Thursday, 3 October 2013

VC-10 Retirement

The VC-10 - beautiful from any angle in the air or on the ground

Read more about this iconic British aircraft completed it's last flight on the 25th of September 2013 :

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Hawker Siddeley HS-121 Trident Memories

Back in the mid seventies I remember on nice hot sunny days getting on my bike and riding from my home in Windsor to the bottom of Heathrow’s 10L. I would take a packed lunch and sit for hours on the grass and watch aircraft zooming over my head as they touched down. When I smell the fuel now at work it always takes me back to those magic days at the end of the runway or watching aircraft from the top of the Queens Building at the heart of Heathrow.

...and another ZZzzzz

Along with the wonderful smoky and noisy Caravelles, DC-8s, Viscounts etc (I could go on and on) I got so bored of seeing endless British Airways  Tridents. I confess now in the days of all look-a-like jets, how I would love to see a Trident in the air again! Looking back now I think it is time to remember this odd 3 engine beast (or 4 as in the case of the Trident 3Bs). Many pictures are about of BEA/BA’s Tridents so here are most of the others...

Nice colours and photo of  Air Ceylon's Trident 1E 4R-ACN (cn 2135)
See below...

Trident 1E 4R-ACN (cn 2135) Air Lanka after country & airline name change.
I don't think this aircraft ever flew in the new colours?

 A great landing shot of Trident 2E B-2210 (cn 2178) CAAC 

 Trident 1E  G-AVYC (cn 2137) of BKS Air Transport
See below...
Another of  Trident 1E  G-AVYC (cn 2137) this time in Northeast Colours

Chinese Air Force Trident 1E 50051 (cn 2130) 

Trident 2E 5B-DAB (cn 2155) Cyprus Airways

Trident 1E YI-AEA  (cn 2125) Iraqi Airways

Trident 1E  G-AVYB (cn 2136) Channel Airways

Trident 1E 9K-ACH (cn 2134) Kuwait Airways

 Trident 1E AP-AUG (cn 2133) PIA
See below...

Another of Trident 1E AP-AUG (cn 2133) in Pakistan Air Force Colours

Trident 3B 9Q-CTM (cn 2304) Air Charters Zaire

HS-121 Trident 3B G-AWKZ (cn 2312) It was painted by BA Engineering
in BA's Landor colours but never flew like this. Very smart!
See Below...

 Trident 3B G-AWKZ (cn 2312) as she looks in 2013 at Manchester Airport
in BEA colours.  Not bored with Tridents now!
Photo by The Aviation Anorak

Chinese Air Force Trident  50051:

BEA Trident 3B G-AWKZ :

Barrage Balloon Hanger. Pawlett, England

Barrage balloon hanger at Pawlett, Somerset, England. 73 years old and still
standing. Photos Aviation Anorak (Sept 2012)

The main work carried out at Pawlett was the testing of German barrage balloon cables (1-ton breaking strength) as well as our own (breaking 3.25-tons) to draw comparisons (by flying the RAE's aircraft into the cables). Countermeasures to barrage balloons were also developed including various types of strengthened aircraft wing leading edge and, of course, cable cutters. About 12 aircraft were available to the team to carry out this work. They key to the RAE's success however was the barrage balloon and its cables. In order that a balloon(s) was always available it was necessary to have a hangar of sufficient size to house it fully inflated. Repairs to the balloon fabric had also to be carried out and a large fabric store was also built . The balloons had to be tethered at the test area and the concrete tethering pillars also survive.

Only two sites had balloon sheds of this type - the other being the Maintenance Unit at Sutton Coldfield where there were four similar sheds. It was necessary at the MU to have fully inflated repaired balloons to make sure that repairs had been carried out satisfactory. The balloon depots had a much smaller balloon sheds where they were only checked out partially inflated. Balloons from these depots were transported to the operational site many miles from the depot and inflated on site. Pawlett is entirely different - it was fully operational in the sense that the balloons were required on site - hence the need for such a large hangar. All four hangars at Sutton Coldfield have been demolished.

A local resident who moved to the area in 1940 remembers the site in use. The balloon was tethered in the yard and not moved out - the structure on the Hams is the remains of a navigation beacon. The RAE carried out other experiments here including attaching (dummy, paint filled) aerial mines to ballons and testing bombs on the Hams. The test dropping of the first 500lb and 1000lb bombs took place here and other work involved plotting the fall pattern of dummy incendiary bombs.

The hanger appears structurally sound but the cladding is rusting in many places. There was no access to the interior of the hanger. Along the W side of the enclosure is a long building with a garage containg an inspection pit at the southern end. The roof of this building has mostly fallen in. The other buildings are severly overgrown and the site is littered with the remainants of its former use as a scrap and spare parts yard.

