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APRIL UPDATE: Well, that was April (I think – what day is it again?). Here in the UK we have been under lockdown for the whole month and the days are starting to all merge together. Hopefully wherever you are in the World you and your family are managing to stay safe and well, I know it has been a difficult time for many.

Frustratingly, and some would say, typically, since the lockdown restrictions came into force here in the UK, the weather has been on the whole pretty much wall-to-wall sunshine. Although we can’t move around too much I have been able to carry on at-a-pace with many small aircraft-related tasks here at home as I had stockpiled a number of jobs that were on the back-burner. My garage has been full of aircraft parts but I’m making a bit of progress.

The first part to receive some attention was the ‘Noddy Cap’ (drogue parachute cap). Years of prolonged exposure and element to the sunlight had resulted in the rubber of the cone basically perishing and was starting to disintegrate. The cone was removed a while agoso this month was an opportunity to rework the damage, the cracks were filled and then it was recoated in a rubberised plastic coating that should be fully weather proof (time will tell on that one). The cone will be refitted when we get back to the aircraft.

Next up was the Main Armament Unit. This part would have set the weapons fit out on each external pylon and would have been ‘programmed’ by the pilot prior to flight with the relevant stores load-out at each position. Located in the nosewheel well (underneath the cockpit floor) this was obviously a very exposed unit and the example we have was starting to corrode. It has been cleaned back and repainted to protect the external casing.

The Nosewheel door that was fitted to the aircraft when we bought it was in a poor state. Missing lamp holders, missing and broken lenses and with severe bracket corrosion it was really beyond saving to refit to the aircraft. I had another door in my parts stock so this has been cleaned up, a new wiring harness has been made and the lamp holders cleaned back and repainted. The door will be refitted after the noseleg has been restored.

Ongoing is the restorative work on the spine harness. This wiring assembly that sits inside the structure that fits across the top of the wing and had been pretty unceremoniously chopped out (rather than being disconnected) at some point in the past, possibly when the wing was removed during one of the aircraft previous re-locations. Luckily it had remained with the aircraft so I am able to work out what needs to go where and will be adding ‘real’ connectors so that cutters won’t be required in the future!

A new acquisition this month was an original Jaguar Liquid Oxygen Convertor assembly. This will be refitted when we get back to the aircraft. Like many of these parts it is not a part that is particularly essential to the aircraft (it is highly likely that it will ever need to be filled!) but my OCD to try and make the aircraft as complete as possible meant it was on the ‘shopping list’…

And finally – I happy to be able to offer a new piece of merchandise this month, our ‘Keep Calm’ mug is now available to order through our ebay seller account ‘jaguarXX764’. As always, all proceeds from the sale of any of the items from this seller ID roll directly back into sourcing further parts and ongoing sales are massively appreciated.

Just an additional footnote, thanks to Fred Martin for sending me a couple of his photos of XX764 in service, one of which is this month’s header image. It’s always great to see these and hear from anyone who may have crossed paths with the aircraft during it’s time at RAF Lossiemouth.

Hopefully May will see some kind of return to normal life (or whatever form that is going to take coming out of this situation) but in the meantime I hope everyone stays safe and well.

Neil