August, 2018 News
Liberator 30th birthday celebration
It is appropriate at this time we remember and respect the founder members of our organization.
This photo of Eric Clark and Bob Butler celebrates the achievements , vision and dedication of the group that met and formed our organization 30 years ago this month.
The second photo celebrates the the achievements, vision and dedication of the group that salvaged A72-176 from the Moe farm site.
The salvage and arrival of the fuselage at the hangar by this group of volunteers in 1995 was a major milestone in the plan to restore A72-176.
A big “Well done and thanks” to all past and present hangar volunteers and members.
There are still a few outstanding annual subscriptions, Just a reminder.
Items of interest
1 During the first 6 months of 2018 a total of 1405 visitors attended the hangar, 1347 from Aus. and 58 from O/Seas.
2 The bi-annual Military reenactment group will again “occupy” our area on Sunday the 23rd of September.
The theme of this years performance will be the 100th anniversary of the end of WW 1.
Activities include military demonstrations of the conditions met on the battlefield, blank cannon and small arms firing and the presence of historical military vehicles and equipment.
Come along and enjoy the activity of a dedicated group of military re-en actors.
Another item successfully identified
The following information was requested by Mr Adam Jarkiewicz of Krzonow in Poland.
“We have found this part on the crash site of Liberator B24J EW250L. The crew died in 1944 in Poland.
Can you identify this engine part from a P&W 1830 engine please ?”.
In this instance a part number, 32-0-012-2 was visible on the casting. This told us it was a Consolidated part (32) fitted to the Oil system (0). A search of the Spare parts manual revealed the part had been attached to one of the four oil reservoirs fitted behind the engines.
An old friend retires
Qantas has announced it will retire the last of its 747 fleet by the end of 2020, three years earlier than originally planned.
The first 747 was delivered to Qantas in July 1971 and since then it has operated more than 60 mixed variations.
The 747 was a mighty aircraft that changed the world as we knew it, and its familiarity will be missed by many.
A productive, programmed 3 monthly meeting with stakeholders and B24 management reps. was held on the 3rd of July at the hangar.
The following information was received to clarify the current status of hangar 1s relocation.
In January MW made a decision to fund the relocation of hangar 1.
Since then a lot of formalities on land land transfer and surveys have been instigated and are in progress.
MW anticipates comments/in-principal advice from Heritage Victoria in November 2018.
B-24 management would like to thank MW for the ongoing activities currently being activated.
In addition it was agreed that each stakeholder would submit a monthly progress report to our secretary who would assemble them and distribute them for the information of all on the project team.
Melbourne Water has accepted our “Vision Statement” and it will be included in their presentation to Heritage Victoria.
Work is continuing on refining the language and descriptions required to fit in with MV s systems.
MW is interested in our progress in accreditation as it may have a positive effect with Heritage Victoria when they submit their plans for the dismantling and restoration of hangar 1.
The B-24 Memorial reports the passing of our member Mr Norman Davis who served as a Flight Sergeant Air Gunner with 25 Squadron.
We acknowledge with thanks the donation of $100.00 in his memory by his daughter, Trish Burns.
30th anniversary function
The 30th anniversary celebration was held at our hangar on Saturday, August the 18th.
61 Members and their families turned out to commemorate the occasion with a BBQ and an opportunity to catch up with old friends and comrades.
Our President, Lyn Gorman; Patron, Group Captain Carl Schiller; and, Dave Miller delivered speeches recalling the start up efforts and achievements of the original group.
Several veterans were in attendance including Mervyn Schneider and his wife who had travelled from Nhill for the occasion, Nat Eichler, Ken Bode, Bob Percy and Vern Roberts.
Fuselage and Wings
The structural repairs in the centre section are still in progress in conjunction with the measurement and assembly of the remaining flying control cables.
Taking a step back to review our progress on the physical restoration over the past 23 years the following is worth noting.
The fuselage is in a very presentable condition due to the multiple skills of all our volunteers over this time and it is safe to say we have created a “WOW” factor for our visitors.
Also to be noted that when the fuselage internal fitout is complete it will be the only liberator existing in this condition.
