Tridents were built to last!

Photo (c) Andy Mead

We convened at Durham Tees Valley again yesterday to have another go at removing the horizontal stabiliser from G-ARPO. This time we arranged for two cranes to attend, in the hope that these would keep the stabiliser level as it was lifted, and thus keep the bolts and pivot point from locking it in place.

Along with workers from MSD Cranes and SAS Access, who kindly provided the vehicles for the day, we suffered the cold weather to lift, tug, pull and cut whatever we could – but alas the Trident was built to last and that stab just wouldn’t come off!

Despite what the technical drawings say, it seems the bolts change thickness inside and are preventing it from coming off. Therefore we have resolved to come back and use oxy-acetylene to remove the bolts.

This naturally poses some extra safety hazards that we need to be fully covered for, and will use qualified workers. We need to make progress now as these delays have slowed the project and the winter is going to limit what we can do.

Even though we’ve removed everything we can, the horizontal stabiliser is still secure on top of the tail fin, so is not likely go be affected by winds. Even two cranes combined could not remove it!

Our thanks go to the enthusiastic operators from MSD, SAS Access, and for the tools hire provision by Hire Station and HSS. Also thanks to Serco for allowing us time to do this work and supervising us.

Looking beyond this, we really need sponsorship for some scaffolding when cutting the wings. Please contact us if you think you can help in any way!

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