people, all with a common goal in mind……….to restore and preserve.

Well, i guess you probably want to know what we actually did on the Scout today……….scraping, hoovering, nitro morsing, measuring and counting holes and rummaging through the paint cabinet to see what we have available. Not much, but Peter and Bee will be making plans for when the old girl gets her Nato green clothes on.

In the process of scraping down the rear bulkhead, they also took off some webbing in a cross shape (see photo), if anyone knows what it kept strapped in, drop us a message via the museum’s Facebook page, thank you.

This coming week Bee will be downloading the manuals given to her on a memory stick by David (tootsie’s dad) and getting to know XT617 intimately, she certainly needs interesting bedtime reading material.

So before Bee finishes writing this blog, she’d like to ask this simple question:-
How come learning at school was just so hard, not fun and such a drag, when learning as a grown up is fun, interesting and exciting?

Thanks for sticking around…………..this brings day 8 to a close and Peter and Bee will back for another round next Sunday 26th March 2023!

psssttt…… Bee has a pukka scraper now, thanks to Peter, he’s a legend!!

Day 9

It was a nice surprise to see Peter and Julie at the HAS again today, they are still putting things in place for next Sunday 2nd April 2023 when the museum is “OPEN FOR VISITORS” – now, if you want to visit, please book via the website here.

psssssstttt………..don’t just turn up at the gate as you won’t be allowed in, you really have to prebook 🙂

Red painted exhaust outlet

Peter and Julie also brought along with them a small tin of red paint, Peter explained that the exhaust outlets (they are capped off) should be painted red (visual representation of it being hot) so thank you P&J for the information as well as the paint.

It’s also been a really fruitful day for Peter and Bee as they had a couple (well let’s call it a slack handful really) of things they wanted to try out.

(1) Grey paint for the inside of the Scout.

Last week they both rummaged through the cabinets looking for suitable grey paint for the inside. Several tins were found but after stirring and then a small dab, it was agreed that all the greys were the wrong tone. Peter said that he has what he believes to be the right tone of grey and would bring it in today. He only had a small tin but there was enough of it to paint a sample area.

Yes…….they both agreed that they liked it, it dried to the right tone and so Peter will be purchasing a bigger tin for next Sunday (see pic of sample area – btw it was still wet when the photo was taken and the panels to the side and below might look lighter, but they had gone through nitro mors and scraping treatments).

Grey painted interior

You might be horrified to see brush strokes in the sample area, but……. hear Bee out…..the whole inside looks like it had been hand painted at some point. Both Peter and Bee have discussed this over the past few weeks as they’ve been getting rid of flaking and bubbling paint and the only conclusion they have come to is that at some point she’s had a quick spruce up whilst she had all her gubbinses (very technical aviation term) inside her.

Yes, she is very stripped back this time around and Bee is on the hunt for various bits and bobs to go back in her, however they can only guess that it would have been a big undertaking to strip her out for spray-painting, so some apprentice was asked to give her a freshen up with a brush and paint around stuff and things.

So, it was agreed that she will be painted inside the same way she was found. As for the outside, well, spray-painting equipment will be used for that task further down the line as she was certainly spray-painted on the outside before.

(2) Rivnuts/Nutserts for the roof sections

Last week when Bee got home and told Simon (her husband) about their day at the HAS, she mentioned that at some point Rivnuts/Nutserts would need to be bought, as it is not going to be that many weeks before the replacement roof panels go back.

Bee had at the time of her rivet tuition, made enquiries with the workshop as to the best solution for the roof panels. Sadly, as the Scout has been out of service for so long, the workshop did not have anything suitable in their stores for the old girl. However, Bee was advised to purchase the right diameter ones on civvy street.

So armed with this information and with the help of Peter, a vernia caliper and camera (photo evidence of hole size) and a plastic school ruler (for the machine screw length) Bee went home armed with this important information which also included the amount of holes on each aperture……..a whopping 44 each on the rear panel(s) and 38 each on the front panel(s). They only have 3 perspex roof panels to replace (thank goodness), but that’s some rivnutting/nutserting going to be happening right there!

Rivnut toolkit, and success

With this information to hand, Bee’s husband Simon then contacted his go-to supplier (Suffolk Fasteners) on the Monday and they were ready for pick up on the Friday. Simon then very kindly donated his spare rivnut/nutsert tool kit (see photo – thank you Simon, a great asset to the museum workshop) and so Peter and Bee had to try it out on the frame (see photo)…..

Boy oh boy, it took some squeezing, huffing and puffing, but Bee managed to get 2 in, one on the tube framework and one on the cross-member….. that’s only 2….blimey……that was hard going!! Bee doesn’t know how Simon made it look so easy when he was doing it at their workshop!!

(3) To see if they could salvage the “poppers” from the very rotten webbing Bee took off the week before.

Poppers from the webbing

The mystery of the cross shaped webbing turned out to be the straps that hold the Scout’s first aid kit onto the rear bulkhead. Bee will recreate it (Simon thinks he has that size webbing at their Hangar somewhere) and so Peter kindly and very gently pried the 2 poppers out of the old and very rotten webbing. They will be reused…

#makedoandmend #recycle #upcycle #reuse #repurpose #noteverythingisnew

So…….. a successful day all round for Peter and Bee……They are back next Sunday 2nd April 2023, with the bonus of it being the museum’s open day but an even bigger bonus for the workshop as it will mark 10 days of tinkering!!

Day 10

Let me start by asking a couple of questions before i get stuck into telling you about today.

The first question is:-
In the process of getting the Scout looking more loved, we’ve come across 2 stickers on the rear bulkhead (giving information), they were rather weather-beaten and scabby, so not worth saving (see photos), however, where in the world would we be able to get replacements please?


The second question is:-
On the centre console and next to the co-pilot’s knee/calf area, you can see half of a sticky label saying “AC????” from the shadowing (see photo now artistically outlined in red) it looks like a fairly longish word, what should it say please and is it related to the thing below it?

If you know, drop us a message on the Museum’s Facebook page please. It would be incredibly helpful to us and you’d be very kindly helping this restoration along as well……thank you…….or if you fancy, on a postcard…..

Actually if you’re anywhere in the world or even in the UK and you’re following our progress, do send a postcard, we’d love to bluetac it to the back of our workbench in our work area whilst we do the restoration. And once it is all said and done, Bee is thinking of putting together a scrapbook as part of the Scout’s visual portfolio for visitors, which means, your postcards will go into it too………..thank you!!

Oh, and mark it for the attention of :
Peter & Bee, Scout Restoration Team,
Wattisham Station Heritage Museum,
Wattisham Flying Station,


Right, let me get stuck in and tell you how our day went.

Busy for us but also for the museum, first day of the season and 28 curious and interested souls passed through the museum and HAS doors. Peter and Bee kept their heads down and managed to make good headway until 2 very special gentlemen walked in with Tom (our IT guru)…..

Tools were downed, no further work happened and both Peter and Bee spent enthusiastically chatting with David H and Alan A until they really had to go (they had other plans for the remainder of the afternoon) and Bee reluctantly said goodbye as she could have talked Scout, Wasp and Lynx all afternoon.

It seems, there might be a bacon sarnie or two on the horizon with David H, Alan A and Bee and rummaging through bits and stuff and things for the museum’s Scout!! To say Bee left the museum this afternoon buzzing, is just a little bit of an understatement……

Yip, that girl is so easily pleased and no shoes or handbags or designer labels were involved, just mutual admiration and knowledge-sharing for all things restoration and preservation related.

There is nothing more wonderful than being encouraged and complimented on the work already done and advice and guidance on the work to be done, thank you to our guests and especially to Tom who organised this meeting, what a wonderful and much appreciated surprise young master Tom, you know just how to make a girl’s day go well.

So what did Peter and Bee actually achieve before being sidetracked by such wonderful guests, well……

Roof frame

As you know Port rear and Starboard front perspex roof panels were removed because of severe damage…..pssssttt did you notice no N/S and O/S references, yip, learning the right terminology (thanks David H and Alan A)…….however, Starboard rear perspex was also damaged, not as noticeable at first, but certainly not weather tight should it have been left the way it was, so before any visitors arrived, Peter and Bee removed it (see photo) and cleaned up the framework ready for Rivnuts in a week or so. That will be a total of 3 now for replacement and the Port front perspex roof panel has been gone over with a fine toothed comb and is 100% OK and can stay.

Peter removed the aluminium rain channel and door stay brackets carefully off the section of the Starboard rear panel, labelled them up (so we don’t get it wrong when they get transferred onto the new panels) before the big refit happens. Once the framework had been cleaned off and given a quick sanding down Bee then carried on sanding and prepping the inside, ready for painting.

Another lovely discovery was made whilst reading through the Scout manual (great bed time reading i can assure you) of how the stretcher assembly fits into the rear (Bee was so excited she printed off the picture for Peter – see photo) and enthusiastically explained about some of the fixings they had pondered over. Now to get a mannequin to represent a casualty being transported and the visual aspect can come to life (of course, many other things have to happen before that, but this is the end goal).

Before leaving off today, a quick walk around the old girl compiling next week’s TO DO list and adding a few extra bits onto the list to make up for time off (well spent for sure) on the job today.

Back next Sunday 9th April 2023, yip, i know, you just can’t keep us (Peter and Bee) away not even being Easter Sunday………. 10 days down and many more to go…….stay tuned

Recent donation to Museum

PS:- Oh goodness, almost forgot! A lovely man walked into the HAS annex first thing this morning (he’s from the glider club) bearing a gift (see photo) for the museum, she needs a bit of cleaning and then can be proudly displayed…..THANK YOU squire for thinking of the museum!!!

Day 11

So, day 11 actually started on good Friday! Bee went on a road trip to North Weald to meet up with David H and Alan A who were going to introduce her to a lovely man called Fran, and what a lovely man he was too!! This was also a great opportunity to take down banana loaf and home-made jam as a thank you for the defunct dials and gauges Fran had donated for the Scout a few weeks before.

North Weald

Wow, busy and buzzing with driving experience days, light aircraft, a Jet Provost (that took off and flew around – goodness me, spectacular) and Helicopters. They have a great cafe on site, nice garden area with seating and a play area for little legs and if the weather isn’t great then you can sit inside where it’s cosy. Food was really nice and very well presented and the tea and coffee, hot and wet and made just the way you like it.

Of course, Bee could not go down without banana loaf and home-made jam for David H and Alan A either, so Thursday night was spent baking to say THANK YOU

A full and wonderful experience on a fine and sunny day. Bee also came home with more generous gifts (an instrument panel, information board and tooling), overwhelmed by such kindness of strangers who all support this whole journey and know the frustation of scouring for parts. Generous with their time, goods and experience these strangers are all now classed as friends.


pssstt……Bee was asked to bring down a “shopping list” and so she did. No greed involved, just a list of the most important missing bits to make the old girl look whole again.

Let’s start telling you about today

0930 and ready to rock and roll, Peter in his trusty LR and Bee in her yellow Mini, plus a new and interested party in a little red car travelled in convoy over to the HAS.

Proof that work does happen

Please meet Sarah: –

She works at Flying Station HQ’s, studied history at uni and has a real passion for all things heritage (and she’s only a young-un). She wholeheartedly believes that it is important to represent as much of a location’s history (in this case Wattisham) and make it user friendly and accessible to future generations (amen). In her spare time she loves to read non-fiction, study various historical key events as well as attending air shows, live music gigs and play video games online, and……she sews as well yay……(only bags at the moment), but Bee will soon get her sewing all sorts!!

Peter and Bee wholeheartedly welcome her into the team, she brings a fresh set of eyes, willingness to muck in, contacts in her own right and extra banter, laughter and creativeness. They believe she’s already a great asset because what was supposed to be an introductory visit, turned into mucking in and helping out! ………………She’s a keeper!!

#yaygirlpower #poorpeter #peterisarosebetweentwothornsnow

What did we do in between chatting and getting to know Sarah more

Well, Bee had gifts to show-and-tell from Alan A, David H and Fran, before any work was done. Once all the things were looked at and handled and then safely locked away, overalls were donned, and the continued task of sanding down and cleaning the frame commenced.

An extra rivnut tool (also donated) means that when the rivnutting starts, both Peter and Bee could be working on it together, which will make the job feel less like hard work.

TO DO List Blackboard

Sarah picked up a paint brush and created the restoration workshop’s first “TO DO” blackboard (see photo – it’s still drying) and it was agreed that a blackboard has now become necessary part of the project so that 3 people can keep track of jobs that need doing.

Once that task was accomplished, Bee directed Sarah into the actual HAS and left her to oooohhh and aaahhhhh for 15 minutes or so, in that time Peter and Bee took the final bit off the Starboard rear section (see photo evidence of work being done) and Peter then proceeded to clean it up. This left Bee to scrape off all the muck and loose bits of paint and give it a quick sand-down too.

The urgency and necessity for a compressor is becoming more and more evident each week as the project progresses. It will help in so many ways as there is only so much a hoover can do, and trying to manually blow into nooks and crannies isn’t as efficient as a proper air gun made for the job. Fingers crossed that the promised compressor will arrive soon!!

