Full sized aeroplane project-Tawney Owl.

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Full sized aeroplane project-Tawney Owl.

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Full sized aeroplane project-Tawney Owl.

Postby 9JL » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:20 pm

My latest project is rebuilding this vintage aircraft,the one and only Thurston Aviation Tawney Owl G-APWU,the fuselage and centre section plus booms are all scratch built,so far 550 hours have gone into it,wingspan 24 feet,length 19 feet.
My workshop is an old fire station on a disused airfield in Warwickshire.
Barry.

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From his first flying machine built in a railway arch to producing World War Two's finest bomber,A.V.Roe we salute you.
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Re: Full sized aeroplane project-Tawney Owl.

Postby Mark » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:27 am

Now that's an ambitious project. Was she originally wooden framed, or is that a compromise for the restoration ? Can you give us a little history on the aircraft.

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to see the restoration of a real aircraft on this site. Thanks for sharing you work with us Barry. I'll wait for the next update with baited breath.
Cheers
Mark

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Re: Full sized aeroplane project-Tawney Owl.

Postby Mark » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:31 am

PS. She is a beautiful little plane :)
You're going to need a bigger workshop soon :)
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Mark

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Re: Full sized aeroplane project-Tawney Owl.

Postby Eric » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:43 pm

Fantastic!

Please keep us updated with your progress.

Will you get her airworthy?
Building;
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Built;
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Re: Full sized aeroplane project-Tawney Owl.

Postby Southendnick » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:25 pm

Thats amazing

Very nice to see she is being restored as a one off she is a unique piece of British aviation heritage well done look forward to updates,

I too am restoring a classic british aircraft only mine is a tad bigger... (see new thread)
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Re: Full sized aeroplane project-Tawney Owl.

Postby 9JL » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:05 pm

This aircraft has haunted me for a long time,I remember the day in 1963 that I heard the news that she had crashed on her first flight,research has now shown that it was no fault of the design but the engine a Porsche powerplant lost power on the climb out,the only option for pilots A.J.Mc Donald and Harry Radcliffe was to drop the Tawney Owl into the nursery at the end of the grass runway,it then flipped over smashing the cockpit and breaking the booms,thankfully the crew walked away.
This was to prove a big blow for an aircraft that showed so much potential,having had the opportunity to study at close hand the construction is superb and done by craftsmen now long gone,so I consider it a great honour to get this aircraft together again for static display in a museum as it represents a time in aviation when small companies could afford to subsidise private venture aeroplanes.
I have no facilities for metal folding such as guillotine etc so have built in a material that is comfortable to me,ie wood,the wooden tree then accepts the hundreds of metal fittings that I have in five big boxes,I got that idea from the Boulton & Paul museum as they build replicas and then skin them with aluminium panels,the biggest problem has been identifying all of the bits and pieces as I only have a few photographs to work from,if I had not done this restoration to a complete aeroplane again the bits and pieces would have been scrapped and the history of this unique design lost in the annals of aviation history.
For anyone thinking of a similar project there is no shortage of broken unusual aeroplanes around,just make sure that you have the space and time to work on your project and work out what is entailed on paper first,once completed the aircraft will be dismantled onto its wheeled centre section and the wings stored alongside,the possibility of building up a trailer for it has interested me as it could then be moved around on show at fetes etc.
I also have plans to build from scratch a 1903 French pioneer aircraft design and have already started to do the drawings for it,so far I have put 550 hours into the Tawney Owl and enjoyed every minute of it.
Barry.

A more up to date picture is enclosed with the aluminium fuselage skinning taking place.

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Re: Full sized aeroplane project-Tawney Owl.

Postby Mark » Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:44 pm

Thanks Barry. I understand why you're using wood now. It's a very ambitious project, and I'm full of admiration, and just a little bit jealous. Unfortunately I'd never have the time or space to attempt such a project.

I'll look forward to seeing her progress.
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Mark

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Re: Full sized aeroplane project-Tawney Owl.

Postby 9JL » Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:11 am

There has been lot done since the last photographs as you can see here,the front windscreen has been added plus today I made up the overhead cockpit screen as well,from my experiences with forming plastic sheet these past few days I taught myself a lot,this acrylic sheet has a mind all of its own and just as you tighten up that last screw..crack as a split appears,the only solution is to drill a small hole at th end of the crack to stop it spreading,I learned later that by applying a gentle heat it softens the sheet making drilling and screwing easier,the sides where it wraps around were daunting at first until I hit on a brainwave,why not use my model heat gun to gently apply heat locally and with a large block of wood just pressed the material overlapping it into shape,it worked !this is quite common it seems if you look at any selection of light aircraft,they all seem to have some stop holes in them as well,so I have realism at least.
The screen looks untidy at the moment because I have left the protective film in place to save scratches and paint overspray.
As you can see the rear module ( I call it the Tardis because once you are inside working on it that is what it feels like ) has come on leaps and bounds,the starboard side was made up from scrap alloy sheet or other aircraft bits reshaped,the port side was all there so effectively served as a pattern,I used up over 500 rivets getting that right and just kept bending and hammering until it was right,a good job my workshop is in the countryside away from any neighbours,the whole lot was flashed over with Halfords excellent grey zinc based primer,its expensive stuff but does the job admirably,as I want this to last for posterity everything is solid and sound in construction,the original fuselage was flimsy and made from fibreglass which shattered when it turned over on take off,everything is the same except my replacement fuselage is good old timber and plenty of it,I have enough offcuts for modelling in the future of some very nice wood,nothing ever gets wasted.