The wings are in a similar condition and as they came from a USAAF liberator they are a constant reminder of our American connections.
A Gremlin appeared during function tests and distorted a drive key in one of the motors.
This required the motor to be removed and dismantled, a new drive key made, re assembly carried out and re installed.
Work has recommenced. The hydraulic drive system is being overhauled, piping installed and a testing pump is being assembled.
Bomb bay doors
Awaiting hydraulic power connection, currently on emergency (manual) operational status.
A demonstration is available on request. It is a strange “Experience” standing on the walkway as the doors close around you.
Norden bomb sight, automatic bomb release display
We have just completed a display unit which releases dummy bombs from a simulated B-24 bomb mounting structure on which is attached genuine Liberator bomb release relays and shackles.
The relays are triggered automatically by the bomb sight at the preset release point.
Demonstrations are held at random times throughout the day.
The assembly of new electrical components and wiring continues with two staff continually occupied.
Flying control cables.
Selection and fitment is still in progress.
Engine change in run up facility completed with change over engine run and tested.
The dismantling and restoration of our Cheetah engine for the Oxford has commenced (picture). It is heavily corroded externally with internal damage and wear in evidence.
We are always on the look out for spare parts to assist in the restoration.
After a review of finances, build intentions and floor space availability it was decided to commence the activities required to finally build the fuselage.
The first major task is to build an assembly jig that will allow us to accurately locate the 14 frames that are the basics of the structure.
The fuselage assembly jig will be in two parts, forward fuselage and aft fuselage. The jigs will be mounted on wheels this will allow for mobility within the hangar should the floor space become crowded.
The jig assembly work has commenced.
Currently we have a crew of eight working on the Oxford. They cover wing assembly, flying controls preparation for fabric covering, jig manufacturing, stores improvement, planning and administration.
New. Oops. Old Technology employed
Jan and Geoff Izzard from Gilmore visited the hangar this month to donate Geoff,s fathers tool box and contents to us. His father, Ken was a long term employee with A.N.A. and Ansett Airlines. Ken’s tool box reveals a multitude of personal small tools he manufactured to assist in his job as an aircraft sheet metal worker and welder.
The purpose of those personal, customized tools is lost in time but not the quality or ingenuity involved in their creation.
It is planned to select and exhibit selected items, enter them on the M.V. site for public scrutiny.
Ken retired from Ansett during 1985 and passed away on 21/5/2018.
A small selection of Ken’s riveting tools.
On Tuesday the 14th of August we held a flag raising ceremony on our site to commemorate VP day (Victory in the Pacific) on the 15th of August 1945.
Lest we forget
Management committee positions
Later this year we will be seeking nominations for positions on our committee for 2019.
They are, President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and eight committee members.
Under our constitution all financial members are entitled to nominate, not just hangar volunteers.
The meetings are held on the first Saturday of each month at the hangar in Werribee.
It is not compulsory to have aviation based skills.
It is important that an organization like ours has an overall varied skills/experience base.
It is also valuable to have external opinions on our direction.
A nomination form is available from our Secretary.
In addition a brief description of your experience and background is required to be attached to the candidates register document.
Hangar time travelers (New Technology)
Paul and Nathan were dispatched in our new time machine to assist in the salvage of this B-24 during April 1945. The mission was successful, the only problem is we don’t know how to get them back.
In this newsletter I hope you have gained a sense of the “solidity” of the B-24 Liberator restoration project, both because of its longevity and because of our current work and successes. We were especially pleased to have such a well attended 30th anniversary lunch, welcoming a good number of veterans and long term members of the association as well as current volunteers. It is indeed extraordinary to consider the vision of our founders is being transformed into reality of our magnificent A72-176 as well as the emerging Airspeed Oxford, plus the steps toward an expanded - and accredited - museum precinct. However we cannot afford to become complacent. Another current preoccupation is how to expand our membership base (having “followers” on Facebook is wonderful but it is not enough !). If you have any ideas on expanding our paid membership numbers, please let us know, or mention our association to friends and colleagues who might be interested in joining.