11th November 2020

Jamie White has kindly donated the following instruments after seeing the restoration project updates on social media. I`d like to say a big thank you to Jamie for reaching out and offering these instruments which we believe actually came from ZE360 herself. Note the North Island NARF sticker identifying these as from an F-4J(UK).

If you have or know of someone who may have parts that could help with ZE360`s restoration, please do get in touch, we are always interested to hear from you.

IMG_1469 IMG_1476


10th – 11th October 2020

The weekend of the 10th and 11th October saw the BPAG team back at Manston with ZE360. The current Covid-19 restrictions, coupled with the fact that the dismantling process is concentrated on a few small areas, meant that there could only be limited team numbers onsite. However this did not stop a very successful couple of days with good progress being made in vital areas.

 Fuel lines, drain lines and wiring from inside Door 22 were stripped out as well as Door 22 itself removed due to the fact it overlaps the leading edge of the lower wing skin. Station 4`s missile well was also stripped out to give access to the structural connections. Various hydraulic lines and components were also cleared from above Stations 4 and 6 to facilitate access and removal of the leading edge BLC ducts. The emergency nitrogen bottle was finally removed after dismantling further structure for access. The rear cockpit upper instrument panel was also removed and both intakes cleared of debris. Among the debris, a broken off probe from the nose of the aircraft was found which will be repaired and refitted. A missing cover plate from the nose gear bay was also found. Finally, some structure was removed inside doors 75, (left & right), that join across the wing & fuselage.

IMG_1454 (2)IMG_20201010_171622 IMG_20201010_141304 IMG_20201010_141248 IMG_20201010_140756 IMG_20201010_140058 IMG_20201010_120636 IMG_20201010_105204 IMG_20201010_103539 IMG_20201010_101949 IMG_20201010_101913 IMG_20201010_101156 IMG_1443 IMG_1439 IMG_1436 IMG_1432 121240162_3319247638187813_3589664527765477881_n IMG_20201010_131901 IMG_20201010_171400 IMG_20201010_171306IMG_1448 (2)

Text – Paul Wright (BPAG)
Photos – Tony Clay

26th – 27th September 2020

The new social distancing rules and cold weather forecast meant that activity at Manston had to be downscaled for last weekend’s work party. With just a small group present, any milestone moments or herculean efforts were unlikely but some good headway was still made on vital smaller tasks.
Saturday saw further progress on engine disconnection, also pipework removed for access to LH wing root and RH inboard leading edge was finally lowered (without cutting) before increasingly poor weather called a stop to proceedings at 14:00.
Work persevered with undoing the electrical plugs on the engine harness on Sunday. What would have been a minute’s work when in service ended up taking around 5 hours. The RH inboard fixed leading edge removal was made up to withdrawal of the hinge pins, at which time our old friend corrosion took control and the pins refused to move. They’re currently soaking in penetrating oil, ready for next working party.

120250905_329559578144203_4812046480149108043_n 120234610_967856407048330_3487037005267725221_n 120202956_3369594619755663_1826355213220064930_n 120193029_325642678725456_5710162756099171092_n 120130051_1042030476229985_2418025172212426715_n 120186234_320386695887252_7257947647527773619_n 119825884_1203106616734295_1361822436761848451_n 119787503_2747608048852129_2033072096765653294_n 119710235_761199937788081_1472394228479328225_n 119701973_2750531625159225_7728644320462416936_n 119654325_3334650909906166_6207909754792257826_n 120201841_2739324276394274_891844048763310879_n 119813222_622270595342554_3301169514656370280_n

Text – Paul Wright (BPAG)
Photos – Steve Pope (BPAG)

24th September 2020

A small update from the BPAG team ;
Recently received back from refurbishment- original nosewheel from ZE360. Cleaned up and prepared by Paul Wright, paint removed and powdercoated by Andy Groves at JW Smart Services. Many thanks to Paul for the prep and Andy and JWSS for donating the time, labour and materials to get the job done.

