Last Saturday I accompanied my pal up to Bruntingthorpe Airfield to give some TLC to the two Lightning jets XS904 in particular has had an ongoing No2 starter problem which over the years had finally given up the ghost and refused to start. The two main engineers had done some fault finding and diagnosed that the LP switch was the main culprit although the starter itself had some atomiser head and drain hole carbon problems. The IPN starter motor was given a decoke and the HFIU plugs a good clean.
The LP switch was removed and bench tested revealing switch contacts which needed badly cleaning, this was done and after testing the correct operating pressure, reassembled and fitted back on the aircraft. All the removed components were refitted and fail safe checks were carried out and proved to be working as they should, so now we have a jet which has both engines able to start properly. Anti-det runs will be carried out soon to prove all the hard work was a success and all being well the jet will be ready for the next open day to once again thrill the crowds.
I find it amazing that after all these years in RAF service, it is still possible to be able to fix things that would normally have been done as replacements rather than deep strips which are now the only method available to keep these grand old ladies in ground running condition, something that draws the crowds year after year, so well done to the guys who continue to give of their free time to make this happen.
For anyone who has never seen a HF ignitor plug, here are a couple of pics which Pete O’Callaghan took of the items before they were refitted to the IPN starter.