Hawker Tempest Mk. V EJ693

Hawker Tempest Mk.V SA-I (EJ693) was built at Hawker's Langley factory in the summer of 1944. It was delivered to No. 20 MU (Maintenence Unit), Aston Down, on August 24 where it was brought up to operational specifications before being delivered to 486 Squadron at Newchurch on September 3rd.

The brand new EJ693 was allotted the code-letters "SA-I" and chosen by the "A" Flight Commander, F/Lt Harvey Sweetman. He was flying his new aircraft on September 13 when 486 and 3 Squadrons attacked a V-2 launch site near the Hague. S/Ldr Wigglesworth of 3 Squadron crashed and was killed in the target area, and two days later Sweetman was posted to replace him.

Although several pilots flew EJ693 during September its new "owner" was P/O Bevan Hall. On return from its fifth patrol from Grimbergen (the same day the Squadron was moved to Volkel) EJ693 developed engine trouble. P/O Hall pulled off a skillful forced landing just short of base, and was rescued unhurt. His Tempest was declared "Category B" (beyond repair on site) and subsequently collected by 409 RSU (Repair and Salvage Unit). By the time of the crash EJ693 had only flown 28 hours and 38 minutes in 21 operational sorties.

 

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Operational sorties of EJ693

  
Date Pilot Base Duty

6 September 1944

F/Lt Sweetman

Newchurch

Fighter Sweep, Emden

9 September 1944

W/O Kalka

Newchurch

Recce (recalled)

9 September 1944

P/O Bremner

Newchurch

Armed recce, Holland

10 September 1944

F/Lt Sweetman

Newchurch

Armed recce, Holland

11 September 1944

F/Lt Sweetman

Newchurch

Escort, bombers to Ruhr

12 September 1944

P/O Hall

Newchurch

"Big Ben" (Holland) & "Jim Crow"

12 September 1944

W/O O'Connor

Newchurch

"Big Ben" (Holland) & "Jim Crow"

13 September 1944

F/Lt Sweetman

Newchurch

"Big Ben" (Holland) & "Jim Crow"

13 September 1944

F/Lt Sweetman

Newchurch

"Big Ben" (Holland) & "Jim Crow"

15 September 1944

P/O Hall

Newchurch

Armed recce, Holland

16 September 1944

F/Lt Williams

Newchurch

Armed recce, Holland

17 September 1944

F/Lt Williams

Newchurch

"Market Garden", Holland

17 September 1944

P/O Hall

Newchurch

"Market Garden", abortive

18 September 1944

P/O Hall

Newchurch

"Market Garden", Holland

18 September 1944

W/O Hooper

Newchurch

"Roadstead"

26 September 1944

P/O Hall

Matlaske

Escort

29 September 1944

P/O Hall

B.60 Grimsbergen

Fighter Sweep, Holland

29 September 1944

P/O Hall

B.60 Grimsbergen

Patrol, Holland

30 September 1944

P/O Hall

B.60 Grimsbergen

Patrol, Holland

30 September 1944

P/O Short

B.60 Grimsbergen

Patrol, Holland

1 October 1944

P/O Hall

B.60 Grimsbergen

Patrol, Holland. Force landed

 

EJ693 was adopted by 151 RU (Repair Unit) as a test bench on its Sabre Engine Repair Section, at Wevelgem (near Brussels). Repaired or rebuilt Sabres were installed and run up in the aircraft to test all systems, temperatures and pressures. They were then dismounted again, packed and dispatched to the field squadron repair echelons as ready for action! During the 1970s the RAF Museum acquired the fuselage of EJ693 from the Technical College at Delft, in the Netherlands.

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EJ693 at the Technical College at Delft, Netherlands.

 

How and when the college obtained the aircraft is still a mystery, but there is good evidence that it was in Delft by December 1946 or 1948, and that wings, tailplane and engine were missing by 1971 when the fuselage was moved to the Dutch Air Force base at Woensdrecht. The college held airframes and components from up to 29 types of historic aircraft throughout the postwar years. The policy was to keep only parts of particular significance, so complete airframes were often dismantled and those sections not needed were scrapped. By 1987 a change in funding policy forced economies upon the RAF Museum, which in turn provided the opportunity for a remarkable swap. There was already a complete Tempest V (NV778) on display at Hendon, but the museum badly wanted a Tempest II. It just so happended that someone else had a Tempest II (ex-IAF HA 457, now known to be PR536) but dearly wanted a Tempest V.
It was just two years since Nick Grace had fulfilled his first dream. when he test flew the Spitfire IX which he had been restoring for six years. Now he seized the opportunity to realize another dream for although he loved the Spitfire, he admired the Tempest for its speed, power, toughness, and above all its magnificent Napier Sabre engine.
In November 1987 the two Tempests were exchanged. The Tempest V which Nick had acquired was still wearing its original warpaint, and was readily identifiable as EJ693, SA - I of 486 NZ Squadron.