Next week Sunday will be a girl-only restoration team (Peter has been sent to rehab as working with two chatty girls was just too much for him hahahahaha) and also the first time the new blackboard will come into its own.

One of the first jobs to go on it is: –

(1) taking off the final two rotors (they all need restoring in their own right) and thanks to a full and concise copy of THE WHOLE MANUAL (THANK YOU Alan A), Bee is now able to swat up on how to best preserve the blades. Bee has also passed the memory card to Sarah to download and study so that two brains will function better than one when it comes to knowledge sharing!

BTW, taking off the rotors will only happen when we have more hands to help. Whilst us girls might feel brave, and probably could do it alone (because we are bloody-minded and strong), we also have to be sensible and safe, and so that task might be on the board for a few weeks yet before it is ticked off as done.

Instrument Panel

One of the wonderful gifts that came home with Bee from North Weald (and actually made Bee rather teary eyed) was the instrument panel (see photo) and the mounting frame (THANK YOU Fran and David H) and Alan A gave Bee one of the missing pieces off the centre console too!!

The last bits today to be taken off (see photo) is the port and starboard front clear nose panels, the silicone rubbers will get cleaned up to look nice and white again and the perspex frame itself will get either Dark Earth or NATO Green, depending on what the manual dictates should be done when it comes to the camo pattern being painted!

Please note, when the blog is uploaded to the Museum’s Facebook Page, Bee will also add her photos from North Weald, they are mainly for Bee’s reference, but she is sure you would enjoy looking at them too.

As noted above, Bee and Sarah will be back next Sunday 16th April 2023……..hopefully they will also find Sarah’s lip stud as that seemed to have gone walk-about at some point during the day……probably worked its way loose because of all the chatting back and forth hahahahaha……….stay tuned

Day 12

The organisation of day 12 actually started earlier in the week (Monday I think) with a message to Sarah from Bee saying, “don’t go to Wattisham first thing on Sunday, come to my house for 08:30“.

Later in the week (Wednesday I believe) there was another cryptic message to Sarah from Bee saying “I have a surprise for you on Sunday

Then at 07:30 today (Sunday) Bee sent Sarah another message saying “Bring a warm coat, not saying why, but it is necessary

Updated TO-DOs

Bless her, 08:30 sharp, the little red car pulls into Bee’s drive, a quick hello and let’s go and both hop into Bee’s mini…… Yes, plans have been afoot all week and today they have come together.

The trip out before Wattisham Scout day, started with a trip to Hangar 53, to meet Simon, have a look around the workshop and to swap cars again, but this time to a vehicle capable of carrying larger than mini capacity goodies for the HAS. Thankyou Simon for suggesting we take your little Land Rover lightweight; it was a fun day out with it!

Lightweight Landy and Lynx

The lightweight is a little stripped back with no doors but has a canvas roof and sides and sturdy seatbelts, so then the penny dropped with the message of “bring a warm coat“.

In the back of the lightweight was a gift from Hangar 53 for the Scout. Meet Mr Manny Kin. He will be representing a casualty in the back of the scout on the stretcher once the project comes to an end.


Also in the back of the lightweight was a compressor and an airline. It is on loan for a short period of time and really is a stopgap until the actual HAS compressor turns up. But Peter, Bee and Sarah can make great inroads with this handy and much needed bit of kit. For Hangar 53 it is the mobile compressor that covers the bigger projects outside of the spray booth and as they don’t have a large project in for at least a few weeks, it is now serving its purpose where it is needed at the HAS. Thank you, Simon, you are just the best.

It was fun pitching up at Wattisham in the noisy sand coloured lightweight and having to register at the main gate for a pass. There were a few admiring looks around her too and a “huh” when the dismantled mannequin parts were spotted in the back, this made Sarah and Bee laugh. After picking up the keys from the guardroom, they both agreed they should have been sassier at the gate by saying….. transporting body parts in the back for disposal on site………hahahahahaha!!

Anyway, once the keys were picked up, Bee said to Sarah, “fancy driving her to the HAS“. Sarah’s face was a picture, and she was so nervous, but for the first few 100m’s of struggling to get the hang of no power steering and the strange configuration of the gearing, she soon relaxed and enjoyed the drive. The first thing she did when we parked up at the HAS was get out (smiling from ear to ear) and phone her dad excitedly telling him about her drive in an Army Land Rover with no power steering!

So………..our day, well, first things first, unload the lightweight, open both the annex doors and let the beautiful day flood in. Set compressor up, untangle airline and put Mr Manny Kin back together and dress him in a woolly-pully onesie (army issue I assure you). He now stands patiently waiting for when it’s his turn to shine, but in the meantime, he will stand watch over proceedings.

Sarah dived into the Scout and started blowing and brushing and scraping, this kept her busy till 14:45 when both of them realised that time had just run away, and they should really be packing up and heading home!!

Tools in use

So, whilst Sarah was beavering away and getting lost in the process, Bee started filling up the TO DO blackboard with the most immediate TO DO’s including the Sunday’s Bee would not be there to help. Once that was done Bee decided that as Sarah was doing so well inside the cockpit, she would start on one of the jobs on the list, which is de-flaking and sanding the seat frame. Next week will be a continuation of that task and once it’s deemed ready for paint, she will move onto the seat padding and take that home to refurbish it with a new cover.

Scout seat

If all goes well then Peter, Bee and Sarah will be at the HAS next Sunday 23 April 2023. Let’s see what Peter thinks of Mr Manny Kin, the compressor and the progress made today…….stay tuned!!

Day 13

A full compliment of bodies at the HAS today (Peter, Bee and Sarah) plus Peter and Julie as well. They popped over to start cleaning down and re-varnishing the gorgeous Camp Bastion REME sign which will hopefully grace the dedicated AAC wall in the museum soon.

Bee had also organised (through the right channels) a car and site pass for her friend Rares (pronounced Rah-Resh) to join them for a few hours to assess and dismantle the 2 small rear perspex windows that face the engine (cracked and sun damaged) for the possibility of reproducing them for the Scout.

Rares working on a Scout window

According to several people who have worked on and still work on Scouts, these 2 windows are as rare as rocking horse manure, so getting Rares involved was a must (he has a great talent for all things fibreglass and perspex) and Bee could not think of anybody else to offer this challenge to (see photo of Rares getting stuck in – permission to use photo granted).

Should it be successful (am absolutely sure it will be), then perhaps this might be a way to help out other museums in the rocking horse manure department in the future.

Bee and Sarah had never heard Peter talk as much as he did on Sunday!! It must be having male company that did it……..hahahaha!!

But before work started for the day, Bee and Sarah wanted to know how his rehab weekend went. He said the food was great and he ate too much, but it was worth it. He also approved of Mr Manny Kin, was impressed with the compressor (although complained that it was loud when he was trying to talk to Rares) and also approved of the other gift Bee brought along on Sunday.

Kindly donated by Simon at Hangar 53, were 2 mounting boards and a large black bag full of linbins. They will be put up over the following weeks in between restoration work and will certainly be put to good use too (thank you Simon).

Whilst Peter and Rares were occupied in the cockpit, Bee and Sarah did a walk around the Scout to ascertain the condition of the paintwork, and to discuss getting that prepped in the meantime for future paint. Sarah started at the tail section (see photo) and Bee sat down with the seat (see photo) to continue with the prep work she started last Sunday.

Flaking exterior paint

When the two windows were dismantled and the broken bits taped back together and safely deposited in Rares’ car, Peter then spent some time (probably half an hour or more) in the HAS showing Rares around the Phantom and Hunter with a talk about their history and restoration thrown in for good measure. Later that evening Rares messaged Bee to say he thoroughly enjoyed his few hours at the HAS and that Peter was very good company too.

Rares estimates it will probably take him a couple of weeks, then the replacement windows should be ready for reinstating (thank you Rares, your help is very much appreciated).

Sarah made good headway on the tail section, Bee made good headway on the seat and Peter had a good day all round. When Rares had gone for an ogle at the Lynx, Peter took the opportunity to tell Bee and Sarah that he thoroughly enjoyed talking and working with Rares today. Bless him, he can pick up where he left off when Rares comes back with the rocking horse manure in a couple of week’s time…..

Seat restoration progress

Before heading off home a quick team talk about next Sunday’s jobs were discussed. Peter will be back in the cockpit getting that ready for paint, Sarah will continue her journey on the paintwork on the outside and Bee will finish off the final bit of sanding on the seat frame.

Bee might even take her sewing machine and fabric in and make a start on the seat pad re-covering once the sanding has been done……

The heavens opened just as they were locking up and so they all scrambled to their cars and headed home.

Tune in with Peter, Bee and Sarah next Sunday 30 April 2023…..pssstt ……….we will be celebrating 14 days, that’s 2 weeks of work on the old girl!!

Day 14 – 2 whole weeks

2 weeks of work done, can you believe it, 14 Sundays and 14 blog posts so far!!

Whilst we (Peter, Bee and Sarah) celebrate this milestone Bee felt it only right to start this blog off by THANKING all the wonderful people involved in this project in one capacity or another.


  • For the physical donation of parts
  • For the verbal donation of encouragement, time, knowledge and skill
  • And for the monetary donations received thus far

It all goes towards purchasing paint and consumables as well as the odd missing bit of equipment here and there too.

Scan here with your PayPal app

If you do feel you could contribute in any of these ways, please do get in touch via the Facebook Page or kindly use our 21st century technology (left) and mark your donation as “Scout Restoration” via the museum’s QR code and the Museum’s PayPal account!!

If you’re physically visiting the museum on one of our open days (please make sure you pre-book here), the same QR code is available to scan in the museum too, thank you, it really means a lot to us!!

Also, do come and visit Peter, Bee and Sarah in the HAS annex, we would be happy to chat and show you around and you’re welcome to take photos too. Don’t be shy, just ask and we would also be happy to take a photo of you standing next to the scout as well. Your encouragement is what makes this project fun for us and also gives us writing material for our blog (please note, Bee and Sarah will always ask your permission on the day should they want to include you and your photo in their blog post).

So in keeping with this milestone of 2 solid weeks of work, Bee has some wonderful news to share with you as well…… EPIC ROADTRIP!


If you remember, in the day 1 blog, Bee mentioned putting out the feelers to various people and having a few positive responses back, back then, well the positivity has grown tenfold and Bee has been cheeky, chatty and a little bit forward, but also happy to make and give in return by baking cakes and gifting homemade jam as a THANK YOU along this journey, and finally a week ago a wonderful email popped up in her inbox with an invitation. It made her squeal with delight, do a happy jig and shed a couple of happy tears too.

We, that’s Bee and Sarah, have been invited down to Middle Wallop to pick up a bushel of parts and, to make a copy of the cowling (that’s the visor thingy that goes over the top of the instrument panel) so that Bee’s friend Rares can replicate it in fibreglass. Apparently this is another rare and hard to find piece, or as Middle Wallop said, it’s as rare as hen’s teeth, so Bee is going armed with stuff and things to take a realistic cast of it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this is something that we could offer other museums as well!

We might just go into the business of supplying rocking horse manure and hens teeth in the future……….hahahaha!!

Anyway, the countdown to Middle Wallop has begun and we are planning to leave bright and early (3 hour drive) spend the whole day there, take home-baked goods as a thank you, stay the night (we are so humbled by the generosity of a twin room, THANK YOU) and leave nice and early the following morning (3 hour drive back) to get back to Suffolk!

So… this space 🙂

Rivnut tool working

Now, let’s tell you about day 14……

Peter very generously offered his muscles today and started the process of reinstating the rivnuts into the framework. Bless him, it took some huffing and puffing, but he finished one of the quarter apertures (see photo) before heading out for the afternoon with his wife to visit the bluebell woods nearby, it was a splendid day for visiting the bluebells.

Rivnut installation

Bee occupied herself with flatting, sanding and chatting, sadly Sarah couldn’t make today, she was feeling a bit under the weather, so when Peter had to go and spend precious time with his wife, Bee had to go as well, but it wasn’t a wasted afternoon because she went home and did some much needed laundry and made a start on the pilot’s door pouch too – no rest for the blessed.

Peter and Bee also had 2 visitors today, both of which (Bee decided in her infinite childish wisdom would be funny to hide behind the door) got a loud BOOOO shouted at them as they walked through into the annex, one visitor didn’t even blink or flinch – solid as a rock he was, but the other visitor however did jump and also said….”I could have killed you right there” and did air-karate moves to prove his point! This made Peter and Bee roar with laughter!

I know, I know….. funny though, you have to agree!!

Anyway, before Bee signs off, she’d like to tell you about a strange discovery today……. she and Peter were a little perplexed by it and wonder if anyone has an explanation.

You know the TO DO blackboard that was created a few weeks ago and subsequently had been filled up with TO DO’s as well as Bee’s show dates….. well, the annex either has a ghost or someone came into the annex during the week and willfully (why though, why would you do that???) ran their fingers through the chalk writing and smudged it across the board (see photo)……!! We really don’t understand (firstly) why someone would do that and secondly, wonder what they doing in the annex anyway???

That’s it……………thanks for reaching this milestone with us. Back next Sunday 7 May 2023 to continue with the long list of jobs. The museum is also open for visitors, so if you haven’t booked a slot yet, please do it ASAP.

