Branch Secretary : Alan V by Hh6tb8


									                                                      Branch Secretary : Alan V. J. Eley
                                                                                46, Cricket Lane
                                                                                 Lichfield, Staffs
                                                                                     WS14 9ER
                                                                                 01543-264674
                                                                       E-mail :

                                                January 2012 Newsletter
A Happy Christmas to all our readers !                   After a very successful year for our
branch, with six new members joining our ranks, the branch has finished the year with a small
surplus, so it is nice to give each of our members a smart new diary for 2012 (these are being
posted to all members) in which to write the dates of our branch meetings and other important
airshow dates such as Waddington, Fairford, Farnborough, Yeovilton and all the branch trips
that we shall be announcing in March. Despite the financial doom and gloom, let’s look
forward to another vintage year for aviation, where there’s always something new and
interesting going on. Thanks for being a branch member and a Merry Christmas, one and all !
Branch meetings             Our Annual Branch Aircraft Recognition Contest on Tuesday
29 November was won by Gordon Bayliss who graciously passed the prize to second-placed
Nigel Newman (Gordon won the contest two years ago). Our thanks to Phil Cross for setting
the competition this year : his first aircraft picture was fiendishly difficult, it showed an Il-96
from the rear and slightly above as it prepared to land, with the shape and number of its engines
masked……..The remaining pictures were somewhat easier to identify.
                    Our next Branch meeting will be on Tuesday 31st January, when Nigel
Newman is to give a mystery presentation. Don’t miss this ! Our topics for the rest of 2012
were listed in the December newsletter, why not mark them in now in your Air-Britain diary ?
Airport Security The usual warning to be on your guard when in and around airports.
 If you have any suspicions that a terrorist act is about to happen at an airport or airfield,
       use the hot-line direct to the Anti-Terrorist Squad : 0800-789-321.
Airline news           -   The final revenue flight by a Boeing 737 in Easy Jet service was
by G-AZKC on 1 November 2011. It was ferried to Kemble on 21/11, following G-EZKD
which arrived there on 3/11. Both these 2004 build jets are to be parted out, their value as
spare parts being more than the market value of a seven-year old Boeing 737 New Generation.
Just a few weeks earlier, on 9th September, Easy Jet took delivery of its 153rd and final Airbus
A319 G-EZGR. The airline still has 36 A320s on order to enable it to carry more passengers
on longer sectors.
                       -    Martinair of Holland has switched to being an all-cargo airline
after 53 years of providing passenger and cargo services. Its last passenger service was held
31st October, and the company is to retire its three Boeing 767s, of which one (PH-MCL)
wears a retro scheme once seen on Martinair DC-3s. Martinair’s passenger services will be
transferred to KLM Martinair will continue operating its three 747 freighters and seven
                       -    British Airways is preparing for the 2013 delivery of its A380s by
raising the roof on its maintenance hangars at Heathrow. In fact the massive entrance doors
designed in the 1950s to accommodate the Bristol Britannia have been raised by almost 12 ft !
British Airways is putting back into service its 747-436 G-BNLG, which has spent eighteen
months in desert storage at Victorville, California, waiting for passenger demand to pick up.
It was flown back to the UK in June 2011 for refurbishment at BA’s Cardiff base before
re-entering service at Heathrow in November.
Industry news               -     On 1st December the very first Boeing 787 Dreamliner
ZA001(N787BA, c/n. 40690) was flown to Palmdale, California for long-term storage, minus
its engines. It is eventually intended to join the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field, Seattle.
This flight-test airframe was never likely to enter airline service. It is stuffed with many tons
of test equipment, and the aircraft now entering regular service with ANA and other carriers
are significantly improved over the prototype. Since its long-awaited maiden flight on 15th
December 2009, ZA001 has flown 1326 hours during 518 flights. Meanwhile on December
6th - 8th the sixth 787 to be built has achieved new records for speed and distance, being
flown 10,710 miles from Seattle across the USA, across the Atlantic Ocean, eastwards over
the Mediterranean, over Egypt, the Gulf States and India, before landing at Dhaka,
Bangladesh. Following a two-hour refuelling-stop, the six-man crew then flew the aircraft
back over the Pacific to Seattle, a distance of 9734 miles. A further seven people were on
board : Boeing company officials and engineers and an observer from the National
Aeronautic Association to validate the flight. The complete round the world flight lasted 42
hours and 27 minutes. The new aeroplane is said to be 20 per cent more fuel-efficient than its
predecessors, the A330 and Boeing 777 and will be flown between many more city pairs than
are presently linked by air. The 50th 787 is in final assembly and production rate is 2.5 aircraft
a month. 821 Boeing 787s are on order.
Airport News           - Heathrow airport began mixed-mode runway operations on 1st
November. For a trial period of four months, landings and take-offs will be made on the most
convenient runway, increasing the capacity of the runway system. Up to the start of this trial
there had been set periods for using the northern runway for take-offs only, switching to the
southern runway at 3 pm daily and vice-versa in the following week. This was to give some
respite to local residents in Hounslow and Cranford, who will now have no quieter period
during their day. The trial will give Heathrow operator BAA experience in picking the right
runway for extra large aircraft such as the A380, so as to reduce the effects of wake vortex on
following aircraft. Mixed mode operation should cut down the amount of time aircraft are
held ‘in the stack’ before landing and may reduce the number of night flights. A further
mixed-mode trial period will run from 1st July to 30th September, during the summer peak.
New on the scene         -    These are the new GB airliner registrations this month

   Reg.         Type           c/n        p.i. Operator                     Further details
 G-CGZB       Avro RJ.85      2288      D-AVRM Trident Aviation             Reg. 25/ 11/ 11
 G-FBJA         ERJ.170       0326         -   Flybe Ltd                    Reg. 23/ 11/ 11
 G-FBJC         ERJ.170       03268        -   Flybe Ltd                    Reg. 23/ 11/ 11
 G-FDZY         737-8K5       37261        -   Thomson Airways              Reg. 22/ 11/ 11
 G-GSSD        747-87UF       37561        -   Global Supply                Reg. 2/ 11/ 11
                                               Systems Ltd,
                                               (to be operated in
                                               ‘British Airways
                                               World Cargo’ livery)
Subject: Delta pilot en route to NRT (Narita Airport, Tokyo)
John Grindon has sent in this item, which takes the form of a letter from a Delta 767 pilot
(presumably to his family) following a rather fraught arrival in Japan, just hours after the
earthquake and tsunami in March 2011

        “ I'm currently still in one piece, writing from my room in the Narita crew hotel.
It's 8 am. This was my inaugural trans-pacific trip as a brand new, recently checked out,
international 767 Captain and it has been interesting, to say the least, so far. I've crossed
the Atlantic three times so the ocean crossing procedures were familiar.
        By the way, stunning scenery flying over the Aleutian Islands. Everything
 was going fine until 100 miles out from Tokyo and in the descent for arrival. The first
indication of any trouble was that Japan air traffic control started putting everyone into
holding patterns. At first we thought it was usual congestion on arrival. Then we got a
company data link message advising about the earthquake, followed by another stating
Narita airport was temporarily closed for inspection and expected to open shortly
(the company is always so positive).
          From our perspective, things were obviously looking a little different. The
Japanese controller's anxiety level seemed quite high and he said “Expect indefinite holding
time”. No one would commit to a time frame on that, so I got my co-pilot and relief pilot
busy looking at divert stations and our fuel situation, which, after an ocean crossing is
typically low.
