Sunday, 22 January 2012

Cabin Insulation

Cabin Insulation

Yet, another feature that will likely be ignored by all but the most thorough of modelers, especially in larger scales, is the cabin insulation.  The most noticeable difference between the insulation on one variant compared with the other was colour.  Early insulation on the Voyageur was a very pale green compared with a light to medium gray on the Labrador.  The two different insulation materials do not lend themselves well to scale modelers so will likely be avoided by most... that said, as insulation wore out and was replaced the difference in insulation slowly disappeared until eventually all insulation was the medium gray of the Labrador.

The picture above clearly captures the difference in colour of the original Voyageur insulation and that of Labradors. The lighter green insulation used originally in Voyageurs can be seen on the cabin ceiling and wire/tubing tunnel covers. The walls are adorned with gray replacement insulation more commonly associated with Labradors. The aircraft above is from 103 Rescue Squadron (Gander, NL) and is participating in Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX), thus the reason all eyes are in the windows. Photo DND
The insulation on either variant is straightforward. The criss-cross pattern often associated with aircraft insulation is incorrect for Labradors and Voyageurs. On these helicopters, the insulation was nothing more than a padded material that did not have cross-stitching. It was held on to the airframe in one of two manners and in some cases or locations both. The older method (still used to a degree) was to use snaps. The second method was Velcro.  Here is where it could get tricky modeling insulation if you are really into the accuracy thing. Before, an airframe arrived back at the unit (after being in Arnprior for thorough maintenance) the insulation was installed (or reinstalled) before fixtures and fittings were put back into the cabin. Everything...including the radio boxes, which were set into a position essentially recessed behind the insulation, had covers. It did not take long for these covers and other similar covers to go missing leaving structural components including the outer skin, exposed. Also behind the insulation were the 28 volt outlets, heating duct controls and for a time the hoist controls. Access to these areas was frequent and the constant tugging and pulling of the insulation resulted in Velcro strips glued to the airframe coming off leaving the insulation hanging. It would only be a nuisance for so long before someone would "store” a part of the insulation, notably the blanket in front of the hoist station, for safekeeping.

The 424 Transport and Rescue (T & R) Squadron, Trenton Voyageur trains CASARA spotters. Wire/tubing tunnels unique to the Voyageur can be seen on both sides of the cabin at a point where the walls transition into the ceiling. Photo courtesy of Terry Cooper
Looking at the point were the cabin walls merge into the ceiling, it is clear there are no wire/tubing tunnel covers in the Labrador. Photo courtesy Jeff Wilson
 A difference in insulation that did not disappear over time or with the any of the modification programs was the use of wire and tubing covers in the Voyageur. Pictures of Voyageur airframes above clearly show the covers, which ran the length the fuselage, on both sides of Voyageurs only. The picture immediately above this paragraph show the lack of the tunnel covers on the Labrador.!

This picture shows the typically sloppy fit of the Labrador insulation. Photo courtesy of Mo Egan and Carole Smith

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