120471576_1245748619136136_2056895836258401557_o120299933_1245748692469462_1233214961291909425_o120370597_1245748752469456_3972298817611666578_o


12th – 13th September 2020

The weekend of 12th and 13th September saw BPAG volunteers head back to Manston and Phantom F-4J(UK) ZE360 making further progress with stripping out systems and components inside D22. There’s still a long way to go there. The front cockpit was also relieved of many of its remaining parts, including the main panel and some instruments. The latter have gone off site to be refurbished by Paul West, in his own time.
Elsewhere, both full sets of engine doors are now lowered and engine disconnection has started. Both sets of lateral control runs and a plethora of hydraulic lines and electrical looms have been removed, along with the left hand leading edge BLC duct. Access was also gained to the trailing edge flap actuators and these are scheduled to be removed at the next visit.
As ever, it was an ongoing battle with the corrosion and lack of servicing, meaning that even simple panel removal takes much longer than it would normally.

IMG_1358 IMG_20200912_094923 IMG_1422 IMG_1420 IMG_1418 IMG_1415 IMG_1393 IMG_1391 IMG_1386 IMG_1385 IMG_1383 IMG_1374 IMG_1369 IMG_1368 IMG_1365 IMG_1363 50339211127_bdf2903118_o 50338367743_42a5ec18c0_o IMG_1426 IMG_1406

Text – Paul Wright (BPAG)
Photos – Tony Clay

29th – 31st August 2020

The British Phantom Aviation Groups volunteer team were back at Manston on the Bank Holiday weekend of the 29th/31st August with the principle task being the removal of the centreline tank. When installed the tank prevents both the opening of the engine bays and any work progressing along the centre of the lower wing. Despite having been untouched for decades, the tank released as it was designed to after some great advice and clear instruction from a BPAG supporter who used to be an ex-armourer. With the tank out of the way, the team now had clear access to the engine bays doors.

Whilst this was ongoing, other team members removed the remaining speedbrake. Sadly, the corroded bolts would not give in, so the decision was made to cut way the brake from the aircraft. As with all restorations, such decisions are not taken lightly, but may be necessary to move the project along. Any such parts can and will be replaced further down the line.

Preparation work continued inside Door 22, where many of the components will have to be removed to gain access to the wing-tank/front fuselage joints and disconnection of the inboard undercarriage doors was started. Highlight of the day was opening the rear most engine doors for the first time in 3 decades.

Elsewhere, the inboard leading edge occupied a lot of time and effort, corrosion having made bolt removal impossible and attempting to drill out ¼” thick bolts to a depth of up to 1″ was not proving successful. Once again the decision was made to cut away the structure holding it up as it was already beyond saving owing to corrosion.

With the leading edge still refusing to drop down, further investigation and searching revealed a hidden bolt, one which is not present on British Phantom F-4K/M`s, and once removed (by drilling out, naturally) the leading edge was finally lowered down.

Attention then turned to the engine doors, and despite further corrosion related problems, both Aero 27A missile launchers were removed from the underside of the aircraft, which will allow the main engine doors to be lowered on a subsequent visit.

As always, many thanks to the BPAG volunteer team for their hard work and staff at DFTDC Manston for their continued assistance.

1 2 3 4 5 6

Credits

Photos – Nigel Hodgson

Words – Paul Wright


15th – 16th August 2020

The British Phantom Aviation Group and the 74 Squadron Association are pleased to announce that another milestone in the preservation effort has been reached. On Saturday 15th August, ZE360 was towed away from an area of waste ground, where it has sat since 2015, and back onto hardstanding elsewhere within the facility.

This event had been delayed by the current Covid-19 pandemic, when work at the site was forced to cease for four months, and follows the recent replacement of the main wheels and nose wheels by the BPAG engineering team, which allowed movement of the aircraft to be attempted. The relocation to hard, level ground will now allow access for engine removal apparatus and once this process is complete, permit entry to the inner fuselage area to commence the wing/fuselage split.

A jubilant Paul Wright (BPAG Chairman) commented “Saturday was a major milestone in 360’s journey back to full restoration. I’d like to thank everyone who contributed in any way to the day’s event. There were potentially so many things that could have gone wrong but didn’t and the challenges that arose during the move were met with calm efficiency by the team”.

The rest of the weekend would inevitably be overshadowed by Saturday morning’s achievement but that does not mean that what the team got finished through the rest of the day and into Sunday is in any way less vital. More progress on leading edge flaps and panel removal and the stabilator has finally been detached too. The RH hydraulic reservoir was also taken out, which is necessary to access the ring mounting bolts. CL tank is still stubbornly hanging on but that should hopefully be sorted on the next visit.