          It wasn't long, maybe ten minutes, before the first pilots started requesting
diversions to other airports. Air Canada, American, United, etc. all reporting minimal
fuel situations. I still had enough fuel for 1.5 to 2.0 hours of holding. Needless to say,
the diverts started complicating the situation.
         Japan air traffic control then announced Narita was closed indefinitely, due to
damage. Planes immediately started requesting arrivals into Haneda, near Tokyo, a half dozen
JAL and western planes got clearance in that direction but then ATC announced Haneda had
just closed. Uh oh! Now instead of just holding, we all had to start looking at more distant
alternatives like Osaka, or Nagoya. One bad thing about a large airliner is that you can't just
be-pop into any little airport. We generally need lots of runway. With more planes piling in
from both east and west, all needing a place to land and several now fuel critical, ATC was
getting over-whelmed.
          In the scramble, and without waiting for my fuel to get critical, I got my flight a
clearance to head for Nagoya, fuel situation still okay. So far so good. A few minutes into
heading that way, I was "ordered" by ATC to reverse course. Nagoya was saturated with
traffic and unable to handle more planes (read- airport full). Ditto for Osaka. With that
statement, my situation went instantly from fuel okay, to fuel minimal considering we might
have to divert a much farther distance. Multiply my situation by a dozen other aircraft all
in the same boat, all making demands requests and threats to ATC for clearances somewhere.
Air Canada and then someone else went to "emergency" fuel situation. Planes started to
heading for air force bases. The nearest to Tokyo was Yokoda AFB. I threw my hat in the ring
for that initially. The answer - Yokoda closed ! No more space.
         By now it was a three-ring circus in the cockpit, my co-pilot on the radios, me flying
and making decisions and the relief co-pilot buried in the air charts trying to figure out where
to go that was within range, while data link messages were flying back and forth between us
and company dispatch in Atlanta. I picked Misawa AFB at the north end of Honshu island.
We could get there with minimal fuel remaining. ATC was happy to get rid of us so we
cleared out of the maelstrom of the Tokyo region. We heard ATC try to send planes toward
Sendai, a small regional airport on the coast which was later the one I think that got flooded
by a tsunami.
          Atlanta dispatch then sent us a message asking if we could continue to Chitose
airport on the Island of Hokkaido, north of Honshu. Other Delta planes were heading that
way. More scrambling in the cockpit - check weather, check charts, check fuel, okay. We
could still make it and not be going into a fuel critical situation .… if we had no other fuel
delays. As we approached Misawa we got clearance to continue to Chitose. Critical decision
thought process. Let's see - trying to help company - plane overflies perfectly good divert
airport for one farther away...wonder how that will look in the safety report, if anything goes
wrong. Suddenly ATC comes up and gives us a vector to a fix well short of Chitose and tells
us to standby for holding instructions. Nightmare realized. Situation rapidly deteriorating.
After initially holding near Tokyo, starting a divert to Nagoya, reversing course back to
Tokyo then to re-diverting north toward Misawa, all that happy fuel reserve that I had was
vaporizing fast. My subsequent conversation, paraphrased
of course...., went something like this :
            "Request clearance direct to Chitose, minimum fuel, unable hold."
            "Negative Ghost-Rider, the pattern is full."
            "Sapporo Control - make that - Delta XX declaring emergency, low fuel,
proceeding direct Chitose."
            "Roger Delta XX, understood, you are cleared direct to Chitose,
contact Chitose approach....etc...."
          Enough was enough, I had decided to pre-empt actually running critically low
on fuel while in another indefinite holding pattern, especially after bypassing Misawa, and
played my last ace...declaring an emergency. The problem with that is, now I have
a bit of company paperwork to do, but what the heck !
         As it was - landed Chitose, safe, with at least 30 minutes of fuel remaining before
reaching a "true" fuel emergency situation. That's always a good feeling, being safe. They
taxied us off to some remote parking area where we shut down and watched a half dozen or
more other airplanes come streaming in. In the end, Delta had two 747s, my 767 and another
767 and a 777 all on the ramp at Chitose. We saw two American Airlines planes, a United
and two Air Canada as well. Not to mention several extra All Nippon and Japan Air Lines
planes (20 got down there in all).
         Post-script : Nine hours later, Japan Air Lines finally got around to getting a
boarding ladder to the plane where we were able to get off and clear customs - that however,
is another interesting story. By the way - while writing this I have felt four
additional tremors that shook the hotel slightly - all in 45 minutes.
          Cheers, Al.”
(They say airline pilots have a cushy life and only start to earn their money in the last few minutes
of a flight – think again !)
A report on the Dubai Air Show Held between 13th and 17th November at the Airport
Expo Centre close to the runways at Dubai International Airport (DXB), the 2011 Dubai
Airshow saw $63 billion worth of orders placed for aircraft, maintenance services and training
programmes. Conferences were held daily, on such topics as flight training, an airline safety
review, helicopter operations in the Gulf, business aircraft etc. In two years time the next
Dubai Airshow will be held at Dubai World Central (DWC), a vast new airport at Al
Maktoum, which will provide a lot more space for exhibition halls and outdoor static display
of new aircraft. The 2011 saw the first arrival of a Boeing 787 in the form of the third
prototype, also the Bell MV-22 Osprey. As the biggest and best airshow in the Middle east,
the show attracted many exhibitors and the world’s manufacturers were there in force : 44
airliners or biz-jets were present, 7 turbo-prop aircraft (a Dash 8 , PC-12, four King Airs and a
P.180 Avanti) plus 38 light aircraft and military machines, while there were 15 items in the
flying display (see list attached). The USAF sent a C-17, C-130J and F-15, the US Navy an
E-2C Hawkeye, MH-60R Seahawk and F-18E Super Hornet, the Turkish Air Force sent a 737
AEW version as shown at Farnborough in 2010. Another novelty from Farnborough 2010 was
the Pakistan Air Force’s JF-17 Thunder jet fighter, while the UAE Air Force brought a full
contingent of AH-64D Apache, UH-60, Bell 407, MB-339, F-16, Mirage 2000 and C-17. A
big shock to Dassault salesmen was the announcement that the proposed Rafale deal was off
and the United Arab Emirates Air Force order for new fighters is to be open to tender, inviting
makers of the Boeing F-15E and F/A-18E/F, the F-16E/F and Typhoon to replace the UAE’s
60 Mirage 2000s with their latest products. Dassault’s bid to supply 60 Rafales was rejected
as ‘uncompetitive’. Emirates placed the largest ever order in airline history for a further 50
Boeing 777-300ERs plus 20 more on option for a total of 26 billion dollars Qatar Airways
placed a firm order for 50 Airbus A320neos and options on a further 30, as well as five
A380s. The airline’s outspoken chief executive Akbar Al Baker is losing patience with
Airbus over his planned acquisition of A330 freighters : he is anxious to see a conversion
programme set up at Singapore to produce freighters from Qatar Airways passenger A330s,
while Airbus would like him to buy new-build A330Fs at much greater cost. To show his
airline means business Al Baker placed an order for two Boeing 777Fs, suggesting they might
be only the first of many Boeing-sourced freighters unless Airbus re-considers ! He also
expressed frustration at the announcement that the first A350-900 for which Qatar is the
launch customer would not now enter service before 2014 (Airbus has just revealed there will
be a six month delay in the A350 programme.
          The flying display at Dubai had to be fitted in around normal airline operations.
