OPERATION :Build a Horsa Glider Cockpit       

A belated Happy New Year to all Horsa project followers. 
Since the last update, problems with the clarity of our Airspeed drawings have seriously hit the production programme.  However, we are now getting back on the glide path in 2014 thanks to Stockholm based project member Neil “Jed” Jedrzejewski who has used  is skills in Computer Aided Drawing (CAD) to recreate some of the plans with accurate dimensions. "Jed" is pictured below, holding a Horsa picture alongside constructor Paul Webb.

Looking at the Horsa corner of the Jet Age hangar - writes Neil “Jed” Jedrzejewski - one might come to the conclusion that things have taken a step backwards.  However, when we started the cockpit build in the spring/summer of 2013 we had been using copies of original Airspeed drawings sourced from the Assault Glider Trust at Shawbury. It was hoped that these drawings and notes from the AGT team’s experiences of building their glider would make for a simple construction process.

Paul Webb was able to quickly construct the bulkhead, nose centre beam and window formers using the drawings provided and at Sunningend we had something that was starting to resemble a glider. Nonetheless, it seems our confidence was a little premature as when we started to add more and more parts it became apparent that things were physically not coming together as they should.

The most obvious suspect was the drawings themselves and it was become apparent that they weren’t suitable for the job.The biggest problem is one of quality. The drawings are third or fourth generation photocopies which have been scaled down from the original size. This has resulted in distortion, gaps and illegible dimensions making them hard to trust and impossible to  ake accurate scale dimensions from. 

It then became apparent that about half of the drawings we had were for other parts of the aeroplane or the later Horsa Mk.II. From the drawings we can use, only a few are dimensioned construction drawings with the others just being un-scaled general arrangement diagrams.

This has naturally come as a huge setback.In October last year Paul and I made the difficult decision to halt the build process until we have a set of drawings we can be confident in.

We didn’t want to waste time and materials when we couldn’t be sure if the cockpit would assemble correctly and require constant adjustment thus making a bad situation worse.Having some previous experience of computer 3D modelling and CAD, I have begun the process of transferring the drawings we have into a full computerised 3D virtual model of the cockpit.


This process allows Paul and myself to visualise the individual pieces in relation to each other, confirm that the dimensions are correct and if necessary make any changes to ensure that components fit together. It also allows us to produce a new, clean fully dimensioned set of working drawings Paul can work from with confidence that it all fits together as it should.

Heading into 2014 with the help of the CAD process and with the new drawings it produces we’re now in a good position to pick up where we left off.  Paul has already begun making adjustments to the bulkhead and re-built the nose centre beam to new  dimensions.

We’ve also spent some time over the Christmas period laying out new full-scale templates for the window formers and the framework that will make up the seats and under floor area.

Now that we are able to trust our own drawings and that confidence has returned it won’t be long before the glider begins to take shape again.






Our thanks go to our aviation colleagues at Filton for the very kind donation of a Horsa Centre of Gravity determinator which was used by load masters in WW11. Consisting of an Horsa shaped balance with a complete set of weights which were used to calculate he appropriate location of troops and equipment when loading a glider, this very rare artefact can now be seen at the Jet Age Museum which is open every weekend 10-4pm. 

Whilst production of the outer cockpit continues, we are gathering key dials and instruments for eventual fitment in the cockpit and have already found a compass, cable angle indicator, height indicator and other items.

We would be interested in hearing from any aviation memorabilia collectors if they have any Horsa cockpits parts in their attics.

Contact in the first instance should be via the Jet Age web site.          



Thank you

Our thanks to the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust, which encouraged our grant application and too to the following project partners for their pledges of support:   
Paul Webb Woodturner &Furniture maker
K M Reprographics
TBS Engineering Ltd
VMCC Anglo Dutch Trial
Haidon Horticultural Engineers
Haden Browne Plastics 
AVM Transport Ltd
Gloucestershire Airport
BAe Systems
Wellington Park Properties Ltd
The Flying Shack  Staverton
Elliott Bros(Chelt) Ltd
Mike Lillistone 
Ken Plowman
Savidge & Son
The RAF Down Ampney Association 

Questions, Information and Contributions
If you have any questions, information or just what to contribute to the build fund please e mail:
Trevor Davies (Project co-ordinator) warzonespeedways(at)tiscali.co.uk   Telephone 01452 619793  

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