Day 15

A delightful day spent at Wattisham, not only entertaining our 20 or so guests as they visited the museum and then the Phantom and Hunter in the HAS, but also because exciting things were happening in the Annex too…….

Rares joined Peter, Bee and Sarah in a very neat convoy at 9.30 as they headed towards the HAS. Rares having the much anticipated missing pieces for the rear of the cockpit in his car and Bee having a few more donated bits to add to the Annex workshop. The museum had its 2nd open day of the year too and the sun was making an appearance to bless the day ahead!

HAS doors open (for visitors) and Annex doors open (for light and the day to flood in), plus 3 excited bodies waiting patiently or impatiently (depending on how you looked at their anticipation…… hahahaha) for Rares to show them the new rear windows……

So before Bee tells you about the windows, let her set the scene here……

Friday evening Bee sends Rares a message saying, “Are you all set for Sunday?
Rares said, “Yeah, but I’m not sure if it’s going to work
Bee said, “I am sure it will be fine Rares, what makes you think it’s not going to work?”
Rares said, “Well, I couldn’t get the right product, so I’ve made them out of fibreglass
Bee said, “Honestly Rares, I would be over the moon no matter what, it means we can make it water and weather tight and I would still be most proud to have it on display
Rares said, “OK (thumbs up symbol from him), well I will see you Sunday

The little tinker…..him and his poker-faced sense of humour, he certainly had Bee going, but Bee still stands true to what she said, that as long as it looked right and fitted and meant that it would make the scout water and weather tight, she would be happy with however he made it!! ……… out of the back of his car came the most beautifully crafted clear plexiglass panels…….. WOW…….well, actually double WOW, this man is talented (see photo of the old next to the new).

Rares then brought in the rest of the things and tools he needed to dry fit the windows, this included the cutest mobile workbench which Rares has donated to the Annex, THANK YOU, you’re a star and yes, it’s a very handy little bench which will be used a lot!!

Peter was going to carry on his muscle flexing job of rivnutting today, but the excitement to get involved with Rares and the panels were just too tempting, this means that the rest of the rivnutting will have to wait till the giddiness of it all has died down.

Sarah’s work in progress

Once the 2 boys were settled in their witty, bantering routine, Bee and Sarah gathered themselves and each took on a job that didn’t interfere or get in the way of Peter and Rares and their important mission for today.

Sarah took the little portable sander and started the delicate job of firstly scraping any loose or bubbling paint (this is all about the outside of the scout) and then feathering in the edges, minding the rivet heads and discovering the old girl’s history under the layers of paint (see photo 1 and 2 of Sarah’s progress) – the girl is doing a sterling job!

Pilot seat

Bee finally got the last of the seat rubbed down and then the exciting job of giving it a coat of paint commenced (see before and after photos). The seat back pad is in good condition and will go back without any repairs needed, but it also now means the seat base pad is next on the agenda for repair – yip…..sewing machine to be brought down and possibly also using Rares’ cute workbench as a sewing table!!

There was much too-ing and fro-ing with Peter and Rares as the metal strips needed to support and sandwich the rear glass and port rear roof glass had to have a good clean up and sand down before fitting.

Rear windows

OH MY GOODNESS (see photos 1 and 2) the dry fit has gone exceedingly well!! Which means that next week it will all come off again so it can be fitted properly with the right sealant before the big bolt down happens.

During a quick break to have a drink, Bee and Sarah discussed Rares and how much of an asset he has been and certainly could be going forward with the restoration team. They also agreed that every time Rares has been at the HAS, they have seen a very animated and talkative Peter and that Rares is a good egg all round.

Bee will now put an application forward for Rares to join the restoration team, and once his application is approved, Bee will do a little write up and introduce him to you all, so watch this space.

Before the team left for the day, there was one last important thing to do, and that was……. (see photos of Peter and Rares) ticking off jobs on the TO DO board – how very satisfying!!

Crossing off the TO-DO list

Well folks, that’s it for day 15……….

Next Sunday 14 May 2023 will see Peter, Sarah and Rares at the Annex (play nicely you lot and have fun). Bee however will be at “Temple at War” with Simon and their team displaying The Gulf Collection.

If you’re anywhere near Cressing Temple Barns, do pop in, if you’re a veteran or if you’re currently serving, please present your MOD card at the gate and come and enjoy this very varied and exclusive little show.

Sarah will be responsible for the day 16 blog and Bee could not think of anyone better to string a page or two of words together for you, so keep an eye out for next week’s update on the shenanigans and progress made on the old girl!!

Day 16

Hello everyone, today it’s Sarah writing the blog on our lovely Bee’s behalf whilst she is working hard at Cressing Temple Barns for their “Temple at War” weekend. We can’t wait for the stories next week!

Yet another lovely day was had at Wattisham, although the Annex and HAS felt decidedly emptier this week… After the excitement of our second successful open day of the year, the team (minus one busy Bee) headed over to the HAS for an eventful day at work!

Upon arrival and unpacking, Peter and Sarah were treated to some sweet snacks courtesy of Rares, whose birthday it was the following day: Happy Birthday Rares! The donuts and brioche proved essential to keeping the team going throughout the day.

Rotor blade holders

That wasn’t the only gift that Rares brought with him this week – he had lovingly made two rotor blade holders for the restoration team. This could mean only one thing… today was the day that the other two rotor blades could be taken off! With Peter working at the business end loosening the bolts, Sarah and Rares helped to take the weight and remove the blades, placing them snugly into their new home. Another job ticked off the To-Do board… Now, on with the rest of the day!

Rotor blades removal and stowage

After a brief word to the boys about her and Bee’s plans for the week (more on that later), Sarah carried on with the paint sanding, starting with the other side of the rear section to avoid getting tangled up with Rares and Peter working in the cockpit area. Peter decided to make a start with repairing the punctured wheel to get another job ticked off, and Rares continued with the rear windows and assessing what parts could be done and moulded next.

Sarah made a fair bit of progress on the tail section, being careful to mind the rivet heads and took the time to prepare some more of the materials that she would need for the following week.

Peter was attempting to make headway on repairing the wheel, however this job proved to be more difficult than initially thought, so we will need to return to that another time. Rares also offered plenty of helpful ideas to get the wheel apart for its eventual repair.

Working on a “difficult” wheel

Speaking of Rares, he was settling in even more today, keeping himself busy with his own work on the rear windows and panels as well as being a photographer on Sarah’s behalf, and familiarising himself with the work that the other team members were undertaking on that day. As usual, Sarah was happy to take a back seat and enjoy listening to the boys talking so animatedly about plans for the restoration – it gives one a warm feeling to hear people getting so excited about it! Rares truly feels like a part of the furniture at this point, just like the rest of us!

Towards the end of the day, the boys removed the damaged glass panel at the front of the cockpit to get a closer look and assess the best approach to getting a replacement for the future.

Working on the windscreen

With that, the workshop was cleaned up and day 16 was officially done.

Rares will not be joining us next week due to celebrating his birthday, but we have Bee’s triumphant return to the annex to look forward to!

As discussed in the Day 14 blog, Sarah and Bee were due to travel down to Middle Wallop and have a look around their Scout and pick up some parts that the team over there had so generously set aside for us. However, there has been a slight hiccup and that trip will have to be postponed for another time – it is no problem, as the ladies will be ready and raring to go when the opportunity arises again.

Keen to make the most of their time, Bee and Sarah will attempt to get an extra day of work done on the Scout this upcoming weekend, and Peter will (hopefully) be impressed and surprised with the progress made in his absence upon arrival to the annex on Sunday 21st May.

Bee will also be back to writing the blog posts, so stay tuned and we look forward to you joining us next time!

Day 17 – Bonus Blog Post!

Hi everyone, it’s Sarah again. Bee is back to writing our regular blog posts as of day 18, but I am lucky enough to write about our extra day in the HAS!

As mentioned last week, Bee and Sarah had originally planned to visit Middle Wallop and see what goodies and information they could glean from the team over there, however that had to be postponed. (We have since had word that we may be able to reschedule soon, so watch this space!)

Keen to make the most of their time, the ladies decided to get into the annex and try and get some more jobs done before returning to the normal running order on Sunday.

Workshop with sewing station

Upon meeting at the HAS, Bee told Sarah to close her eyes, as she had a surprise for her! After nervously obliging, Sarah was delighted to see that the restoration team had been gifted two tool kits (thanks to David Parks) which will be incredibly useful when it comes to working on some of the more intricate parts of the Scout! After letting out a squeal (who would have thought that a toolbox could be so exciting?!) the ladies brought the kits into the annex. Bee also brought in her trusty sewing machine to set about ticking off another list on the jobs board!

Sarah carried on with paint sanding but began at the nose/ cockpit area as she wouldn’t be getting under Peter’s feet. Bee set up her little workstation with her sewing machine and set about making a replacement pouch for the cockpit door. After a brief time, the ladies heard a very familiar voice call out “there’s two labourers in here!”, causing their heads to pop up from their work… Peter had arrived! He was escorting a visit to the HAS, so he was dressed considerably smarter than when the ladies usually see him. After having a brief look at what the pair were getting up to, he left them to it and got the main HAS doors opened to showcase the jets in all their glory. As the doors opened, Sarah noticed some movement and saw a little toad friend hiding in the tracks of the door… He is officially called Tony the Toad and is the unofficial mascot of the restoration team!


After a few hours of hard work, Bee and Sarah stopped and decided to refuel, enjoying a lovely lunch, with some extra company. The legend that is David Parks popped over to partake in lunchtime activities and chat about how things were progressing with the restoration, but not after Sarah expressed her deep thanks and excitement over the new toolboxes! David’s visit felt all too brief, and once again the ladies got back to work.

Bee managed to make some good progress on the pouch, before lining up the holes to secure it to the door- another job ticked off the list. Sarah made progress in the cockpit section, but before the pair knew it, it was time to pack down and close the annex for the day. Bee closed the main HAS doors, but not before checking that Tony was safely out of the way!

A successful day was had all round, and it was a major treat spending some time with Peter and David. The trio of Peter, Bee and Sarah will reunite for more hard work on Sunday 21st May. Unfortunately, there will be no Rares until next week as he is busy celebrating his birthday… how inconsiderate! But he should hopefully be back the following weekend, Sunday 28th May.

Day 18

This morning saw Peter and Bee in a 2-car convoy head over to the HAS; don’t you worry, Sarah joined them at around 10am and this made up 3/4 of the dream team this Sunday. Rares had family commitments, so we let him enjoy his time with his loved ones.

Bee was back from her weekend away at Cressing Temple Barns and spent 1/2 hour or so excitedly telling Peter about the wonderful weekend displaying their Gulf Collection and the amazing feedback received from the public and the show organisers, including being awarded Best in Show as voted by the public and appearing on the front page of the local newspaper too. Simon also did an interview with BFBS Colchester and the new audio side to their display was also very well received by all. Bee had already excitedly given Sarah the lowdown on her weekend away when they both spent a bonus extra day with the old girl on Friday (see Sarah’s blog post day 17).

Bee was surprised and delighted that Russell (our museum chairman) decided to pop into the Temple at War show and see what all the fuss was about. It seems a meander around the different displays and trade stalls ignited a keen desire to purchase a little something for himself and so he left later that afternoon with a small souvenir of his day out.

Inside of Scout door

As Sarah has mentioned in her day 17 blog, Bee brought her trusty and very hard-working sewing machine to the HAS to get a few more projects ticked off the TO-DO board list. With the pouch for the pilot door done in an afternoon meant that the next job to be tackled would be the inside of the pilot’s door. Today saw that job successfully done with much scraping and sanding before a coat of the dark grey paint could be applied.

By next Sunday the newly fabricated pouch can be riveted onto its final resting place where it belongs. The old brittle pouch has been disassembled and patchwork-fixed and has now been relegated to a pattern archive should any other museum require one made for their project.

Brand new pouch

There is nothing more satisfying than making great inroads into a TO-DO list. It seems that once the first job had its tick, others have followed rather quickly. It’s wonderful to have a visual reference of where this restoration is at and it also serves as an inspiration to complete the rest of the TO-DO’s on the list.

Today Peter flexed his muscles and (bless him) got the last of the rivnutting put to bed. He has certainly done an amazing job at putting in some wrist-breaking, top lip sweating, upper arm squeezing, energy-groaning and lower arm trembling effort into preparing the top of the roof sections ready for the big refit soon. THANK YOU Peter!!

Today Sarah continued her brilliant refurb of the outside of the old girl with her trusty scraper, little portable sander and her airline with the powerful air nozzle attachment. She is certainly making great inroads and moving along at a steady pace. Peter also did some sanding across the top of the windscreens.

Every little bit helps move the jobs along and it’s great that one person can just seamlessly fall into a job where the other person has left off, except for rivnutting, that was certainly a Peter job!!

Time always seems to fly on a Sunday and before you know it, someone is saying, OH MY GOODNESS IT’S TIME TO PACK UP, today being no exception, except Peter said that if Sarah and Bee wanted to work a little longer, he would leave the keys with them. Both girls said that they would be happy to carry on tinkering for another couple of hours. However, the HAS had other ideas, at 2pm sharp, just as Peter had taken his toolbox to his car, the electricity went off.

