Caravelle's passenger door mechanism is repaired - Part 3

Tiistai 14.5.2024 - Erja Reinikainen ja Martti Saarinen

Suomeksi

The reparation procedure of the left-hand side passenger door’s complicated opening and counterbalancing system has been described in the previous blogs and the story continues in

During the previous reparation effort the door could be opened with a manual winch, but the bungee ropes which were tested, were too weak to be used for opening and counterbalancing the door. There were also problems with the new roller chain and the door seemed to be slightly tilted. The technical team thought the problems might be caused by wrong adjustment of the cables or bungee ropes, or due to some part being bent in the process. Stronger bungee ropes were ordered from the US, and when they arrived it was time to try again to make the door work.

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The attachment pieces at the door end of the new roller chain had been modified a little and this seemed to help to correct the door position. It now moved down without tilting on one side. Terminals made of copper tube had been prepared for the two new bungee ropes in the lifting mechanism, to fasten the bungee ropes to the sliding carriage and to the door lifting cables. For establishing the correct length of the bungee ropes, temporary fasteners were prepared for the rear end of the ropes to fasten them to the end cable of the bungee track. In the first phase the blue bungee rope in the middle was not changed, it remained as it had been in the previous testing.

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The day was spent adjusting the length of the bungee ropes and cables, testing the door movement every now and then, and adjusting some detail once again. Some changes were also made on the bungee rope track. Eventually the door could be opened smoothly and rather lightly but closing it fully from its down position still required a fair bit of force.

At this point terminals from copper tube were made also for the rear end of the two outer bungee ropes and the temporary fasteners were removed. The third bungee rope in the middle was replaced with a sturdier one and terminals were made for its ends. With this arrangement the door could be moved with less force but closing it fully was still difficult. After some additional adjustments the door was functioning as it should, but it was not taken into operation yet. The technical team had been working for full eight hours at this point, so it was time to call it a day. Next time the installation will be completed, and the adjustments will be checked after the bungee ropes have been under tension for a longer period when the door has been shut.

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During the day there were naturally also other activities going on: The assembly of the office and visitor centre (which is a prefabricated reusable and movable small building) was continued and the space was prepared for the opening hours on the coming weekend. Tables and sales items were moved from the aircraft into the new building. The broken sealing strip on the passenger door was replaced with a new one.

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On the flight deck there was a time-consuming battle to open the emergency exit windows’ locking mechanism which had rusted solid. Among the material brought from Arlanda in 2022 there are two windows for both sides of the flight deck. They are in better condition than the existing ones and they will used to replace the old ones. Eventually the rust on the mechanism began to yield and the locking of the windows can be opened.

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The planning of the new padding for the passenger seats was continued. A workable solution is beginning to take shape.

Photos by Erja Reinikainen.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

Caravelle right-hand wingtip is finalized with the navigation light globe

Lauantai 27.4.2024 - Tuesday Club member

Suomeksi

When the new leading edge had been built to replace the destroyed right-hand side wingtip leading edge on the Caravelle III (OH-LEA Bluebird), we could begin the installation of the navigation light globe into its place on the leading edge.

We don’t have the original navigation light globe because it has been destroyed together with the wingtip. We could not find a globe as a spare part either, so we had to make one. We chose to do this by 3D-printing. We used the partly broken navigation light globe from the left wing as a model. A new globe was printed for the right wing and also for the left wing navigation light.

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The new navigation light globe was installed on the OH-LEA Bluebird’s left-hand wing earlier in the summer of 2023. The right- hand wing, however, had to wait until March 2024 for its new globe to be put already in early into place after the new leading edge of the destroyed wingtip had been finished.

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The 3D-printed navigation light globe is made of stiff plastic, and in the beginning it didn’t fit properly into place. We heated the globe with a hot air blower so that it could be moulded to fit into its mounting on the wingtip. The globe was fastened tentatively on the edges of the mounting with a couple of screws. This was necessary for holding the globe in place while making the fastening frame. The globe is fastened on the aluminium edge of its mounting with a frame. The frame has holes for screws, and it presses tightly against the sides of the globe, and the screws in the frame holes are tightened through the globe edge into the aluminium edge underneath.

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Diverging from the original solution, we decided to make the fastening frame for the globe from two parts. This made it easier to build the frame. Nevertheless, the frame we made will cover the most part of the navigation globe edge. A connecting piece will be needed on the top of the globe to connect the ends of the frame.

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When the globe had been fastened with a couple of screws, broad paper tape was fastened on its edge. The shape of the globe frame was drawn on the tape. Based on the drawn line, a model for the frame was made of cardboard. The model was taped on a 1 mm thick aluminium sheet, which had already been pre-cut into the frame shape. After this we began to modify the sheet with a cutter to match the shape of the cardboard model.

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The aluminium frame was test-fitted into place and modified several times. Gradually the frame reached its final shape and it rested against the lower edge of the globe as §planned. When the desired shape had been reached, the blue plastic film which had protected the aluminium surface was removed from the frame.

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A strip of paper tape was fastened on the surface of the finalized fastening frame for marking the location of the fastening screws at regular intervals with a pencil. Holes for the fastening screws were drilled at the marked locations, then the screws were fastened one by one. This made the navigation light globe press into its place between the fastening frame and the edge of the globe mounting. Now the navigation light globe on the right-hand side wingtip was in place.   

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The last phase was to make the 5 cm connecting piece between the fastening frame ends on the top of the navigation light globe. First a cardboard model was made of the connecting piece. The connecting piece was cut and moulded from aluminium sheet, following the model. When the blue plastic covering had been removed from its surface, the connecting piece was fastened between the fastening frame ends, using two screws with washers. Finally the screws were tightened.

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Under the globe, out of sight, is the socket for the navigation light bulb and its green glass globe. The socket was lathed from aluminium and installed into place at the Tuesday Club. The Caravelle’s right-hand side wingtip is ready for housing a powered navigation light, if there is need for it at some point.    

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Now the Caravelle Bluebird’s right-hand side wingtip had been completed. Re-constructing the destroyed leading edge took a whole year. The wingtip can be delivered to Turku to be assembled on the Caravelle Bluebird, which is on display near the passenger terminal at Turku airport.

Photos by Lassi Karivalo.

Translation by Erja Reinikainen.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird, Tuesday Club

Caravelle's passenger door mechanism is repaired - Part 2

Torstai 25.4.2024 - Erja Reinikainen ja Martti Saarinen

Suomeksi

Until now access to the Caravelle’s cabin has been through the small right-hand side service door and aft stairway. The passenger door operating mechanism has been damaged, and the door can’t be used before the mechanism is repaired. This blog describes the first phase of the passenger door repairs.