The original instrument panel has been mated to my replica structure,I have some donated instruments coming next week plus other parts that will be used or modified,there is even a spare wheel coming as well,people in aviation are very kind especially when they can see a vintage aircraft being re-incarnated,this is 1960's technology and even the map pocket has a period aviation chart in it from my collection,to me the detail bits make it interesting,I plan on having a fully lit instrument panel with VHF radio receiver hidden away to make it realistic,I also have plans to make a wooden Porsche engine with an electric motor inside to drive a hand carved pusher propeller,inside that pod is a myriad of structure behind the bulkhead,everything was worked out as a triangle for absolute strength and longevity,the oiginal powerplant seized solid and was scrapped,I have various authentic fittings from it including the air cooled radiator which as been mounted on the port side,I also have the original Porsche aero engine propshaft converter,a really heavy lump of hardware.

Once this lot is done thenI will gather together a selected gang of helpers to assist me removing the wings one day and turning the fuselage and centre section around in the workshop,then construction will start on the booms to add to the original tailplane,I need to make up two replica fins and have one rudder to use as a pattern,the elevators will be made from a cut down Piper Tomahawk set which I also have on standby,the shape is remarkably like the original elevators which were damaged,I have lots of other fittings awaiting assembly,some I have already clened up and repaired and are in waiting,so thats it until more work is done on this unique vintage aircraft,she is the only one in the world and needed saving,above all I have learned a lot about solving problems,everything has been done on a shoestring with basic hand tools and that has been the fun aspect to it,if I do not have it then it is made by hand after thinking it out beforehand.
The last picture shows the first of many high density foam blocks that will be shaped and inserted to get the contours right,once fitted and blended in they will be covered with aircraft fabric.
Barry.

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Last edited by 9JL on Thu Sep 30, 2010 2:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
From his first flying machine built in a railway arch to producing World War Two's finest bomber,A.V.Roe we salute you.
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Re: Full sized aeroplane project-Tawney Owl.

Postby Southendnick » Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:51 pm

Very well done she is looking good.

Down here in Southend we are progressing with our aileron I keep meaning to get some photos will do in two week time off on the Waverley next Saturday weather permitting! Going out to the Thames Forts hopefully.

The one off the Vulcan is like a barn door on acid! getting it into the workshop was worse than man flu... thinking about it nothing is worse than man flu is it!

We had to have a specil one off rig built which could onlt be put together inside the building, will get some photos of that too.

Its a learnind curve rebuilding one of them whilst its off we are restoring the ballance bay where it is located.
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Re: Full sized aeroplane project-Tawney Owl.

Postby 9JL » Thu Sep 30, 2010 2:22 am

Nick your aileron is probably larger than my wings in total ? yes please do send pictures,ity sounds very impressive,was the aileron damaged and required repair ?
Barry.
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Re: Full sized aeroplane project-Tawney Owl.

Postby Southendnick » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:03 pm

9JL wrote:Nick your aileron is probably larger than my wings in total ? yes please do send pictures,ity sounds very impressive,was the aileron damaged and required repair ?
Barry.


Old age and that parts are Magnesium Alloy, its being replaced with stainless, the cost of buying replacement Magnesium Alloy sheets the size we needed was far too high and the other stumbling block was that it would have to come from the US!

Stainless is a lot longer lasting cheaper and easy to get hold of.
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Re: Full sized aeroplane project-Tawney Owl.

Postby 9JL » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:06 am

The Tawney Owl was rolled out into the sunshine a few days ago,still lots to do but getting there.
Barry.

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Re: Full sized aeroplane project-Tawney Owl.

Postby Goggoboy » Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:49 pm

Hi Barry, I was utterly fascinated to find that you are restoring the Tawney Owl! I worked for Thurston Aviation in Operations from 1973 - 1977 and then worked in operations for Stapleford Flying Club from 1978 - 1980. My first visit to Stapleford was in 1968 and since then I've spent many happy hours there. I soloed in a PIper Cherokee in 1977 and went on to fly a huge range of aircraft when working at Stapleford, mostly as P2, but a little P1!
Is there any chance that I could come and visit you and see the project one day? I go to Stapleford every now and again and I'll have to let Eric Thurston know that you are restoring his old plane!
Kind regards
Paul Bussey
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Re: Full sized aeroplane project-Tawney Owl.

Postby Mark » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:10 am

Hi Paul,

Barry hasn't visited this forum for a while. You could try contacting him via his Google group. http://groups.google.com/group/build-a-lancaster-bomber
Cheers
Mark

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Re: Full sized aeroplane project-Tawney Owl.

Postby firebex » Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:56 pm

Just an update as of yesterday 12th September 2013 the Tawney Owl now lives with us in North Yorkshire due to ill health Barry has had to pass the project to someone else.

We have a lot on in our workshops at the moment (2 spitfires,Sea Vampire T22, Whirlwind Fighter,flying Flea)so the lady is in storage until we can start to finish off where Barry has started.

Visit our web site for more info; www.aircraftrestorationgroup.org and http://www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
any information of photo's of the aircraft greatly appreciated.

Mike E
Last edited by Mark on Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Corrected typo in link
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