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Help save the Fairey Barracuda from extinction

Fairey Barracuda DP872. Restoration of the World's only WW2 Fairey Barracuda torpedo bomber.

Over 2500 Barracuda aircraft were delivered to the Fleet Air Arm, more than any other type ordered by the Royal Navy to date. Unlike other more iconic aircraft of its era none were retained for posterity and no complete examples exist today.

Since the early 1970s the Fleet Air Arm Museum has been collecting Barracuda components from a wide variety of sources throughout the British Isles, with the long term aim of rebuilding a Barracuda.

Nose, centre section and wing components from Barracuda DP872 were the first to be collected and have since formed the basis of the rebuild. Says Dave Morris Curator of Aircraft "some restoration work on the nose section was started in the 1990s, however, the enormity of the task coupled with lack of funds meant no further significant progress was made until now".

Barracuda layout Barracuda layout

In 2010 the Museum’s Engineering Dept. laid out the many hundreds of  components retrieved over the preceding forty years into a life-size outline plan of the aircraft and begun the process of identification and assessment of the task ahead.

Resembling a crime scene investigation this assessment soon revealed that an impressively high amount of original material had been obtained.

In 2011 an agreement was formed between Newcastle based engineer Bill Smith and the ‘Blue Bird Project’ Team to handle the complex straightening and reformation of the crumpled components.

Bill Smith and his highly skilled team have been responsible for innovative reconstruction of Donald Campbell’s record breaking speed boat ‘Bluebird’ that was recovered from Coniston Lake in 2001.

Barracuda airs scoop before complex straightening and reformation Barracuda airs scoop before complex straightening and reformation

It is planned that each piece of aircraft will in turn be transferred to the Bluebird Project’s workshop in Newcastle where it will undergo a unique process involving softening, straightening, stretching and reforming.

Bluebird Project team are highly skilled at reforming extremely crumpled, broken and often unidentifiable lumps of wreckage, back into usable components.  This means that the rebuilt Barracuda will contain very high amounts of original material.

The Bluebird Project team relies on a workforce of highly skilled volunteers however additional funding of some £60,000 is required to complete the project.

The Bluebird Project team have now carried out an assessment of much of the Barracuda tail section and feel confident that some work can now begin.

Barracuda airs scoop after straightening and reformation Barracuda airs scoop after straightening and reformation

To enable the project to move forward we need to begin the fund raising process and provide the first tranche of £5000 of the total of £60,000 needed to complete the project.

PLEASE HELP US IN THIS IMPORTANT RESTORATION PROJECT

Donate through Just Giving  or enter your donation amount below. This will take you to our Just Giving secure link.

Donating Online:

For more details about this unique restoration project visit

www.barracudaproject.co.uk

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