Boly: The WarBird That Turns Heads

cockpit bolyThe Bolingbroke cockpit is a real attraction and proved itself again at the AéroMontréal exhibition held on February 11th , 2016, where over 2000 people from all ages attracted by the aerospace industry gazed at the Boly with keen interest. Here’s the latest status on the Bolingbroke aircraft restauration project by the Montreal Aviation Museum (MAM) volunteers.

The cockpit is in its final stage of restauration for static display at the center. The crew lighting, the air ducts with stitched leather, the astrocompass, the bomb sight, the Adlis lamp, the navigator head set, the bomb switch, the flare gun, the flight crew original seat belts, maps, the crew equipment canvas pouches with markings and the axe have all have been installed.

There is more work ahead for the cockpit team:

Final touch ups are still being worked on the cockpit crew equipment and electrical conduits provisions;

  • All tie-wraps are to be replaced by waxed cord (embalmer twine thread/cord preferably)
  • One cockpit window is to be replaced;
  • The pitot static is to be completed and temporary fitted;
  • The pilot target aiming post is to be installed;
  • Two small side windows must be made with structural provision;
  • And upon static display location availability hopefully this year, flight control cables will need to be temporary installed with quick disconnect.

But that’s not all! The vertical and horizontal stabilizers are both currently being restored for temporary installation of the empennage, where major structural repairs are complete and secondary structural rework is near completion. Once a coat of primer is applied, the flight controls cables and wiring for lights provisions are to be installed, with a completion date near the end of this year.

The tail wheel refurbishment is progressing very well and should be ready for installation early next fall. The rudder and elevators, provided by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Centre, are fully completed and require to be fitted for installation. The navigation lights, wiring and control cables will need to be fitted. However, we know that finding specific hardware parts will be a challenge. Anyone wanting to help is welcome!

turretThe gun turret position is getting a lot of attention. The crew seat mechanism is being rebuilt. While the glass turret mechanism is complete, the access door must be manufactured. One has already been restored. Although we do not have specific drawings, reverse engineering will be applied for the opposite one missing just like the many structural parts that are missing and no longer available to us on this project. The use of 3D printing technology will be necessary in many cases.

The Bolingbroke team is also working on the fuselage. While major structural repairs are complete, secondary structural rework at are final stages for completion. The gun turret fuselage aperture is actively being worked on.

Finally, the radio operator station is near completed. Radio components have been restored and are fully functional. Installation within the fuselage should be achieved most likely next year. The Boly restauration team truly livers by the motto: We Build Heritage!

Of course, a lot of work remains and will keep the Bolingbroke team busy and happy for years to come.

In many cases, we will need to utilise 3D printing technology of which is very expensive. Any one that would like to participate on this Boly restauration project can do so by providing a donation to the MAM allowing us to manufacture parts from our design!

The Bristol Fairchild Bolingbroke, a maritime patrol aircraft used by the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, was built by Fairchild Aircraft Ltd. (Canada) in Longueuil, Québec, between 1939 and 1943. As a variant of the Bristol Blenheim Mk IV bomber, it was the first stressed-skin aircraft to be manufactured in Canada. The Boly was donated to the MAM by Fondation Aérovision Québec.

Michel Fréchette,