July update

In the newsletter sent to project supporters at the end of July, we documented a little detail on how the work is progressing on the rear fuselage which is currently with Airframe Assemblies on the Isle of Wight. Invoices received for May and June totalled £45,000, which is a lot of money. This expenditure has been possible as a result of the project refocus last summer and the ongoing contributions of project supporters, and it has enabled real, visible progress.

So what does £45,000 buy you on a one-of-a-kind aircraft rebuild?

  • Sub contract stretch form tooling for Frame K (£10,500)
  • 213.5 hours of brake pressing of stringer sections
  • 18 hours of Frame K assembly
  • 27 hours of detailing forward of Frame A
  • 304 hours of continued progress on the monocoque assembly
Work detailing frame repairs, featuring original frame sections which have been refurbished, rather than replaced. This is some of the 80% of original material taken from RB396’s rear fuselage and refurbished in order to be re-used in the rebuild. Image thanks to Mike Shreeve.

As you can see, the sub-contract to create the tooling required for Frame K took £10,500, and the remainder of the £45,000 was on the highly skilled labour required to recreate and reassemble the rear fuselage. The vast majority of the ~£5m budget for this aircraft will go on labour.

As pictures are worth a thousand words, and video worth even more, we have established a time lapse system to capture the assembly of the rear fuselage. This short video documents the assembly work undertaken in June.

We released this footage to our supporters in the last newsletter, and we can now release it publicly. We will be doing the same going forwards, supporters get exclusive first notification on progress, and first viewings on images and videos such as these. The rear fuselage is on track for completion this autumn. A visit to see the work is currently being organised for project supporters, and another visit in the form of a completion ceremony will be arranged for supporters and contributors to have an exclusive and once in a lifetime chance to see the final rivets being installed and the work on the rear fuselage completed. For opportunities such as this, please sign up to one of the five supporter packages and then keep an eye on your emails.

 The rear fuselage coming together in the jig – image taken in June 2021. Image thanks for Mike Shreeve.
Skins being trial fitted to the rear fuselage. Image thanks to Airframe Assemblies.
Internal view of the rear fuselage showing frames, stringers and skins.

If you would like to support the project, whilst getting back to some sort of normality, then come to our Black tie fundraising gala on Saturday 2nd October. More than two years in the planning, the event was postponed last year for obvious reasons. Taking place at Duxford, the first home of the Hawker Typhoon, in the IWM’s Airspace hangar it promises to be a night to remember. 

Hosted by renowned Red Arrows’ pilot, Mike Ling MBE FRAeS, guests include our Patron Air Marshal Cliff Spink CB CBE, project ambassador Paul Bonhomme, John and Amanda Romain MBEs, Mosquito veteran Colin Bell DFC and Hawker Typhoon veteran Bernard Gardiner who will be live on stage for an after dinner Q&A, that guests will have the opportunity to submit questions for. 

The evening will start with a private sunset Spitfire air display thanks to the Aircraft Restoration Company, a Champagne reception, gourmet dining under Concorde, live music, high value raffle, as well as silent and live auctions. As part of our recently announced partnership, Aces High art gallery are providing a limited edition only-available-on-the-night artwork and the Warbird Coffee Company are providing the tea and coffee. 

The evening promises to be a real landmark for the project, with all funds raised going towards the rebuild effort, the next sections of which recently arrived at the Aircraft Restoration Company, Duxford, to commence restoration work. 

This year, as well as the physical event, for which a handful of tickets are still available, there is a “live broadcast” element. If you cannot attend due to your location, or do not yet feel ready to gather in larger groups, then this is perfect for you. You can still join in the fun of the event, take part in the auctions, hear the speeches from guests and the Q&A from Bernard, but from the comfort of your own home. Dressing up for the occasion is optional, but entirely encouraged, and you only need to purchase one ticket for your entire household. And at less than 50% the cost of a physical ticket, it is an ideal way to get involved, support the project, and save a few pennies in the process. 


Support us

Would you like to have a direct input on the rebuild? The best way to get started is to become a supporter. You’ll receive some great benefits and most importantly of all, every penny will go into the labour cost of getting RB396 back into the sky.