When the passenger door is opened, it moves first straight inwards and then it is manually lifted along its rails up to the cabin ceiling. The door weighs 53 kilos, so opening and closing is assisted with a counterbalancing system. The system consists of roller chains, steel cables and three bungee cords (rubber ropes), several metres long and located under the cabin floor. There are no spare parts available for this system anymore, so the new parts have been designed and made by the technical team.

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On its visit to Turku on April 12th, the technical team started the door mechanism repair work. The first phase was to install the new roller chains into the door rails (the broken chains had already been removed). The new roller chain is slightly different from the original one and some parts for it were made by order in a laser cutting company, and others ordered from abroad.

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When the two roller chains were in their rails, their lower ends were fastened to the brackets on the passenger door and their upper ends to the counterbalancing cables. The roller chains and cables run through the door rails and down to the guides, which are located on the sides of the right-hand side service door. There are 4 guides on each side of the door.

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Under the cabin floor, in the side tunnel of the baggage compartment, the cables are connected to the bungee cords on a sliding carriage. The sliding carriage and its stops allow the bungee cords to operate in sequence, as the need for counterbalancing force depends on the position of the door. When closing the door, in the beginning the strength of one bungee rope is sufficient for the required counterbalancing. When the door moves downwards on the rails and is reaching its vertical position, the need for counterbalancing increases. This is when the two other bungee cords join in. The mechanism is complicated and not very reliable. When the Caravelle was in operation, the system needed regular repair and maintenance. The original bungee ropes have become brittle and can’t be used. The technical team is still looking for suitable material to replace the original ropes as the bungee ropes in the regular hardware store are too soft and slack for the purpose.

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At this point the roller chain and the door function were tested without the bungee ropes by fastening the cables and the sliding carriage to a manual winch.

It was not that simple to operate the winch in the cramped space under the floor. The lifting force was measured with the digital scales connected to the winch. The original bungee ropes and their supporting rollers can be seen on the upper right corner of the picture.

The test arrangement worked: using the winch the passenger door could be opened, but not fully. At this point the door was secured with a couple or car tyres in the doorway.

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The problem appeared to be the roller chain and cable guides, located on the sides of the service door: the new roller chain didn’t move smoothly through the guides. After some discussion the team decided to disassemble and adjust the guides. As a test, the upper guide was disassembled and cleaned, and installed back into place a little bit differently. This helped to solve the problem, so the other guides will be disassembled before the next visit of the technical team when the door mechanism repair will continue.

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During the day there was also other activity in the Caravelle: three new instruments were installed into the instrument panel on the flight deck. It looks quite good already but there will be some more additions later.

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The cabin curtains were unfastened from their popper slides to have them out of the way when the interior work begins. Fortunately the curtains are mainly in quite good condition, but dirty. They will be washed and ironed before putting them back. This won’t be done before the interior work has been completed.

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Work was going on outside, too: the SAS prints were removed from the aft stairway before repainting. The best work method has proved to be to heat the painted area first with a blower and the scrape the paint off.

Photos by Erja Reinikainen.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

Caravelle's passenger door mechanism is repaired - Part 1

Tiistai 16.4.2024 - Erja Reinikainen ja Martti Saarinen

Suomeksi

Until now access to the Caravelle’s cabin has been through the small right-hand side service door and aft stairway. The passenger door operating mechanism has been damaged, and the door can’t be used before the mechanism is repaired. This blog describes the first phase of the passenger door repairs.

When the passenger door is opened, it moves first straight inwards and then it is manually lifted along its rails up to the cabin ceiling. The door weighs 53 kilos, so opening and closing is assisted with a counterbalancing system. The system consists of roller chains, steel cables and three bungee cords (rubber ropes), several metres long and located under the cabin floor. There are no spare parts available for this system anymore, so the new parts have been designed and made by the technical team.

On its visit to Turku on April 12th, the technical team started the door mechanism repair work. The first phase was to install the new roller chains into the door rails (the broken chains had already been removed). The new roller chain is slightly different from the original one and some parts for it were made by order in a laser cutting company, and others ordered from abroad.

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When the two roller chains were in their rails, their lower ends were fastened to the brackets on the passenger door and their upper ends to the counterbalancing cables. The roller chains and cables run through the door rails and down to the guides, which are located on the sides of the right-hand side service door. There are 4 guides on each side of the door.

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Under the cabin floor, in the side tunnel of the baggage compartment, the cables are connected to the bungee cords on a sliding carriage. The sliding carriage and its stops allow the bungee cords to operate in sequence, as the need for counterbalancing force depends on the position of the door. When closing the door, in the beginning the strength of one bungee rope is sufficient for the required counterbalancing. When the door moves downwards on the rails and is reaching its vertical position, the need for counterbalancing increases. This is when the two other bungee cords join in. The mechanism is complicated and not very reliable. When the Caravelle was in operation, the system needed regular repair and maintenance. The original bungee ropes have become brittle and can’t be used. The technical team is still looking for suitable material to replace the original ropes as the bungee ropes in the regular hardware store are too soft and slack for the purpose.

At this point the roller chain and the door function were tested without the bungee ropes by fastening the cables and the sliding carriage to a manual winch.

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It was not that simple to operate the winch in the cramped space under the floor. The lifting force was measured with the digital scales connected to the winch. The original bungee ropes and their supporting rollers can be seen on the upper right corner of the picture.

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The test arrangement worked: using the winch the passenger door could be opened, but not fully. At this point the door was secured with a couple or car tyres in the doorway.

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The problem appeared to be the roller chain and cable guides, located on the sides of the service door: the new roller chain didn’t move smoothly through the guides. After some discussion the team decided to disassemble and adjust the guides. As a test, the upper guide was disassembled and cleaned, and installed back into place a little bit differently. This helped to solve the problem, so the other guides will be disassembled before the next visit of the technical team when the door mechanism repair will continue.

During the day there was also other activity in the Caravelle: three new instruments were installed into the instrument panel on the flight deck. It looks quite good already but there will be some more additions later.

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Photo by Jouko Tarponen.

The cabin curtains were unfastened from their popper slides to have them out of the way when the interior work begins. Fortunately the curtains are mainly in quite good condition, but dirty. They will be washed and ironed before putting them back. This won’t be done before the interior work has been completed.

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Photo by Jouko Tarponen

Work was going on outside, too: the SAS prints were removed from the aft stairway before repainting. The best work method has proved to be to heat the painted area first with a blower and the scrape the paint off.

Photos by Erja Reinikainen except if otherwise mentioned.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

Caravelle's overhead storage shelf is moved

Tiistai 2.4.2024 - Ismo Matinlauri

The interior work of Caravelle III, restored as Finnair OH-LEA Bluebird, started in March after the winter break. The first work item was to move the rear part of the left-hand side overhead storage compartment to the front RH side. (In this case the compartment is actually a shelf, and it will be called that in this blog.) On the right-hand side all overhead storage shelves and the ceiling structure have been dismantled in Sweden for the needs of the local Caravelle III SE-DAI.