Many thanks to the weekend`s team Paul Wright, Paul West, Stephen Steven Pope, Paddy Forrest, Mark Copeland, Andy Bradley, Peter Pete Clapham, Jake Clapham, Tony Clay, Adrian Vines, Mike Davey, Nigel Hodgson, Ryan Luscombe, Max Archer and Pete Moore

Our gratitude also goes out to the officers and staff of DFTDC whose unstinting support for this project has been one of the major contributing factors for us getting this far.

IMG_1113 IMG_1123IMG_1126 IMG_1128 IMG_1131 IMG_1135 IMG_1137 IMG_1145 IMG_1154 IMG_1155 IMG_1157 IMG_1159 IMG_1163 IMG_1166 IMG_1170 IMG_1176 IMG_1201 IMG_1211 IMG_1239 IMG_1249 IMG_1251 IMG_1254 IMG_1259 IMG_1262 IMG_1268 IMG_1273 IMG_1279 IMG_1288 IMG_1289 IMG_1294 IMG_1298 IMG_1309 IMG_1311 IMG_1314 IMG_1316  IMG_1317 IMG_1318 IMG_1189 IMG_1321

(Pictures and video by Tony Clay)

 


10th August 2020

Another small yet significant event that occurred during the ZE360 working weekend a week or so ago at Manston, was the handover of the two flying helmets to the British Phantom Aviation Group.
These were obtained and refurbished by Paul West with the assistance of Richard Proctor and are dedicated to the memory of Flt Lt Ewan Murdoch and Fg Off Jeremy Ogg who tragically lost their lives in the only flying accident involving the Phantom F-4J(UK) in 1987.
They have been donated to the Group and after a suitable cabinet has been obtained, will be ready for display when events and gatherings are permitted once again.
Many thanks to Paul and Richard for their hard work and generosity.
(Photo`s courtesy of Nigel Hodgson)
50181452473_232ba5c37b_o
50181168583_7592a7ec84_o 50181705706_72cbc066de_o

1st – 2nd August 2020

The bright and sunny weekend of August 1st and 2nd saw the largest BPAG working party assembled so far recommencing work on Phantom F-4J(UK) ZE360.

On arrival the group was pleasantly surprised to discover that the RAF team from Manston had removed the remnants of an English Electric Canberra which had previously been resting behind ZE360. They had also cut all the long grass from around ZE360 saving the team a number of hours of work on the Saturday. The main aims for the weekend were the removal of both outer wings, the fuselage tailcone, replacing the deflated RH mainwheel and progressing access to the internal structure, which needs to be removed to separate wing and fuselage.

One of the major challenges of the project is the fact that the aircraft has stood outside, fairly close to the sea, for nearly three decades which is actually longer than the aircraft served in both RAF and United States Navy. Almost every single part shows some form of corrosion with stuck- fasteners, panels, connections and hinges being the most obvious and problematic. For example, it took a couple of hours of concerted effort to remove the RH outer wing as it involved lowering the leading edge flap to gain access and removing the hinge pin. Thankfully the Ulster Aviation Society had loaned the team a hinge pin puller which made a task easier. The process was also complicated by the fact you can’t get hydraulic pressure to lower the flap. The LH outer wing did however came off relatively easier than the RH outer wing despite the corrosion on the hinge pin. With the removal of both outer wings, a major milestone has been achieved by the team with regards to the relocation part of the project.

Panel removal is always a tedious, unloved but vital task undertaken by the volunteers and is made exceptionally difficult owing to the aforementioned corrosion issues. It`s estimated that around 75% of all the screws removed so far have had to be drilled out. In some instances, it has been far easier to cut the panels away as the corrosion to both panel and screws has been that bad. Underneath the aircraft, the team continued panel removals and stripped out a bay containing one of the hydraulic reservoirs and subsequently removed the reservoir itself.

A lengthy process of jacking the aircraft up again had the RH side raised enough to lift the landing gear out of the hole to allow the successful replacement of the deflated wheel.

Transportation restrictions on the airframe when the time comes means that the stabilator has to be removed, a process which firstly requires removal of the tailcone. Once again, many screws had to be drilled out, some in the most inaccessible positions, but a combination of stoicism and some professional head scratching eventually saw the tailcone removed and placed on the floor.

