Another milestone for Shackleton WR977

After an eighteen [18] year search for missing parts the avionics suite in Avro Shackleton Mk.3 Phase 3 WR977 at Newark Air Museum has finally been completed. This has been made possible thanks to the generous assistance of Peter Vallance of the Gatwick Aviation Museum at Charlwood, Surrey.

Museum Trustee Sqn Ldr Brian Withers and long-term volunteer Rob Lindsay travelled to Surrey on November 11, 2008 to collect the two hitherto missing Mk 1C Sonic Receiver sets. These have now been fitted into the avionics racks in the Master and Second Sonics sections located either side of the front spar in the aircraft's main crew cabin area; this is positioned between the Radar position and the Tactical Navigator position.

When operational, these Sonics sets would have been used to collect and display information from both passive and active sonar buoys that had been deployed from the aircraft. The operators would use the equipment to determine range and bearing data for processing and interpretation, before passing it on to the aircraft's Tactical Navigator.

The two Sonics stations were part of the final Phase 3 modifications to the aircraft that were completed during a 10 month stay at the Avro factory at Langar, Notts in 1965-66. The addition of the second Sonics position gave the aircraft the combined capability of processing data from up to 4 passive and 2 active buoys, thereby enhancing the Shackleton Mk.3's operational capability at a time of ever changing world events.

Avro Shackleton WR977 is on long-term loan at Newark Air Museum from the Lincolnshire's Lancaster Association and is listed as a 'Significant' airframe on the National Aviation Heritage Register. Dismantled and move by road from RAF Finningley in 1977; in-depth restoration of this particular airframe was started by the Lindsay family in 1989. WR977 has also been the subject of two books that have been published by the museum and jointly these record a large proportion of the 6700 plus airframe hours flown by the aircraft.

After searching for more than 18 years, Rob Lindsay stated that he was “Absolutely delighted to have finally located the last significant items from the avionics fit for WR977”. He also noted, “A special thank you to Brian Withers for taking me down to Surrey to acquire the parts”. The museum trustees are particularly thankful to Peter Vallance for agreeing to part with these items.

Click to enlarge. Click to enlarge. Click to enlarge.

All Photo Credits: Howard Heeley - Down To Earth Promotions

Photo Note: In the overview of the main aircraft cabin there is one item of non-standard avionics. This is the NAM.Mk.2A de-humidifier, which is one of two units that run 24/7 on the aircraft to stabilise the internal environment on WR977.

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