The Aileron Bay Project.
were many special details, including totally new seal designs, and extensive
redundancy to avoid loss of control due to hydraulic failure. For instance,
the aileron control bay features servodyne cylinders massively sized for
the few pounds of force they have to deliver to the ailerons, plus there
are no less than six levels of system redundancy, all of which would have
to fail before the pilot lost control of the ailerons.
Incidentally, I have not been able to find any record of hull loss or accident due to hydraulic failure. The early systems in the MK 1 tended to leak and be messy, but with reasonable attention, they did not fail. Given the historic significance of this feature, we decided that the aileron control bay should be an important part of the display. Although it was in truly terrible shape, all of the parts had to be removed and restored to static display standards. The plan was to completely rework all of the components and re-install them to achieve a 'like new' appearance.
We gained first access to the area during the general removal of most of the aircraft's floorboards, including the compartment just aft of the wing center section. This was done soon after the beginning of restoration, in mid 1996. Work on the bay itself began in September 1999 with removal of the bay's floor support structure.
Our crew then removed the compartment's smaller
components. Badly corroded items included:
The very advanced corrosion we found made removal
of the two major servodyne assemblies extremely
difficult. After literally days of trying, we could not break free the
units, which have large magnesium casting frames, from the pressure hull-mating
surface. After much twisting, prying, jacking, and general brute force
effort, we were still not able to free them.
After removal, subassemblies were carefully photographed
to make a record of their original condition, assembly details, and the
correct type of finish. Each component from this bay has been given a
thorough and time-consuming restoration. For instance, the servodyne assemblies
had to be completely disassembled into more than a hundred separate parts.