NEWS & UPDATES

*NB*

COTSWOLD (KEMBLE) AIRPORT IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC TILL FURTHER NOTICE

*XM496 CLOSED TO ALL VISITORS TFN*

OUR SINCERE APOLOGIES FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE

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  • Update 1: CROWD FUNDING. Thanks to the oldest – a very young looking 88, and certainly the most senior in rank of our ‘working members’, the Society joined the ranks of ‘Crowd Funding’ to attempt to overcome an acute shortage of funds brought about by the spread of Covid-19 to the UK and the subsequent mandatory imposed lock-down. Ex 99 (Britannia) Squadron navigator, Wg Cdr Brian Weatherley, gamely volunteered to do a 99 mile walk to raise some much needed capital. One can imagine at that time he must have been thinking he sure was lucky not to have been posted to 511 Squadron! Brian completed his ‘walk’ and then promptly did an additional walk to raise money for RAF charities. Thanks Brian, you have helped the Society face what might have been a bleak future and enabled us to complete the ‘facelift’ and survive for another year. In addition, mention must also be made of the number of ‘Friends of the Britannia’, who very kindly added a donation to their subscriptions to help bolster the bank balance – our sincere thanks to you all.

A pristine ‘Regulus’ glints in the winter shadows

  • Update 2: EXTERNAL PAINTING AND AIRCRAFT MARKINGS. Despite the ‘lock-downs’ caused by Covid 19, as a small group we have been able to continue working whilst complying with the regulations. The closure of the airport to visitors and working only in the open air with a minimum of staff, has facilitated this measure. Preparation, painting and repairs have been on-going since April 2020 by our two stalwarts, namely Jim Brown and Maurice Strong, assisted by the occasional but essential assistance from other members. Many months have been spent wielding sanding machines, brushes and rollers. We were only ever thwarted in our endeavour by some high temperatures, high winds and some heavy rains. The plan was always to address the main-planes, fuselage, engine nacelles, props and the wheel-bays in that order but because of factors beyond our control there was considerable variation in the schedule. It hasn’t exactly been plain sailing, as the upper fuselage and fin were found to be not as well finished as expected, and some of the upper surfaces of the wings were contaminated with deposits of an unknown origin. Estimates for costs were rather over optimistic but we were able to source additional Dacrylate paints with free delivery and for tools, etc., Screwfix economically provided the answer and we have still ended up remaining in the black! The final touches were added with the manufacture and application of the vinyl markings by Octoprint Chippenham and BW Signs Calne and Print-More of Chatham. Mick Tilley sorted out the ongoing problem with the main wheel repairs and in addition also producing a very realistic reproduction 8-day clock for the instrument panel. At this juncture, the starboard tail-plane is still in need of some additional work before painting and when this is addressed, the external renovation of ‘Regulus’ should be complete – although just like the Forth rail bridge, she will require continual attention to keep her looking good. 

  • Update 3: reCAPTCHA.  Some of you may have noticed that the reCAPTCHA security declaration has now moved to a 2-part system requiring additional input by identifying parts of a photograph. Like all organisations who maintain a website we are bombarded with some pretty appalling spam from the ‘low-life’ that has little to do other than be a nuisance. reCAPTCHA doesn’t solve the problem completely but does go someway to relieving it.

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  • Update 4: DONATIONS. In response to a number of requests for the facility to make donations to XM496 from the website, a minor modification to the ‘Form’ has been made under the Title Heading MEMBERSHIP OR DONATIONS. Please follow the instruction to differentiate your requirement and may we thank you most sincerely for your kindness. Any monies donated are used entirely for the upkeep of the aircraft.

  • Update 5: DEHUMIDIFIERS. All 3 dehumidifiers are now in continuous operation and are being drained by external pipework. The condensation problem associated with the winter months has now been noticeably reduced. This has added to the electricity bills but it is worth it, and we expect to go down to only one in operation during the summer months. 

  • News Item 6: ELECTRICS. The new cabling and distribution boxes have been installed by locally based Merlin Industries, and we will be able to run three 2000 watt heaters during future winter opening days. A full electrical safety certificate has been issued to the aircraft.