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Bill Cottee and several ex-Napier personnel have been able to find a number of rare Sabre drawings, manuals and technical publications, and their first-hand expertise will be invaluable resource during the restoration. Nick belived that he needed at least three Sabre engines before a full flying restoration of the Tempest was practical, however having secured one in October 1988, he decided to make a start. It was then that his dream ended in a fatal car accident. Despite such a cruel blow his wife Carolyn never for a moment entertained the idea of parting either with the Spitfire or Tempest. The work on the Tempest begun, the fuselage was in good shape, having flown minimal hours and always carefully stored. Wings and tailplanes was no problem, spares having been culled from Indian Tempest IIs. But in 1992 the Tempest was sold to Kermit Weeks and the restoration continued at PPS (Personel Plane Services). PPS have to create much of the aircraft's structure from new, using panels and parts from the RAF Museum's example as pattern.

 

 Restoration progress reports:

In November 2002 Tom Woodhouse, PPS, reports:

"The wings are coming along, under rebuild in Norfolk. Somebody else is slowly progressing with the elevators as they were bare shells with lots missing and quite a lot of corrosion, so requiring lots of new parts. As for the fuselage, our part of the deal, the cowls now fit properly after lots of tweaking. We are undergoing negotiations to building a header tank. The canopy is fully restored, as are some cockpit parts, all being stored ready for re-fitting. The tailplane is now jigged and we are working on being finished with it after Christmas sometime.
Kermit Weeks is still unsure what to do with it as we are restoring everything to airworthy spec on the airframe, but the engine is the major problem. Who would restore a Sabre??? And finish it as a reliable engine??? Not many people, and with the know how of 50 years ago gone I, and many others, doubt that it will ever get off the ground as the CAA would not certify an aircraft which could have an engine failure on take off, which is a possibility. It is possible though that it will be finished to taxiable status but that is a long way into the future yet. If we were able to get a clear run at it we could have her finished in 3 maybe 4 years, but we have other projects and filmwork commitments to deal with so you can't give a reliable date to work to really.
We are missing quite a few parts: - Rudder parts: ribs, rudder post castings (fixing the rudder to the sternpost) tailwheel and associated system parts, trimmer system parts (for all flight controls).
- Any elevator parts.
- Other parts:seat parts, engine firewall items, all radio and oxygen systems parts/assemblies, gyro-gunsight and associated systems, gun camera system etc, coolant system parts including thermostats etc."

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In February 2004 Tom Woodhouse reports:

"693 is currently still awaiting new horizontal tailplane carry through spars, there has been a big problem trying to source the correct material but hopefully in the next few months we will see the new spars arrive. Then it's just a matter of installing them and finishing off the assembly, most of the work is done. The wings are still in the same state they were in the last time I spoke to you as the contractor who is restoring them has a few more pressing restorations to finish. Kermit isn't really spending much on restoration at the moment as he has a major building project at Fantasy of Flight where they are totally redeveloping the site."

In November 2005 Tom Woodhouse reports:

"Currently fitting the horizontal tailplane fairings, they were copied from NV778's fairings by they guy who restored the tailplanes and elevators. The wings are being worked on by Hull Aero up in Norfolk and they should be completed sometime next year, to airworthy standard. The fuselage is the next thing to tackle but that is dependant on what Kermit wants to do as he has other projects which are taking up his resources at present. As things stand the airframe will be completed to static condition but with all major assemblies completed to airworthy."

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In December 2006 Tom Woodhouse reports:

"No good news on our Tempest I'm afraid. We hope to re-start on the Mk. V next spring, once we finish the Spitfire Mk. I (AR213). Of which I've attached a recent pic. Hopefully the Spitfire and our C-47 will be at Legends 2007!"

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In July 2007 The Webmaster reports:

"During my trip to UK and the Flying Legends 2007, Tom Woodhouse kindly arranged so I and my Swedish friends could visit Personel Plane Services on Friday July 6th before the Airshow. "Unfortunately" I can report that the EJ693 fuselage was hidden in a corner in the hangar, covered by dust. The beautifully restored tailplane/fin was still in it's jigg placed by the side of the fuselage. What Tom said was that the Tempest airframe will be restored to airworthy condition. The difference in price doing this and just to restore it to static condition is minimal. But to restore a Napier Sabre to running condition would cost around £1.500.000 to £ 2.000.000, there is no guarantee of reliability... In other words, the airframe will be restored to flying condition but it will most likely never fly again while part of Kermit's collection. A big thanks to Tom for taking his time showing us around in the PPS hangar!"