It included the following items : The Chinese AVIC MA600 twin turboprop airliner, Pilatus
PC-21, Italian AF C-27J, two UAE Mirage 2000s and three F-16s, two Pakistan AF JF-17s,
plus a Karakoram 8 jet trainer and Super Mushtak, two French AF Rafales, the M-346 jet
trainer, two RAF Typhoons, an AH-6i, two USAF F-15Es, seven MB-339s of the UAE
aerobatic team Al Fursan (The Knights) and 8 Alpha Jets of La Patrouille de France.

The report on our Branch visit to the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton
and Cobham Hall The day began with a look at activities at Kemble, where the
scrapping area contained the former Air France 747 F-GEXA, and A320s F-GFKI and
F-GHQH, also former Flybe Avro RJ.100 G-JEBV and ex Germania 737 D-AGEB, while the
A320 G-STRP of Astraeus was waiting for the chop in the colours of its last leasing customer
Dubrovnik Airways (this was c/n 136 which had served with Iberia and Clickair as EC-FBQ
and EC-GRF). Being stripped of engines and equipment outside the Delta Jets hangar were the
ex SAS 737 LN-BRJ and Thomas Cook Airlines A320 OO-TCR, while further round and in
rather better shape were ex MK Airlines 747Fs G-MKCA and G-MKGA. In store outside the
Chevron hangar were 146 G-ZAPO, Avro RJ.85 G-CFZM in the colours of the Indian
company Jagson Airlines, Avro RJ.100s G-BZAT and -BZAX, plus two RJ.85s OH-SAK and
OH-SAP of Blue 1, now up for sale. One of the former Farnair Hungary F.27s HB-FAD is
now registered N19XE and was doing engine runs during our visit, the other two HA-FAF and
HA-FAH are still in store. Awaiting delivery to India was the DC-3C N347DK now painted
in Indian Air Force markings and due to go to the Indian Air Force Museum. The six ex RAF
Dominie T.1 navigation trainers are still in store. Two biz-jet fuselages parked outside on
trailers : Lockheed JetStar N28AG and B.Ae 125-800B YL-VIP. Of great interest in the
Delta Jets hangar was the Nimrod R.1 XV249 which flew in here from Waddington on 29th
July after the last-ever flight of a Nimrod anywhere in the world. It is being dismantled prior
to delivery by road to the RAF Museum at Cosford.
           On what turned out to be a very wet day we then made our way to Yeovilton,
visiting Cobham Hall on its one and only Open Day in 2011. This new-build facility is a
store-house of Fleet Air Arm aircraft past and present, but with no space for proper restoration
work, which has to be carried out in one small bay of the main museum, as and when an
aircraft is needed for display. The aircraft and helicopters in Cobham Hall are very close
together, in some cases with wings off, meaning photographing the exhibits is a challenge and
even identifying all the machines on the official list is difficult (an upper gallery allows a
panoramic view of all the exhibits). Nonetheless, it is not every day you see a Douglas
Skyraider in Royal Navy colours or an immaculate Sea Venom, while the sight of the
Supermarine 510 (like a swept-wing Attacker, and the first swept-wing aeroplane to land on
an aircraft carrier, back in 1950) and the Hawker P.1052 (the Rolls-Royce Nene powered
prototype that was to lead to the Hunter design) delighted most of our group. Three Wasps,
two Saunders-Roe P.531s (which were prototypes for the Wasp and Scout), four Whirlwinds,
two Wessexes and a Gazelle were lined up in a tiny space next to an A.109 ZE411 once flown
by the SAS (and before that by the Argentine Army in the Falklands !) Other war-prizes from
the South Atlantic conflict in 1982 were the Bell UH-1H Huey and Beech Mentor. Another
clutch of aircraft (replicas this time) came from the WWI period : an Albatros, Fokker
Triplane, Sopwith Baby, Camel and Triplane, while in one corner were the pieces of five
wrecked Fairey Barracudas, that were laid out in a rough approximation of how the restorers
might get to work to rebuild one passable example of the WWII dive-bomber. 23 fixed-wing
aircraft and 16 helicopters were noted during this visit.
     A little further along the road we came to the Fleet Air Arm Museum proper, which is
open every day in the summer months and five days a week in the winter (it is no longer
guarded by the Buccaneer 5th prototype XK488, which is now enjoying a well-earned rest in
the dry in a corner of Cobham Hall). A Sea Harrier FA.2 XZ499 and Sea King HAS.6
XZ574 have been added in recent years, also a very well-restored Westland Dragonfly HR.1
VX595 that once flew with the Empire Test Pilots’ School at Farnborough, otherwise not
many of the aircraft have changed, although there are now more themed displays showing for
example the effects of the kamikaze campaign, the Korean War etc. Sea Fury WJ231 is on
show wearing black and white Korean War stripes and the code 115/O, recalling the incident
on 9/8/52 when Lt Peter Carmichael flying WJ232 shot down a North Korean Mig-15
(a look-alike North Korean Mig is shown suspended above the Sea Fury in the Yeovilton
museum). The highlight of the visit has to be the Carrier Deck show where eight RN fast-jets
from various eras are shown parked or ‘about to be launched by steam catapult’. The light
levels are higher than on a previous visit and the use of digital cameras enables clearer
pictures to be taken of this fabulous selection of Royal Navy types : Sea Vampire, Attacker,
Sea Hawk, Scimitar, Sea Vixen, Buccaneer S.1 and S.2 and Phantom FG.1. Entering the
‘island’ on this pretend aircraft carrier allows you to imagine life on a Royal Navy carrier in
the 1950-1980 period, with realistic sounds and mannequins dressed as officers on duty on the
bridge and in the Ops Room. Passing through an exhibition of Royal Navy campaigns past
and present, one can see into the restoration bay where Grumman Martlet AL246 is being
prepared for public display again its bright midnight blue paint stripped back to show a war-
weary airframe covered with dents and scratches…… Also in there is the frame of a Sea
Gladiator that will one day be fully rebuilt and put on display.
           In the Concorde Hall next to G-BSST are two aircraft that proved the concept of
the ogive-shaped wings fitted to Concorde : the slow-speed Handley Page 115 and the high-
speed Fairey Delta 2 in its BAC 221 guise. A series of displays pay due homage to Peter
Twiss, the Fairey Aviation test-pilot who flew the FD2 to 1132 mph in March 1956. His
contribution to the James Bond film ‘From Russia with love’ (he organised the fleet of Fairey
Huntsman motor-boats used in a chase scene and even steered one of the boats) was
acknowledged. Having an Aston Martin DB5 in the hangar, together with a Bensen gyrocopter
G-AZAZ and lots of photos and panels helped to create the ‘007’ atmosphere and tell the life-
story of the great British test-pilot, who died earlier this year. Tribute is paid to Sir Sidney
Camm’s VTOL concept and the revolutionary Pegasus engine, in the form of the P.1127
prototype XP980, Sea Harrier FRS.1 XZ493 and the Hunter T.8M XL580 that carried the
Blue Vixen radar from the Sea Harrier for training Royal Navy pilots how to locate and attack
enemy aircraft. The Concorde hangar also contains a Bristol Scout replica suspended from the
ceiling and the sole surviving Westland Wyvern VR137. It is possible to walk through the
Concorde, which contained several tons of test and data-recording equipment
The history of South African Air Force Base Ysterplaat on its 70th birthday
Ysterplaat commemorates 70 years On a visit to South Africa earlier this year,
member Roger Dykes obtained a souvenir magazine printed by The Cape Odyssey to mark the
70th Anniversary of AFB Ysterplaat, the main military base at Cape Town. This is a précis of
that report :
        “What is now known as South African Air Force Base Ysterplaat (it means metal
plate) was formally established on 23rd October 1941, a mere 38 years since the first flight of
the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk.