First things first, Bee walked to the door and shouted across the car park saying…..Peter, the power is off, do you think the HAS is telling us to go home…….back indoors and check the electrical supply, but that was still on, so it’s certainly not down to user error, then Peter walked back into the HAS to check and double check that it wasn’t something silly on our part, he confirmed it wasn’t and then noticed the emergency lighting on.

A quick sprint to the toilet block (no electric) and the gliding club (no electric) meant that the end of the tinkering day had most certainly been dictated by this event. Bee asked Peter to report this to the guardroom when he handed in the keys and hopefully it’s a very temporary blip and that order will be restored by the next tinkering Sunday.

Next week Sunday (28 May 2023) will see Peter, Bee and Rares at the HAS with young Sarah spending quality time with family. Stay tuned and chat next week!!

Day 19

Another delightful day spent at Wattisham, this time the team consisted of Peter, Bee and Rares. Our Sarah was spending the long weekend catching up on much needed family time and we certainly hope (1) she missed us and talked non-stop about us to her family all weekend (2) that she actually had real soul-nourishing quality time with her parents, sister, niece and nephew too. We missed you Sarah and look forward to seeing you next Sunday.

Well then, this blog post is going to be slightly different, in as much as we would like to dedicate this to a friend of Rares (Julian Lovett) who, selflessly and very kindly donated his time and money to refurbish the old girl’s wheels. As a team, we are truly grateful because it means that she is mobile and can be wheeled outside for a good wash down and also wheeled to her final resting place when she is done.

Our gratitude towards the kindness of people grows weekly and we are humbled by all the help we have received so far.

So…… come with us on a wheel refurb restoration journey.
(Julian kindly gave permission to use his photos and write-up
of the process, THANK YOU)

A couple of weeks ago I had a phone call from my friend Rares (we work together during the week and some Saturdays we also work on Rares’ own personal project – (more on that at another time). Rares knows my skillset as well as my CAN-DO approach to an interesting challenge, and this certainly was an interesting challenge.

This was how the phone call went: –

Julian, you know I am helping out on this Scout helicopter restoration with my friend Bee, well the helicopter’s wheels haven’t seen love and attention for a lot of years and they really need to come apart and be looked at properly if we are to get the helicopter moving again. Peter and I have tried, but we are struggling to get the two halves of the rim apart so that we can look at the inner tube and also look at the very tired tyre and see how we can fix it. Let me send you a picture so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about. I will be bringing it into work on Monday, I hope that’s OK. Rares sent me a picture of a very sad and tired wheel.

On Monday morning I received a wheel, with a bag of bolts, nuts and bearings. First things first was to clean up the area where the bearing should be seated. The old grease had hardened to a rock-solid paste and the ingress of water over the years had also helped make this somewhat untidy and unusable. The rim itself went through a wire brushing process and the corroded aluminium was carefully cleaned up too. The bearings were freed off with the help of a petrol bath/wash and repacked with clean fresh grease and refitted. Once the rim/hub portion of the wheel assembly was done, I moved onto the inner and outer part of the wheel.

Unfortunately, the inner tube was badly perished including the angled valve assembly. A Google search soon gave me the information needed to order the correct inner tube with the correctly angled valve assembly, but sadly Google wasn’t as helpful with regards a new tyre for this refurbishment, so a new approach had to be made to get the tyre back to working condition. I have previously been involved in rubber/tyre refurbishment and so my knowledge was put to good use here. The old, perished rubber was ground off the side walls and then using my best plastering skills, new rubber was evenly applied to the tyre. This was then left in the sun for a couple of days to cure and after a quick flat down (I am happy to say) the tyre has a new lease of life and was ready to go back together.

The inner tube arrived a couple of days after ordering it and using the best talcum powder possible for the job, the inner tube and tyre became firm friends again (SCOUT1905). This was a great opportunity to also inflate the inner tube so that it would be out of the way of the rim/hub assembly going back together.

With all the parts cleaned and given a new lease of life, assembly was so easy and straight forward. Taking it apart however was not so easy, but I really enjoyed the challenge very much.

I am proud to have been able to help my friend Rares and in turn help the museum restoration team move forward on their project.

Thank you Julian for everything you have done, we really appreciate it!!

So what did Peter, Bee and Rares do today…….

Well…..we got to the HAS, opened the Annex doors, fitted the wheels and pumped them up too (thank you to Simon at Hangar 53 for donating another very handy and much needed bit of equipment – see museum’s FB page for all the other photos not able to be uploaded here in the blog). With the wheels pumped up, and with a bit of huffing and puffing the old girl was moved outside.

Rares came up with a plan to play a trick on Sarah, so he asked Bee to take a photo of the empty Annex, send it to her and say “WHAT THE HECK??? We opened the Annex doors and the Scout is gone!!!

We know…….so cruel, but also so funny…. about 5 minutes passed and a “NO WAY!!” came back, followed very swiftly by a phone call, which Bee ignored!! Poor Sarah, by the time Bee had called her back, (we are sure) she’d had kittens!! The first thing she shouted down the phone was “You better be pulling my leg and telling me this is a joke!!“…….

Rares profusely apologised and Bee quickly sent another picture to show the scout just outside the doors, ready for her big wash down………we are sure that by next week Sarah will have forgiven our silly prank, or she might actually be secretly brewing a prank of her own!!

Whilst Peter and Rares took turns to pressure wash the old girl down, Bee busied herself with updating the TO-DO board, getting washers and cherry max rivets ready for the pilot’s pouch, prepping the bench area for cutting out a new seat base covering, straightening up some of the bits and pieces standing against the wall and spending some time outside in the glorious weather watching the boys do their magic on the Scout (she certainly was a dirty bird).

It took a few hours of work to get years of muck, foliage, spider webs and flaking paint washed off her. And they all agreed that it most definitely was easier to wheel indoors than when they initially wheeled her outside (probably cause she was so much lighter). It was also agreed to reposition her slightly better so that there was more working space on the starboard side than previously available.

Once the hose was put away and neatly rolled back up onto the reel (that hose felt like it was a mile long and at one point Peter wearily asked if Bee could see if the end was in sight – it was hahahahaha……… it was just about ready to re-enter the HAS)…. they all gathered in the Annex to complete the next important task before going home which was to tick another 2 jobs off the list (the wheel(s) and the big wash down) – well done Peter and Rares!!

Right, well next week Bee will introduce Rares to you properly and tell you a little bit about why he is such a great addition to the team.

Oh and before i forget, it’s the museum’s open day on Sunday, so should you want to visit, prebook here. We would be happy to see you in the Annex too.

There is a definite plan for next Sunday, but you will have to wait for blog 20 to find out if that plan came together. The dream team will be gathering for another fun filled tinker on 4 June 2023.

pssssstttt….. Tom, our IT man, completed a side restoration on a very battered old sign for the museum, please go read his blog, it’s really good!!

Day 20

Today saw Peter, Bee and Rares eager and early at the HAS. They wanted to get the big doors open so that visitors on the approach to the HAS could catch a sneaky glimpse of the stunning Phantom in it’s natural habitat!! Our Sarah could not make it in this Sunday, but she’s certainly gunning for being here next Sunday…………..well she has to really, she’s writing the Day 21 blog as Bee will be away with her military display on their second show of the season.

So how did today go……….well as you know Bee told you in Day 19 blog that it would be the museum’s open day today and what a fabulous day for visitors it was too. Tom at the museum took such a lovely photo of all the visitor’s cars out front of the HAS. It just shows the lovely sunny day, the wildness of no-mow May and how beautiful and peaceful it can be up in that area.

3/4 of the team then gathered in the annex to have a quick cup of tea and get themselves organised.

Peter had expressed his keenness to start the cockpit painting (that lovely dark grey) and so he spent the day in-between painting, chatting to visitors and talking them through the work that has already happened on the old girl so far. He certainly is a very good host and really good at chatting with people too.

Rares had offered to (1) show Bee how to polish up slightly sun damaged perspex (2) actually polishing up the slightly sun damaged perspex and also chatting to visitors about what he was doing and the process of refurbishing them too.

Bee sat in front of her sewing machine and finished off the replica first aid pouch holder that attaches to the rear bulkhead inside the cockpit. She also fitted the rear back rest into the pilot’s seat and made a start on dismantling the seat base to use as a pattern and recreate a new cover.

Boy oh boy, this might be a little more daunting to replicate than what Bee thought, but she will give it a good go and do her level best. Bee also chatted with lots of visitors throughout the day, all being so keenly interested in the annex and the restoration project.

So I guess you’re wondering if the definite plan mentioned last week got done, well yes we certainly did tick 3 of the 4 jobs off the list, which was Peter painting, Rares polishing and Bee sewing!!

The team also had a lovely surprise visitor, none other than the boss man himself, the person who offered this opportunity of the restoration of the Scout to the museum and who wanted to come and have a sneak peek at progress. Thank you sir for your visit, we hope that the museum restoration team is doing the AAC proud with what we have achieved so far. We certainly feel proud to be doing this restoration and am keenly looking forward to hand over once she’s done. It certainly left a very happy feeling in the annex to hear him say that he was impressed with progress and to carry on as we are!!

Scout frame painting

Anyway, to change the subject but still stay in the realms of aviation, for a couple of months now Bee has been chatting with a lovely man called David B who keenly follows the restoration of the Scout on FB. Well Bee had the opportunity to meet him and with that meeting came a box of bits for the Phantom and a little something for the Scout too.

Once the bits are logged and booked in and Nathan has seen and handled them and possibly even installed them will Bee then share the contents of the box with you……

Exciting, well yes, much
Good thing, oh yes, definitely
Ticking some boxes, aaah yes, for sure

David B spent a couple of hours at Hangar 53 being shown around and talking all things aviation and military and left with a promise to visit again sometime in the future, a very pleasant and interesting afternoon for sure!! Thank you squire for your time, also for bringing the bits to Suffolk and for giving the museum first refusal on a few key things.

Well then, it seems such a short blog this week yet the team spent several hours at the HAS getting quite a lot done, however, when you’re having fun in between talking to really wonderful and interesting visitors, then I guess time just flies.

Sarah will be your storyteller next week. Thank you for tuning in as always, your comments and support is truly valued. So, ’til next Sunday 11 June 2023……21 days, can you actually believe it, that next Sunday will be 3 whole weeks of work on the old girl….WOWZER!!

Day 21

This week’s blog post marks three whole weeks of work on XT617, and it was just Peter and Sarah in the annex today. Prior to her arrival at the HAS, Sarah picked up the box of goodies from Bee and excitedly showed them to Peter as soon as they put their tool bags down for the day. As Bee mentioned last week, as soon as the parts have been logged and fitted to both the Scout and Phantom, we will share some (hopefully) exciting photos with you all!

Peter the liney!

Once their brief, yet info-packed catch up was done, and the plans for the day discussed, the pair set about their day. Peter, upon doing his quick rounds in the HAS, noticed that the front tyre of the Phantom looked quite low – so Peter’s new first job of the day was to give her some air! Sarah’s main job for the day was giving the exhaust outlets a fresh coat of paint. After using some elbow grease, she managed to unscrew both of the covers to take a closer look. The best course of action appeared to be a complete sand down of the old paint, prime both covers with “high-build” and give them a light coat of red spray paint. Sarah decided that she was going to make the most of the sunshine, so she ventured outside armed with all of the materials and protection (mask and goggles) that she would need to get the job done – determined to get another job ticked off the list.

Scout exhaust blanks to be painted

However, after getting the outlets primed and ready for their first colour coat, an issue arose – there wouldn’t be enough red to cover both outlets! After digging around in the paint cupboard (and giving it a little tidy up), Sarah gave up on her venture and ordered some paint for her to use next time. The outlets were gently hooked back on to keep them safe, and she resumed her previous task – removing the peeling paint.

It was a very paint-focused day, as Peter was determined to get more paint on the cockpit section of the Scout. The issue with the paint job in the cockpit area is that there are many awkward areas that prove difficult to sand down. To try and combat this, Peter had an excellent idea – use the high-build primer prior to etch priming to even out the surface a little more! After testing out a small area to check how successful it would be, Peter decided to mist the lower firewall section – and what a difference it has made already! Peter made a note that he should get some more of this magical stuff, as it will make the prep work for the cockpit interior refurbishment so much easier.

As the day drew to a close, Peter and Sarah discussed other jobs that needed ticking off the “to-do list”. Namely, replacing the front windscreen section. Sarah has a contact that may be able to reproduce the damaged glass windscreen, which would be fantastic! She has taken the section away for measuring and will hopefully return with both the original and a shiny new piece of glass.

With that, the pair packed up all of their belongings and discussed plans for next week. Unfortunately, Peter will not be in next weekend, but Bee will be back at the grindstone on Sunday 18th June, hopefully armed with stories of her latest Gulf Collection adventure.

Day 22

A lovely hot morning with a gentle breeze greeted Peter, Bee and Rares at the museum. Sarah was on her way but had to make a detour to pick up a surprise.

