2011 Engine Change
(23rd January 2012)
year’s engine change was the most challenging issue
to face WZ507 since the aircraft was returned back to flying
condition in 2002. Whilst undergoing the annual maintenance
inspection in winter 2010, we discovered that the existing
engine would have to be replaced during 2011. We had hoped
to have enough engine hours remaining to complete all our
scheduled displays during the summer and carry out the engine
change during the winter, but this was not to be the case…
By coincidence, a few weeks later we were contacted by another
group who had been planning to restore G-DUSK (a Vampire T11
currently on static display at Bournemouth Aviation Museum)
back to flying condition. They had decided to discontinue
this project and kindly offered their engine to us –
an offer we were delighted to accept!
replacement engine arrived at North Weald at the beginning
of May. The first task for the engineers was to give it a
thorough inspection, which included dismantling the engine,
cleaning and inspecting all the components, removing some
areas of corrosion in the burner cans and treating them to
prevent any future recurrence. Non destructive testing was
carried out on the impeller; the casing was boroscoped to
check for any hidden areas that may have been damaged. The
generator and starter motor were both sent away for specialist
inspection, to ensure that these items were fully serviceable
The engine still had its original log-cards, which confirmed
the engine hours were as expected. Other paperwork relating
to this engine was also discovered in amongst some old records,
which helped the engineers piece together its complete history
– very useful for helping with the subsequent certification
went into the hangar in August to begin the engine change.
Several ancillary components from the old engine were to be
utilised on the new engine, such as the ignition system and
pumps; these were removed from the old engine and attached
to the new engine. Once the old engine had been removed it
was discovered that there were cracks in the jet pipe. It
had been intended to use this jet pipe on the new engine,
which meant we had to either get the cracks repaired or locate
a new jet pipe. Fortunately an alternative pipe was obtained
and fitted to the new engine.
the engine removed, the engineers had unprecedented access
to the engine bay. They took this opportunity to give the
area a thorough inspection, re-tensioning the control cables,
replacing various electrical wires and checking the fuel tank.
Having completed these tasks, the new engine was installed
and all the linkages and connections re-attached. Several
ground runs were carried out, to check the engine was running
satisfactorily and that there were no apparent problems; once
these were complete the cowlings were replaced and preparations
made for a test flight.
29th September WZ507 took to the skies for the first time
with the new engine. It was just a ten minute flight (remaining
close to the airfield!); after landing the oil consumption
was checked and all was normal. A series of further test flights
took place over the next two months. There was a minor issue
with the engine idle RPM being slightly too fast so the throttle
control box from the old engine was fitted onto the new engine
which cured the problem. In November the aircraft had a test
flight in order to renew its Permit to Fly – from the
test results it appears that the new engine is producing more
thrust than the old engine – an unexpected bonus! The
old engine will be kept and used as a source for spare parts
in the future.
Vampire Preservation Group would like to thank everybody who
has helped us during this time, without your assistance this
project would have been much more difficult. In particular
we wish to thank the owners of G-DUSK for donating their engine;
Aerobytes Limited for providing the essential sponsorship
that enabled us to complete this work; the team of engineers
at Weald Aviation for making this project succeed and finally
everybody who has supported WZ507 and ensured our Vampire
can continue to display for many more years with our new engine!
Note to Editors:
For more information, or to arrange to see this aircraft,
please contact Matt Hampton via the VPG web site.
The Vampire is often flying and will visit several airfields
during the year.
You will be made most welcome if you come along to see us!
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please contact us.