        A grass runway had existed at Brooklyn as early as 1929 for use by civilian pilots,
training students with De Havilland Moths, and it was here that Union Airways began
operating a scheduled airmail service. The basis of the Union Airways operation was to link
the Cape to Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban with
weekly services that left Brooklyn after the arrival of the Union Castle mailships from
England on Monday mornings. Flights back to Brooklyn were timed to allow passengers to
catch the ship sailing back to England, thus speeding up special mail deliveries destined for
         In 1938 with the clouds of war beginning to gather over Europe, the South African
Air Force developed a scheme to train 1000 pilots, initially with civilian instructors from the
flying schools. They flew Hawker Hartbees biplanes (a locally-built version of the Hawker
Audax) followed by Airspeed Oxfords and Avro Ansons for advanced training. So began
Brooklyn’s military heritage. The purpose of establishing Air Force Station Brooklyn in 1941
was to support Air Depots (similar to the UK’s Maintenance Units) that were assembling
aircraft for the war. By the middle of January 1942 (the warm season in the southern
hemisphere) the workshops were functioning and by the end of the month 124 crated aircraft
had arrived for assembly. 58 assembled aircraft had already been flown out of Brooklyn to
awaiting schools. An idea of the activities at the base can be gauged from the numbers of
aircraft being built and flown out : 790 in the first year (they comprised 154 Miles Masters,
63 Martin Baltimores, 254 Airspeed Oxfords, 148 Avro Ansons, 79 North American
Harvards, 5 De Havilland Dominies, 9 Bristol Beauforts and even 78 Fairey Battles - an
obsolete type which received a severe mauling in the Battle for France in 1940. Later in the
war Hawker Hurricanes and Curtiss Kittyhawks were assembled here as well. The station was
far from the front-line and never hosted operational units during WWII. Number 9 Air Depot
was in fact disbanded at the end of March 1944, with talk of handing over the extensive
workshop facilities to private enterprise.
          However after the war ended 300 North American Harvard advanced trainers were
crated and despatched from Brooklyn and the first jet aircraft, a Meteor F.III was assembled
there and test-flown on 14th May 1946. In 1947 Number 11 Air Depot was disbanded, leading
to the station becoming known as Air Force Base Ysterplaat and 17 Squadron arrived, to be
followed by 7 and 27 squadrons in 1951, operating Harvards and Venturas. Meteors and
Vampires followed. By 1953 the Air Navigation School was established on the base. In 1957
Number 35 Squadron relocated from Durban to Ysterplaat and started to operate the famous
Shackleton MR.3 on maritime patrol duties off the South African coast. At the end of that
year 17 Squadron, operating French-built Alouettes, the SAAF’s first helicopters, became a
lodger unit, later Westland Wasps were added. In October 1962 No.2 Air Depot was
established at Ysterplaat and is still there to this day. In February 1968 16 Sqn and 25 Sqn
attained operational status at the base, making it the jewel in the SAAF crown. Dakotas being
used by 27 Sqn in the maritime-patrol role were replaced by Piaggio P.166S Albatrosses in
1968, although an updated Dakota with turbo-prop power has since been added to the SAAF
inventory. The end of the war in Angola and Namibia (formerly South-West Africa) led to
changes of units and re-equipment with new types. Today two operational squadrons are
based here : 35 Sqn and 22 Sqn, equipped with the C-47 turboprop conversion for maritime
patrol and the Oryx (Puma) and Lynx helicopter. The helicopters are often called out on
mercy missions , including fire-fighting with huge buckets suspended beneath the Oryx for
dropping a large amount of water (usually sea-water) on forest fires in the dry season. An
Air Force Reserve unit 110 Sqn is also stationed at the base, as is part of the South African Air
Force Museum Historic Flight, maintaining and cherishing the last airworthy Avro
Shackleton in the world (the main SAAF Museum is at Port Elizabeth).”
Preservation news         -       A new exhibits at the RAF Museum Cosford is the red and
white painted Comper Swift G-ACGL, built in 1933 and originally owned by the Spitfire
test-pilot Alex Henshaw, who flew it in the 1933 King’s Cup Air Race wearing the race
number ‘6’ that it carries today on the tail. Only eight examples of this dumpy little aircraft
remain now from a production run of 41. It must be difficult to see what’s directly in front,
with the pilot’s seat being behind the wing and the Pobjoy R engine blocking much of the
view ahead. The aircraft has been lovingly restored by Skysport Engineering of Hatch,
Bedfordshire over the last 18 months. It was unveiled at Cosford by Alex Henshaw’s son also
named Alex Henshaw, on 3rd November. Also put on display at Cosford in recent weeks was
the PRU-blue painted Spitfire XIX PM651 which was for many years the gate-guardian at
RAF Benson, Oxfordshire, from where many wartime photo-reconnaissance missions were
flown. At one time in the 1990s the aircraft was on show at Hendon, but lacking its rudder,
and a new one was fitted during the preparation for the historic aircraft’s return to public view.
In recent years this Spit has been lying in store with wings off in the RAF Stafford store-
house. Together with the three PR.XIXs originally flown by the BBMF (PM631, PS853 and
PS915), it formed part of the THUM flight at RAF Woodvale in the 1940s and 50s, its pilots
going up in all weathers and reporting on Temperature and HUMidity, not to mention clouds,
ice formation, turbulence, haze and prevailing weather conditions. PM651 also played a part
in the feature film ‘Battle of Britain’ in 1967, appearing in ground shots in the distance, as
long-fuselage Spitfires with Griffon engines were not appropriate in a 1940-vintage fim.

                        -         It is sad to record the demise of the English Electric Lightning
F.2A XN728 that had lain for 28 years in a compound by the A1 at Balderton near Newark,
Notts. Generations of vandals had left their mark upon it and torn off any loose bits, leaving
the aircraft sitting on its tail covered in multi-coloured paint splodges and graffiti, so the
decision to scrap the aircraft has to be the right one. XN728 served 92 Sqn with distinction
in RAF Germany (coded ‘V’) until it was returned to this country on 4 th April 1977 to act
as a ground decoy at RAF Coningsby, with the Ground Instructional number 8546M. It was
eventually sold off to be a promotional tool for a Nottinghamshire firm (A1 Commercials),
leaving RAF Coningsby by road on 24th October 1983, to suffer a long and painful death.
It appears that the nose section has been saved for eventual restoration by Lincolnshire
collector Mark Rumble : it may go on show at the ‘Cockpitfest’ at Newark Air Museum in a
year or two.
                        -       At the Bournemouth Aviation Museum on the south side of the
airport, restoration has just been completed on the Vampire T.11 G-DUSK which is painted as
XE856, in the markings of its last RAF operator 219 Sqn which flew Venom night-fighters
out of Driffield, Yorks. It had previously served with 226 OCU at Stradishall and with the
North Weald Station Flight. The cockpit has been lovingly restored to its former glory.
                       -     A short visit to Booker on 1st November revealed some treasures
from the former Lasham air museum, namely the Sea Prince C.1 WF137, Sea Hawk FGA.4
WV798, De Havilland Australia DHA.3 Drover VH-FDT (ex G-APXX) and the ex Danish
Air Force Hunter F.51 E-423 mentioned last month, as well as the Hunter T.7 XL592 that
arrived from storage at Kemble in mid November. All of these are lying dismantled with
Barry Parkhouse Aviation, together with a very rare beast, ex Indian Air Force Hawker
Tempest II HA557, coded O. Where has that emerged from ? (It was bought from the Indian
Air Force c.1978 by Warbirds of Great Britain, ownership then passed c.1980 to Tangmere
Flight, then to Tempest Two of Gainsborough, and the aircraft is believed to have been sold in
France in the 1990s.)