Sunday saw the group visited on site by two of the remaining RAF personnel from Manston. This included the base commander himself as he is taking a personal interest in the project and reiterated his continued support and encouragement. As always, thanks go out to all the staff from Manston for their help and assistance on this restoration project. Also a big thank you and job well done to the volunteers, their hard work over the weekend is much appreciated – Max Archer, Peter Partridge, Alex Pinnell, Mark Coleman, Nigel Hodgson, Stuart Forth, Paul West,  Pete Moore, Clive Hammond, Paul Wright, Nathan Garrard, Matt Gilby, Stephen Cawley, Gary Fisher, John Kendal and Steven Pope.

(With thanks to BPAG Chairman Paul Wright for supplying the update information)

A selection of photos showing the work undertaken in no particular order

50182246307_7c4f462d7b_o

50182258207_3bac88fe9e_o 50182254692_ce98965264_o 50182240917_a47f9e7507_o 50182000886_6827a0127e_o 50181990391_c65b0b92b7_o 50181980411_c7a8d6f0fc_o

50177839772_3bc36411a0_o 50177838787_64a0d0c4f6_o 50177585796_5bbe2688ce_o 50177050763_be0cf4161f_o

(Photos Courtesy of Nigel Hodgson)


11th July 2020

UPDATE JULY 2

After 4 frustrating months away, a sunny Saturday 11th June finally saw the return of the British Phantom Aviation Group to Manston and F-4J(UK), ZE360. The nature of the work needed, added to the short notice of access permission, meant that only two members were onsite, Clive Hammond and Paul Wright.

Paul reports,

We had several tasks lined up, the principal one being to change the nosewheels, the existing ones have been fitted for the last 28 years and are past their best to say the least. This job would have taken around ½ hr “back in the day”, but owing to the bearings being corroded onto the axles, it took the best part of four hours, and some “creative” heavy engineering to do. The next priority task was to assess what else we needed to do before towing the aircraft out of its current position. The grass will need cutting, it has grown considerably since we were last here, and the remnants of a Canberra are in the way, but easily moved. Both speedbrakes will have to lifted up otherwise towing bridle will impact them. The LH one was moved quite easily, but the RH one is currently seized, and an attack of bees stopped any further work there. The plan to pull the aircraft back using heavy duty strops was assessed and found to be sound. This is very similar the procedure we used in the RAF, when aircraft came off the runway or taxiway. A final task would have been to remove the CL tank, but as it is currently resting on the ground, this will have to be done once the a/c is out of the holes into which it has sunk. This tank is the property of UAS and will be going to Belfast at their convenience.
One final curveball was thrown at us, when it was discovered that the R.H mainwheel has deflated during the time we have been away. Fortunately we have another one ready to go on as a replacement.

More news soon ………….

108189538_1184416278602704_2699771735736623294_n 109113788_1184416308602701_5098306290235580153_n


July 2020

Further to the update from June, the refurbishment of the two ex-74 Sqn flight helmets is now complete. Paul West (BPAG volunteer and former 74 Sqn Air Radar) and fellow `Tiger` Richard Proctor sourced these two examples from unused old stock. They have been carefully restored with genuine components and are now mounted, ready for display alongside ZE360 when the time comes. Each one is complete with mask, bag and name tag paying tribute to Flight Lieutenant Ewan Murdoch and Flying Officer Jeremy Ogg, who were both tragically lost in an accident involving ZE358 during a low level interception training sortie near Aberystwyth, West Wales on 26th August 1987.

Many thanks to Paul and Richard for their generosity and hard work in preparing this tribute.

106744960_729205244561468_6748396583135642872_n 106119558_10213548711392435_6628864006606784578_o 105580312_10213548709352384_1598494312853217414_o 107584792_10213636064896218_1785443207125767390_o


June 2020

While actual physical restoration work on ZE360 has had to be put on hold due to the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, this has given the team an opportunity to address other aspects of the campaign and make some choices that probably wouldn’t have been due until a little further down the road. One such decision was the aircrew names that would adorn the canopy frame of ZE360 once complete and restored. We can now share our plans in this regard, as we have opted for two sets of names– one set placed on each of the right & left sides.