In April 2008 Tom Woodhouse reports:

"If things go well this year we plan to get the Tempest assembled for Kermit to view so we can all see what we're deling with and what depth of restoration he would like to achieve. We've got to get TE184 airworthy and then it's time to press on with EJ693."

In July 2008 Tom Woodhouse reports:

"Just collected the cockpit from Hull Aero where it was being used to check the spar shimming on the wings that are being restored for the old girl. They are looking good now, plans are to start skinning in the next few weeks, the undercarriage is also nearly finished, everything related with the wings needed a huge amount of effort to get into good order seeing as they had been sat on an Indian airfield for quite a considerable period, much of that time full of monsoon water and mud!
 
I also collected the two props we have for the project, one is an ex-Vickers Varsity Rotol prop and the other is a Dh Hydromatic type as used on the Handley-Page Hastings we think. Both will require re-working to attain the correct blade profile depending upon which one we use but that's not a major problem. Our main problem is trying to find a spinner of the correct profile, the Varsity type is not correct as far as we can tell but the Hastings type maybe ok.


I'm also pressing on with the monocoque section of the fuselage where there was damage to be repaired from her forced-landing in Holland, you can see where the handle for the oxygen bottle access door on the underside has been forced aft, bent the handle and torn the skin, it also cracked the angle which is riveted to the front of the monocoque and dented the underside skin just aft of the join with the cockpit section, it's a shame that Bev Hall isn't able to see what could be considered to be 'his' aircraft now, they were bitter days in '45."

In August 2008 Kermit Weeks wrote on his blog:

"I continue on to London to check on the final stages of my Hawker Tempest V project, which we are bringing up to displayable condition. Everything has been rebuilt to airworthy standards but we are currently just trying to get it displayable for Fantasy of Flight. I have two Napier Sabre engines for it and one day hope to make it fly!"

In January 2009 Tom Woodhouse reports:

"The plan is that we are to assemble the aircraft at Booker later this year once the wings are finished, finish all the fairings etc, paint it and then pack it in a container so it can go on display at 'Fantasy of Flight' as a static exhibit with the possibility of a restoration to airworthy condition in the future.

In the next month I'm planning on assembling the cockpit now that the repainting of the tubes is complete, then gradually refurbish the fuselage etc after that. We will also need to make a full set of wing flaps as the project did not include any, along with elevator and rudder hinges."

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In June 2010 Tom Woodhouse reports:

"EJ693 has had the fuselage monocoque section paint-stripped inside and out and corrosion control is underway. The cockpit is being re-assembled as time goes on after the tubes were refurbed and that just leaves the bearer to clean off and remove any surface corrosion, then re-paint it. The wings are progressing but there was a delay and we will not be seeing them until later this year.

I'll send you some photos when things move on a bit more."

On 28 June 2010 Kermit Weeks wrote on his blog:

"I recently got a chance to stop in England and check up on the progress of one of my ongoing restoration projects.  The Tempest V is a rare WWI British fighter plane powered by an equally rare 2,400 hp Napier Sabre engine.  To my knowledge there are only two of these aircraft in existance, the other being at the RAF Museum in Hendon, England.  I also understand there are only about ten examples of the 24-cylinder sleeve-valve Napier Sabre engine in the world, with only two in private hands . . . mine!

The fuselage is slowly undergoing restoration with attention to replacing, treating, and preserving all the aluminum and tube structures. Wing and tail fairings have been made with only final fitting needed.  As mentioned before in earlier blog posts, the cockpit details are currently being gathered with the option of later restoring everything to airworthy condition.  Currently no systems work has been done, i.e. wiring, instruments or coolant pipes.  All airframe work to date has been done to airworthy condition

The wings are progressing nicely with the landing gear installed and are in the process of final skinning.  Flaps, ailerons and fuel tanks are close behind.

My main goal right now is to continue with the airframe work, gather everything up, and paint it for static display with one day having the option of tackling the systems and the engine.  To my knowledge, a Tempest V has not been seen flying since the early 1950’s, let alone anyone having heard a Napier Sabre engine run!"

In December 2011 Tom Woodhouse reports:

"I hope to have the fuselage together before Christmas so we can start applying the camo. Interior and fwd fuselage is being refurbed at present.
Wings are ongoing, doesn't help when they had been left in a dried-up riverbed in India which turned into a full-blown river on a regular basis. The lads were digging silt out for quite some time so you can imagine what that did to the internals, made worse by somebody hacking off parts of the trailing edges.....