Annex doors open, the sun flooding in and the birds singing loudly, with the occasional screech of tyres in the distance, making Peter and Rares antsy to get work done so they could go and be spectators for the rest of the afternoon.

Rotor blade

First things first, the old rotor support blocks dragged to the open doorway and 1 rotor blade carefully placed into it ready to be inspected and for work to commence. Rares has a whole arsenal of materials to hand, tools as well as the Scout battle damage repair manual with everything one needs to make a good repair.

Some gentle prodding and removing of various bits to get to the damaged areas revealed a different story, it was agreed that beneath what looked like good material, more rot/delamination was happening and that there is no shortcut or quick fix about this job. This means that Rares had to rethink some strategies and will be bringing a few other tools in next week to aid him in the repair. Of course, this will be an ongoing job and he will learn on the first rotor and will then apply it to the rest and by the time he tackles the fourth one he will be an expert in the field.

Instrument Panel

Bee dragged the instrument panel out and started to dry fit the dials with the help of the trusty Scout repair manual. It is a good indication of what dials are still missing but also of how blessed #teamscout has been so far with the dials that have already been donated to this worthy cause.

One thing that both Peter and Bee had noticed when they tried to open the locked cabinet, was that the lock had been tampered with. Peter’s key wouldn’t work, and Bee’s key really struggled, but it finally after much to-ing and fro-ing unlocked the cabinet! Why would anyone do that?????

This will need a rethink, perhaps this means that everything in the cabinet might have to be carted home every Sunday and brought back the following Sunday, so unnecessary and so frustrating!!

Peter busied himself inside the cockpit with the ongoing and longwinded sanding down and banishing flaky paint before the long-awaited painting job can happen. One thing can be said for his determination and that is once the new paint goes back on, it’s going to be a job well worth being proud of!

A quick break to check if there were any messages from Sarah (yes, stuck in traffic with the surprise in her car) and to have a bottle of water and in Peter’s case a cup of tea.

Work in progress

The camping stools Rares had brought along several weeks back had gone walkabout and with the tampered lock and the missing stools, this really put a dampener on the morning, Rares stopped tinkering on the rotor and Peter had enough of sanding too, so they both decided that perhaps fitting the roof Perspex panels would cheer them up, and it did, not quite as much as Sarah finally arriving after being on the road in this heat stuck in traffic for an hour and a half. But she was bearing a gift and Peter, Bee and Rares were itching to know what it was.

Bee can’t remember if she said before (probably did), but the port front screen had a nasty stepped crack all the way across it and leaving it like that would do the hard work going in everywhere else a disservice and detract from the rest of the restoration. Sarah, bless her, asked her uncle who is a glazier if he was able to cut a new toughened glass screen for her for the old girl. He did, so THANK YOU sir, we are humbled and very much appreciate your incredible kindness.

This little beauty will go in very soon (it is wrapped in bubblewrap and securely stored until the time is right), but not just yet, Rares needs to bring in a special window/rubber fitting tool and we will certainly report on how that job goes.

Before Sarah started her little side project, she wanted to (and of course she should) tick that job off the blackboard – thank you again Sarah and thank you Sarah’s uncle!!!

The side project (if you remember had a brief mention in a previous blog post), was to restore the exhaust outlets and paint them again, well the girl done good and after several coats of beautiful bright red paint and a dry in the glorious sun, she fitted them for a photo opportunity and then took them off and stored them out of the way until we do the final fitting later on down the line.

Exhaust blanks

Now that the awesome foursome were together, Rares eagerly explained his surprise and what would be happening next Sunday. Big things, that’s all Bee wants to say for now, oh OK, technology will be involved….. that really is all Bee is going to say…….so watch this space!!

This pretty much endex’ed the day and the boys quickly packed up to go watch the motor racing, Bee and Sarah stayed back for another hour sorting out cabinets and rearranging things and then headed out themselves.

That concludes a curate’s egg of a day, but the team will be back next Sunday, so see you then!!

PS:- Before Bee forgets, 2 visitors graced the HAS today and both were really nice people to chat to. The first man (Dave) from the gliding club didn’t even know that the HAS had such treasures as the Phantom, Hunter and Scout behind it’s doors, so Peter showed him around and he left smiling. The other visitor was none other than the SSO, who came in for a sneak peek at progress and to praise and encourage the team. That’s it folks……oh wait….

PPS:- One more very important thing happened, and it is certainly worth sharing LOUD AND CLEAR…….. Bee received a message from Sarah on Monday to say that the SSO had offered to reimburse Sarah’s uncle for the front screen. Totally lost for words, not expected, completely out of the blue, but appreciated more than words can describe!! THANK YOU Mr Kinsey sir!!

PPPS:- Fancy doing something this Sunday coming (2 July 2023), well the museum’s doors are open for a visit, so book here if you want to pop over and come and have a look see, meet all the volunteers and have a chat with us in the Annex too.

PPPPS:- Mystery of the missing camping stools have been solved! YAY, they will be returned next Sunday!!!

PPPPPS:- OK that really is it now….. ’til next Sunday xx

Day 23

A blustery morning in the museum car park, turned into a still and warm day at the HAS. Complete polar opposites in the weather from one side to the other.

Today was the day technology came to visit and what an exciting and informative and interesting day it was too.

It was also another open day for the museum, with quite a lot of visitors, including a pilot who flew our Phantom, yes the actual Phantom in the HAS!! Nathan was giddy with excitement and who can blame him, what a very interesting man and what an honour to have him visit today.

Tom our IT man also flitted in and out of the Annex, periodically borrowing Peter and here’s hoping he (Tom) will tell you all about his own side project on the Phantom soon. He’s a clever man and very creative and inventive too!!

So….. technology, well, it came in the form of a young man called James who brought a large flightcase with him, inside this case was a 3D scanner!! Why is that; you ask, well, I will let James explain why:-

Today I used the 3D scanner kindly on loan from the company Rares and I work for (Hatcher Components Ltd) to make a 3D model of 3 panels on the Scout (port roof front section, starboard roof rear section and port nose perspex cover). The reason for this is to scan and plot these panels so they can be recreated in the future when needed, more specifically the starboard front roof panel which is proving to be very difficult to track down. What I did today was scan the port front roof panel and mirror it for fabrication.

How does the process of 3D scanning work:-

The 3D scanner works by flashing lights at high speed and timing how long it takes for the reflection to return from the surface, much like a radar. The process relies on and uses special reflective dots to triangulate its position in space.

Because the 3D scanner works using light, any transparent/translucent objects must be covered, otherwise the 3D scanner will find it very difficult to “see” and record the surface.

As the perspex panels are transparent, we had to be creative with what we had to hand. Out came masking tape, mine tape, gaffer tape and the possibility of perhaps using newspaper, but the newspaper idea was soon debunked as it probably wouldn’t lay flat enough to give a true representation of the shape of the perspex panel.

The masking up took about 45 minutes and then the dots were placed in a specific pattern. I then asked Bee if I could borrow her sewing table (for my laptop) and I then set up ready to scan. The buzz of chatting quietened down as everyone there (Peter, Rares, Sarah and Bee, plus Al and Nathan) all stood quietly watching me move the scanner-head slowly across the surface.

Once the scan had been taken, it appeared as a “point cloud” on the computer (the scanner will take points every 0.2mm – 1mm based on the setting). This “point cloud” isn’t very useful as there are small gaps between the points, to fix this we converted the point cloud into a “mesh” which links each point together to create a solid object.

Captured 3D image

This solid object is then used in the next steps which, depending on how good the scan data is, removes any unwanted features, tracing the mesh to create a surface model. Once the data is saved, it is then taken back to the office where it is shared to the CNC mill to do it’s machining and magic.

I hope to be able to pass the machined section onto Rares who will then take it and recreate the shape in either perspex, resin or fibreglass.

Goodness me, thank you James, we really enjoyed your company today and watching you work was certainly a great learning experience. Please thank your boss for his kindness in loaning this incredibly expensive machine as well as your time on a Sunday to help move the Scout project forward. We are truly humbled by this and we are also very shocked at the cost today would have been for the machine and your services!!!!!

Moving on to the next job and Bee will let Rares explain:-


Today would be the day the front windscreen was unwrapped out of the bubblewrap and installed in the Scout. Today, she will get her eyes back.

First thing’s first, a few things had to be put in place before Sarah was called to help with this big job (thank you again to her uncle for supplying a new windscreen). Kettle on, bowl ready, dishwashing liquid to hand and the rubber rope insert popped in hot water to soften up and make installing the glass much easier.

Once the screen had its rubber on, steady but nervous hands brought it to the Scout. Sarah and a “pokey” tool on the inside and myself with the correct rubber rope tool on the outside and an audience holding their breath; the slow process of seating the glass back into place started.

Glass fitting in progress

The anticipation on Sarah’s face was very well captured by Bee and the sheer gladness when it finally slipped into place was loud and clear in the annex. A very successful job ticked off the list!

Today was a day not just for entertaining visitors, but also making huge strides forward with all manner of jobs.

The next job for Rares was to put fibreglass matting into the damage prepped rotor blades and then injecting resin into either side and clamping it closed ready for curing. This will be looked at next week to see if it has been successful.

Let’s move onto Sarah now and tell you how she got on today. Well, she had a friend pop by who ended up helping out and what a handy helper-outer Al was too, thank you!! Sarah took the port front door outside with an electric sander, some sandpaper and her and Al did a cracking job at flatting down and scotching up the paintwork ready for grey on the inside and NATO green on the outside.

Of course as mentioned above, Sarah had the honourary job of helping install the port side windscreen as well, so busy busy busy all round for the girl.

Bee, got her sewing machine, fabric and seat pattern out and started the job of reproducing a cover for the pilot’s seat. Bee also helped with the windscreen, took photos of all manner of jobs being done and chatted with various people, including another glider pilot who wandered over saying he didn’t know the HAS had such wonders in it!!

Peter worked next to young James today, his job was to install the guttering on the cockpit and reseat the rubber seals too. This is in between helping Tom in the HAS with the Phantom side project plus entertaining various visitors and setting up the new padlock for the cupboard.

Before anyone really knew it, it had gone past 2.30pm and so the big tidy-up happened and the team slowly started heading home.

The team for next week will be Bee, Sarah, Rares and …………..a mystery guest, so ’til next Sunday!!

PS:- Before Bee logs off, she would certainly like to mention a very exciting gift to the museum from a fellow museum member. Thank you Jo for the big plastic box of “scrap”.

Sarah sat for 1/2 an hour ooooohh-ing and aaaahhh-ing over it’s contents. A new and exciting side restoration project is brewing and it will run alongside all the other projects going on in the HAS. The telling of that story will be firmly placed with our Sarah as that is her field of expertise.

PPS:- I know……………… there she goes again, like last week……post script, post post script………post, post, post script……. but this is the last one on this blog, I promise.

WSHM Restoration Team is a sister-page to the Wattisham Station Heritage Museum page, here is where you get to look behind the scenes at who the team is, what they do, and how they restore, and preserve, Wattisham Station’s Army Air Corps and Royal Air Force historical artefacts. You would be very welcome to join us there!

Day 24

An excited gathering of people in the museum car park this morning waiting for Sarah to arrive. Ooopppsss no one told her that it would be an early start (sorry Sarah, Bee thought she had said, 9am sharp at the gate)…..but not to worry, she messaged back saying, I’ll be there soon, just picking up snacks!

Today’s guest is a great supporter of #teamscout as well as restoration and preservation in general, having spent many years restoring and building up his own collection of interesting softskin vehicles, tracked armour and wheeled artillery at his own hangar.

He has also donated quite a lot of tools and equipment so far, as well as sending out on loan several other key pieces to be used on the Scout during this restoration process. Who is it you say….well, a very welcome guest called Simon, yip, Bee’s husband, a great engineer, creative fabricator and a general all-round nice guy who doesn’t suffer fools gladly, but is a great problem solver, tinkerer and ideas man. So for Bee this was a very exciting day to show and tell in person and first-hand the work that has gone into the old girl over the course of 23 days already.

Rares was excited because his fabrication buddy and friend would be spending several hours at the HAS with him and he even said that Simon is a great substitute for Peter (who wasn’t there, he had family commitments to tend to, so we let him off this time). Rares was very animated as he always is when he’s around people he enjoys the company of.

Sarah was looking forward to Simon’s company too, only because they could talk Fallout76, tactics, weapons and trading bottle caps……oh that’s a whole other blog post right there hahahahaha!

Yip …..we certainly make an interesting bunch of diverse fun people!!
Bee handed the annex key to Rares and said “here you go bud, you do the honours today on Peter’s behalf, you’ve never unlocked before”….shame man….he was a bit nervous, but had clearly paid attention to Peter’s unlocking ritual, because he did it perfectly and opened up the annex doors wide to let the beautiful day in.

Tool bags and sewing machine out of the cars and lights on………

Sarah arrived bearing gifts of donuts, muffins and chocolate orange brownies (naughty but nice), and not long after her another car arrived and parked up and young Tom our IT guy got out carrying his own tool bag.

