Solway Aviation Museum Reaching for the sky

Solway Aviation Museum Volunteers doing the IPAF Training.

The Solway Aviation Museum (SAM) has invested in a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) to reduce the risk to the maintenance teams while working at height on the museum aircraft.

During a recent health and safety risk assessment it was highlighted that using conventional ladders and or self erect scaffolding was no longer acceptable and a safer way of high level servicing needed to be found, looking into the potential endless hire cost of cherry pickers etc would make the regular maintenance checks and high Level painting of the aircraft extremely expensive.

The answer was simple invest in our very own cherry picker which we did in March of this year, the answer was simple but owning and operating a cherry picker is not that easy, there was insurance for one thing which was duly obtained next came the LOLER Testing and certification (Lift Operating & Lifting Equipment Regulations) our cherry picker was due for its inspection and testing in June of this year, this was provided by a local company Thermoking Northern that checked, tested and issued the six month certificate as the hydraulics systems must be checked and serviced twice a year.

After all that you still don’t however tempting jump into the bucket an climb skyways after all this is the UK and we do have standards to maintain, next on the list was to have the crews trained and certificated in the use of this equipment, this is where IPAF comes into the frame (International Powered Access Federation) our training supplier was Systems Training also Based at Carlisle Airport our home for over 50 years.

We booked the course for four crew members and to our surprise the course was a full day starting at 08.30 and finishing at 16.30 the morning was spent on guess what Health & Safety and the IPAF training programme which included a pre-training test and an post training test which you must achieve the pass mark or the course ends there !!! after lunch it was out to SAM-05 which is our cherry pickers call sign as we make extensive use of two way communications as part of our Health & Safety procedures.

But again before we can get our hands on our new equipment we have to go through harness training and how to ware and adjust correctly the harness that is there to save us should we fall out of the bucket, next comes the part that we have all been waiting for the actual test which requires us to drive the van between cones and park, we then have to deploy the vehicle stabilisers these stop the van from moving when the booms are deployed, next it’s into the harness on with the hard hats and chin straps and we then have to take the access platform through its paces, on our VAMP that a vertical lift of 12.5m using both booms to their full extent and then we had to perform a number of manoeuvres as instructed by the two trainers, each crew member has to perform these tasks twice during the afternoon.

At the end of the day we all passed and our now proud holders of the IPAF PAL Card (Power Access Licence) this qualification is recognised world wide and last for five years, so we can now start on the high level maintenance of our aircraft, buildings and external displays From the safety of our Cherry Picker SAM-05.

If you can find us and if you can afford us maybe you can hire the Solway Sky Team.

Volunteers Assist Military Aircraft

On Saturday 12th April the museum received a call asking if the museum’s cherry picker and crew could help a Merlin helicopter at the airport. The tail rotor gearbox sensor had transmitted errors and given a gusty day the technical crew were finding it a difficult task to reach in to service the unit given the height.  Previous attempts at access using a pick-up with a tall ladder strapped on were, considering the conditions, more than a bit hazardous.David Kirkpatrick as one of our IPAF trained operators turned out and with another Society member as a ground watcher, provided welcome access to the military. Despite a number of tests and fixes, the part and system failed to respond and they finally had to admit defeat leaving the job to another crew later in the week.

The Merlin was a Mk3 based at RAF Benson and although the aircraft had RAF markings, it was crewed by the Royal Navy prior to it being transferred to Navy control later this year. There have been 5 Merlins used locally in an exercise based at West Freugh in Scotland, across the Solway.
Society staff wish to thank Her Majesty the Queen for tea and coffee provided by her forces and a scone and a piece of tray bake. Thank you Ma’am.
MR4 14.04.2014
MR9 14.04.2014
MR12 15.04.2014

Official Museum Opening 2014

The Official 2014 Seasons opening of the Museum will be carried out by His Worship the Mayor of Carlisle, Councillor Ray Bloxham, accompanied by the Lady Mayoress at 10:45 am on Saturday 5th April. During his visit the Mayor will also open the new exhibition room containing artefacts from the former RAF 14 Maintenance Unit in Carlisle. Mr. Joe Taylor who was a senior civil servant at 14 MU traced and recovered the articles from RAF Hendon and has kindly loaned them to the Museum for this new exhibition.

Nostalgic shot of the Sopwith Camel

A nice nostalgic shot of the Sopwith Camel that Peter Grieve built in its new home somewhere in the Midlands in a private collection.

Its hanger mate is a replica Spitfire and a 1937 (I think) MG roadster crewed by Flt. Lt. Dummy.