Hawker Hurricane – V7497 was only a few weeks old when it was shot down in combat over Kent during the Battle of Britain in 1940. It was identified during aviation archaeology and key components were recovered from this historically significant airframe which prompted the decision to restore to flying condition. Work commenced on V7497 and a ‘nut and bolt’ restoration began. The aim was to retain ‘period’ correct and authentic parts including ‘unobtainium’ such as the IFF box.
Hawker Restorations, along with sister company AJD Engineering, has rebuilt and restored numerous WWI and WWII aircraft, from static museum exhibits to fully airworthy flying machines; indeed they have worked on every one of the 13 Hawker Hurricanes currently flying in the world. We will photograph and film various stages of the restoration and key moments in the build-up to the first engine runs and first flight… stay tuned and follow us on Twitter @501Hurricane, Face book Hurricane 501, and Instagram @Hurricane501. Please follow out blog posts for restoration updates, Hurricane and 501 squadron facts and new events.
The Rolls Royce Merlin Mk.III – The engine for V7497 was rebuilt by Eye Tech Engineering. Eye Tech Engineering is a Suffolk based company with over 10 years experience in the overhaul of Rolls Royce Merlin Engines. The overhaul of Merlin Engines is a process that is usually undertaken over a 12 month period. Some examples of their overhauled Merlin engines can be found in the Hardwick Warbirds P51 Mustang, Hangar 11 Collection aeroplanes, the ‘Grace’ Spitfire, Peter Vacher’s Hawker Hurricane and the Panton brother’s Avro Lancaster. Our Merlin III engine is the improved version with the 3 piece block.
See Gallery for pictures – Gallery
The fuselage of Hawker Hurricane V7497 SD-X has now been covered with the fabric; this will complete this restoration stage of the fuselage airframe.
Hawker Hurricane V7497 restoration update – September 2016 – Rolls-Royce Merlin III engine
The Rolls Royce Merlin engine has now been installed and is being ‘plumbed in’ – in its own right a piece of British engineering and aviation history and correct for the period as fitted originally to V7497 when built at the Hawker facility in Langley near Slough, UK.
Hawker Hurricane V7497 restoration update – August 2016 – Rolls-Royce Merlin III engine:
The restoration of Hawker Hurricane V7497 made a major step forward with the delivery of the Rolls-Royce Merlin III which has been fully restored by ‘type’ specialists EyeTech Engineering.
Hawker Hurricane V7497 restoration update – December 2017 – Wings fitted:
December 2017 – As you can see from this picture as of December 2017 Hurricane V7497 look almost complete. The wings have been built from scratch using original drawings by the Hawker Restoration team. The gun ports are clearly visible and replica .303 browning machine guns will be fitted. The guns will also have all the adjustment mechanisms fitted internally as per the original aircraft, which were used when harmonising the 8 machine guns. It is this attention to detail that will make Hurricane V7497 stand out from all the rest.
The most produced Rolls-Royce engine type of all time; the Merlin. In 1932, Sir Henry Royce wished to develop an engine that had the reliability of his Kestrel design, combined with the power of the 1931 Schneider Trophy-winning “R” engine in the Supermarine S6B racing seaplanes. The result was called the P.V.12, a 27 litre, V-12, liquid-cooled, single-stage supercharged engine. The first P.V.12 engine run was conducted on 15th October 1933.
Merlin III – The prototypes of two other private ventures, the Hurricane and Spitfire fighter aircraft was designed around the 890 hp (663 kW) Merlin ‘C’. The early engine design’s performance needed improvement but was sufficient to show off the potential of these new low-wing monoplane fighters. By 1937, after significant alterations to the cylinder head design, the Merlin II was capable of 1,030 hp (768 kW). All Spitfires and Hurricanes in RAF service at the outbreak of war in September 1939 were fitted with the Merlin II, with the Merlin III being fitted in ever larger numbers by the Battle of Britain in 1940. First production Merlin III delivered 1 July 1938 – Merlin III fitted with ‘universal’ propeller shaft able to mount either de Havilland or Rotol propellers. From late 1939, using 100 octane fuel and +12 psi boost (83 kPa gauge; or absolute pressure of 184 kPa or 1.82 atm), the Merlin III developed 1,310 hp (977 kW) at 3,000 rpm at 9,000 ft (2,700 m). By the end of production in 1951, a total of 168,040 Merlin engines had been produced.
The restoration of V7497 is ongoing at Hawker Restorations in the UK with work continuing on the cockpit, fuselage and engine. Attention is now focussing on the wings and tailplane – a huge task even for the team at HR with jigs being fabricated specifically for the task. We will keep you updated as progress is made…
Interestingly, another 501 Squadron Hurricane was recovered in 2010 for the ‘Wartime Secrets with Harry Harris’ TV documentary…
501 Squadron – Gravesend
18 August 1940
Pilot Officer K. N. T. Lee baled out
One of the four Hurricanes famously shot down on August 18th by Oberleutnant Schoepfel of JG26, P3089 crashed on farmland, but in the 1950s a house was built on the land and the Hurricane crash site ended up in the front garden. Although the location had been known of for many years, the difficulty of fully excavating in a well-kept garden meant a special occasion would be needed. Just such an occasion came in May 2010 when Pilot Officer Lee’s daughter and fellow 501 Squadron pilot ‘Bill’ Green participated in the making of a TV documentary. Presented by London taxi driver Harry Harris, the programme made for the Discovery Channel features the excavation of P3059 which was organised by Andy Saunders. A remarkably intact Merlin was lifted from the bottom of the hole and the aircraft’s serial number, P5059, found twice on the wreckage, confirming its identity beyond doubt.
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