Our aim is to build a part of a passenger cabin to the front part of the fuselage, with four rows of seats. For this purpose the overhead storage shelf had to be disassembled from the rear part and installed to the other side in front. The rear part of the cabin will be an open space for future events and exhibitions.

Disassembling the overhead storage shelf proved to be an arduous operation. This seems to be the first area in the Caravelle where screws have not been used sparingly. Obviously the shelf has not been meant to be disassembled regularly during maintenance work.

Dozens of small screws had to be unfastened and on top of that, four locking bolts had to be unfastened through the passenger service unit. We had to build a long-handled tool specifically for this purpose.

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Fastening battens for the overhead storage shelf were fastened on the RH side, starting from the service door. The lower aluminium batten could be moved but the upper batten proved impossible to unfasten and move, so we decided to use a wooden batten instead.

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Reassembling the overhead storage shelf happened as the disassembly but in reversed order. First we fastened the row of air conditioning and loudspeaker panels into place.

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The fasteners of the overhead storage shelf had to be modified to fit into their new location. The original spacing of the fasteners didn’t fit because the shelf had to be turned around to assemble it to the other side.

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The final fastening of the shelf was done through the passenger service unit (PSU). This time the fastening bolts were replaced with self-drilling screws. We decided not to move the brackets for the fastening bolts, we estimated the screws to be sufficient.

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Above the overhead storage shelves we stretched the covering material we had taken down from the other side. Now the front part of the cabin looks identical on both sides. Finally we installed the metal grilles to cover the air-conditioning and loudspeaker panels.

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We had been doubtful about moving the overhead storage shelves because of the amount of work and breaking the existing structure. Actually disassembling the shelf proved to be the most difficult and the most time-consuming phase. After that the reassembly into the new place was quite straight-forward.

There will be a partition at both ends of the shelf so that the cut ends of the shelf will be covered. Building the partitions will be another story and we will come back to that later.

Photos by Ismo Matinlauri.

Translation by Erja Reinikainen.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

The Caravelle right-hand wingtip leading edge is completed

Keskiviikko 27.3.2024 - Tuesday Club member

Suomeksi

Owned by Aviation Museum Society Finland and now on display at Turku Airport, the Caravelle lll (OH-LEA Sinilintu, Bluebird) has had its damaged right-hand wingtip leading edge restoration completed. The wingtip in the Caravelle is a separate entity, which can be detached from the wing. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll use the term wingtip for this structure in the future.

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The last task in building the new leading edge for the wingtip was to rivet the edges of the upper and lower covering sheets to the centre line of the leading edge. The edges of the covering sheets meet at the centreline of the leading edge. Otherwise the covering sheets of the new wingtip had already been riveted in the wingtip structure.

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To be able to rivet the covering sheet edges on the leading edge centreline, the sheet edges were tightened against the leading edge using a cargo strap, tied around the wingtip. After this, rivet holes were drilled at both ends of the sheets and the edges were riveted on the centre line with pop rivets.

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It was noticed that a gap of 1-4 mm was left between the edges. The edges of the sheets therefore didn’t reach each other to form a butt joint. It was decided to cover the gap with an aluminium covering strip, running along the leading edge centre line.

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To make the covering strip, an 8 cm wide and 40 cm long aluminium strip was cut out of 1 mm thick aluminium sheet to conceal the seam between the covering sheets. The aluminium strip was shaped to the curved form of the leading edge by shaping it against a suitable size iron tube. The concealing strip was arduous to shape because the wingtip leading edge slopes to various directions. The strip was, therefore, moulded phase by phase, fitting it to place at times. Thus the concealing strip was made to press tightly against the leading edge ridge.

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Now the blue plastic films protecting the aluminium sheet could be removed and start the riveting of the covering strip. For the riveting the covering strip was tightened to place at both ends with a cargo strap. Masking tape was applied to both ends of the covering strip to mark the places of the pop rivets. The places were marked on the surface of the tape at even spaces with a compass and pencil, and the holes for the rivets were drilled accordingly.

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We discussed what would be the best order to rivet the covering strip, so that it would best confirm to the shape of the wingtip leading edge. We ended up in starting the riveting from the rear end of the covering strip, proceeding rivet by rivet towards the wingtip. In doing so, the covering strip riveted itself tightly to the wingtip leading edge. Finally, the edges of the covering strip were tapped with a hammer and a piece of wood to press it still more tightly to the underlying surface of the covering material.

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The demanding task of rebuilding the destroyed wingtip leading edge of the Caravelle III was now ready. Let’s not forget the fitting of the 3D-printed navigation lamp cover to its place in the leading edge tip.

Photos by Lassi Karivalo.

Translation by Matti Liuskallio.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird, Tuesday Club

To the sunny south by Super Caravelle

Maanantai 26.2.2024 - Erja Reinikainen

Suomeksi

I wrote in my travel diary on June 22nd, 1966: “The airplane is still on the ground, the engines are running. … We have been in the air for quite a while now. We had lunch and we will be in Warsaw in about 30 minutes. … We took off from Warsaw a long time ago and are flying high above the clouds. Soon we will land in Constanta. We will go by bus from the airport to Hotel Lotus”.

We were on a holiday trip to Mamaia beach resort in Romania, on the Black Sea coast. I was 10 years old. The aircraft was Finnair Super Caravelle, but I haven’t noted its registration, and it can’t be seen in the photographs. On the way there and coming back we stopped in Warsaw to refuel.

In the same diary there are stories from a trip on the Swedish charter airline’s Internord DC-6 from Helsinki to Naples and back in 1967. Flying over the Alps on a sunny day was an experience for a child from Finland where there are no mountains: “Ahead of us there are magnificent and beautiful mountains! The majestic Alps with their wonderful valleys glide by”. Some superlatives from a 11-year-old.

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Between the diary pages there is a leaflet by Aurinkomatkat travel agency “Relaxing holiday to Rhodes, May 29th, 1968”. It shows that our flight was a Kar-Air flight, the aircraft belonged to Aero Oy.

The following year we are in the air again and I write in my diary on May 29th, 1968: “Once more on a Finnair Super Caravelle. We are heading away from Seutula airport and towards Rhodes. … A map-like view opens below us with forests, lakes, and fields. The clouds drift by, soft and white. This time we will stop in Budapest to refuel. … Now we are in Budapest, but they won’t let us out. Why not?? So this is Budapest, looks very ordinary to me: a radar, an Interflug airplane and fuel trucks”.

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Erja and her mother in the Rhodes harbour. This is the photo which everybody who goes there will have.

In 1969 we were on the way to Rhodes again, this time the Caravelle was OH-LSB “Tampere”. I drew a picture of it in my diary. It is rather short and the windows are not triangular, but otherwise it is almost recognizable: engines on the rear fuselage, the horizontal stabilizer is almost the right size and there are boundary fences on the wings.

