On Monday 11 March, six of the Museum’s engineers set course for the United Kingdom Defence Academy at Shrivenham, near Swindon. Their task was to prepare the Museum’s newly acquired Harrier GR3 (XV744) for transportation to Tangmere.
The journey to Shriveham in difficult snowy conditions was not without its problems with two of the engineers who had set off from Uckfield, East Sussex taking over two hours to get only as far as Gatwick! On reaching Shrivenham, the task over the next two days was to loosen the bolts on the wings and tail to enable these to be removed from the fuselage.
Simon Fielder, one of the Museum’s engineers, had already designed and built a cradle for the fuselage using drawings provided by British Aerospace Heritage. In spite of the difficult weather conditions, the work proceeded well over the next two days apart from a problem with the double acting cylinder on the active tailplane. It was necessary for the tailplane to be moved to provide access to bolts on the fin; the work to solve the problem took six hours. However, all was ready for the Museum’s haulage contractor, Springbok Engineering, when they arrived on the Wednesday morning.
XV744’s fuselage, resting in its purpose-built cradle, is loaded onto the transporter
On the Wednesday, during the lifting of the aircraft on to the two large vehicles, a handover took place of the aircraft’s Form 700 (a documented history of the aircraft) from the Academy’s Director General, Peter Watkins to the Museum’s Director, Dudley Hooley.
Peter Watkins presents XV744’s Form 700 to Dudley Hooley
Early on Thursday morning Harrier XV744 left Shrivenham for its new home at Tangmere.
The Museum’s engineers who worked on XV744 at Shrivenham were:
Phil Stokes (team leader)
A time-lapse video of XV744 being prepared for its journey to Tangmere
(Video courtesy of Jeremy Clifton-Gould, UK Defence Academy)