Patria is engaged in the restoration of a VL Myrsky, a fighter plane of historical interest. VL Myrsky is the only Finnish fighter plane ever to enter serial production, with a total of 51 aircraft being constructed in the 1940s. While not a single aircraft has been preserved intact, individual components have, enabling the plane’s restoration.
“Restoring the VL Myrsky fighter plane is like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle. You first need to ensure that you have all the necessary pieces. Such pieces may be original, but you also may need to prepare them from scratch. After that, you can begin to put the jigsaw puzzle together. In doing so, a number of factors need to be taken into account, and some parts will be made at other sites. In other words, while your are putting together the jigsaw puzzle, you need to ensure that its various pieces fit together,” says Janne Salonen, project manager at the Aviation Museum Society.
“In addition, it is important to remember that, for most of those engaged in the construction of the aircraft and for the project management and other people employed by the project, this is voluntary work for which no compensation is paid – it is a leisure activity in fact. The key issue is that the work remains fun and is fulfilling,” he says.
Now, in spring 2017, the restoration project has already reached its halfway milestone, and the results are beginning to take concrete form. The fuselage and the components completed so far are beginning to give the impression of an aircraft. The VL Myrsky fighter plane is undergoing restoration at two workshops in Vantaa and Tikkakoski. The most labour-intensive component, the wooden wing, has kept the Vantaa restoration team busy for almost two years. The carpentry work required for the wing, such as the wing spars, ribs and the fuselage formers, is also gradually being completed. Before the actual wing is ready, a test wing will be built in order to ensure that certain mechanisms to be installed in the wing, as well as various drillings, will work as planned.
In addition to the wing, various missing components as well as moulds required in order to make various parts – known as jigs – have been finished. Alongside the construction of the fuselage and its components, the VL Myrsky has been fitted out and now has a voltage regulator, an oxygen system, a starting crank and various items to be renovated. The engine has also been preliminarily fitted in place, and the complex reaction tube exhaustion pipes are under construction. The aircraft will include a number of interesting details, such as a pair of skis, an axe, a rucksack containing emergency rations and another rucksack for tools, all of which are part of its equipment.
The renovation project is being coordinated by the Aviation Museum Society of Finland, the Finnish Air Force Museum and the Finnish Aviation Museum. The restoration of the VL Myrsky fighter is mainly being carried out by volunteer members of the the Tuesday Club of the Aviation Museum Society; most of the volunteers are retired. Young people attending workshops organised by the Jyväskylä and Vantaa vocational colleges are also playing an active role. During the course of 2017, the workshop for young people in Vantaa will assemble the fuselage cover of the aircraft. The restoration of the Myrsky fighter aircraft is expected to take six years, with the VL Myrsky being ready for display in autumn 2019.