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Drawing of Super Caravelle from 1969.

Some background information for the travel stories: my father was an air force mechanic during WW2, and he wanted his family to experience what it was like to fly. I was 6 years old when we travelled from Helsinki to Tampere on a Kar-Air DC-3. In 1962-69 and in the early 1970s I travelled somewhere with my parents every year, usually by air. And I thought flying was fantastic.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

Stories from the Caravelle's winter

Sunnuntai 11.2.2024 - Jouko Tarponen ja Hannu Hedman

Suomeksi

There are several Caravelle veterans among us. During coffee breaks and in different conversations colourful stories have been told from those days. Below two personal experiences.

My first trip by air in a Caravelle

When we were 13-14 years old, my friend and I were real aircraft fans. We lived in Raisio and we came often to Turku airport or the nearby Sikovuori nearby to see airplanes. Mainly we came there by bike but sometimes our parents drove us there.

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In spring 1982 my friend and I saved money to travel by air from Turku to Helsinki, the aim was to fly in a Super Caravelle which Finnair was about to remove from service. I was already then a Caravelle fan, which must be because it was probably the first aircraft I was able to recognise as a child. In those days a weekly charter flight from Turku to Heraklion was flown by a Caravelle. The Finnair Super Caravelle flew a scheduled flight from Helsinki to Turku on Saturday evening and the departure time to Heraklion was 9.15 pm - if I remember correctly. The return flight to Turku landed on Sunday morning at 7.15 am.

The great day was Sunday, May 23rd, 1982. We bought tickets for the morning flight from Turku to Helsinki, departing at 7.45. The aircraft was Super Caravelle and the ticket cost 70 Finnish marks. We returned home by taking a bus from Helsinki-Vantaa airport to the Helsinki railway station and from there by train to Turku.

I felt very nervous and thrilled about flying because I had never experienced it before. In the morning we left Raisio in sunny weather, taken to Turku airport by car by our parents. When we got there, the information display said that the aircraft will return from Heraklion almost two hours later than scheduled. Then we drove back home to Raisio and returned to the airport about one hour and a half later.

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Finnair’s Super Caravelle OH-LSD ”Oulu” from Heraklion landed in Turku at 9.10, full of passengers. When the passengers had disembarked, and the aircraft had been refuelled, there was an announcement: “departure on Finnair flight AY204 to Helsinki, gate 1”. At that point I felt for a moment that the situation was almost insuperable.

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I felt slightly better when my friend and I started to walk from the gate to the aircraft. I was a first-timer in air travel, my friend wasn’t. I could only look at the floor, during take-off the uneven surface of the runway could be felt inside the aircraft, and this was a new experience for me. When we were in the air, the travelling became smooth.

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Soon I looked out of the window for the first time. That was something new and awesome. I don’t remember being afraid anymore, except when the aircraft was turning when coming in for landing. I was 14 and my friend was 13. The whole experience of the first flight was and still is one of my most memorable experiences. At that time air travel was rather luxurious, compared today. Travelling south on holiday was not that common then. This was really a great experience and overcame my fear of flying. Now I knew what flying was about. It was really safe in those days too.  

An encounter in the dark

In this poor-quality picture you see a page from my pilot’s logbook from more than 50 years ago. At that time I was on a night VFR and basic instrument course in Kuopio. We were flying training flights and solo flights in the dark. I flew my first solo flight at night on February 4th, 1972. At that time the evening flight AY555 from Helsinki to Kuopio was flown on a Super Caravelle.

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On these late flights I was often in the air at the same time with the Caravelle. Once flight controller Kalle Linden in the Kuopio tower warned me when I was heading south by the Kurkimäki masts: “OH-PCD, look around, the Finnair Fiver (555) is ahead”. The Caravelle acknowledged: “We can see the small one”. That was when I noticed there was an enormous pool of light flying on my left side.

After that I was more careful, and we met often in the air in the Kuopio APP area. It was rather stirring that the tower cleared my plane on the ramp close to the Finnair Caravelle. I had to go round and kick the wheels on my plane to make myself important. And yes, the guys waved from the Caravelle’s window.

First story: Jouko Tarponen, the photographer from the Turku team and documenter of the Caravelle restoration project

Second story: Hannu Hedman, also from the Turku Caravelle team and a pilot with his heart and soul. He also likes to wear a red robe before Christmas…

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

Mid-winter Caravelle news from the writing desk

Sunnuntai 14.1.2024 - Erja Reinikainen

Suomeksi

About six months ago Ismo Matinlauri wrote a blog on this website where he talks about the amount of work and accessories used so far for Caravelle’s restoration project. At the end of 2023 the number of working hours spent on Caravelle’s disassembly, restoration and reassembly totalled 5,653 hours.

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Photo via Ismo Matinlauri.

Paraphrasing Ismo’s text from last July: "Restoring the Caravelle has required a fair number of volunteers’ working hours. The job can’t be done by restoration work volunteers alone, a lot of paperwork is also needed".

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Photo via Ismo Matinlauri.

The successful running of the project has required comprehensive commitment from the key personnel, especially for planning, procurement, and practical arrangements before each actual phase of work. In the three years since the beginning of the project, a large number of Caravelle-related meetings have been arranged by various groups involved in the project:

  • follow-up meetings of the Aviation Museum Society Finland board in the critical phases of the project
  • gatherings of the technical planning team, every other week in average
  • meetings for the transport planning
  • meetings for organizing competitions for equipment and service providers and procurement meetings during the disassembly phase and later in the reassembly phase
  • weekly meetings for work planning and material procurement during the restoration phase
  • furthermore, several unofficial ad-hoc work sessions have been arranged, especially by the technical crew.

A memo has been written of nearly all meetings. We can say that the project has been rather well documented for the future aviation history researchers.

The background crew of the project have also taken care of informing the various stakeholders about the project, as well as of Facebook posting, press releases, media interviews, photo processing, project material filing, etc. My estimate is that there are about 8-10 of us who have been involved in the project as PR officers, writers, translators, bloggers, photographers, etc.

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Photo by Erja Reinikainen.

About 50 blogs have been written yearly on the Caravelle project website, and all blogs have been complemented with photographs and translated into English. The web pages went through a thorough update in October 2023. Several articles have been written about the Caravelle and the project phases, mainly for the Feeniks journal of the Aviation Museum Society, but also for other aviation history magazines.  

Based on an unofficial and rather freely formulated Excel spreadsheet, about 70 meeting memos have been prepared so far in the Caravelle project. About 80 person-workdays have been spent in meetings when all participants and the memo writing are considered. It can be also estimated that about 40 person-workdays have been spent on publishing all the blogs, including writing, translation, photographs, and publishing.

