Recently, on 23rd September, fifteen supporters made the journey over to Airframe Assemblies, having answered the invite to attend an organised visit to the facility. Dave Hands was the project team member who did the bulk of the organisation for the visit, and he went over with them:
“We were shown around by Chris and he gave in-depth and detailed introductions to the drawings used and choice of materials. An example that most did not appreciate is that some materials are no longer manufactured but have to be used. Changing a material can alter the assembly significantly due to strength issues so major expense and time is invested in tracking down the correct specs of material to be used.
There were some in the group that had started their working lives in workshops so were shown the machines and techniques used with the finished parts on display. The significance of the drawings was made very clear which all appreciated. The detail of the questions and passion for the project was not lost on the AA team as it ended up with a few more engineers coming over to help Chris, such was the interest in the detail and minute detail.
We were also shown the Tempest rear fuselage section and briefed on the significance of it with regard to RB396. This was demonstrated by the foot step assembly which was under detailed re-build where the Tempest was constantly referred to as well as parts used due to them being identical to the Typhoon.
I was asked a number of times about the finances and people now appreciate more of the detail of the task we have undertaken and the future. The cost of insurance and purchase of new old stock and other parts came as a surprise to most. Simple things that haven’t been appreciated but at least a small group understand it better now.”
Some of the feedback received from those who went along is lovely to read, and really heartening for those on the team organising everything. A selection of the feedback received on the day, and after the event, is here:
“Many thanks for all the hard work you put into organising yesterday’s visit. The quality of the work that AA does is most impressive and it is reassuring to see that RB396 is in such capable hands.”
“There is so much more involved in the re-build, I had no idea how difficult it is and yet they won’t cut corners here (AA) and it must be right. Wow, it’s a special place. You did well to get it in here and they definitely care about RB396“
“I have no doubt that RB396 will fly. What I’ve seen today fills me with confidence. The skills, the materials, the attention to detail. I’m so pleased to be part of this. I know this will fly and the management seems to be holding things together very well. Other projects I’m following are showing signs of losing their way. You aren’t.”
This visit was the first of such visits since COVID-19, where nobody has been able to do much for the last almost two years. We’re very pleased to be able to put exclusive supporter visits firmly back on the radar, and as a result are planning another trip to Airframe Assemblies in late November. We are also working with ARCo to plan a similar visit there, to see the centre section – hangar tours are NOT something available to the general public, so this really will be exclusive.
Those attending this visit, and the one planned for later in November had the opportunity simply by being project supporters – at Bronze level or above. Becoming a supporter is open to anyone, and we welcome any and all new joiners. The project’s progress is built on the supporters, for without them and their financial contributions no work would be possible. If you wish to see a Typhoon take to the skies again, then become a supporter today. You will be helping with progress, but you will also receive exclusive benefits, such as the opportunity to go on not-available-to-the-public visits such as this, and much more.