27 Nov


This project is unique. This is the first time that there has been no full set of drawings to go on, and no existing aircraft, and yet an accurate reproduction will result. 

It is made possible by a web-based collaboration between researchers, engineers and CAD experts. To summarise our plan for the process – all resources are husbanded in one shared online file store. These include the few remaining factory drawings, parts manuals, repair manuals, photographs, sub-contractor drawings and data, references on construction techniques and standard parts. These are combined to make a CAD model via ‘Solidworks’ software. 

The project had already been lucky twice , even before Pete Smith came on board (more later) – once in securing the assistance of Gunnar Olsen from Norway, who is assembling the CAD model. The other stroke of luck came in the unlikely form of the sheet passed to the Westland woodwork shop giving the very precise dimensions of a wind tunnel model of the aircraft. Armed with a precise outer profile of the aircraft and only partial dimensions for everything else, Gunnar’s trick has been to fit everything together like a jigsaw. Here’s an example:  

This image of the IFF tray top left (reduced resolution) was found by a WFP research volunteer  in a collection of photographs taken in a bus garage in Plymouth. The company had the sub-contract for Whirlwind rear fuselages. A search of that archive found this – no other photos of this part exist.

In this case, we were able to locate the part in the fuselage with the help of the AP and some crash photos. Thus it could be added to the model, top right and dimensions produced as the outer diameter of the fuselage is known at this point from the wind tunnel model. We could then produce 'replacement' manufacturing drawings, bottom right - and a new part built, in this case by Mike Eastman and team - bottom left.

When Pete Smith came on board with precision tooling driven by 3D design data we were able to skip the third stage and produce straight from Gunnars model. This accelerated the project immeasurably. From AP photos like this,

Original Westland General arrangements like this;

Via Gunnar's model;

Pete has already built this: