Balloon Repair Station

Hot Foot and Toby Time – The C3 HobGoblin

7 bonanno mk4 singleEarlier this year we had a bit of a chuck out and dfa in the Commercial Stores section of the workshop. Commercial Stores is the grand CAA name given to the area where you keep the stuff of dreams and usefulness that is neither quarantined nor released. Bit of a treasure trove really, anyway I digress (so soon?). What we found was a pile of old stock Cameron Mark 4 stuff, enough to build a Mark 4 single, something that would nice for the ’56. Couple of days later we had assembled the bits into a very presentable burner along with Bonanno valves. Not a difficult job in itself but quite satisfying to build something from nothing apart from the cost of new seals. Its been no secret that we have mentioned in the past that we wouldn’t mind having a crack at building a Thunder & Colt C3 single. Now I’m not aware that T&C ever built a C3 single, at least not commercially (not the same commercial as our stores you understand!), so if we did it wouldn’t be approved for a series balloon. 8 bins storesThus the idea rested until, that is, we got a call from a gentleman in America called Gary Maguire about another Mark 4 single we had for sale and if he bought it could we fit it into an Ultramagic frame? Not a problem we reckoned as it was to go with his homebuilt then, during the conversation that followed, he asked if we had actually built the C3 single yet. We hadn’t but boldly said we could. He’d need it for Metz and would get the basket and burner frame he’d purchased from Germany, an Ultramagic Tekno jobbie, shipped to us. We didn’t have much time so once the phone went down it was back into the Commercial Stores and rouking commenced.

1 C3 single blockWe had a pile of old C2 stuff, a few C3 coils and some old C3 cans plus a useful lot of old liquid pilot light assemblies from C3s various. John was clearly getting a trifle irked as every surface was given over to sorting an operatus mondi thingy out and try and work out how exactly we would build the thing. A mail to Gary the American revealed that he would be happy with the lever type handles. He liked them. That was lucky, we had some of them. We decided two feeds would be good along with one liquid pilot light and a pressure gauge. That’d do it. All we had to do now was figure out a way to get it all inside a C3 can. The old C2 Super single was pretty compact albeit with the valves on the outside so it couldn’t be that hard.

4 finished block C3Various combinations and permutations were tried out and eventually a solution was found. Drilling, taping, bashing and filing followed. All the valves we were going to use were cleaned and new seals fitted and some extra long M6 bolts sourced from Cameron Andy. We were now in assembly mode. In no time the block was sorted and assembled. The following day we had worked out how it would all fit into the can and now all we had to do was work out how to get coil feed to fit as it was a tad proud! Enter hacksaw and we shortened the liquid feeds by sleeving. Job nearly done. All we had to do now was bend up some pipe for the whisper burner, make a grab handle and sort the frame out. This is where things started to play up. The basket duly arrived and we unpacked it with glee but sadly as hard as we tried we could not find the promised burner frame. A mail to Gary resulted in mild panic his end. He then discovered that it hadn’t been sent as it had been sold to someone else! He wasn’t impressed. Bummer. 2 inside C3singleNever mind we had an old T&C frame. Out with the hacksaw and rummage around for some slimmer tube that we could use to reduce the socket diameter. Blow me down we found some that both slotted inside the existing T&C sockets and was exactly correct for the Ultramagic flexi-rigids. The following day the whole shooting match was whizzed over to Paul the Weld in the back of the trusty Corsa and he set to work. Two days later we had an inner and outer frame, the coils were sorted, the handle welded on the can and some stainless tube for the whisper bent up. Brilliant.

3 pilot valve sideBack in the workshop all the bits were all bolted together, pressure tested and checked again. Time to light the thing up. Pilot fine, valves all fine, whisper fine, no leaks but there was definitely something amiss with the output. It was certainly not gutsey C3. Clearly the coil was not as it should be. We had thought it looked a little tired but as it had a bracket for a whisper jet we reckoned it was worth a chance. Wrong. Ever the optimist off it came and another one cut up, rewelded and fitted. Bingo, that was a lot better, in fact it was brilliant downside was there was no bracket for the whisper jet. Forgot about that! Never mind we cut the one off the old coil and nipped back over to Booker Paul and the MGs, had a cup of tea and pondered the problem. Half an hour later it was all tigged up and working a treat. Back at base we tested and retested it and tested it again. We reckoned it was the dog’s and about the same weight as a C2 single. Bishy called to say he had been asked to send it out with some cylinders he had hired to Gary and could pick it up the following day. Blimey O’Riley that was close and before we knew it the C3 HobGoblin burner was on its way to Francais land. We let Gary know all was well and poured a large one to celebrate then went home to write a simple ops manual.

All went quiet. We did learn that the burner, basket and frame had all made it and was in Metz with Gary but that was about it. Had it worked as well as we thought it did? Was our man pleased with it? Not a dickeybird. Eventually contact was re-established. The telephone signal at Metz had been miserable and only when he got back to the States was Gary able to tell us that it all went very well and he 6 whisper side c3was happy with it. Big relief all round. As we hadn’t had time to polish up the welds he would do that but the burner had delivered well. It had taken a few days worth of evenings to sort along with a fair few trips to Booker Paul but it had all been worth it and although we didn’t actually get to try it out ourselves we were more than happy with the result. Best thing is we probably have enough bits to build the Mark 2 KingGoblin. So it is truly a big thankyou to Gary Maguire for calling our bluff and giving us the opportunity.

Categorised in: General, Old & Rusty