                             -         Branch members who visited the Aero Venture Museum
at Doncaster on 20th July will recall seeing the yellow Whirlwind XJ398 being hoisted on to
a low-loader for transport to RAF Leconfield. It now transpires this was for an Open Day on
23rd July at the base, which is home to the Search and Rescue Sea Kings of 202 Sqn RAF. On
its arrival the 1955-vintage Whirlwind HAR.10 had RAF RESCUE markings and a 202 Sqn
crest applied, before it was put on show next to Sea King HAR.3 XZ586. This particular
Whirlwind never entered service with the RAF : it was first used as a prototype for the HAR.5
and HAS.7 versions, to test the installation of the Alvis Leonides Major engine, then
converted to take the lighter Bristol-Siddeley Gnome turboshaft engine. It was on the books
of the RAE and ETPS at Farnborough at various times before being civilianised as G-BDBZ ;
after long periods of storage at Luton and Kidlington it emerged at the Yorkshire Air Museum
at Elvington in August 1999, before transfer to Aero Venture in April 2003.
                      -      A more modern design of helicopter is the Westland Lynx
HAS.3 XZ233 which has now joined the Royal Navy Historic Flight at Yeovilton.

The RAF’s Tactical Weapons Unit (TWU) based at RAF Brawdy (Pt 2)
 [Part 3 next month will give details of the two seater Hunter T.7s seen by Phil Cross
at Brawdy during his visit in December 1977]
Here is a list of the Hunters on view at Brawdy on 20th December 1977, together
with details of their eventual fate (Part 2)
F.6, F.6A and FGA.9 single-seaters wearing number codes 11-48

Code      Serial    Previous service details and subsequent fate

  11      XE606     F.6A – Central Fighter Establishment, 54 Sqn, 65 Sqn, 74 Sqn, 92
                    Sqn, 229 OCU, TWU.
                    Intended initially for BDRT at Brüggen, but then re-allocated to
                    20 Sqn at Laarbruch for display duties 11/ 84, moved there by
                    road from the UK 7/ 12/ 84 for GI, later adopted as the 20 Sqn
                    mascot and painted as ‘XJ 673 / XX’ with the maintenance
                    serial 8841M ; later adopted by 4 Sqn and moved with them to
                    Cottesmore 11/ 99 as ‘XJ 673/ A’, then painted with its proper
                    serial as XE 606/ A and displayed proudly outside the 4 Sqn
                    hangar at Cottesmore, still present in 2011
  12      XE608     F.6A – Central Fighter Establishment, 229 OCU, TWU.
                    To Brüggen 10/81 intended for Battle Damage Repair Training,
                    but saved from that fate and became the 20 Sqn mascot coded
                    ‘XX’, sadly it was to be condemned to BDRT in 11/84 and ended
                    its days at Brüggen, being scrapped by 1994

  14      XE653     F.6A – 43 Sqn, 111 Sqn (flew in the ‘Black Arrows’ 22-Hunter loop
                    at the 1958 SBAC display at Farnborough), 229 OCU, TWU.
                    Served with 237 OCU for 4 months during the period of
                    Buccaneer grounding in 1980 ; to storage at Kemble 6/ 8/ 80 ;
                    flew to TMTS Scampton 12/10/82 as 8829M coded ‘D’ ;
                    to 2 SoTT Cosford ; WU 1994 ; sold at auction 1994 for £5000 ;
                    became ZU-AUJ 9/ 95 for Mike Beachyhead’s fleet at Thunder
                    City, Cape Town, South Africa
  15      XF382     F.6A – 92 Sqn, 63 Sqn, 65 Sqn, CFE, 229 OCU, TWU.
                    Flew to Midland Air Museum at Coventry Airport 1/12/86
                    and put on external display
  16      XF418     F.6A – Day Fighter Leader Squadron (painted liberally with red
                    dayglo paint to show the instructor’s aircraft which attempted to
                    ‘bounce’ student pilots in missions from West Raynham), 229 OCU
                    (where with more dayglo red paint it continued to train pilots to
                    beware of attacking aircraft), TWU.
     XF418     Last flight was to Laarbruch 6/ 12/ 84 for BDR duties as 8842M
     (cont.)   ; transferred to Wildenrath in early 1985 (also for BDRT) but
               assumed display status there and became the 92 Sqn mascot
               painted in ‘Blue Diamonds’ colours ; sold to Hermeskeil
               Museum, Germany 26/ 11/ 91 and put on external display soon
17   XF439     F.6A – 247 Sqn, 43 Sqn, 19 Sqn, 54 Sqn, 1 Sqn, 229 OCU, TWU.
               to Abingdon as 8712M for BDRT 21/ 1/ 82, moved to Pendine
               Ranges by 2/ 88 ; scrapped c. 7/ 91
18   XF515     F.6A – 247 Sqn, 111 Sqn, 43 Sqn, Khormaksar Station Flight,
               229 OCU, TWU.
               Last flight 21/ 8/ 80 was to storage at Kemble, to TMTS
               Scampton 20/10/82 by road as 8830M coded C, to 2 SoTT at
               Cosford ; sold to Global Aviation at Binbrook 9/ 94, to Kennet
               Aviation at Cranfield 2/ 4/ 96 as G-KAXF (coded ’R’) ; FF after
               restoration 10/ 8/ 98 in the hands of Mark Hanna ; moved with
               the Kennet Aviation fleet to North Weald early in 2003 (painted
               in 43 Sqn markings), then down to Hunter Flying Club at Exeter
               ; repainted as Royal Netherlands AF ‘N-294’ and based at
               Leeuwarden from October 2008 with the Dutch Hawker Hunter
               Foundation, along with T.8C G-BWGL that carries Dutch c/s
               and is serialled ‘N-321’
19   XF516     F.6A – 66 Sqn, 92 Sqn, 56 Sqn, 229 OCU, TWU.
               Coded ‘66’ to mark it out as the sole F. 6A among all the FGA. 9s
               at 2 TWU Lossiemouth (this airframe eventually reached the
               highest hours of any Hunter in RAF service: 5096 hrs by
               February 1980) ; to Cranwell for GI duties 14/ 4/ 81 as 8685M/ 66
               ; flown to Exeter 22/ 11/ 94 and allocated the civil registration
               G-BVVC, FF post- restoration 28/ 8/ 98 in the hands of John
               Aldington, then operated by Classic Jet Aircraft Company at
               North Weald on behalf of Peter Hellier and painted in 229 OCU
               c/s as 234 Sqn/ ‘19’ ; crashed into the Dyfi estuary near
               Aberdovey in Mid Wales 1/ 6/ 03 while returning from a display
               in Northern Ireland (BAE test-pilot Craig Penrice ejected safely)
20   XG152     F.6A – DFLS, 19 Sqn, 229 OCU, TWU. Flew with 237 OCU for
               four months in 1980 to keep Buccaneer crews current), returned to
               TWU, moved to Brawdy store when TWU closed.
