Comet Mk4C Restoration News

The First Intercontinental Jet Airliner

"Dedicated to restoration of the first Mk4C and the last complete de Havilland Comet in North America"

From the Desk of Bob Hood & Jim Goodall ~ Comet Progress Update

Regular readers of this report have seen the accelerating pace of completed work. We are pleased to report that this trend continued through the end of 2006.

We are particularly thankful for the gifts and support of many kind and generous people and organizations separate from the Paine Field restoration crew.

On the other side of the Atlantic, volunteer Bob Wright masterfully guided acquisition of a complete set of “timed out” Comet/Nimrod landing gear. Bob shepherded five pallets of gear through a virtual odyssey. The parts were trucked from RAF Kilnoss to the Midlands, where they were prepared for air shipment, thence to London, where Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic kindly transported them to San Francisco. From San Francisco, FedEx ground shipped them to Paine Field. Words could not adequately describe how grateful we are for all of the support from cooperative friends at the MOD, RAF Kinloss, and the many military and civilian people who made this possible.

Special thanks go out to the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence, RAF Station Kinloss, BAe Systems, FRAviation Ltd., Virgin Atlantic Cargo and FEDEX.

With in these organizations, key players in providing and transporting these, and other parts, were Sir Richard Branson, Warrant Officer Clive Buckland, Jim Carl, Dave Hebbron, Rab Logan, Sean McCourt, Alex McMurray, Dave Squires and Dave Thorne.

The Museum of Flight recently presented commemorative plaques to these people in appreciation of their help.

Meanwhile at Paine Field, XA-NAR Progress is substantial:

Our fall issue showed pictures of forward passenger cabin progress. Jim installed the carpets in this area—— another great visual advance. Also, we received the first pair of reupholstered tourist section seats, and they look very good.
We are able to upholster these seats thanks to the generosity of one of the former owners of our ship, Vera and LeRoy Olsen. LeRoy has continually supported our restoration — having already given us nearly 10 tons of ex-Mexicana Comet spares. We are truly grateful to the Olsens for their earlier contribution of cockpit seats re-upholstering, and now for the cost of upholstering 59 passenger seats!

Also, we have begun to sew curtains for the forward compartment.

Center bulkhead airconditioning duct covers are being covered in vinyl.

Large (12 foot long) belly skin panels under the aft toilets were painstakingly removed to reveal some of the most advanced corrosion in the entire aircraft. The supporting frames that we could save were cleaned and bead blasted in preparation for paint. The ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots show our progress.

To prepare for installation of the newly arrived landing gear, we must first strip and restore the gear bays. In preparation for this on the starboard side, we have built Comet Chalet #3. (#1, now disassembled, was under the opposite wing, and #2 encloses the aft fuselage belly.) This enclosure contains bead blast materials and gives some protection against the weather.

Meanwhile, back in the hangar, we are working on the aft passenger cabin’s two parcel shelves. The first shelf is just about ready for paint, and we removed the second one from its nine-year hangar balcony storage. This adds to the list of assemblies that will be ready for the aft compartment, including many galley units, two toilets, etc. Final galley shelves and switch panel are nearly finished.

Also, seat tracks over the center section will be replaced by tracks now under restoration. The substitute track, originally mounted in XV-814, is compared with the original in this photo.

All things considered, including holidays and bad weather, the winter restoration has produced impressive progress, thanks to worldwide help, and to the dedicated efforts of Jim Goodall and all of the volunteers.