As the year 2024 progresses and the Caravelle restoration work continues, there will be more weekly meetings, blogs, articles, and photographs – and the documenting team will be busy again…

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

Repairing the Caravelle right-hand wingtip

Sunnuntai 14.1.2024 - Tuesday Club member

Suomeksi

Acquired from Sweden by Aviation Museum Society Finland, the Caravelle (OH-LEA) restored at Turku airport as Finnair’s “Bluebird” had had its right-hand wingtip leading edge badly damaged during its stay in Sweden. It was damaged for a distance of ca. 40 cm, and at the process the wingtip navigation light was also destroyed. Luckily the left-hand wingtip is intact, so that it can be used as a model when rebuilding the right-hand smashed wingtip. So the destroyed wingtip must be remade.

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The remaking the right-hand wingtip was started by dismantling the damaged area. The rivets on the crumpled aluminium sheets were drilled away, so that the wingtip covering could be bent open, and the covering sheets detached from the wingtip support frame. We tried to straighten the detached aluminium sheets to their original shape, but they turned out to be so brittle, that they broke when straightened to their shape. So we concluded that the right-hand wingtip leading edge had to be covered with new sheets of aluminium.

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We dismantled the detachable support frames of the damaged area. Part of the structure didn’t need to be detached, so it could be used as such in reconstructing the wingtip leading edge. The detached and usable frames were straightened to their original shape. They were fastened with pop rivets to their places, utilizing the intact left-hand wingtip when positioning the support frames.

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After this the back wall and bottom plate of the right-hand wing navigation light bay was constructed with the left-hand wing navigation light bay as a model. The back wall and bottom plate were cut off from 1 mm thick aluminium plate. When the navigation light bay back wall and bottom plate were tentatively in place, the wingtip leading edge was nearing its original shape.

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An opening was made in the bottom plate of the navigation light for the wiring of the navigation light. Also a cup-like socket was lathed for the later fixing of the light in mind. After that the whole navigation light bay was locked from its edges to the remaining original frames of the wingtip with strips cut from 1 mm thick aluminium plate. The fastening was done with pop rivets.

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The next phase was to make a support frame between the edge of the intact area in the wingtip and the back wall of the navigation light, where the original frame had been destroyed. The edge of the intact area is formed by the wingtip’s original curve. However, the curve is somewhat damaged in its upper edge, but repairable and will be hidden by the wingtip new covering.

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The support frame was made of 2 cm wide strips cut off from 1mm thick aluminium plate. To be able to rivet the ends of the support frame strips to the edge of the curve, the original damaged aluminium covering which had been on the frame, was cut off with a Dremel blade. Five strips were fastened between the edge of the curve and the back wall of the navigation light. The fastening was made with pop rivets. To make the structure sturdy enough to bend and fasten the aluminium cover sheets on the frame, two additional crosswise support strips were riveted to the structure. Now we’ll be ready to start covering the right-hand wingtip leading edge with 1 mm thick aluminium sheets.

Photos by Lassi Karivalo.

Translation by Matti Liuskallio.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird, Tuesday Club

How to Fence a Caravelle

Keskiviikko 1.11.2023 - Ismo Matinlauri

Suomeksi

Since the beginning of June, the restored Caravelle has been protected at Turku airport by temporary rented fencing – providing only rather moral security. On Tuesday October 24th the permanent fence around the aircraft was completed. Fortunately during these months before the real fence was built there were no damages or accidents caused by the lack of proper fencing.

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Photo by Ismo Matinlauri

When the Caravelle’s location was planned in the Turku airport area, it was already obvious that a fence must be built around the aircraft. The main worry were vandals, graffiti sprayers and odd curious visitors. Secondly the fencing helps to control visitors and in other times protects the curious passers-by from accidents in the vicinity of the aircraft.

Naturally the fence will not stop the most persistent trespassers, but it will, however, provide sufficient security.

The purchase of the fence material started already before the Caravelle arrived in Turku. In spring 2022 Aviation Museum Society Finland bought the material for the fence and the gates. First the construction of the fence was scheduled to take place before the aircraft is moved to the site in spring 2023. Soon it was discovered that the fence will hamper the crane operations on site during the assembly and also make the actual assembly work more difficult. Therefore it was decided that the Caravelle is assembled first, and the fence is erected after that.

The construction of the fence was left to a professional – that means that a contractor was hired to erect the fence. For cost saving reasons some of the work was done by the Aviation Museum Society Finland volunteers. In this case this meant assisting in setting the fence poles into concrete and in spreading the net wiring between the poles. This reduced the total cost nicely.

Building the fence was an efficient procedure, completed in five workdays:

• Day 1: marking and levelling the fence line, digging the holes for the concrete foundations,
• Day 2: setting the posts into concrete, 50 – 200 litres of concrete was poured into each hole,
• Day 3: drilling the bases for the fence posts on the rock slope behind the aircraft and landscaping the concrete foundations,
• Day 4: fastening the wire net on the gate halves (two 5 m wide gates) and making preparations for fastening the wire net,
• Day 5: unrolling the wire net and fastening on the posts, installing the gates and checking their operation.

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Photo by Janne Salonen

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Photo by Janne Salonen

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Photo by Ismo Matinlauri

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Photo by Jouko Tarponen

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Photo by Jouko Tarponen

Building the fence in late October was eventually a good thing. The weather is getting cold and there is quite a limited amount of work which can be done inside and outside the Caravelle due to the cold and wet weather, so we had plenty of time to assist in erecting the fence.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

The Finnish DC-Association's DC-3 visited Turku

Sunnuntai 8.10.2023 - Ismo Matinlauri

Suomeksi

On Wednesday, October 4th, the Caravelle restoration work was interrupted in a very positive way: The DC-Association’s Douglas DC-3 OH-LCH landed in Turku and taxied to the airport terminal.

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We can say that “the flying eternally youthful visited the new senior”. The DC-3 was in Turku on a training flight and the crew came to see how the Caravelle’s restoration work is progressing.

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The crew members who visited the Caravelle: pilot Mikka Rautakoura, maintenance director Jussi Pakarinen, mechanic Reino Ahola and chief pilot Petri Munukka.

There was a lively conversation in the cabin and on the flight deck about the technology used in the Caravelle. The visitors were particularly interested in how the acquisition of the flight instruments for the instrument panel is progressing.

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Photos by Ismo Matinlauri

A brief update on the restoration work: This week we installed the last new plywood boards into the floor and now the necessary areas have been replaced. Four boards of 12 mm thick waterproof plywood were needed, but now the critical areas of the floor are in good condition.

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We installed a sheet of thick plexiglass in the cabin floor area above the wing-fuselage joint. In the future the visitors are able to see the details of the wing-fuselage joint.

Outside the aircraft the polishing work on the fuselage has also progressed. The polishing of the front section will be completed before the autumn rain and cold weather settle in. During the following two weeks a permanent fence will be built around the aircraft. That will be the topic in the blog at the end of this month.