Of the 15 F-4J(UK) delivered to 74 (F) Squadron only one aircraft (ZE358/H) was lost, during a low level interception training sortie near Aberystwyth, West Wales on 26th August 1987. Both aircrew- Ewan Murdoch and Jeremy Ogg- were unfortunately killed in the accident. In order to honour the memory of Ewan and Jeremy, their names will be placed on the right side of ZE360`s canopy. With the help of 74(F) Tiger Squadron Association members (and Squadron Secretary Bob Cossey in particular) contact was made with the relatives of the aircrew and the proposal has received their blessing to pay tribute to Ewan and Jeremy in this way. In addition, Paul West (BPAG member and ex-74 Sqn Air Radar) is in the process of restoring two flight helmets, sourced from original 74 Sqn new old stock by fellow ex-Tiger Richard Proctor. These will be complete with masks, bags and embroidered name tags, which will also feature Ewan and Jeremy’s names. Many thanks to Paul & Richard for their hard work and generosity. We believe both these methods will be fitting ways to honour the memories of two airmen who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of their country during the Cold War.

Moving onto the left side of ZE360, this will display the names of Ian Hargreaves and Simon Hindmarsh, who delivered the aircraft to Manston in 1991. At that time both held the rank of Flying Officer and it was very rare to have the same rank as aircrew together. The original canopy markings reflect this joint status and will be replicated as a finishing touch at the close of the restoration, adding another unusual detail to the only F-4J(UK) to survive in RAF colours, anywhere in the world.


March/April 2020

All restoration work suspended due to the COVID19 pandemic.


April 2020

ZE360 News Article published in Britain at War magazine.

Britain at War Mag


April 2020

Four page Workshop article published in Aeroplane Magazine detailing ZE360`s history and restoration work up to that point.

88987677_10157520734258241_1415061633767571456_n 89851347_10157520734313241_2569088997963857920_n

89678311_10157520734578241_8918293968584704000_n

(Note text blocked out to avoid any copyright issues)


7th/8th March 2020

1 RESTORATION FRONT PAGE

Last weekend saw another work party heading to Manston to work on ZE360.

Work of note was the removing more side panels causing mass casualties in drill bits , the starboard aileron finally giving up the ghost and being removed and last, but certainly not least, the main undercarriage tyres being replaced for new. This was achieved by using a custom built puller with the port wheel being the easiest of the two to remove.  This then exposed the brake pack, pressure plate and bearings, which while discovered to be in better than expected condition, will require restoration at a later date. In the meantime they will be usable for towing 360 off the fire pit area. A number of data plates were also documented.

The following photo`s show the works in progress.

Starboard aileron removal and clearing the front wheels

2 34 549640535981_45f609b721_oIMG_0635

Panel Removal

1 34625

Port Wheel Replacement

2346578

Starboard Wheel Replacement

1234567

Data Plate Documentation

49639896743_b46e3e4236_o 49640427586_84346b9cdf_o 49640424391_84da7c35a1_o 49640419001_6160c74b69_o

(With many thanks to Nigel Hodgson for the permission to use some of his photo`s for this update)


February/March 2020

Update press release from Flypast magazine on the restoration.

IMG_0585


22nd/23rd February 2020

Title page

The weekend of the 22nd and 23rd February saw a BPAG team head down to Manston and carry out some preparation work on ZE360 for her relocation from the Fire Pit Aircraft Graveyard to a more suitable hardstand located near the Fire school. A concrete base will provide the perfect ground to disassemble the Phantom when the time comes for her to relocated off base and 360`s new home.

Three items were on the `to do` list include digging out the wheels from the soft ground in preparation for a wheel change, unlocking the outer wing sections so that the fuel venting vanes and ailerons could be removed and finally, some of the team start drilling out the screws on the panels.

Here are a selection of photo`s showing the team at work on the weekend.

Wing Work

IMG_0547 IMG_0549

IMG_0564 IMG_0570 Nigel4 IMG_0568 IMG_0569

Undercarriage Work

IMG_0559 IMG_0563 IMG_0560 Nigel3

Panel Work

IMG_0553 IMG_0567 Nigel2

It was also nice to see a panel from the front cockpit returned after 10 years and shows her old US Navy BuNo 155574 on the top.

IMG_0582

It was also nice to make a little discovery and settle, (hopefully), an age old argument about the colour of the F-4J`s when they came out of the paintshop at North Island in the US. While removing a panel on by a aileron, we came across a part of the aircraft that obviously escaped the deep service repainting.

We now have a great comparison between the standard RAF air defence grey and the US mix.

