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Reverse Engineering Beagle Pup Prototype

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About the Project

The original Beagle Pup prototype (G-AVDF) first flew in April 1967 and was the initial version of the 176 aircraft eventually built. The Pup was designed as a single-engine all-metal two-seat aerobatic aircraft or as a four-seat touring aircraft. The aircraft had been in storage for many years, and the plan was for it to be restored to flying condition by the 50th Anniversary of the aircraft in April 2017.

The PES Performance team were asked by ATSO Engineering Ltd to provide a digital archive of the aircraft ahead of its restoration.

The Challenge

The PES team firstly undertook #3Dsscanning of the aircraft’s fuselage and wings to create the digital records of the plane.

As the project continued, the owner David Collings decided to source a donor aircraft to provide spare parts but whilst some parts were a straight fit, it soon became clear when attempting to use some production donor parts, how very different the prototype was. Holes were in different places and screws different sizes, strakes were a different shape and so it went on.

Solving the Wing Spar Issue

One crucial set of donor parts that were different were the wing spars; the parts that attach the wings to the fuselage. The original spars could not be reused, and with no access to the relevant original plans, the PES Performance team worked with ATSO to see if the spars could be reverse engineered to the required size and shape.

As PES Scanning had been able to use 3D optical scanning to provide ATSO with a full record of the aircraft’s exact measurements, the PES design engineers used the scan data to reverse engineer the wing spars for the Beagle Pup.

The team were therefore able to deliver 2D manufacturing drawings for LAA approval. Once the drawings were approved, test parts were manufactured by PES, and a first fitting was made. Final spars were then custom manufactured by the PES Performance team – just for DF.

Back in the Air

After further work by the ATSO team and a squad of willing project volunteers, G-AVDF received its flight certification in the summer of 2020. Once certified, the Beagle Pup prototype was repainted back to its original colour scheme and in September 2020 the work of all involved in the project was celebrated.

The restoration project was recognised in 2021 with the honour of an Innovation in Aviation Heritage Award.