He wasn’t there for the Scout, he was there to continue his wonderful side project of getting the Phantom looking alive again. Bee has asked permission and Tom has said yes and this means Bee will be sharing his 2 side project blogs on the WSHM Restoration Team page shortly, so keep an eye out for them.

We are so proud to share with you any and all restoration projects happening at Wattisham Station Heritage Museum, firstly to keep you interested but also secondly to show you how passionate we all are about keeping history alive and preserved, so thank you Tom, I am very sure our readers will enjoy your blog posts and photos too.

Improvised piping

Whilst Tom squirreled himself away in the HAS doing his magic, Bee set her sewing machine up and started working on the pilot seat base which is going to take several weeks to complete.

Sarah started sorting out her own workspace for her new side project (yes, be assured the girl is going to be keeping you all updated with her own blog and photos of that restoration project…..yay). Bee doesn’t want to say much more about it other than watch this space (see photo of Sarah testing out her little work area) and it’s perfect, still within talking distance of everyone in the annex, but separate enough so she can concentrate on the delicate nature of her project.

Rares brought in his take-home project he had been working on in his spare time and Bee and Sarah both were completely blown away by his skill. Not only did he take the instrument panel face plate away, he also recreated the missing rear fixing ring and made a cowl to go over the top. What this means is that it is ready to bolt into the cockpit and then have all the instruments we have, bolted into it. THANK YOU Rares, you don’t know how much this means to all of us and we are sure the Scout is just as happy to have her brain back.


Bee asked Rares to put together a quick run-down of what he did to get it to this stage and tell it in his own words: –

I have spent several evenings in my spare time looking at the Scout Manual, which is a very interesting read I can assure you. I needed to work out what was missing and how to recreate it so it looks right once it is bolted into the Scout’s cockpit.

I am pleased to say that with everything I had to hand it is another job ticked off the list and another personal achievement learning a new skill and being able to bring it in on a Sunday to see the team’s reaction, which warms my heart very much.

Let me explain what I did with the panel. First of all we used the original panel itself as a template for the new ring on the back. This ring is what supports the cowl and also gives the panel some rigidity as the combined weight of the instruments could easily buckle it out of shape.

Reading through many pages of the manual and also finding Google images of every angle possible, I settled on how I would recreate the rear section. Yes, it is crafted from wood, sanded smooth and then painted to look like metal (which the original is). I also extended the top section slightly so that when it came to fixing the cowl it would marry up well and be secure.

Once I was happy with the rear section, I gently restored the front face of the panel. Years of neglect and sun damage meant that it wasn’t looking it’s best, but it soon started taking on a restored look when the dark grey paint went on. The only thing left to do is repaint the thin white area around the right-hand side instruments, then it will be classed as done.

That aside, my next challenge was to recreate the cowl (or visor as Bee calls it). I know that it is one of the things on Bee’s wish list she sent out to some of her contacts, but I wanted to take on that challenge and see if I could make it happen. Bee said that this is also as rare as rocking horse manure, which was just the boost I needed to do my own research.

More Scout Manual reading and picture gathering off google and I found an offcut piece of smoked acrylic plexiglass at work and with some experimenting, the form started appearing. It wasn’t just a straightforward bending exercise, it had to match the top of the panel’s shape, but with a twist and step down as it flows from one side of the panel to the other. To finish it off, I added a rubber capping strip and then bolted it down onto the panel (photo of the perfect marriage).

Once the white line is repainted, the earnest job of getting the instruments bolted in can start (we dry fitted some just because we could). I am looking forward to that day, for sure!!

THANK YOU Rares, see it wasn’t that difficult to do a write up now was it…..your story telling skills will be called on in the future again!!

Sarah’s workspace

Simon’s challenge today and the reason for being invited, was to look at the logistics of getting the Scout mobile for towing over a fair distance.

As mentioned in a previous blog, the wheels have been refurbished and a great job was done on the refurbishment too, but in truth they are really only good for very short distances, i.e. taking her out of the Annex to be washed and pushing her back in again with a fair amount of huffing and puffing.

Armed with a notepad, measuring tape, camera and pen, Simon started putting a plan together. The reason for this exercise is to get the Scout from the Annex to the Waterfront for Families Day in August, and to do it in a safe and controlled manner.

We as a team are very proud to show and tell and what better way to do it at an event. We hope that people will be curious and interested and will want to stop and chat, give advice or even tell us they have this or that part for a Scout tucked away in the back of their shed at home, one lives in hope 😉

Right, back to the task at hand:-

First things first, wheels and how high do they lift the old girl when cranked down?

Secondly when they’re down, how well balanced is she? Well, she’s rather weighty in the rear, in fact her toosh brings all the boys to the yard and that could either be a good thing or a hinderance 🙂 we had all hoped it would be a good thing.

Towing plan being created

Thirdly and the next question to work out being, how do we put weight on the front to make the rear more cooperative? Well, you need stabilising hollebones for towing, they’re weighty and the height at which they attach to a tug, tips the Scout into a well-balanced position.

Not knowing how the Scout was brought over to the HAS a few years ago (there was no evidence of any Scout specific hollebones available in the HAS, Annex or in the long grass next to where she was standing outside) an alternative plan had to be put into motion. Cue her pad-buddy, the Lynx and its hollebones close by.

Yes you would be right in assuming that the Lynx’s hollebones would not fit the Scout, but, without changing anything about them, adaptors to bolt on for purpose (and then removed back to standard) was being drawn up on the handy notepad Simon had brought along with him.

Now that a design was being born, Simon asked Bee to message some of her contacts and ask about tyre availability and where to get them from……you know, Kwikfit or Halfords, etc etc…… Bee soon had an answer and so plans are in place for new rubber boots for the old girl.

It was time to pack up, head home and put day 24 down to being a very good day all round.

See you all next Sunday for another catch up, minus Rares but with Peter being back in the saddle. Bee will update you on the fabrication that happened at Hangar 53 for the Scout and a few other bits that seem to have come together too….

Day 25

We are heading for a month of Sundays, I’ve always wanted to make that saying come true, so I could see what a month of Sundays looked like and by jove it certainly is imminent!

When you look at it, not in terms of days but man/woman hours, 25 days at an average of about 6 hours each time, that’s 150 hours of love, enthusiasm and work gone into this old girl and every one of those hours has created new learning experiences, lots of laughing, techniques and workarounds and meeting interesting people along the way.

So how did day 25 go in the Annex?

Peter was back in the saddle with his usual funny personality, keeping Bee and Sarah laughing whilst getting on with piecing together the old girl’s top section.

Fixed down roof section

Her top section (the 4 roof panels) is an important job, once back in place and fixed down, her top section keeps the wind and the rain out of the cockpit, also provides her with her beautiful shape and gives her purpose and personality again.

An interesting bit of information Bee shared with Peter and Sarah on Sunday (let’s tell the backstory before the frontstory is told): –

Bee…..Oh, you guys we had a visitor at the Hangar during the week and he spent time in Northern Ireland when our Scout was there. He is sure he probably travelled in her at some point.

Sarah….. Oh wow, isn’t it always really lovely to meet people who can tell you a little bit more about your restoration project, that you probably can’t find in textbooks or combat logs.

Bee….. It is a real blessing meeting folks who can give a human side to a project. Well, he asked me what damage did the rear roof panels have when we started on her. I said, oh back from centre of each panel at the rear, had a section punched out and a very crude repair of a perspex bit sewn onto the remaining section with thin copper wire. He laughed and said, yip, you’ve described it perfectly. I said, well tell me more!!

So here is the interesting bit of information……that damage is caused by soldiers sitting in the rear with their rifles by their side, when they get up to get out in a hurry what happens is, their rifles would “poke” a hole through the perspex and the sewn in section was a quick in-theatre repair so she could continue to work whilst a replacement roof section was ordered in from the stores. How about that?

Anyway, back to Peter’s work in progress. We certainly believe this specific job is in the best hands, he (Peter) is precise and diligent making sure everything fits and slides in behind where it should and that things line up too. He is also cleaning out and re-threading areas that don’t require rivnuts but have suffered from biometallic corrosion and making sure they will last until she gets restored again in another 10+ years time.

Sarah, having spent a couple of Sunday previously cleaning up the inside of the co-pilot door, took on the task of getting some much-needed fresh dark grey paint back on it. After having a discussion about preserving as much of the original labels inside the cockpit (some were beyond salvation), it was agreed that even though the label on that door was a bit scabby, it really should stay. We will make sure it is reglued back into position, as it adds to her character and that is what we are all working to achieve here; letting her tell her story.

Another job ticked off the list and now both front doors have had their beautification on the inside and will be ready to go back on their hinges soon. Rares, who is an expert in perspex and who has brought some of the intact but UV exposure faded windows back to life, will at some point give the smaller ones their treatment too and we’ll make sure we have before and after photos available when that happens.

Another small but important job is the recreated pilot door pouch that still needs to be riveted back into position and as Sarah has never riveted, Bee is going to give her a quick tutorial on what to do and then hand that job over to her.

Bee spent a lot of time in front of the sewing machine, but as noted in last week’s blog, this will be the story for a few more Sundays until the pilot seat base is recreated. As you can see from the photo taken, the section on the seat where the thighs sit has all but disappeared through years of use and so a bag of “stuffing” was brought in and new “humps” created, including the small section along the rear to just bulk it out somewhat. No one will sit in that seat other than a mannequin, but until we find a seated one, the seat has to look right anyway.

Packing up and packing away commenced whilst excitedly talking about big things happening next Sunday. We are all looking forward to telling you and showing you when it happens, so keep an eye out for that.

Thank you for being here with us……

Day 26

Today has been one of the funniest, most serious and very productive days thus far!

Fabricated adapters

Simon (Bee’s husband) came over for the final fit of the hollebone adaptors which he made so that we are able to tow the Scout over to the hardstanding for the Station Families Day.

First thing first, an early start for Simon, Rares and Bee to get to the Annex and have at least a 1/2 hour head start because various things had to happen before any of the fabricated parts could be assembled.

New tyre

New tyres bought by Simon as advised by Fran at North Weald (Bee mentioned him in a previous blog) had to be fitted to the Scout’s wheel rims. These were bought because we could not guarantee the integrity of the original tyres (1) to pump them up to the specified psi and (2) if they would last towing over a distance, and we’d rather be safe than sorry. We certainly don’t want to be the cause of an unnecessary headache to the people who will be helping take her over to the hardstanding.

The port side rim had previously been worked on (blog day 19), so taking it off the spindle to split was an easy task and Simon and Rares made quick work of that one and then fitted the new tyre. However the starboard side rim was somewhat reluctant to let go and neither Simon or Rares was that surprised as she has stood in various locations with no activity or maintenance happening over a long period of time and in all weathers too, but what they didn’t expect was that it was going to put up a fight.

Wheel rims

Sarah arrived with a spring in her step ready to put some time into her side project, as there wasn’t much to do on the Scout itself. Both the girls wanted to give the guys their space to do their thing and not get in anyone’s way, unless they were asked to help.

Bee had her sewing machine set up for further seat base restoration and Peter arrived not long after Sarah with his toolbox, flask and lunchbox in hand looking very much determined to get started. The nicest thing happened when he walked into the Annex, it stopped drizzling and the sun came out in all its glory……..well, what can we say, he certainly brought it with him today. A good thing as trying all of this outside in the rain wouldn’t have made for a fun day!

The 3 guys then had a quick conflab about the problem wheel and before Bee and Sarah knew it, they had decided on the best way to tackle it, some heat (our little travel hair dryer – well, you gotta use what you have and it was gentle enough to give a helping hand), it also required some tapping back and forth with a rag and a copper hammer so as not to put any kind of damage on any part of the assembly.

It certainly took some patience, but the wheel came off the spindle and there was a joyful whooop whooop when that happened. Rares then took the rim over to his little workbench to split so that he could remove the old tyre. It had to be cleaned up as well and regreased for reassembly, but when it was fitted back on the Scout, it turned beautifully with no notchy sounds or uneven rotation.

Bee is happy to report that……………the old girl got her new rubber boots today.

On to the towing assembly and the stabilising box section fitted precisely and neatly between the two upstands at either end of the skids. The purpose of this is a tie down point for the hollebones. Then the much-anticipated fabricated brackets were brought out and Peter said he was impressed with Simon’s fabrication skills. These brackets were then placed onto the frame between the 2 skids and the hollebones were offered up to them and fitted perfectly.

A quick tea break to wait for the compressor to reach capacity and then the wheels were pumped up to 40psi at first. The wheels were lowered, and her heavy rear did exactly what we all had hoped would happen. This meant the front of the hollebones had lifted up enough so that when attached to the Land Rover, they should level the skids out perfectly.

Before it was attached to the vehicle (she was facing inboard and had to come out of the annex) Peter and Rares had to push her out with Simon gently guiding the tail section. There is a video of her effortlessly being pushed out (Peter says something really funny and you can hear Rares roaring with laughter), which will be uploaded to the WSHM Restoration Page for you to enjoy. Once she was pushed out far enough, Simon brought the Land Rover around and Sarah and Rares put some weight onto the front of the skids just to help her level out enough to slot beautifully into the NATO hitch. Bee’s important job in all of this was to photograph the whole procedure and Peter’s important job was to mate the towbar (hollebones) and Land Rover together safely.