Photos by Jouko Tarponen except if otherwise mentioned.

Translation by Erja Reinikainen. 

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

Caravelle's autumn season started in the beginning of September

Keskiviikko 6.9.2023 - Ismo Matinlauri

Suomeksi

The restoration work of the Caravelle OH-LEA at Turku airport started efficiently on Monday, September 4th, when there were nine volunteers at work. In the Turku area it rained a lot in August, and it wasn’t possible to do any of the remaining restoration work outside the aircraft. During the summer weekends the Caravelle was open to visitors, and this led to some restrictions to starting the work inside the aircraft.

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On the last weekend we had the summer season’s last open doors event and after this it was possible to continue the restoration work from where we had left it in June. The half cloudy weather was ideal for sanding, polishing, and painting the last identification markings.

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On the underside of the fuselage there is a small area which needs to be sanded and painted with aluminium colour paint. The last identification markings will be painted on the wings and fuselage. The largest of these is the registration OH-LEA missing on the underside of the wing.

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Photos by Lassi Karivalo.

A lot of polishing work is still needed, this is the main item to be completed on the outer surface. Polishing will be continued as long as the weather allows. However, there is so much to be polished that the work will continue next spring.

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The work inside the aircraft has also started. The repairs and painting of the flight deck and the toilet area will be the first work items. The floor and the ceiling area in the cabin will follow in the coming weeks.

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It was a pleasure to have visitors from the Tuesday Club at Vantaa. Three club members came to Turku to measure the openings on the tail of the DO-5, which is temporarily parked next to the Caravelle. Protecting covers will be made at the Tuesday Club to cover the holes before the autumn storms arrive.

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The busy afternoon was spent at work, but there was a moment for lively discussion when the Turku team and the Tuesday Club members had a coffee break together inside the aircraft at “Café Caravelle”. The Tuesday Club is a valuable support and aid for the Turku team when the details of the restoration work are pondered. We are looking forward to making good progress during the autumn.

Photos by Jouko Tarponen except if otherwise mentioned.

Translation by Erja Reinikainen.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird, Tuesday Club

Caravelle visitors are welcome

Tiistai 4.7.2023 - Ismo Matinlauri

Suomeksi

The Caravelle restoration team went on a well-earned summer holiday after the Turku Airshow. The restoration work is not finished outside or inside, and the team will continue its work in August. However, the unfinished appearance isn’t an obstacle for presenting the aircraft to the interested audience. The nearly 1300 visitors during the Airshow days proved this to be true.

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Last week I had the pleasure of presenting the Caravelle to a group of motor bikers consisting of Hornet-men mainly from the Defence Forces, Insta, Finnair and Patria. This was a group of experts and the first hour or so was spent outside the aircraft discussing the wing construction and engines. The Caravelle’s history and similarities to the Comet, especially in the flight deck, were discussed, too.

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The visit to the cabin and flight deck was brief, mainly due to the temperature resembling a sauna. There the visitors concentrated on the differences in the passenger cabins of modern and 1960s aircraft. The seat frames in the rear cabin caught the visitors’ attention as they are not from a Caravelle III.

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I thank the visitors for their interest in our project – and take the opportunity to welcome more visitors to come and see the Caravelle. English-speaking vistors are welcome, too! At the moment we don’t have regular visiting times, but we try to be flexible in arranging someone to come and give a tour. Feel free to contact me about a visit, preferably well in advance, so that we can arrange a tour for you.

Contact berfore visiting: Ismo Matinlauri, +358405013495, matinlaurii(at)gmail.com

Photos by Ismo Matinlauri.

Translation by Erja Reinikainen.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

Thank you to the supporters of the Caravelle project

Keskiviikko 21.6.2023 - Erja Reinikainen

We managed to restore the SAS Caravelle III Sven Viking, abandoned on the edge of the airfield for decades, to the Finnair OH-LEA Bluebird in the schedule we had defined. It was open to the public during the Turku Airshow at Turku airport, on June 17th and 18th. On both days there was a queue at the Bluebird’s gate and the volunteer guides, who have been involved in the restoration work, had an interested audience. After a successful effort – the restoration and the airshow weekend – the team of volunteers can relax and enjoy a well-earned summer holiday.

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Photos by Jouko Tarponen

We think that this is a good moment to thank all those who have supported the Caravelle project. Without you the Bluebird wouldn’t be ready to be presented to the public.

In this period of about a year and a half we have received financial support for the procurement of many important items. In a society operating on membership fees we appreciate your support very much. Many of you have lent us special tools which are needed in the disassembly and reassembly work. Without your help we wouldn’t have been able to get these tools. Furthermore, we have been given access to Caravelle archive data, we have been given lots of valuable advice and all kinds of help in the problems we have encountered during the project.  

We thank the companies and societies which have supported us. They are mentioned at the end of this blog.

We thank all the private persons who have helped us in various ways during the project.

And last but not least, we thank the family members and other close ones of our volunteers for patience and understanding for the OH-LEA Bluebird.

Caravelle-project supporters:

Statens Maritima on Transporthistoriska Museer (Sweden)

  • Sud Aviation SE 210 Caravelle III SE-DAF "Sven Viking" aircraft.

Arlanda Flygsamlingar (Sweden) / Jan Forsgren

  • Assistance in matters related to Caravelle aircraft.

Le Caravelle Club (Sweden) / Ulf Nyström

  • Assistance in matters related to disassembling and reassembling the Caravelle, and tools lent for assembly work.  

Swedavia (Sweden) / Andreas Persson

  • Assistance in matters related to moving and disassembling the Caravelle.

Danmarks Tekniske Museet, Helsingør (Denmark) / Susanne Krogh Jensen

  • Assistance and archive material in matters related to disassembling and reassembling the Caravelle,.

Ahola Special

  • Assistance and consulting in planning the Caravelle transportation.
  • Special thanks to the drivers for helping in loading and unloading the aircraft parts.

Finnlines

  • Trasportation of four special trucks on the ferry from Kapellskär to Naantali and turning the ferry around in Naantali.

Rantala-yhtiöt

  • Assistance and consulting in planning the lifting operations during the assembly phase.
  • Special thanks to the crane operators during the assembly.

P. Tyllilä Linja Oy / Juhani Tyllilä, Katri Tyllilä, Kimmo Koskinen

  • Travel and accommodation arrangements in Finland and abroad.

Select Service Partner Finland Oy

  • Lunches at Turku airport for the volunteers working on the Caravelle site.

Kuljetus R. Stenvall Oy / Jussi Mäkelä

  • Sea container logistics and support in planning the transportation, contact information for Finland and Sweden.

Nostot & kuljetukset R. M. Laine Oy / Mikko Laine

  • Transportation and lifting of sea containers, passenger stairs, etc. in Turku area.

