Conserving the Dornier: The Hydration Tunnels

The Dornier is currently housed in two purpose built Hydration Tunnels. Each tunnel measures 20 metres in length and 7 metres wide , with a height of 3.5 metres. Within the tunnels is a moisture spray system comprising 36 nozzles hanging down from the ceiling and a series of tubes with directional nozzles which can spray underneath the aircraft.

All the water that hits the aircraft, the fuselage, and the wings will then disperse through the drainage system located in the floor of each tunnel. This water is filtered and stored in a tank located in a pumping house where it is re-circulated back into the hydration chambers. Before being re-circulated, the pH level of the water is checked to ensure that it is of the right value to gently wash away the salts and chemicals that have accreted to the airframe over time without damaging the paintwork or any of the components within the wings and the fuselage. This approach is an innovative one and one that has never been done before in the conservation of an aircraft recovered from water.