Low range, first gear and Peter, Sarah, Rares and Bee watched Simon slowly drive down the hardstanding, make a u-turn and come back. She was very stable (although it was agreed once she was back in the annex that the tyres had to have more air) and Simon said he certainly found it an easy tow.

Bee, Sarah and Rares then popped to the NAAFI whilst Peter and Simon guided the old girl back into the annex, this time with her face pointing towards the doors. Her wheels were then raised up again (to take pressure off them) and pumped up to just below the stated psi in the manual.

All really exciting stuff and because of Simon’s contribution it only felt right that he should be the one to tick that job off the TO DO list.

Rares and Peter then started on the small rear windows for the last 45 minutes of the day, they got one bolted back in with all the trim, rubber and guttering in place and it looks really smart. Peter promised to get the other one in next Sunday which will mean another job ticked of the list.

That then only leaves the starboard front roof panel to fit (the one which is being created out of the 3D scanning that happened on Blog Day 23). Rares sent photos to Bee on Saturday from his workplace to show him working on the mould (those photos will be uploaded for you to see). That’s real dedication for you, going in on his day off to push the project forward, THANK YOU Rares, it’s very much appreciated and please thank your boss for allowing this to happen, we are truly grateful for his generosity.

With the little window in place, it was time to pack up and head home ’til next Sunday. Bee is at another show so won’t be in next week, Rares is on his summer break, so Sarah and Peter will be heading up the team……. THANK YOU both for keeping the momentum going. They have self-allocated jobs for next Sunday and before we locked up to head home, Sarah gave the blackboard a clean-up and a reshuffle as it had started to look a little messy.

With the annex swept, all things put away, the TO DO board cleaned up, the whole place looked smart as they shut and locked the doors, a cracking day with much achieved…….a happy #teamscout + 1 saying…….over and out!!

Keep your eyes peeled for blog day 27, our Sarah will tell you how it went!!

Day 27

Perhaps a smaller blog post today, as this week saw just Sarah and Peter in the Annex – Bee was working elsewhere and Rares is having some well-needed time with family. After a brief chat about their intentions for the day, Sarah and Peter decided to set about their respective tasks to try and get some more jobs ticked off the list.

For Sarah, that meant making some more headway with interior painting- this time it was the turn of the rear doors. The rear doors that are being fitted onto the Scout are not the same ones she arrived at the Museum with – the original doors came with a lot of damage to the windows, and it was decided that it would be far easier to install new ones than get the old ones repaired. The overall quality of the newer doors is much better, with next to no damage whatsoever. Due to the fact that the existing paint on the inside was a few shades lighter than the paint on the other doors, Sarah decided to give the interior a fresh coat, so that they all matched!

After getting the first coat on one door done (it took longer than anticipated), she decided to change the hardware (handles and door hinges) over, so that the doors will be ready to fit in time for Families Day (ensuring that the Scout interior is weather-proofed – we all know what British summers can be like)!

Door hardware fitted

After a removing the old paint from around the fittings, Sarah still struggled with the door screws and bolts – they have been in-situ for around sixty years! She decided to let it soak with a bit of WD-40, so that she can try again next week, with a higher chance of success! To finish off her work for the day, Sarah bolted the red exhaust covers back onto the Scout in another weather-proofing exercise.

Peter’s day proved to be a bit trickier. His primary focus was fitting the small, rear window with its new Perspex. His main concern was being careful not to crack or damage the perspex, which proved easier said than done. There were a lot of holes that required lining up at the same time to get it fitted onto the frame.

Peter tried his hardest, in a multitude of angles and managed to get it secured as much as possible. However, he soon came to realise that we would be better off fitting it with new BA bolts, both small and large. So, the panel has been left on the frame to help its new shape “bed in”, and the fit should be completed next week!

To round off the day, Sarah and Peter decided to disconnect the hollebones from their new set up, to ensure they were ready to use on the Lynx (which has been moved for a little spruce up) before being refitted to the Scout. Even though there were no jobs ticked off on the “to-do list”, both Sarah and Peter made a good amount of headway in their respective jobs, so they will be ticked off and “completed” within the next two weekends.

Perspex “bedding in”

Speaking of weekends, the next Museum Open Day is Sunday 6th August. So, if you follow this blog and would like the opportunity to visit the Museum, please go to our website and fill in the visitor’s form (you won’t be granted access onto camp without it). Open days are the first Sunday of each month, until season’s end in October. Our team would look after you and take you on a journey, both physical and historical – speaking about the history of Wattisham from the 1930’s/1940’s to present day in the main Nissen hut, before whisking you off to view our stunning examples of the “jet age” at Wattisham – the Phantom and the Hunter. There are also plenty of other exhibits to view in the HAS! You could even stick your head into the Annex to take a look at the Scout – Bee and Peter will be happy to chat to you about progress on the old girl.

Day 28

A very early start today, only because we had 60 visitors booked in at the museum and HAS!!! Can you believe it, 60 people through the doors, which surely must be a record for an open day!!

THANK YOU ALL FOR VISITING!! And in the same breath, Peter and Bee want to say that they really enjoyed you stopping by for a chat whilst they tinkered on the Scout!!

What also warmed our hearts and is very much worth mentioning here, was a lady walking through from the HAS into the annex with her husband and 2 young boys and saying: – “Where’s Bee and Sarah? I’ve just found the blog and joined the WSHM Restoration Team page.

Bee said: – “Well hello, I’m Bee, this is Peter, but today our Sarah is celebrating her dad’s birthday (by the way……HAPPY BIRTHDAY Dad from #teamscout) and Rares has now started his holiday with his family

That truly made both Peter and Bee feel very special, so THANK YOU for reading this blog, we honestly appreciate your input, enquiry and feedback and when you come and visit and tell us you’re following the progress, it really gives us a great morale boost too!!!

Right, onto today, well not quite today, let’s just back track (so you get the back story of how the gifts being talked about here, came about) to Wednesday of last week and Friday of last week as well.


Bee got a message from Rares asking her to pop by his house after work as he had a parcel for her to pick up for the Scout (all will be revealed below), and what a large box it was too…..He explained that it had to be this way up, not to put it down on that side and that it could only be opened on Sunday in the Annex! So demanding, but who can blame him, what was inside the box certainly was worth being demanding over.

Bee also asked Rares to do a quick write up of the contents of the box and how it got to this stage, so here it is below: –

The process of making the starboard front quarter roof window started with the 3D scanning that took place a few Sundays ago. If you recall we had to scan the port front quarter roof window, and then through the marvel of computer technology, flip and mirror it for the other side. Once that was achieved and the programme written, we then started to create a digital prototype. After a couple of days of playing on the computer creating the digital prototype our engineering team handed it over to another company (you may recognise the desk on their website, it is the same/similar to the one I brought in to use when I joined #teamscout).

They very kindly donated their time and resources to create a mould using their massive CNC machine. The process involved took 4 days in total, 2 days of carving it out of a huge block of high-density foam, the “negative” of the window started to appear. After another 2 days, finer more precision cutting commenced and by day 5 it was ready to be brought back to the company I work for so that I could then prepare the mould for laminating.

The process to prepare the high-density foam mould involved the following: – paint, cure then rub down, paint, cure then rub down again, this took several layers until I was happy that it had the desired texture to move onto preparing it to take an actual mould off it for the fibre glassing part of the job. To be able to take an actual mould off the prepared high-density foam meant that I had to apply wax on, wax off (I know what you are thinking….karate kid and yes, it felt like it at times) this process was repeated 10 times.

Once I was happy that I could apply the fibreglass sheeting, I felt I needed to try and match it to the other 3 windows already installed. I know I cannot get it exactly how it is, I am not using the same product (Perspex versus fibreglass) but to get somewhat close to it looking OK, I used transparent gel coat with 1 drop of blue pigment and a half a drop of red. Only the very finest fibreglass matting was used. Finest as in thinness and finest also as in quality. I had hoped that by using the finest strands of fibreglass matting I would find it would give it some translucency. I believe we have achieved that to some degree.

The whole process (probably around 2½ to 3 weeks), of getting it scanned, designed and onto the CNC machine, through to me making it and finishing it off, to boxing it up and getting it hand delivered to Bee, took an enormous team effort between the company I work for and Betzbuilt.

I am sure Bee will thank everyone involved, but I would like to do that too, THANK YOU TO the many hours/days working together with several highly skilled people and only the best quality of products being used on this project and I can certainly say that both companies are very proud to have been a part of making this restoration a reality.

Goodness me Rares, thank you for explaining the hard work that has gone into creating this window, we are humbled by the kindness of time, products and generosity and yes Bee (and I am sure Peter and Sarah) would like to also say THANK YOU to everyone involved!!


Simon and Bee had 2 visitors at Hangar 53 bearing a gift for the Scout too, well not quite a part for the Scout but an important part to help tell the story when she’s done. The gift being for the seated mannequin who will represent a pilot, he will be keeping the other mannequin company who will be on the stretcher in the back.

Lollie and her other half Rob graced us with their presence for approximately 2½ hours, all things military, sewing, land rovers, dog sitting, house sitting, and life was talked about and both Simon and Bee said they are very welcome to come and visit again. Bee also said that they should book and come and see first-hand what the whole aesthetic of the museum is about and meet all the volunteers.

Just before they left Rob said: – “I call you’s two helicopter girls…. after the band with the same name” …”….Bee still has to go look that up on the world wide web hahahahaha!! They both also said they enjoy reading the blog, so let’s see if they’re paying attention: – “Hi Lollie and Rob, thanks for giving Bee permission to mention you in the blog and thank you for your gift too!!

So back to today

Lots of stopping and starting on jobs, but the stopping certainly was worth the chatting and meeting a few really amazing people, including one gentleman who actually flew our Phantom!! Also met a gentleman who grew up on base and used to roller skate around the peri-track in the 60’s with his other on-base friends!!

Peter and Bee also unboxed the starboard front roof panel, then put the capping strip along the edge to mark out where the holes need to be, Peter then drilled them out and put the roof panel back into the box for safekeeping (until next Sunday). The next step was to finish off the small rear window that gave him so much hassle last week and he can say with a smile that he did it and that letting that window sit and think about its stroppy reluctance for a week certainly made a big difference.

Bee made huge progress with the seat and started to glue it back onto the foam. Photos not ready for the big reveal yet, but they will come soon.

With the day being so busy both Peter and Bee finally packed up at just before 4pm to head home. Next weekend will see Peter and Sarah at the helm, as well as the weekend after that. Bee will be back in time for Families Day, but until then young Sarah will keep you informed and entertained with tales from the Annex!!

PS: – there will be a bonus day on its way too…. yes, Bee and Sarah are prepping for Families Day this week Thursday before Bee goes off to attend her second last show of the season.

Day 29

A fabulous bonus day spent doing Scout(ish)/Museum(ish) related things at Hangar 53.

The sun was out in all its glory, and about time too…… a perfect day to do some crafting and crafty bits for the museum/scout for Families Day. Bee and Sarah, with the help (well advice on certain things) of Simon, got stuck into making and painting a display board to put in front of the shelter (on loan from the Hangar) for the show-and-tell day at Wattisham this month.

Sarah measured the width of the board (pre-painted a couple of weeks ago by Bee in NATO green) and then proceeded to measure out how the letters would sit across it. To get the best possible spacing without making it look too busy and over-crowded, a little bit of maths was employed, and it fell together easily!

Pencils sharpened and large format stencils to the forefront. Working from the centreline out to either side, the longest of the large letter format wording WATTISHAM (9 letters) was first to go down on the board. This left the next line STATION (7 letters), HERITAGE (8 letters) to go beneath that, and MUSEUM (6 letters) to round it off.

A quick coffee break and talk about what colour the lettering should be, saw Sarah return to the spray booth and put down the final line (in a smaller font) RESTORATION TEAM. Both girls stood back to catch the pencil shadowing in the light, and both agreed, it’s going to look brilliant!!

Bee’s job was to find the paint, some fine-pointed brushes and make sure that cleaning fluid, blue roll and comfortable seating was in place for when the painting would begin.

Once that was all sorted, Bee then turned her attention to the Donations Box which was found in a skip a few years back and sat down with it on her lap to work out exactly how to make it look as good as the board would be. The box was also painted in NATO green and will sit proudly on the table in the shelter on Families Day.

The PayPal QR Code linked to the museum was printed, laminated, and secured on the front of the box. Bee asked Sarah to test the code (well just in case it didn’t print off correctly), and it works – it takes you straight to the electronic donations box online.

A bit of working out where to put what and not too much of it either, it was agreed that above the QR Code we should stencil WSHM (in an even smaller font) and DONATIONS WELCOME (in the same smaller font) below the QR Code to just finish it off. We both think that this is tasteful and subtle enough not to look garish and tasteless. It is also a great testament to how we like to recycle, upcycle, repurpose, and reuse at the Hangar and it really goes a long way in our books knowing that something found in a skip is now playing a significant role in its new life elsewhere.

