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)