               Allocated to GI duties as 8843M and moved to Gütersloh 8/ 2/ 85
               (intended for BDRF, but well treated and repainted in 4 Sqn
               colours as ‘XF 949 / L’ for an Open Day in 9/ 87) - moved to
               the Luftwaffen Museum at Uetersen, Hamburg mid-1993 ;
               transferred to the Gatow Museum in Berlin by 9/ 96
               for preservation in 4 Sqn c/s and coded ‘20’
21   XG158     F.6A – DFLS, 65 Sqn, 229 OCU, 4 FTS, 229 OCU, TWU.
               to storage at Kemble, allocated for GI duties as 8686M 14/ 4/ 81,
               fuselage to Farnborough by 4/ 82, then to PEE (Proof and
               Experimental Establishment) ranges at Pendine, South Wales
               by 2/ 88, scrapped by 3/ 94
23   XG172   F.6A – 19 Sqn, 263 Sqn, 229 OCU, TWU.
             Flew to Farnborough 6/ 5/ 83, intended for PEE at Foulness
             Island, but went instead to TMTS Scampton coded ‘A’ by 6/ 83
             ; allocated to GI duties as 8832M 2/ 9/ 84 ; to 2 SoTT at
             Cosford ; to RJ Everett at Ipswich by 9/ 95, to Classic Jet
             Aircraft Company at North Weald for storage 17/ 10/ 97 ; moved
             to City of Norwich Aviation Museum 2/ 2/ 01 for restoration by
             W/O Mick Jennings and his team of volunteers from RAF
             Coltishall, painted by 9/03 in 229 OCU colours as ‘XG168/10’
             for some reason
25   XG196   F.6A – 19 Sqn, 229 OCU, TWU.
             Last flight 8/ 5/ 81 with TT 5125. 10 hrs ; to Abingdon for
             refurbishment 5/ 10/ 81, and installed as gate-guard at RAF
             Bracknell Staff College 5/ 12/ 81 with maintenance serial 8702M
             and coded ‘31’ ; moved to guard the Defence Medical Services
             Training Centre at Keogh Barracks, Mytchett Surrey by 1/ 98
26   XG197   F.6A – Day Fighter Leader Squadron at West Raynham, 1 Sqn,
             54 Sqn, Central Fighter Control School at Binbrook, 229 OCU,TWU.
             WO 6/ 7/ 79 - abandoned over sea near Tintagel after engine-
             failure: the aircraft then flew inland and impacted in the village
27   XG225   F.6A – 20 Sqn, 74 Sqn, 92 Sqn, 229 OCU, TWU.
             Grounded 27/ 8/ 81, to storage at Kemble, allocated to GI duties
             as 8713M/ S 15/ 2/ 82, moved to 2 SoTT Cosford Weapons
             School, allocated for parade-ground duties by 6/ 84, still on
             display at Cosford (now known as 1 SoTT) in 2001 ; made into
             gate-guard for the RAF Museum at Cosford on main approach
             road by 6/04
28   XG226   F.6A – 92 Sqn, 66 Sqn, 92 Sqn, 229 OCU, TWU.
             Allocated to GI duties at Catterick 15/ 2/ 83 as 8800M, broken
             up and nose delivered to Park Aviation Supply scrap-yard at
             Faygate Sussex by 12/ 87, arrived at 1242 Sqn ATC unit in
             Faversham 1995 ; to RAF Manston museum by 3/03.
             Nose-less fuselage centre-section to Abingdon by 4/ 86, intended
             for BDRT as 8800M ; stored and eventually moved to Long
             Marston by 1992 for use in the composite rebuild of an FR.10,
             this was moved to the AeroPark at East Midlands Airport for
             complete rebuild 23/5/09 - it was made up from an unused F. 6
             cockpit from RAF Stafford, the centre-section of XG226, the
             rear-end of a Danish T.7 and the wings from T.7 PH-NLH/N320
31   XJ639   F.6A – 4 Sqn, 2 Sqn, 229 OCU, TWU.
             Allocated to GI duties 14/ 4/ 81 at Cranwell as 8687M and coded
             ‘H’ ; offered for tender and moved to R.J. Everett at Ipswich
             aerodrome 12/ 10/ 94 ; delivered by road to Classic Jet Aircraft
             Company at Exeter 7/ 2/ 2001 for Barry Pearson and stored
             in the open, becoming derelict ; delivered to the Blue Lagoon
             Diving and Leisure Centre in Womersley, North Yorkshire in
             June 2006 and submerged by December of that year
32   XJ676   F.6A –   93 Sqn, 2 Sqn, 229 OCU, TWU.
             Joined the Brawdy store 1984 ; allocated to GI duties at
             Lyneham 9/ 1/ 85 as 8844M for BDRT, but had moved to the
             dump by 8/ 85 ; remains to the Old Flying Machine Company at
             Duxford for spares by 10/ 93, left for Leavesden for the filming
             of ‘Goldeneye’ 1995 : it was converted to a two-seater for the
             film and subsequently scrapped (the original nose was retained,
             but is believed to have been scrapped by 2002)
33   XK141   F.6A – 74 Sqn, 229 OCU, TWU.
             Sold to Chilean AF 6/ 1/ 83 as J-754
34   XK149   F.6A – Central Fighter Establishment, 1 Sqn, 118 Sqn, 14 Sqn, 1
             Sqn, 54 Sqn, 229 OCU, TWU.
             Allocated to GI duties at Cranwell as 8714M/ 34 5/ 11/ 81 ;
             Sold and moved to Bruntingthorpe by 9/ 94 - stored for Clive
             Forshaw ; dismantled for export to USA and left 10/ 4/ 00 ;
             sold to Flight Ventures and underwent restoration at Tulsa,
             Oklahoma, it was still extant there with Aero Group in March
             2010, together with T.8M XL603
35   XE656   F.6 – DFLS, 65 Sqn, 229 OCU, 92 Sqn, 229 OCU, 229 OCU,
             4 FTS, TWU (This aircraft and XG164/ 36 were the only F.6s at
             Brawdy not to be converted to F.6A standard).
             Allocated to GI duties as 8678M at 1 SoTT Halton
             2/ 4/ 81 wearing code ‘35’; offered for tender 6/ 93 and
             moved to RJ Everett at Ipswich in the same month, to
             Bruntingthorpe 12/ 8/ 98, exported to the Speyer Museum
             Germany 25/ 10/ 98 and painted to resemble an aircraft of the
             111 Sqn aerobatic team ‘The Black Arrows’
36   XG164   F.6 – 111 Sqn, 74 Sqn, 1 Sqn, West Raynham Station Flight,
             229 OCU, 4 FTS, 229 OCU (it retained the high-visibility red and
             white worn during its time with 4 FTS, the only 229 OCU aircraft to
             wear high-viz colours) TWU (this and XE656/ 35 were the only F.6s
             at Brawdy not to be converted to F.6A standard).
