The view from this side of the vinegar!!
Over the summer I have had the great pleasure….with a little blood (well many scrapes and bruises), sweat (some of that was heavy), but no tears, of restoring the Bensen B7 Autogyro (see previous Blogs).
There it was, having been hoisted unceremoniously down from the ceiling in the main hanger, in the back of the woodwork shop in the corner waiting for me. David Dawson (mentor and engineer extraordinaire) informed me that there were no plans available for it and that I should report for duty armed with the next best thing…. a camera equipped with a large memory card! This I did and having eventually taken hundreds (literally) of photos we started to take it apart. Each part was labelled and put aside.
Then the cleaning started……. this consisted of litres of vinegar and loads of elbow grease….. and more vinegar. Bits that were not able to be cleaned and were beyond repair were made from scratch and cleaned up with…..(you’ve guessed it)… more vinegar!
Eventually the metal was gleaming and the wood had been treated and painted. Then came the interesting part of putting it all back together again using the photos that we had taken. As in all good engineering traditions we were left at the end with not a screw, but a spring. After a bit of detective work of matching the speck of red on the end and going back over and over the photos its correct location was found. The result … a fully restored Bensen B7 Autogyro now on display back in the main hangar. This time on the ground next to the Lightning. The little and large of the museum. Thanks David for everything.
Author:: Natasha Harlock
Bensen B.7 Restoration Gallery
About the aircraft ……
Bensen B.7 LHS-1
The Bensen B.7 Gyroglider was one type of the many incarnations of the autogyro developed by Igor Bensen in the United States in the early 1950. This model, was intended for the DIY enthusist to build at home and had a tricycle undercarriage which replaced the earlier models which had skids. The aircraft was towed aloft on its first flight in June of 1955. Igor Bensen later added a motor to the airframe (becoming a B.7M) and this flew its first powered flight later that same year. An advert for the B7 being sold in the UK is included in the gallery above ( supplied by :: http://www.aviationancestry.co.uk/ ).