The site is located at the junction on Gaunts Farm Road and Ham Lane and covers an area that measures circa 180m by 130m at its widest points. The site housed the barrage balloon hanger as well as accommodation blocks and other auxiliary buildings. This was a Royal Aircraft Establishment set up chiefly for the development of barrage balloon cable-cutting experiments. The accommodation block is centred at ST 2835 4293 and measures 37m long by 9m wide and orientated northeast/southwest. The building is still extant and is now part of a scrap yard. The Barrage balloon Hanger measures 32m long by 28m wide and orientated northeast/southwest. The hanger is still extant and is now used as a store in a scrap yard. An auxiliary building is circa 50m away from the main site. The rectangular building measures circa 4.5m wide by 5m long orientated northwest-southeast with the entrance on the southeast side. This building is still extant. To the south of the site is a white arrow 15m in length which would have shown the direction to the bombing range marker-author unknown (via internet)

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Spitfire Floatplane

With the German invasion of Norway in April 1940 the RAF took an interest in the concept of using floatplane fighters in areas where airfields were not immediately available. To this end a Spitfire Mk I R6722 was taken in hand at the Woolston factory to be modified and mounted on Blackburn Roc floats. Tank tests were carried out at Farnborough, using a 1/7 scale model, it was found that the concept was basically sound, although the vertical tail surfaces would need to be enlarged to counterbalance the side area of the floats. The end of the Battle of Norway and the need for as many Spitfires as possible meant that R6772 was converted back to an ordinary fighter without being flown.

With the entry of Japan into the war the concept was revived in early 1942. A Spitfire V W3760 was fitted with a pair of floats 25 ft 7 in (7.8 m) long, mounted on cantilever legs. This aircraft was powered by a Merlin 45 driving a four-bladed propeller of 11 ft 3 in (3.43 m) diameter (3.4 m). A Vokes filter was fitted to the carburettor air intake and under the tail an extra fin extension was added. Other changes included external lifting points forward of and behind the cockpit and a spin-recovery parachute with a rudder balance-horn guard. The Spitfire floatplane was first flown on 12 October 1942 by Jeffrey Quill. Soon afterwards the Vokes filter was replaced by an Aero-Vee filter, similar to that on later Merlin 61 series aircraft, which was extended to prevent water entry, and full Mk VB armament was installed. Two more VBs EP751 and EP754 were converted by Folland and all three floatplanes were transported to Egypt, arriving in October 1943. At the time it was thought that the floatplanes could operate from concealed bases in the Dodecanese Islands, disrupting supply lines to German outposts in the area which relied on resupply by transport aircraft. This scheme came to naught when a large number of German troops, backed by the Luftwaffe, took over the British held islands of Kos and Leros. No other role could be found for the floatplane Spitfires, which languished in Egypt, operating from the Great Bitter Lake. Specifications for the VB based floatplane included a maximum speed of 324 mph (521 km/h) at 19,500 ft (521 km/h at 5,943 m), a maximum rate of climb of 2,450 ft/min at 15,500 ft (12.45 m/s at 4,724 m) and an estimated service ceiling of 33,400 ft (10,180 m)

In the spring of 1944, with the prospect of use in the Pacific Theatre, a Spitfire IX MJ892 was converted to a floatplane. This used the same components as the earlier Mk VB conversions. Jeffrey Quill wrote:
"The Spitfire IX on floats was faster than the standard Hurricane. Its handling on the water was extremely good and its only unusual feature was a tendency to "tramp" from side to side on the floats, or to "waddle" a bit when at high speed in the plane."
Soon after testing started the idea of using floatplane fighters was dropped and MJ982 was converted back to a landplane. From Wikipedia 

Five aircraft were converted:
Mk I - R6722
Mk Vb - W3760
Mk V - EP751 and EP754
Mk IXb - MJ892

More info @:

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Avro Vulcan B2 XH558

It was great to see this lovely looking and sounding aircraft flying over my home town. Long may she continue flying!
Photo by:The Aviation Anorak
@ Weston Air day 2013 Knightstone island Weston-super-Mare England 22/06/2013  

Beechcraft 34 "Twin-Quad"

A rare one from Beechcraft. More reading @:

Sunday, 21 April 2013

A BAC One-Eleven Getting Down!

A great photo. About 25ft off the ground I would say.
British Island Airways I think? Year? Location? Does anyone know?