Duck Egg Blue – Case Closed!

Blue


20th January 2020

The new year got off to a start which saw Paul Wright and myself head out to Manston to discuss moving ZE360 from its current location, to one more suited to her needs when it comes to dismantling her for transport. After productive talks with the RAF Fire School, a location which had been previously proposed, was accepted. Routes between the two locations were discussed and now BPAG have to prepare a movement plan and risk assessment.

After this, some physical work began. The tarpaulin had been blown off in the recent stormy weather and so that was refitted and secured.

Bagged up


When the time comes to relocate 360 the outer wings will require to be removed. However the pins are in and it’s hydraulic wingfold. This meant getting into the system, under D101 L&R, which you’ll see from the pictures below is heavily corroded. Sadly this meant cutting out an access, a decision not lightly taken but both panels were going to be scraped anyway.

Inboard LE flap actuator access panel

82602368_1050466005331066_6724402554706329600_n

Cut Hatch

Work was also started on the removal of the speed brake and the closure panel until lack of light brought the day to a close.

LH speedbrake after groundlock removed Speedbrake and bay

(With thanks to Paul Wright/BPAG for photos and descriptions)


21st November 2019

The 74(F) Tiger Squadron Webstore is set up and launched to raise funds towards the restoration effort. Items on sale so far include mugs, clothing and phone case accessories.

(Click link below)

74F Tiger360 Webstore

3603 3602 3601


20th October 2019

Another work party consisting of Paul Wright, John Kendal, Clive Hammond, Nigel Hodgson, Peter Partridge and Stephen Pope headed to Manston today to carry out some more work in preparation to remove ZE360 from site.

First on the list was clearing and cutting back the grass and foliage so access was made easier.

72631212_2575836019176889_7259992801947942912_n

Among the other jobs, the brake parachute operating cable was disconnected (a fiddly job with limited access!) and both flap actuators were disconnected.

2 8 7 6 5 4 3

A nose gear door from ZE353/E which was scrapped at Manston circa 2001 has been donated thanks to Wayne Drinkwater.

1

Although in a poor state, it still has intact light fittings and wiring, so will certainly be of use as ‘360 progresses.

A port intake blank was also discovered deep inside an engine intake, and recovered.

9

At the end of the day, the cockpit was covered with the blue tarpaulin again – until the next visit.

10 72762239_806519893115467_4994502578143232000_n

(With thanks to Nigel Hodgson and Paul Wright for photo`s and text)


28th/29th September 2019

North Weald in Essex, (another Tiger lair from back in the days of World War Two, albeit for a couple of months), held their annual Jetfest weekend.

The Associations partners in the ZE360 project, BPAG, took along their Phantom FGR.2 cockpit section belonging to airframe XT490 (she ended her flying days with the Tigers), to raise funds and awareness for ZE360`s restoration and other plans associated with the project.

IMG_0401 IMG_0399

That `other` Tiger Squadron also popped by for a Saturday visit……

IMG_0402 IMG_0408

All in all, a great time was had with plenty of interest and questions from the general public.


26th September 2019

BPAG members Adrian Vines and Clive Hammond returned to Manston today to complete the task list from last Tuesday.

360`s cockpit section has now been covered in tarpaulin to reduce the amount of water ingress.

71292794_780968875693741_2621261868378882048_n


17th September 2019

On the 17th September 2019, a team of volunteers from the British Phantom Aviation Group and the 74 Squadron Association began the preservation work on ZE360 at Manston, Kent. This was the first opportunity to actually get hands on the aircraft and would hopefully offer some early indications of the true state of the bodywork and structure.

Before any of this could begin, however, the whole aircraft was cleaned, scrubbed and rinsed to remove as much fire foam residue, moss, dirt and salt deposits as possible. This revealed much of the original paintwork, some of which was still in good condition, but also uncovered some further corrosion of small areas of the paneling and fasteners, all of which was noted and logged for future attention.

IMG_0362 7 - Paul Wright washing the jet - DSC_2521 IMG_0369 IMG_0389 IMG_0387 IMG_0379 IMG_0370

Inspections were also carried out of the underside, wing fold areas and undercarriage. Partial disassembly of the tail cone allowed access to stabilator pivot mechanism, which appears to be in good order. Upper panels unfortunately proved not to be removable at this time which prevented wider inspection.