Toolpoint

  • Hydraulic pump and cylinder for the disassembly and reassembly work.

Hyvinkään Ilmailukerho ry

  • Cradles and supporters lent for the disassembly and reassembly.

Finnair Tekniikka

  • Tools lent for disassembly and reassembly.

Granlund

  • Work safety material for the disassembly team.

Finavia / Juha Aaltonen, Veli-Matti Paasikivi, EFTU kunnossapito

  • The site for the Caravelle at Turku airport and other assistance in the project.
  • Earth moving works on the Caravelle site and wheel loader to help during the preparations of the assembly phase.

Canon

  • Colour prints of the OH-LEA painting by Kari Vertanen for a fund-raising campaign.

Port of Turku

  • Assistance in bringing the Caravelle to be restored in the Pansio port hall.

RMR Merirakenne

  • Assistance and material for building the free-turning pulley system for rotating the aircraft.

Companies in the Pansio shipyard area

  • Assistance in moving and lifting the aircraft and tools lent for the assembly work.

Teknos / Markku Uusitalo

  • Paint for the restoration work.

Anzo / Oy C.E. Lindgren Ab

  • Paint brushes for the restoration work.

Jalmeri

  • Mohair paint rolls for the restoration work.

Arctic Decals / Mika Jernfors

  • Assistance in acquiring the stencil stickers and in sorting out the details for the painting work.

Peter Lampinen

  • 3D-printing of the navigation light covers

Ronema

  • Instruments for the Caravelle’s flight deck.

Consolis Parma

  • Three hollow core slabs to be placed under the Caravelle’s landing gear at Turku airport.

NCC

  • Gravel for building the other driveway to the Caravelle site.

Ossi Harjula

  • Construction contracting services for the Caravelle site works.

Finnish Aviation Museum

  • Support in acquiring information, permission to use premises and equipment for doing Caravelle restoration work, tools lent for disassembly and reassembly.

The Media

  • Articles and video material about the project in various phases.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

Turku Airshow - Caravelle flight to Las Palmas

Maanantai 19.6.2023 - Erja Reinikainen

During the weekend, June 17th and 18th, Turku airport was the venue for the Turku Airshow 2023, which was the main airshow of the year in Finland. Early this year this date was written in large numbers on the coffee room wall in the hall in Pansio, where the Caravelle was under restoration. The aim was to present the Caravelle to the public, outside and inside, and tell its story until this day.

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The Caravelle was outside the actual display area and because of this only those who came to the airshow by bus from Turku could visit the aircraft. On the other hand, the location by the pedestrian route allowed quick and easy access to the aircraft.

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There were more visitors than we expected. On Saturday there were 865 and on Sunday 430 visitors, in total 1 295. At times the passenger stairs were crowded but some queuing didn’t seem to bother the good-humoured visitors. They told the Caravelle guides many stories about the aircraft. Sometimes it even seemed that the roles were interchanged. The visitor number 1000 was rewarded with a Caravelle key fob. Danial was the lucky winner who was congratulated by Jari Myrsky and received the key fob.

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Photos by Ismo Matinlauri

Another visitor must be mentioned. The WWII fighter veteran and Caravelle pilot Mauri Maunula stopped by to have a look at the replica of his previous aircraft. During his brief chat with the Aviation Museum Society Finland’s chairman Janne Salonen several colourful incidents from Mr Maunula’s Caravelle times were told.

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There was a small but busy Aviation Museum Society Finland sales stall by the Caravelle. Caravelle caps, T-shirts and mugs were sold there. On the second day of the airshow old aviation magazines were handed out for free to those coming to see the Caravelle. The magazines were popular especially among the younger visitors.

Photos by Jouko Tarponen except if otherwise mentioned.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

Busy day at Turku Airport

Torstai 8.6.2023 - Erja Reinikainen

Suomeksi

On Wednesday, June 7th, there were about a dozen volunteers at work to prepare “the Bluebird” for public display. The work started at about 10 am and was continued until 6 pm. Now the weather was nicer than last week, the sun was shining, and it was almost warm.

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Photo by Ismo Matinlauri

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Photos by Jouko Tarponen

The aim is to take down the scaffolding before the end of this week, so the work in the tail has been prioritized. The stencil stickers for painting the “AERO” text on the fuselage below the horizontal stabilizer were fastened into place and the text was painted in blue. In the tail fin there are several fillets and panels and the last of them were fastened into place. When the others were leaving, two men remained on the scaffolding finishing the panel sealings.

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Photos by Jouko Tarponen

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Photo by Erja Reinikainen

There was activity on ground level as well. The right-hand side main landing gear was being cleaned. The result was surprisingly good although there was no water available. Under the aircraft the panels under the wing to fuselage joint were installed into place. Polishing was under way, too, on the wings and in the nose section. Furthermore, the blue paint on the window line had been slightly damaged by the crane slings when the fuselage was lifted. The damaged areas were sanded and re-painted.

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Photo by Erja Reinikainen

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Photo by Jouko Tarponen

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Photo by Erja Reinikainen

The cleaning of the cabin, started the day before, was continued. Now the cabin, flight deck, toilets, and aft upper cargo department have been vacuumed and cleared. The wall panels and overhead shelves have also been wiped with a damp cloth. This was a quick tidying of the appearance so that the inside of the aircraft can be presented to the public on the Turku airshow days. The restoration of the interior will be a project for the future.

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Photo by Curt Oksa

There were several visitors during the day. Maybe the Caravelle article on Helsingin Sanomat website today and the beautiful weather encouraged people to come and see “the Bluebird”. There were also visitors from Turku customs office, four officials and a dog. No traces of old smuggled goods were detected.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

The "Bluebird" assembly team

Lauantai 3.6.2023 - Erja Reinikainen

Suomeksi

The blogs written this week mention several times the Caravelle assembly team. So it is more than appropriate to introduce this group which was working on the Caravelle at Turku airport on two occasions in the past weeks. The first work phase took place on May 22nd-23rd, when the wings were transported from Pansio and joined at the airport. The second work phase was longer, May 29th-June 2nd, when first the fuselage was assembled on the wing and then the horizontal stabilizer and the vertical stabilizer were assembled on the tail. When written like this the task may sound simple, but it was far from that.

During the winter the Caravelle technical team, consisting of Markku Ahokoski, Kari Nyman, Martti Saarinen and Ismo Matinlauri, was coordinating the Caravelle restoration work which was going on in Pansio. Last year Markku, Kari and Martti planned how the Caravelle can be disassembled and now they planned and scheduled how it can be put back together.