             WU at Brawdy 1980, moved to storage at Kemble ; allocated
             to GI duties as 8681M 2/ 4/ 81, to 1 SoTT Halton by 11/ 81
             wearing code ‘31’; offered for tender 6/ 93, not sold and moved
             to Shawbury for storage by 12/ 96 ; moved to Military Aircraft
             Spares Ltd Taunton 20/ 3/ 01, mounted on the gate at Poole,
             Somerset, fitted with the starboard wing of T. 7 XL 623
             (the firm is now called Managed Asset Services)
40   XG261   FGA.9 – 54 Sqn, 43 Sqn, 1 Sqn, 54 Sqn, 8-43 Sqn, 208 Sqn,
             8 Sqn, 45 Sqn, 58 Sqn, TWU.
             Written off 28/ 5/ 80 - abandoned safely over Dufftown during
             low-level Air Combat Manoeuvring - control was lost because
             pilot had left flaps down at 23 degrees and exceeded 300 kt
             (the cause of many Hunter accidents over the years)
  41      XJ686     FGA.9 – 20 Sqn, 43 Sqn, 20 Sqn, 45-58 Sqn, TWU.
                    Re-purchased by BAe 23/ 4/ 82, flown to Abingdon, crated up
                    and taken by road to Brize Norton : DD by Boeing 747F
                    to the Chilean Air Force as J-746
  42     XK137      FGA.9 – 20 Sqn, 43 Sqn, 54 Sqn, West Raynham Station Flight,
                    208 Sqn, 45 Sqn, 45-58 Sqn, TWU.
                    Flown to Abingdon, crated up and taken by road to Brize
                    Norton: DD by Boeing 747F to Chilean Air Force as J-745
                    by 22/ 5/ 1982
  43      XF431     FGA.9 – 54 Sqn, 66 Sqn, 43 Sqn, 208 Sqn, 8-43 Sqn, 8 Sqn,
                    229 OCU, 208 Sqn, 45 Sqn, 45-58 Sqn, TWU.
                    Withdrawn from use, joined the Brawdy store, to St Athan
                    store, re-purchased by BAe 21/ 4/ 87 ; sold to Zimbabwe AF
                    and flown out in Belfast G-HLFT 30/ 9/ 87 with XG 228 / 56
  44      XF519     FGA.9 – 92 Sqn, 66 Sqn, 1 Sqn, 208 Sqn, 45 Sqn, 58 Sqn,TWU.
                    Transferred to Zimbabwe AF 11/ 4/ 84 as ‘8106’ ;
                    stored in airworthy condition at Thornhill Air Base 2001
  45     XG252      FGA.9 – 66 Sqn, 54 Sqn, Ministry of Aviation, Stradishall Station
                    Flight, Wittering Station Flight, 54 Sqn, 8 Sqn, 45 Sqn, TWU.
                    Last flight was to 2 SoTT Cosford 25/ 10/ 84 for GI duties as
                    8840M/ U (grounded 26/ 10/ 84) ; to RAF Hereford as gate-
                    guard 2/ 2/ 88 (painted as 54 Sqn / U) ; to private owner at
                    Bosbury, Herefordshire 1994
  46     XG207      FGA.9 – 93 Sqn, 263 Sqn, Fighter Weapons School at Leconfield,
                    1 Sqn, Ministry of Aviation trials, 54 Sqn, 229 OCU, 45 Sqn,
                    45-58 Sqn, TWU.
                    To Zimbabwe AF 11/ 4/ 84 as ‘1088’, stored at Thornhill Air
                    Base in airworthy condition 2001 ; placed on display at the Air
                    Force of Zimbabwe HQ in Borrowdale Road, Harare by late 2004
  47      XF419     FGA.9 – 74 Sqn, 1 Sqn, 229 OCU, 45 Sqn, 58 Sqn, TWU.
                    WU 1984 ; to Brawdy store, to Zimbabwe AF as ‘8112’, flown
                    out of St Athan by Belfast G-HLFT 5/10/87 with XJ 683 ; stored
                    in airworthy condition at Manyame Air Base, Zimbabwe 2001
  48      XE582     FGA.9 – 247 Sqn, 66 Sqn, 20 Sqn, 45 Sqn, 45-58 Sqn, TWU.
                    Sold to Chilean AF as J-740 24/ 4/ 82

Military news           -      Good news that the ban on flying the Hawk T.1 and T.1A
has been lifted by MoD on 7 December , thus allowing 4 FTS, 100 Sqn and FRADU to
resume flying. The ban was brought in after the Red Arrows ejection-seat incident that killed
F/L Sean Cunningham on 8th November. A ban on flying other RAF aircraft such as the
Tucano and Tornado that are fitted with similar Martin-Baker Mk 10 ejection seats to the
Hawk T.1 was lifted earlier.
                           -    Formerly one of the RAF’s key fighter squadrons during the
Cold War, 19 (F) Squadron was disbanded at RAF Valley on 24th November, passing its
aircraft and duties to 4 (Reserve) Squadron. 19 Sqn was one of the last RAF units to enter the
jet age, not equipping with Meteor F.8s until 1951 : it flew these from RAF Church Fenton, in
Yorkshire until they were replaced with Hunter F.6s in 1957. The squadron moved with their
Hunters to RAF Leconfield in June 1959, keeping these barely-supersonic fighters until 1963
when the squadron re-equipped with Mach 2 Lightning F.2s. It was to take them over the
water in 1965 to RAF Gütersloh in West Germany, just a stone’s throw from the East German
border. Originally in a natural metal finish and adorned with the squadron’s bright blue and
white checks, the Lightnings were later toned down by the addition of olive-green camouflage
and low-visibility national markings. In 1976 the squadron took on the mighty McDonnell-
Douglas Phantom FGR.2 after moving further west to RAF Wildenrath, close to the Dutch
border. It kept these for the next 16 years until disbandment in January 1992, when the Cold
War threat had largely gone away. Later the same year 19 Sqn re-formed at RAF Chivenor,
Devon as a ‘reserve’ squadron with the British Aerospace Hawk T.1A, training young pilots
in the weapons-delivery phase of courses at 7 Flying Training School. 19 ® Sqn moved in
1994 to join 4 Flying Training School at RAF Valley on Anglesey, again training fast-jet
pilots to fly and fight with Sidewinder missiles, bombs and rockets, a rôle which the squadron
maintained until late 2011. In 2009 it turned in its venerable Hawk T.1As (with their 1970s
style round-dial cockpits) for new Hawk T.2s that have a full digital cockpit display that is
much closer to the cockpits of the Tornado GR.4 and Typhoon.
                            -       Having disbanded at RAF Lossiemouth in April 2011
and given up its Tornado GR.4s, 14 Squadron was officially re-formed on 14th October to
operate four Shadow R.1 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, based at
RAF Waddington. 14 Sqn personnel have for some time been working up on these aircraft
as a Flight under 5 Sqn which flies the (Bombardier Global Express-based) Sentinel R.1 on
similar tasks, but rather higher and faster ! A fifth Shadow R.1 is expected to join the unit
soon and all five aircraft will no doubt be spending much of their time in the skies over
Afghanistan. The Shadow R.1 is based on the Beech King Air 350ER, with much special
equipment added by Raytheon at its Hawarden base in North Wales.
                             -      The USAF is extremely embarrassed about losing one of its
Sentinel UAVs over a Middle Eastern country, believed to be Iran. In fact an Iranian video
film shows what appears to be an immobile but undamaged RQ-170 Sentinel UAV. Iran
claimed it was brought down in early December by one of its electronic warfare units and was
recovered mostly intact. The US Air Force has naturally declined to comment on whether
surveillance flights have taken place over Iranian airspace (once upon a time secret
intelligence flights over many potentially hostile countries were carried out by the SR-71A
Blackbird, none of which were ever intercepted, since they flew at over Mach 3 at heights of
up to 80,000 feet). The Sentinel is one of many UAV types whose flights over Middle East
battlefields and other sensitive areas are controlled remotely by operators of 432nd Wing
sitting in air-conditioned comfort at Creech AFB Nevada.
Bravest of the Brave                Bert Hinkler (1892-1933)
            Bert Hinkler was a pioneering Australian aviator born in Bundaberg, Queensland
on 8th December 1892. He became the first person to fly solo from England to Australia in
1928 and was the first to fly across the South Atlantic Ocean three years later. Sadly he died
on 7th January 1933 while attempting an even faster journey to Australia : his Puss Moth
aircraft crashed into remote Italian countryside near Florence during his solo flight.