It'd be nice to get Harvey Sweetman sat back in her when she's all together at some point, but he's a long way away from the UK or Polk City!"

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On 23 January 2013 Kermit Weeks wrote on Facebook:

"The right wing is basically done and I'm told the left one will be done by the end of next February. Everything is being rebuilt to airworthy condition. The plan is to get the wings finished and assemble them to the fuselage for final fairing work. At that point I'll probably head to England and decide what the next step will be. Don't bother asking me when it will fly because I have no idea!"

On 21 March 2013 Kermit Weeks wrote on Facebook:

"I just got some recent progress pics of the Tempest V wings. The right wing is basically done except for some special rivets we're waiting for to button up the last panel. The top of the left wing is still in the jig and not far from being finished."

On 22 November 2013 Kermit Weeks wrote on Facebook:

"Within a couple of months . . . these wings will be reunited with the fuselage and assembled! After that . . . I will then decide what the next steps will be."

On 26 February 2014 Kermit Weeks reports:

"The Tempest V wings are nearing completion, including control surfaces and installed landing gear, and I'm told they will be reunited with the fuselage within a month!
All work has been done to airworthy standards. We'll see?"

Source: Kermit Weeks on Facebook

 

On 12 September 2014 Kermit Weeks reports:

"Looks like the Tempest V wings are about finished! Here's the completed right one with the left one not far behind! Since there were NO Tempest V wings on the planet . . . we converted some Tempest II wings using the drawings we could find. The wings on the only other Tempest V on the planet (owned by the RAF Museum) . . . are also converted Tempest II wings!

The main difference between the Tempest V and Tempest II wings is that the Tempest V had clean leading edges due to the big chin scoop housing the liquid-cooled Napier Saber radiators and oil cooler . . . and the Tempest II wing leading edge held the oil cooler for the air-cooled Centaurus engine.

Here's a closer view with the completed gear doors. The plan is to eventually mate the wings with the fuselage near London early next year . . . and then make a decision as to how to proceed."

Source: Kermit Weeks on Facebook

 

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In January 2015 Tom Woodhouse reports:

"The fuselage is in one piece now, we've also made up jacking brackets and pads so we are ready to get the fuselage into position for rigging when the wings arrive."

 

On 4 April 2015 Kermit Weeks reports:

 

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"Recently bopped over to England to check on the progress of my Tempest V project!"

 

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"This is the first time the wings have been reunited with the fuselage in years.We were all happy the eight tapered bolts slid in and aligned! We were very fortunate that the only other Tempest V owned by the RAF Museum was down for restoration. We had nothing forward of the firewall in the way of cowling so borrowed and rebuilt theirs while making ours. This was the result!"

 

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"And here's the happy crew! Tony Bianchi in the middle was responsible for everything having to do with the fuselage and new cowling while Ralph Hull on the right rebuilt and converted the somewhat incomplete Tempest II wings to the Tempest V configuration!

The plan now is to wait for a few more parts to be completed, including the massive radiator, and then ship it to Florida sometime later this year where we will slowly continue to restore it . . . potentially back to flying!"

 

Source: Kermit Weeks on Facebook

 

On 25 July 2015 Fantasy of Flight reports:

"After studying all the manuals last week, Andy's starting to give the Napier Sabre engine for the Tempest the once over. Erich's also lending a hand cleaning it up and getting it ready to work on.

The Napier Sabre is a British H-24-cylinder, liquid-cooled, sleeve valve engine. It's a beast! It became one of the most powerful inline piston aircraft engines in the world, developing from 2,200 horsepower in its earlier versions, to 3,500 hp in late-model prototypes!"

 

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Source: Fantasy of Flight on Facebook

 

Fantasy of Flight on Facebook

 

 

 

On 30 July 2015 Tom Woodhouse (PPS) reports:

"We're in the process of making the wing transport frames at the moment, I reckon that she'll be ready for her containers in late August."

 

Kermit Weeks visit at PPS in April 2015:

 

  

On 26 August 2015 Fantasy of Flight reports:

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"One more exciting update for you on the Tempest V: It has been disassembled and is being containerized for shipment to us at Fantasy of Flight. We're basically waiting for the radiator and rudder to be finished up and then they'll ship the whole shebang!

It will take two containers to house all the parts. Kermit estimates the trip will cost about $60-70K and may take months as warbirds have particular paperwork hoops to jump through."

