Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Powering up the Nimrod

We now have a 400Hz AC power supply plugged into our ex-RAF Nimrod aircraft at the Manchester Airport Runway Visitor Park. I spent some time yesterday on board with a couple of RAF techy types seeing what we could power up and how to do it. I returned today to see if I could manage to power the aircraft up and down on my own following the notes I took yesterday.

I connected the two batteries (we leave them unplugged so they don't run down), then went to the engineer's panel to check each was delivering > 20V. Next, I switched them each in on the DC panel, and checked the 'dolls eyes' lined up. On the AC panel a couple of other switches are set, then back over to the DC panel to set another. Then a trip outside to bring the inverter online and check its output voltage, frequency and amperage looks right.

Back onboard to find we now have cabin lights, and several power supplies and fans are running so the aeroplane feels 'alive'. On the engineers panels, the circuits now active are illuminated (very colourful!), and flight deck and panel instruments are lit. More switches on the DC panel bring on line 'essential supplies' and 'non essential supplies', and finally a couple of switches on the AC panel couple power to the rest of the aircraft. Back in the cabin I can now power up some more DC supplies to bring instruments and other bits of kit to life.

I had a 'play' on the flight deck. All the very interesting stuff that could cause problems if powered on has been disabled or removed by the RAF - radars, radios, heaters (pitot etc), hydraulic pumps, fuel pumps, engine controls etc. But all the cockpit alarms can be tested, as can the stick shakers (surprisingly violent!). The flight director moves the command bar with a satisfying whirr, and instrument flags can be made to flick in and out.

All this should add quite a lot to our tours. I just wish we could do the same with Concorde!

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