Lifting the parts of the aircraft from a trailer and getting them accurately into place in the strong wind was a challenging task. Fastening the fuselage-wing joint bolts in the cramped keel tunnel wasn’t easy as it was almost dark there. Getting the vertical stabilizer and rudder into place on the scaffolding, in the torrents of rain, was quite an achievement, too. Assembling all the wing root fairings required a lot of patience from the team, as there were dozens of panels and hundreds of rivets. In addition to the demanding assembly work there were plenty of other activities during the week: jacks, plywood boards, pallets and car tires were moved where needed, items were taken out from the sea container and put back, slings and cargo straps were used for multiple purposes, there were several visits to the hardware store, etc.

The assembly team was led by Markku Ahokoski and in addition to Kari Nyman and Martti Saarinen, there were Reima Lindroth, Hannu Penttilä and Jouko Rinne, who had also been in Arlanda during the disassembly. Martti Saarinen wasn’t in Turku, but he participated in discussions on the phone during the assembly week. Yrjö Honkavaara and Elias Viitanen from the Pansio group were assisting in the assembly work and Erja Reinikainen worked as an overall helper.

This team of eight volunteers assembled the Caravelle “Bluebird” in five days, not including the days when the parts were lifted on trailers. Now the Pansio team can continue and assemble the remaining fairings and panels and go on with the sanding, painting, and polishing work.

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Photo by Jouko Tarponen on May 29th, 2023.

This photo of the assembly team was taken in the Pansio hall on May 29th when the Caravelle fuselage had been lifted on the Ahola Special Transport trailer and the Society’s banner had been straightened. From the left: Hannu Penttilä, Yrjö Honkavaara, Reima Lindroth, Markku Ahokoski, Ismo Matinlauri, Elias Viitanen, Erja Reinikainen and Jouko Rinne, on far right ”Curre” who came to see what is going on in the hall.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

The "Bluebird" has been assembled

Perjantai 2.6.2023 - Erja Reinikainen

Suomeksi

On Friday, June 2nd, the Caravelle assembly team and the assistants who came to help from Pansio were facing the dreariest conditions of the week at the Turku airport: it was +6°C in the morning, there was a strong wind from the north and there were heavy showers of rain during the day.

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Photo ny Janne Pauni

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Photo by Erja Reinikainen

In the morning the scaffolding builders extended the scaffolding around the tail. The rudder was unloaded from the sea container and pieces of metal net were fastened on the holes in the leading edge of the rudder to prevent birds from getting inside the rudder. A new cable was installed for the anti-collision light – it will wait for the new electrical system to be installed later. The rudder and the elevators were locked into a fixed position by preventing the movement of their servos.

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Photos by Erja Reinikainen

The assembly team prepared to assemble the vertical stabilizer and the rudder in the usual way: the tools and accessories, bolts, safety harnesses, cargo straps, etc. were arranged for use. First the vertical stabilizer was lifted from the ground, a rather challenging operation in the strong wind. High on the scaffolding around the tail the tall stabilizer was inched into place although a shower of rain disturbed the assembly team. The main bolts could be installed quite easily. The rudder is a difficult item to lift, tall and narrow, and it had to be fitted accurately into place in the strong wind. The cargo straps held by the assistants prevented the rudder from swinging during the lifting and assembly. This time it took more effort to install the fasteners – and another heavy shower disturbed the team on the scaffolding. By lunchtime the rudder was in place and the Finnish flag was up on the Caravelle’s tail – a fine sight. It was time to call the aircraft by its Finnish name, “Sinilintu”, i.e. “Bluebird”.  

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Photo by Erja Reinikainen

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Photo by Janne Salonen

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Photo by Erja Reinikainen

The Friday afternoon was spent on miscellaneous tasks. The installation of the stabilizers was finalized on the scaffolding, the floor in the cabin was temporarily fixed with plywood boards, the car tires, and pieces of cardboard on which the stabilizer and rudder had been on the ground were collected, the cargo straps were picked up, the contents of the containers was arranged, etc. The repaired and painted radome was installed on the Caravelle’s nose, and this changed its appearance remarkably.

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Photo by Janne Salonen

During the day an electric cable was pulled from the Finavia area to the right-hand side of the nose wheel. Hopefully the installation will be ready next week, and power will be available on the site. This would make it possible to start sanding, polishing and installation work.

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Photo by Jouko Tarponen

The assembly team (Markku, Kari, Hannu, Jouko, Reima and Erja) were relieved, they had completed this phase in the Caravelle’s restoration successfully and in the planned schedule. Now the Turku (former Pansio) team can continue and finalize the outside of the aircraft and prepare the cabin for display during the following weeks before the Turku Airshow. The daily reporting of the assembly work ends to this blog.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

Assembly of the horizontal stabilizer and farewell to the hall in Pansio

Torstai 1.6.2023 - Erja Reinikainen

Suomeksi

On Thursday, June 1st, the Caravelle’s horizontal stabilizer and vertical stabilizer were lifted on the Ahola Special Transport trailer, and these were the last items to be transported as special transport. This load was not tall and not very wide either, so it could be taken to the airport during the day. The last items were packed into the sea container and the Pansio hall was ready to be vacated.

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Photos by Jouko Tarponen

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Photo by Janne Salonen

At the airport the assembly work was continued in windy weather. In the morning preparations were made for assembling the horizontal stabilizer and the assembly team checked that all needed special bolts, tools, safety harnesses, etc. were at hand. The “hiab” loader crane arrived soon after noon. When everything was ready for the lift, the wind got stronger, there was a brief hailstorm and sand dust was flying in the air.

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Photo by Jouko Tarponen

First the vertical stabilizer was lifted from the trailer and lowered to the ground on car tires to wait for assembly on the following day. The rudder was brought to the airport from Pansio in the afternoon, in the sea container which had been loaded there in the morning.

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Photo by Erja Reinikainen

The Caravelle’s horizontal stabilizer is large and lifting it in the gusty wind on the fin root on top of the fuselage was quite an achievement. Fortunately the wind was blowing against the nose of the aircraft and towards the tail, so the stabilizer didn’t swing too much from side to side during the lift and assembly. Cargo straps had been fastened to the tips of the stabilizer and the assembly team members holding the straps were prepared to prevent the swinging. Once again there were professionals at work – assembling the stabilizer on the scaffolding and operating the crane – and the stabilizer was soon in place without too much effort. The main bolts could be fastened without major difficulties and the assembly team could sigh with relief. Then it was time for a coffee: the aggregate was started, coffee was brewed, and the team sat beside the sea container, in shelter from the wind.

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Photos by Jouko Tarponen

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Photo by Janne Pauni

There were other activities during the day too: more wing to fuselage fillets were assembled and fastened using rivets and screws. The pop rivet guns were causing some trouble again, the battery driven one didn’t function well and the manual one broke the day before. The large rivets are so thick that the tools are strained to the limit. There was also activity in the cabin, after a long silence, when the wall upholstery was tidied, and the toilets were fixed. The plywood floorboards will have to be repaired before the public can be allowed to come and see the cockpit and cabin.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird

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