Dismantling the MG-111 cockpit interior for the simulator
Maanantai 5.12.2022 - Tuesday Club member
Work on the MiG-21BIS MG-111 cockpit to transform it into an experience simulator continues at the Tuesday Club. When the MG-111 was scrapped, Aviation Museum Society Finland received a part of the fuselage, containing the cockpit, to be modified to an experience simulator. To achieve that, most of the equipment of the cockpit entity will be dismantled. In their place the simulator equipment will be installed, but part of the original equipment and parts will also be reinstalled.
Most of the wiring and equipment from the space in front of the cockpit, as well as the wiring from the bulkhead behind the cockpit, were already dismantled at the yard of the Aviation Museum. After this the cockpit part was taken to the restoration workshop of the Aviation Museum, to dismantle the equipment and wiring within the cockpit.
First the space in front of the cockpit and the rear bulkhead were stripped off the last wires and equipment racks and holders there. So both spaces are now empty. The empty front space will at its time house the simulator equipment of the MiG-21BIS cockpit simulator. The rear bulkhead will be tidied and painted and the large openings of the engine air intake channels that are visible there will be covered with plexiglass.
Photo: Juha Veijalainen.
For emptying the cockpit of its equipment, we wanted to detach the pilot’s seat because removing the seat would provide space for working in the cockpit, both during the removing the equipment and installing the simulator equipment. Before we set to removing the seat, we detached the cockpit canopy.
Photo: Ari Aho.
To remove the seat, we received expert guidance and the necessary lifting lever from the former MiG-21BIS mechanics at Rissala. Detaching the seat didn’t, however, succeed because we couldn’t find the release catch under the MG-111 seat, where it normally is. It is possible that the release catch wasn’t reinstalled when the seat was removed when the MG-111 was struck off charge and reinstalled after the detonation charges belonging to the ejection seat had been removed. Well, we’ll try again to remove the seat in December, when we’ll hopefully get a mechanic from Rissala to come and visit and ponder about the thing with us.
Photo: Juha Klemettinen.
Although we couldn’t detach the pilot’s seat, we started to dismantle the interior of the cockpit according to Juha Klemettinen’s advice to transform the cockpit of MiG-21BIS MG-111 into a simulator. Juha removed the instrument panels and other switchboards himself. Our task was to dismantle, as advised by Juha, the space behind the instrument panel of the radar screen and the numerous wires criss-crossing there. How on earth could there be so much wiring!!
We started the work on the cockpit first by removing the radar and then turning our attention to the wires. It wasn’t so much about single wires, but bunches of wires inside a skin. Some of them could be disconnected from their connectors and removed. Disconnecting the wires from their connectors was awkward, because the connectors were either hidden on unobtainable. It came to mind that our Russian colleagues hadn’t paid a thought to easing the work of mechanics when positioning the wires.
At the end there was no other option left but to cut the wires. Juha gave us permission to do that. Cutting the thick wires was no mean feat, because the thick bundles containing many wires were very tough nuts to cut.
Someone had the bright idea to acquire a pair of Fiskars garden secateurs (branch cutters) to cut the thick bundles of wire. If the Fiskars secateurs cut 20-30 mm thick branches easily, they should cut through the Russian wires. So we bought a pair of Fiskars branch cutters and they worked very well in cutting the wire bundles. The box containing cut off wires began to fill with wires of various length removed from the cockpit. We still have our work cut out for us before the space behind the instrument panel has been completely emptied.
Simultaneously, as we worked inside the cockpit, we dismantled the multi-pin connecting plugs that ran through the bulkhead between the cockpit and the space in front of it. The shackles that fastened the plugs to the bulkhead could be turned open. After that the plugs were pushed through the bulkhead, to the cockpit, to be drawn out from there. It wasn’t possible to push them into the cockpit very much, because the thick wires didn’t yield. It will probably be possible to remove the plugs with their wires, after a sufficient amount of wires have been removed from the cockpit. In good time the wires from the simulator mechanism will be drawn through the openings in the bulkhead between the cockpit and the space in front of it, where the simulator equipment will be installed.
Photos: Lassi Karivalo except if otherwise separately mentioned.
Translation by Matti Liuskallio.