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On 25 September 2015 Kermit Weeks reports:

"Here's the latest and last report on the Tempest V progress from England and is of the rudder being completed. Photos of the Rudder Control Horn and the almost completed Rudder in its jig.

The reason this is the last progress report from England is because THE FIRST CONTAINER IS ON ITS WAY TO FLORIDA! THE SECOND ONE LEAVES NEXT WEEK!"

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Source: Kermit Weeks on Facebook

 

On 19 October 2015 Kermit Weeks reports:

"The first of our two Tempest V containers housing the fuselage, tail and Napier Sabre engine arrived today! Now in Florida, the airframe will be reunited with its engine and restoration will continue."

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Source: Kermit Weeks on Facebook

 

On 7 January 2016 Kermit Weeks reports:

"Everybody's pretty much back from the Holidays so I thought I'd give you an update as to what everyone's currently back working on. Andy is pretty much full-time on the Tempest V sorting through parts and drawings."

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Source: Kermit Weeks on Facebook

 

On 8 March 2016 Kermit Weeks reports:

 

"We have pulled our Tempest II over to help in the restoration of our Tempest V. At this point, it doesn't make sense not to do BOTH of them side by side as one will help the other with the Tempest II being basically complete!"

 

Source: Kermit Weeks on Facebook

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On 6 May 2016 Warbirds News....:

..published an article:

 

Tempest Fugit – The Resurrection of Two of Hawkers’ Finest Fighters

 

On 29 June 2016 Kermit Weeks reports:

"Lots happening in the shop while I was gone and here's a quick update! Andy and Dave have been jamming on Tempest V parts. Here's a new battery bracket next to the original one out of the Tempest II. And the restored canopy release system inside the V."

 

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Source: Kermit Weeks on Facebook

 

On 12 August 2016 Kermit Weeks reports:

"While not a massive milestone, here's some progress on our new Tempest V battery holder."

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Source: Kermit Weeks on Facebook

 

In January 2017 Kermit Weeks reports on Youtube:

 

 

 

On 15 February 2017 Kermit Weeks reports on Youtube:

 

 

On 3 April 2017 Kermit Weeks reports:

 

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"Here are some cool shots of how Andy manufactured two new rudder pulleys for our Tempest V project! 

Unfortunately, we couldn't just order two new pulleys from our local Tempest Airframe Parts store but were, fortunately, able to borrow the original ones from our totally complete Tempest II! Andy chucked up a bar of Phenolic in the lathe and begins the process of machining out a new pulley. We have two roughed out pulleys with their four aluminum doubler plates that will house the pulley bearings along with a guide to help align the required holes. 

And here . . . Voila' . . . we have the two varnished ad finished products!"

Source: Kermit Weeks on Facebook

 

 

On 20 April 2017 Kermit Weeks reports:

"As you know, Andy has been working hard doing a lot of little things on the Tempest V project and more recently has focused even more on "paying attention to de-tail!" There's only one thing better than having a full-length Tempest fuselage in your shop . . ."

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Source: Kermit Weeks on Facebook

 

On 29 September 2017 Kermit Weeks reports:

 

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"Here Andy shows off a newly made rare square early panel for the Tempest V, which looked far better installed than the standard rounded top panel most British aircraft used. We had decided to use this because we found ONE PICTURE supporting it's use, only to find out it was just laid in place for the picture, prompting us to shift gears and install what every other Tempest panel pic shows . . . the rounded one.

Hey, can't say we didn't try!"

 

Source: Kermit Weeks on Facebook

 

On 14 October 2017 Kermit Weeks reports:

 

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"Here, Andy has "taken it on the chin" for the Tempest V! He's sorting out some mounting brackets for this icon component of the Tempest V Sabre-powered brand!"

Source: Kermit Weeks on Facebook

  

On 14 - 18 November 2017 Kermit Weeks reports:

"Here is the fuselage tank, which we're hoping will not be as complicated as the Spitfire one we recently rebuilt! Looking forward here, Andy has installed the lower chin cowl, which gives the Tempest V its Iconic Brand look! Check out the aluminum blocks the massive Napier Sabre engine sits on!

Andrea has been working on the seats out of our Tempest II and Tempest V. The shell here has been cleaned up and painted with the back springs being installed."

Source: Kermit Weeks on Facebook 

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Sources:
Tom Woodhouse
John Ranson
Kermit Weeks
Fantasy of Flight
Steve Fletcher
Key Publishing 2002, reproduced with permission of FlyPast Magazine
Christian Béchir, Avions de Légende
Graham Berry
Roger Jones
Brian Borland
Hugh Smallwood
Wim Zwakhals