The restoration and display of Bird 18 has been recognised this month (April 2020) in a six page article within 'Windscreen', the Military Vehicle Trusts internationally read magazine.
COVID-19: Wicksteed at War (June) has now been cancelled.
Work has begun on the fabrication of the hoist beam and cable hook gully.
Bird 18 is tucked away for the winter but that does not stop the team getting on with things. Efforts are now being concentrated on the re-fabrication of the trailer purchased by the team that will be used to transport Bird 18 to events in 2020.
The Bird 18 Team are honoured to be hosting Vietnam veteran John Boden at this years War & Peace Show in July.
John served as a VMO-6 pilot between 1966 - 1967 and took part in over 750 flight missions. John is also the author of "Klondike Playboy" which explains some of the magic of this unique squadron, the magic that was a big part of why we chose our bird to represent an aircraft of VMO-6.
John's visit is a massive honour for us and is the first time we will have had a VMO-6 veteran on display with us.
War & Peace Show July 23rd - 27th:
This years display at War & Peace will see the first time that Bird 18 has been publicly displayed as a fully armed helicopter gunship. Come along and take a look over the most recent additions to the look which have been painstakingly restored by the dedicated Bird 18 restoration team.
Over the last 2 display seasons our Huey has been well armed, but 2 pieces have been missing. But now the team have finally taken possession of a pair of 7 shot LAU Rocket Pods. The team have now started the fabrication of the TK2 (Temporary Kit 2) mounts to fit the pods to the bird, and will also begin the process of moulding the replica 2.75" 'Mighty Mouse' Hydra Rockets so that the aircraft sits fully armed on display. This year will see Bird 18 finally on display as a fully fledged 'Gun Ship'. The replica M60's for the pod mounts have now also been completed and will be installed in the next few weeks.
Both of the pods are ex U. S. military surplus, 1976 dated, manufactured by Harvard Interiors Div, Harvard Industries Inc. St. Louis, MO.
The restoration team are now working on the TK2 (Temporary Kit) set up for the rocket pod system.
At two recent military events in the UK the team managed to find the first few pieces.
One seller had 2 practice Mighty Mouse Rocket war heads which we will cast so we can make full size replica rockets. The same seller also had three of the suspension lugs that screw to the tops of each rocket pod and then hung under the TK2 kit. Just one more to find now which shouldnt be to hard.
A second seller had a complete Mighty Mouse 2.75" rocket in very good condition complete with its firing wire attached, a perfect to display to the visiting public at events.
Just goes to show if you know what you're looking for it can still be found locally.
Final touches have been completed in preparation for our annual big display at the War and Peace Revival Show in Kent. The team have completed the transformation of the exhaust doghouse, fitting of the top antenna and replaced the old collective head with one of the correct period. After a wash down and cleaning of the windows etc the bird was rolled back in to the hanger ready for its transport to the show ground.
May - June:
In preparation for this years show season the team have made great progress in the restoration of the MAG36 bird. Most notably they have obtained and fitted the correct rear vent single port exhaust cowling (doghouse), a correct period Collective Control head for the Chief Pilots position has been obtained and fitted and a total of 4 period crew seats have now been installed.
The fabrication and installation of the M60 door mounts has been completed. The mounts along with the weapons ammunition tins were replicated directly from original photographs provided by a VMO-6 Veteran.
The MAG36 crew held their first main work day of the year. Good progress made on preperations for converting the exhaust housing, tail rotor hub assembly fitted, M60 mounts measured up ready for fabrication along with a host of much smaller tidy up jobs.
The team have a number of jobs to complete to get the aircraft looking how they want it to look for next season. Main jobs include the re-positioning of the exhaust to make it a single port rear venting system and the locating, fabrication and fitting of the M60 machine guns and 2.75" rocket pods to give it that all important gunship look.
Operation 'Relocate' was successfully carried out on Saturday 2nd December. The Mag36-UK team transported the aircraft from its temporary storage location in Dorset to its new secure storage in deepest Kent with the support of several 'Rolling Thunder' members. The new premises are secure, dry and warm and will allow the restoration to continue in relative comfort over the winter months. Thank you to Polar Helicopters at Manston Airport in Kent for accommodating us.