A surprise visit from an old friend prompted another break for a cuppa. Tom (Bee and Si’s long-time friend) can tell an interesting story and before we realised an hour and a half had passed and no work had been done whilst he was visiting. So back into the spray booth and the steady-handed job of painting started. Slow progress, but with just the first coat of white on, it’s starting to look good.

Bee has annual leave from her office job next week, so she will certainly be sitting in the booth putting that second coat onto the lettering. A photo will be added of it finished and on display when we do a write up of how our show-and-tell day went on base. For now, however, we just want to give you snippets of this little bonus day.

As the day hit 4pm, Bee said she’d make another cuppa and start packing things away. Just as Bee sat down her phone rang with some very unexpected but incredibly welcome news.

As you all know, whenever there’s interesting things to tell, there always is a back story to make the front story make sense, so here it is………

Right, let’s go back about 3 months and one afternoon during her office-job lunch break, Bee wandered down the road to Coe’s of Ipswich and cheekily explained as well as ask if they had any mannequins that they no longer needed. The young man behind the counter gave Bee a pen and paper and said to write details down and he would pass it on. Bee left the store thinking……oh well, my piece of paper will probably go in the bin, but BLESS HIS HEART it didn’t and the phone call was from Coes Window Display Team asking if a seated mannequin was still required.

Bee said….. “Are you serious, because I really didn’t expect to ever hear from you? I am so excited about this, I feel like bursting into happy tears“.

The lovely lady said…… “well, it is true and if you can come and get it before we close at 5pm today it would be even better for us too“.

Well, you didn’t have to ask Bee or Sarah twice…. off to Ipswich to get the Scout Pilot!!! Bee asked permission to mention Coes in the blog and they said they would be happy for that to happen, they also asked we tag them on their Instagram page too!!! As Bee isn’t an Instagram gal, she asked Sarah to do the honours, so here’s a shout out: –

THANKYOU COES of IPSWICH, we appreciate your contribution to the Scout restoration.

Back to the hangar and to load up Sarah’s car with all the other goodies to go back to the Annex for Sunday. With all this excitement, they both agreed that Thursday the 10th of August 2023 can certainly count as a very good day indeed.

This is Bee signing off and handing over the keyboard to Sarah for day 30……OOOOOHHHHH one more day after that and we will have reached A MONTH OF SUNDAYS!!!

Day 30

This week saw the dynamic duo of Sarah and Peter in the Annex arriving bright and raring to go at their usual time of 09:30. Peter was rather surprised to see Sarah walking up to the Annex doors seemingly holding some body parts – but not to worry, she was merely delivering our newly acquired pilot mannequin (courtesy of Coe’s in Ipswich). Once Peter and Sarah brought in all the bits and pieces from their vehicles, they had their usual brief chat about game plans, and what needed to be completed for the day before getting right to it.

Sarah had quite a few jobs she wanted to tick off the list. However, her first job was to put the pilot together and get him dressed to preserve his modesty. After a brief struggle keeping all the parts together, then needing to detach limbs to get him dressed, our pilot soon looked the part, and is now sitting comfortably on a chair in the Annex, ready to be placed in the pilot’s chair during the final stages of re-assembly. He is wearing the flight suit that was kindly donated by Lollie and Rob (as mentioned in Day 28’s blog post), as well as some boots and a helmet. Sarah is quite jumpy by nature, so even though she put the pilot together herself it still made her jump several times throughout the day!

Sarah’s next, and most difficult, job for the day was to finish changing over the hardware from the old rear doors to the newer ones. Since the bolts had been in situ for so many years, it meant that a bit of the old WD-40 wasn’t quite enough in some places, even after soaking for a couple of weeks. Peter soon came to the rescue with a hammer and great care, and he loosened off some parts for Sarah to allow her to continue changing everything over.

After a couple of hours of struggling with various tools, the swap was done – both rear doors now have outer handles… time to tick a job off of the list! One of the rear doors is without an inner handle, and we believe that there wasn’t one when the Scout arrived at the Annex, so we are going to be keeping eyes out for a potential replacement somewhere down the line – however both doors are functional, so it’s not a top priority at the moment.

Before going to paint the inside of the starboard rear door, Sarah realised that the aircraft number on the interior of one of the front doors was XW796… certainly not the same as our Scout (XT617). This sent her down a research rabbit hole during her tea break, and found that our Scout’s front door in fact came from a Scout which was privately owned and used in a paintball arena in Suffolk, before being moved to Surrey in 2020… Quite interesting, and keeping that serial number instead of painting over it can be seen as a sweet nod to other Scout helicopters that have contributed to keeping ours alive.

A bit more research led to Sarah viewing many other pictures of the Scout during her time as a Gate Guard, as well as lots of other pictures of the aircraft that live in the HAS. Links to these pages for interested/curious parties can be sent on request, but we are unable to publish some of the photos here due to copyright. After excitedly sharing said pictures with Peter and listening to stories of evening photo shoots, Sarah got back to work and painted the remaining door – all door interiors are now fresh, and another job was ticked off the list!

Peter’s primary focus for the day was doing general weather-proofing exercises, as well as scoping out what we absolutely needed to get done prior to Families Day, and what could be postponed until afterwards. Between using his elbow grease and logic brain to help Sarah get the door hardware changed over, he was tinkering and drilling holes into certain areas to allow for a more secure fix of the roof Perspex to surrounding areas/panels… as much as the weather is looking positive (compared to last year), he doesn’t want to take any chances and leave XT617 at risk of being soaked in the rain. This led to a conversation between Sarah and Peter regarding fitting the new sliding windows to the front doors, as there are none on the doors at present. At this time, the pair realised that there was only one more Sunday to go between now and Families Day, so there was a pressing need to prioritise jobs for next week. After looking at the fittings and how simple a task it would be to get the doors and sliding windows on, it was decided that Peter and Sarah would take another look next Sunday (20th August) as it will be just the two of them again… As well as being the last full Sunday before Families Day, next week marks Day 31… a full month of Sundays! At times it feels like not much has been done to the Scout, but when we look at the jobs that have been completed in this time, as well as older pictures from the beginning of the project, it becomes apparent that the team have managed to get A LOT more done than it first appears. Once the parts that have been repaired/ restored get put back in their place, she will come together remarkably quickly – the museum team cannot wait to share their hard work when she is all done!

Day 31

We have finally reached a whole month of Sundays, and what an eventful 31 days it has been. Before writing the blog, I cast an eye over the previous posts and was truly surprised at how much we have achieved in such a short space of time. If you haven’t already, I’d highly recommend you take a look back at our previous posts. Now, onto the day’s work…

Once again Peter and Sarah teamed up to tackle the Scout, arriving at the slightly earlier time of 09:00, as it was the last opportunity to spruce her up prior to Families Day and wanted to afford themselves as much time as possible. Sarah arrived with the lovely new sign and donations box for use at the Families Day, as discussed in a previous blog post. After getting them safely in the Annex and kitting the new pilot out with his very own pair of aviator shades, she decided to check in on what Peter was doing. Peter had decided to get straight on with fixing the newly fabricated roof panel. This one, if you remember from a few weeks ago, was completely missing from XT617 when she arrived at the Annex and had to be created using the magic that is 3D scanning of its port side counterpart. Peter managed to get the roof panel on, save for a few odd bolts that need to be adjusted. But, with a small amount of tape to cover the gaps, Peter did an amazing job at getting her outside-ready.

During this time, Sarah decided to give the windscreen panels a good clean, so that they were all clean and ready for viewing. After the pair finished their respective tasks, they set about fitting the freshly painted rear doors. The starboard side went on easily enough, with minimal resistance (thanks to some gentle coaxing of the hinges with a hammer to keep the pins in place). Peter was very thankful for this as it was a bit of a struggle holding the door on his own whilst Sarah was hammering! The doors are not heavy at all, just awkward due to their “bubble” style shape. Upon examination, the door mechanism wasn’t quite in line with the frame, and this makes the door stick slightly when attempting to open; but that is a task to rectify another day as it is on and secure. The port side proved to be a bit more difficult, as the hinges that were attached to the main frame didn’t have enough give to work the door into them. Peter used his logic brain once again, and slightly loosened off the mount that was attached to the main frame, giving them enough give to get the door in. Once this was done, Peter held the weight of the door whilst Sarah quickly screwed the mount back on. Job done – door secured. This one opened easily, even though there is only one handle (on the exterior). The pair stepped back to admire their work – it’s crazy how doing something as simple as fitting the rear doors on completely transforms the old girl!

After a brief discussion, Sarah and Peter took the executive decision to fit only one of the front doors on – namely the port side. This meant that anyone that comes to visit the Scout can get an easy look into the cockpit area. Without the need to repeatedly open and close the doors. This one was much easier to fit – it’s flat, meaning that Peter didn’t have to contend with an oddly shaped door, and the pins moved easily so did not require much from Sarah other than keeping the pull cord in place and guiding Peter on. Et voila… three of the four doors were fitted. As mentioned last week, the small window panels for the front doors will have to wait for another time – but for now XT617 is secure. To finish off the day, Peter did one last check of all the bolts and attachments to ensure the roof was secure (and to his remarkably high standard). Sarah did a quick clean of the windows on the door panels, and a final sweep of the cockpit to ensure any loose items such as screws, gloves etc were removed prior to transit across the runway and taxiways with the Phantom and Hunter. During this time, a few of the committee members had arrived to check in before the big day, putting some air into the jets’ tyres and having a general chat about what to expect/to bring along to show everyone on the Families Day.

The end of the day had quietly crept up on Peter and Sarah, so they both packed down, did a quick clean-up of the workshop area and said goodbye for now to the Scout, before they return to help with the big move to the display area on Wednesday morning, being reunited with and assisted by Bee (in her triumphant return to the Annex) and her husband Simon, who is keen to see how his newly-created fitting for the towing arm works out over a longer distance.

We all look forward to seeing XT617 out on display on Families Day and showing her off to all of the people lucky enough to attend, and hope to see some of you there too!

Day 32 is coming soon……

Day 33

Sunday after Families Day (FD) was a good day to catch up with Peter and tell him how the day panned out and also of the donations gratefully received.

After FD Sarah flew north to the land of mountains for a course and Rares drove west to the other land of mountains for a weekend away with his wife, they were both missed for sure but the bonus for this Sunday was having the splendid company of Tom (our electronics/IT man) for a few hours.

Upon arriving at the HAS it was noted that the Phantom was parked outside and it was also noted that the canopies didn’t quite look shut either. Thank goodness Tom was there to help and both him and Peter wheeled the 2 trolly steps out either side of the majestic old girl and fiddled until they were happy that she was shut properly. It was also agreed that a belt-and-braces attitude had to be adopted and that Peter would mindfully tape around the canopies with low-tac tape to be 100% sure she would be dry inside should the weather play silly buggers over the next couple of weeks.

Well, we didn’t have to wait too long for the weather to get out of hand, because an hour after Peter taped the canopies, the heavens opened and it was heavy and persistent too. Well done Peter for your over-engineering thought pattern in this instance!!

Bet you’re wondering why the Phantom is outside at the moment, well, she has graciously given up her warm and cosy spot in the HAS for a short time to accommodate the museum’s new arrival. Everyone is rather excited about it and it certainly will add another dimension to the museum experience once the new lady (are all aircraft she’s?) is in place.

Bee went indoors to continue with the pilots seat base and YAY, it is done. Yes, it is in green, and yes, it should be black, but……. when you work with what you have to hand because there is no other alternative, green is where you go. It won’t be seen once the pilot is seated, but it would look a darn side better than the taped version we had before. To finish it off completely, Bee is considering making a slip-over cover for the backrest in green so that it is all in the same colour.

Once Peter and Tom had worked their magic on the canopies, Tom then got stuck into the reason he was there today and that was to finish off making the rear lights work on the wing tips (the one’s facing backwards or is the word……aft?).
This has been an ongoing project which Peter has helped out on over the last few weeks. If you follow this link you can see Tom’s journey in making the old girl come alive for photoshoots and to also give her that little spark she so very much deserves.

Peter then headed back indoors to finish off a job he has been looking forward to doing since they came apart on Blog Day 1 if you remember, we told you all about the slidey windows and how they at first befuddled us, but we soon worked out how to get them apart.

Anyway, they were going back together again and Peter did a really good job at getting them in and moving how they should. It all had to be done very carefully because the slidey part of the window is what had to go into the riveting workshop to be refurbished and both Peter and Bee were nervous about the perspex cracking again (we do not have any in reserve, so we had to be careful).

Bee’s second job after the seat base was to brush down and scuff up the wooden floorboard that sits in the rear of the cockpit. To get it looking shipshape again, a coat (either side) of dark grey paint will be applied and the capping strips and holes for the tie-down points will be made white again.

This pretty much brought the time up to 2.30pm and with the heavens beating down loudly on the annex roof, it was decided that it would be a good time to lock up and go home.

Sarah is back next Sunday and #teamscout will be 3/4 way there, sadly Rares will not be available for the next 5 Sundays as he has a lot of overtime at work to catch up on, so we will keep him updated and informed of our antics via the blog!

See you all for a catch up next Sunday 3 September 2023 – goodness September already!! The museum’s last open day for 2023 will be in October, so book early before the spaces get filled up (again).