Monday, 4 March 2013

727 Short Field Landing

Watch this great clip of the last flight of a Fedex 727-200 into Merrill Field's 4,000ft runway. 
The aircraft was donated to the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Liberator and Swordfish crashes at Orchard Hill Farm Dorset

Aviation follows me even when I am on holiday! I came across this on a walk near Kingston Dorset.
From the Dorset Echo...
On the morning of Friday, June 15, 1945, with the war still raging in the Far East, Liberator JT985 of No 232 Squadron took off from RAF Holmsley South in the New Forest, on the first leg of its long flight to Palam, India. The first refuelling stop was scheduled to be at RAF Castel Benito, near Tripoli in North Africa.
This Liberator was a passenger-carrying RY-3' (US designation) variant, with passenger accommodation in the former bomb bay area as well as within the main fuselage, and was distinguished easily from the twin tail fin bomber variants so well known with Coastal Command and the USAAF by its single large tail fin. It was unarmed.
The aircraft was under the command of Flt Lt Saxon Cole RCAF; other crew members were Fg Off Donald Twaddle RCAF (co-pilot), Fg Off Joseph Todd RCAF (navigator), Fg Off George McPherson RCAF (radio officer and an American citizen) and Sgt George Wyke RAF (flight engineer). The passenger load consisted not of VIPs, as was the more normal load for such a flight, but of 22 airmen being sent out as urgently needed groundcrew at Palam.
The weather at Holmsley South was poor, but both the captain and the duty executive officer considered it suitable for take-off, but poor enough for a diversion to be likely if an early return was necessitated. JT985 departed at 0720 hours.
At 0745 hours, shortly after crossing the coast outbound, the aircraft reported a loss of fuel pressure and that the crew were turning back to carry out a precautionary landing at Holmsley South. This information was repeated again 10 minutes later.
At around 0815 hours the owner of Encombe House, Sir Ernest Scott, and a worker at Encombe dairy saw the aircraft, which was obviously below the height of the hills, and both knew instinctively that it was going to crash.
It impacted on the edge of what is now the Dorset Coastal Path, the wings were ripped off and the engines detached and were thrown forward towards Orchard Hill Farm, one wing coming to rest on the footpath (not a public footpath) in Polar Wood leading from the top of the ridge to the farm. There were no survivors.
The first to reach the scene were an RAF sergeant by the name of Reginald Reynolds, who was staying at Encombe House, and members of an Army searchlight battery located between the farm and the village of Kingston; they were soon joined by RAF personnel from, presumably, nearby RAF Worth Matravers. The National Fire Service from Swanage was soon on the scene, as were local police officers.
When the low cloud lifted at about eleven o'clock a scene of total devastation was revealed.
The tragic remains of 27 bodies was joined by much in the way of personal belongings such as a baby's photograph, playing cards, personal notebooks, wallets and the like, together with a distinguished flying cross, thrown from its box but which was also retrieved.
Who did the DFC belong to? Not any of the crew or passengers, so maybe it was being taken to India for presentation to its owner?
There was also a large amount of tropical uniform items and, to the delight of the local children, tins of boiled sweets.
The bodies of the crash victims were eventually taken away to Poole Mortuary. This was, and still is, Dorset's worst ever air crash.
The crash of Liberator JT985 in June 1945 was not the only fatal aircraft accident on North Hill above Encombe.

On the afternoon of Friday, March 18, 1938, a student on the torpedo course at the Torpedo Training Unit at RAF Gosport took off at 2.15pm in a Mk 1 Swordfish K5985 on a training cross-country flight to Roborough, just north of Plymouth.
The pilot was Plt Off Frederick Edgar Williams, aged 21, his two passengers along for the ride' were Cpl Cyril John Coles, 32, and LAC David Samuel Hurrel, also 21.
Plt Off Williams had just over 200 hours in his logbook, of which 25 were on the Swordfish.
He was briefed to return to Gosport if the weather en route deteriorated, but he seems to have encountered low cloud approaching the Purbecks and tried to duck under it, passed low over Orchard Hill Farm at 2.45pm, clipped the top of the trees in Polar Wood - leaving sections of the aircraft in the tree tops - and nose-dived into the steep hillside some 300 yards away, the Bristol Pegasus engine detaching and rolling further down the valley.
All three onboard were probably killed instantly, despite the brave efforts of local man Bob Dorey, who climbed up from Encombe House to the blazing wreckage with two fire extinguishers and attempted to get close enough to the Swordfish to pull them from the inferno.
Other local folk also tried to get near to the wreckage but were beaten back by the heat of the flames.
Personnel from the Sick Bay Unit at RAF Warmwell attended the scene and had the difficult task of retrieving the three bodies and manhandling them to the top of the ridge before taking them back to base in their ambulance.
The Coroner's inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

"FAB" Gerry Anderson RIP

Thunderbird 2

Thunderbird 2 (ish)

The Genius and inspiration of so many kids who went on to love Aviation - Gerry Anderson 14/4/29-26/12/12

The Thunderbird 2 like airship:

...a lovely dream. If only!