Proud to support UK's Battle of Britain's Memorial Flight

22nd February 2010

Cranfield Aerospace Ltd (CAe) are proud to be supporting the RAF's Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF).  We have been supporting BBMF, and associated companies, since 1985.  Over the years this has involved work on all of the Flight's aircraft types, and has drawn on CAe's expertise in design, analysis, maintenance and manufacture.

Our work has included the following major projects:

Hurricane Engine Bracket Investigation, 2008
This was a major project, aimed at curing a potential problem before it became a risk to the aircraft.  Initial cracks had been detected in several engine brackets.  CAe's task was to investigate the problem and propose both immediate and long-term solutions.  Working with the MoD's Fleetlands laboratory, CAe was able to establish that the cracking was a fatigue failure.  Starting from basic aircraft data, CAe were able to simulate the loading on the engine assembly introduced by flight and engine loads.  This led us to the probable cause of failure and a set of recommendations that have been fully adopted by BBMF.

The work involved a check on implications for the rest of the fleet, covering BBMF's Spitfires, Lancaster, Dakota DC3 and Chipmunks.

Assessment of Spitfire Canopy Re-Design, 2008
This project required CAe's Stress Office team to assess a single skin canopy for its Mk19 Spitfires.  Using proven Finite Element Analysis skills, the team was able to establish that a simpler, thinner design, made from modern materials, was acceptable.  This also allowed BBMF to standardise on a single design for all its Spitfires, saving them time and money as they maintain their aircraft

Spitfire Canopy Failure Investigation, 2008
After a Structural failure of the canopy on Spitfire PM631, CAe were asked to diagnose the problem and produce a solution.  Using his in-depth knowledge of aircraft engineering, our Chief Stress Engineer was able to propose a design and operational change that has solved the problem.

Rivet Replacement Project, 2007

Now know as Cranfield Aerospace Ltd, the company took on a project to find suitable contemporary replacements for the now obsolete rivet types used on both Hurricane and Spitfire.  CAe were able to draw on their engineering and manufacturing expertise, to identify stronger replacement fasteners.

Supporting Spitfire Seat Testing, 1998
A new composite seat had been designed, for use on Spitfires.  CAe were engaged to advise on certification and testing.  A test method was recommended and the seat successfully cleared for use.

Spitfire Concessions, 1990 - 1997

CAe advised on concessions for various Spitfire components while aircraft were being refurbished.  This involved assessing strengths and suitability of alternative materials for items that were damaged.  New components were ordered and fitted, based on this advice.

Supporting the Rebuild of Hurricane LF363, 1995 - 1997
Now know as Cranfield Aerospace Ltd (CAe), the company was engaged as design consultant for the rebuild of Hurricane LF363.  This aircraft was being completely rebuilt by Historic Flying Limited.  CAe used their expertise to find contemporary replacements for original materials and techniques.  This involved 11 major concessions from the original design, all justified based on CAe's engineering work.

Survey of Hurricane Aircraft Prior to Restoration, 1990

Working under the college of Aeronautics, CAe's predecessor carried out surveys of Hurricane BN236 and LF363, to support the decision on which to rebuild.  BN363 had stood as a gate guardian for many years, but was found to have severe corrosion.  LF363 had recently crashed landed following an engine failure on descent and was very severely damaged.

CAe's recommendation was to rebuild LF363, leading to its return to the collection seven years later.

Hurricane Renovation, 1986-1988

CAe's predecessor, the Aircraft Engineering Group of the College of Aeronautics, carried out a complete renovation of Hurricane LF363.  This included redesign and replacement of the fin and tailplane spars.  This was a challenging task, as neither the original material nor manufacturing methods were available for the new items.  The new design has fully approved, ensuring that LF363 continued to fly.

Spitfire Overhaul, 1985-1986
CAe's predecessor, the College of Aeronautics, carried out a major overhaul of Spitfire AB910.  This project included redesign of wing bolts and brake assembly.  Key components were redesigned, based on expert knowledge of both the original and contemporary engineering.

All text written by S.Rutherford, July 2009. 
Photograph taken by S.Rutherford, May 2009.
Copyright Cranfield Aerospace Ltd 2009.  

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