3 - Removing the port bacon slicers - DSC_2547 11 - Working to remove the starboard bacon slicer - DSC_2545

10 - removing the starboard bacon slicer - DSC_2544 12 - Removing fasteners from the brake parachute container - DSC_2550

4 - Starboard stabillator pivot exposed - DSC_2548 15 - Detail from underneath the tail cone with a panel removed - DSC_2558

Finally an application of PX-32 preservative to all non-stainless outer surfaces (including underside where accessible) was applied to protect against further damage from weather.

13 - Painting preservative - DSC_2560

Conclusions from the day’s work were that- as far as has been seen- corrosion of the airframe and parts has not been found to be any worse than expected. Some areas are visibly bad and will require extra attention and the worst affected will involve re-fabricating. However, nothing we have seen so far is terminal or should jeopardize moving the aircraft. Detailed inspections have also helped in clarifying potential course of actions for final disassembly.

I think the following photo totally highlights the days efforts ……..

B4 after

Many thanks to the volunteers who joined me on the day – Nigel Hodgson, Adrian Vines, Clive Hammond and Paul Wright for giving up their free time to further the preservation effort.

Thanks also go to DFTDC at Manston for tolerating a crew of civilians on their premises.

the J team

(With thanks to Adrian Vines for Photos/text and Nigel Hodgson for Photos)


August/September 2019

News article released by Aeroplane Magazine regarding ZE360 and fellow Phantom restoration project XT597.

Aeroplane Oct 2019


July/August 2019

News article released by Flypast Magazine announcing the project.

48416591947_911945a074_b


20th June 2019

Association and BPAG finally given permission to go public with the news of the acquisition on forums and social media.


15th May 2019

After many weeks of emails and phone calls, plus a very long single day of negotiating, the joint bid by the Association and BPAG was accepted and both organisations became the legal owners/guardians of ZE360.

(It`s at this point I would like to express our thanks to the staff at both the Manston Fire School, DESA and Military Spares Limited whose help and assistance during this process made it all possible).


26th February 2019

DESA, (Defence Equipment Sales Authority), contacted and email sent with intent to bid and acquire ZE360.

 


15th February 2019

Manston Fire School contacted for confirmation that ZE360 was surplus to requirements and permission to initiate a bid.

 


Manston Initial Assessment Visit – 25th January 2019

(Photos courtesy of Paul Wright/BPAG)

360 1 69477875_917680575276277_2787480001837006848_n 69264663_917680435276291_2099500342088564736_n 69031475_917680468609621_2168635172226859008_n 68964864_917680608609607_1224729187382722560_n 68710069_917680641942937_878156959029657600_n 68570682_917680741942927_7266612639336235008_n 68548873_917680415276293_4437606724723015680_n 68547947_917680391942962_3440163865160056832_n 68541877_917680675276267_218302634921033728_n 360 4 360 3 360 2

 


2018

Wing tanks, front ejection seat and other smaller components purchased and removed by The Ulster Aviation Society for their Phantom restoration.


Where it all began – September 2017

Initial trip to Manston to photo ZE360 for the websites Survivors Page.

The plan was to document a very rare survivor in RAF history from as any angles as possible. I had read and heard some reports on forums and social media at the time that she was near collapse, her main gear was going through the top of the wings and the scrap man was but a call away. But what I found was somewhat different. Admittedly I`m no engineer and the sun was out on a lovely September afternoon, but 360 was not a complete wreck or as fragile as I had been led to believe. ZE360 is by no means in great shape, but I started to think about the possibility of preservation and if it were viable even at this 11th hour of her life.

I had recently met a gentleman by the name of Mike Davey, who by all accounts is probably the UK`s leading F-4J(UK) enthusiast and owns the cockpit section of ZE352, the famous `Black Bunny` Phantom that served on 74. I approached him for advice and asked if he would be interested or knew anyone who would seriously consider a rescue operation. He in turn then got in touch with Paul Wright who is the Chairman of the British Phantom Aviation Group (BPAG) and the rest, as they say, is history.

IMG_7319 IMG_7329 IMG_7321 IMG_7323 IMG_7328 IMG_7355 IMG_7372 IMG_7387 IMG_7360 IMG_7346 IMG_7350 IMG_7341 IMG_7334 IMG_7330 IMG_7345 IMG_7336