The team has worked tirelessly over the last few years to rebuild both of ZA326’s cockpits. When we took delivery of the aircraft they had been extensively stripped, particularly the front cockpit which was entirely bare. The photo below gives an idea of what we were faced with, and the massive task ahead:
After muddling through with some Tornado F3 main flying panels, we (finally!) found a pair of original GR1 spec, which have allowed us to install all of the instruments including the Terrain Following Radar e-scope. As you can see from the photo below the cockpit is almost unrecognisable from how it arrived, and looks much more like a Tornado!
(yes, it really is the same cockpit! Check out the yellow/black striped rectangle on the far left, and the green lamp surrounded by a yellow/black border on the far right to get your bearings between the two photos)
We’ve had a few “big ticket” items which we’ve been hunting down for a while. One of those has been the Auxiliary Power Unit, or APU.
The Tornado APU was built by KHD (Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz AG, lately Rolls-Royce/BMW) and provides about 105kW (139hp) of power. It’s essentially a small (40kg ish!) jet turbine engine which lives on the right-hand side of the Tornado fuselage, to the rear of the main undercarriage bay, with its exhaust just ahead of the taileron. When running it drives the left and right hand gearboxes, which in turn have electrical generators and hydraulic pumps attached to them, allowing a Tornado to be self-sufficient when away from its Main Operating Base. Each of the gearboxes also has a PTO shaft that is used to start the engines, once the engines are up to self-sustaining speed, the APU shuts down and the engines then drive their gearboxes via the PTO shafts.
We’re very pleased to say that we have managed to acquire an early KHD T312 Tornado APU, thanks to the generosity of our supporters and the donations you’ve made online and at our open days. It’s safely tucked up in our stores waiting to be cleaned and readied for installation into ZA326.
As the APU is fed from the aircrafts fuel supply we still got a bit of rebuilding work to do before we can fire it up, but this is definitely a big step in the right direction. Thanks again for all your support – we will keep you all up to date with our progress as we bring ZA326 back to life.