            Born in Queensland son of a stockman, young Bert Hinkler studied the flight of
wild ibises in the countryside near his home and decided to emulate their gentle easy flight.
His first attempts at fastening wings to his back didn’t work too well, so after studying the
designs of Louis Blériot and other pioneer aviators he went into the matter in great detail,
taking a correspondence course in mechanics. In a workshop at his home he began to
construct in 1911-12 a series of man-carrying gliders, towing these by horse and cart to local
beaches where these 30 foot span machines could fly against strong prevailing winds : every
rib and spar was carefully hand-crafted in his backyard workshop. His first flight was in April
1912 and soon he had reached a height of 33 ft. Before long his talents were spotted by
Arthur Stone, an engineer and showman who liked to display a Blériot monoplane that was so
unreliable it needed constant attention. Bert Hinkler was taken on to repair the machine and
keep it running smoothly before the public at the Brisbane Exhibition of 1913. He became
Stone’s mechanic and pilot, flying in displays in Australia and New Zealand but unfortunately
the aircraft was soon damaged beyond repair.
         In 1913 Hinkler went to England, working his passage on a steamer, and began
working for Sopwith Aviation Co. When war broke out he enlisted in the Royal Naval Air
Service, flying as a gunner/observer initially. Later he was promoted to Petty Officer and
given formal pilot training, which he hardly needed. He flew DH.4 bombers on raids across
the German lines in Belgium and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in 1917 for
shooting down several German aircraft. After the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval
Air Service were merged to make the Royal Air Force on 1st April 1918, he was posted to
28 Sqn RAF, which was flying Sopwith Camels in Italy.
          After the war he returned to the UK and obtained a post as a mechanic/test pilot for
A. V. Roe in Southampton, becoming the company’s Chief Test Pilot in 1921, a post he held
until 1926. Hinkler had hopes of reaching Australia and winning the prize of 10,000 pounds
offered by the Australian Government to the first Australian in a British aircraft to fly from
England to Australia but the prize was won by the Smith brothers in a Vickers Vimy in 1919.
Two of his long-distance flights involved Avro-built aircraft. His first was a non-stop flight of
650 miles from Croydon to Turin in 9 ½ hours on 31st May 1920. This was to have been the
first stage of a record-setting attempt to reach Australia, but wars in the Middle East put an
end to this plan. He returned to London where the Avro Baby G-EACQ was displayed at the
1920 Olympia airshow and flown to 2nd place in the Hendon Aerial Derby before being
shipped to Sydney. From there he flew the aircraft on 11th April 1921 non-stop to Brisbane, a
distance of 700 miles in 8 hours 40 minutes non-stop. Arriving in his home town he was able
to taxi along the main street to his home ! That aircraft is now on display in the Bert Hinkler
Memorial Museum at Bundaberg, with the Avro Avian in which he completed the journey
from England to Australia in 1928.
       In 1925 he was a reserve pilot for the British Schneider Trophy team that went to
Baltimore in the USA. Then in 1927 he flew his Avro Avian G-EBOV non-stop from London
to Latvia, for which he received a Latvian decoration. In the same year he tested autogyros for
Juan de la Cierva.
       In February 1928 Bert Hinkler was to become a household name as he completed his
planned flight from England to Australia in 15 ½ days, flying a single-engined Avro 581E
Avian G-EBOV. Leaving from Hounslow Heath on 7th February he landed in Darwin on 22nd
and was greeted as a national hero (in fact the world’s press paid little attention to Hinkler’s
attempt until he reached India and seemed likely to arrive at Darwin in record-breaking time.
A few days later he flew on to an ecstatic reception in his home town in Queensland. He had
covered 11250 miles in far less than the 28 days taken by the brothers Ross and Keith Smith
in their converted Vickers Vimy bomber G-EAOU in November/ December 1919 (they were
knighted for their feat in reaching the far side of the globe). Hinkler had plotted his course
across Asia and the Timor Sea with nothing better than a Times of London World Atlas !
        After visiting major Australian cities, he was awarded the Air Force Cross for the
finest aerial exploit of 1928 and was made an honorary squadron leader in the RAAF. An
unexpected bonus was a gift of £2000 from the Australian Government. Following this
magnificent solo journey around the globe, this pint-sized hero (he was only 5 ft 4 inches
in height) was nicknamed ‘The Lone Eagle’ and ‘Hustling Hinkler’.
        Hinkler was not finished with record-breaking. In 1931 he bought a DH Puss Moth
registered CF-APK and flew it from Canada to New York, then non-stop 1500 miles to
Jamaica, then on to Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil, over the South Atlantic to West Africa,
then back to London. He was of course the second person after Charles Lindbergh to fly solo
across the Atlantic and for this feat was awarded the Segrave Trophy, the Johnston Memorial
Prize, and Britannia Trophy for the most meritorious flying performance of the year.
       In May 1932, in Connecticut USA, Bert Hinkler was married at the age of 39, but his
happiness was short-lived. On 7th January 1933 Hinkler left Hanworth Air Park (now the site
of London’s Heathrow Airport) in the Puss Moth in an attempt to break the recent record of
C.W.A. Scott who had flown from England to Australia in 8 days 20 hours. He was even
contemplating a complete circumnavigation of the globe by flying across the Pacific Ocean to
the USA. Nothing more was heard of Bert Hinkler until the wreck of his aircraft was found
in the Appenine mountain range in Tuscany, Italy where there is now a monument to him
(it appears a propeller-blade broke off, leading to a forced landing in mountainous country).
He was buried with full military honours in the Protestant cemetery in Florence on the orders
of Benito Mussolini.
       Hinkler is remembered for being thoroughly courageous without being reckless.
Successful, in his record-breaking flights because he was practically faultless as a pilot and
knew exactly what he and his machines could do. His closest associates described him as a
man without fear, an ideal aerial companion, a man without pretensions who achieved his
goals without fuss, a flying genius.
        A life-long fan of Hinkler is Australian pilot Lang Kidby, who restored a 1927-
vintage Avro Type 594 Avian Mk 4 that was found in a garage in Brisbane, registered it as
VH-UFZ, then had it transported by 747 freighter to the UK before flying it from England to
Australia in 1998 in tribute to Bert Hinkler’s historic journey 70 years before. It was every bit
as eventful and he took 43 days to complete the flight. His only concession to modern
avionics was to carry a portable GPS to check on his airspeed and general direction. He flew
single-handed in this 70 year old single-engine aeroplane that was identical to Hinkler’s Avian
and flew it through tropical storms and monsoon rainfall.
         Around the world and especially in his native Australia, there are streets and parks
named after Hinkler a modern Australian hero. The Hinkler Hall of Aviation opened in his
home town of Bundaberg in December 2008. One other story should be told concerning Bert
Hinkler : a small piece of wood, part of one of Hinkler’s original 1912 gliders, was presented
to US astronaut Don Lind in 1985 when he gave a Hinkler Memorial Lecture in Bundaberg.
This relic was passed on to another US astronaut Dick Scobee who took it aloft with him in
the ill-fated Challenger space shuttle in a small plastic bag. After the Space Shuttle
disintegrated high above the Atlantic in January 1986 the wood was recovered, identified,
mounted and presented to the Hinkler Memorial Museum.
Trips and visits  It will soon be time to be fixing up trips for next year. Please let me
know where you would like to go. All reasonable ideas considered !

Membership subscriptions are due in January, please renew promptly if you haven’t
done so already. Thanks to those who have already renewed.

In next month’s newsletter           Part 3 of the Hunter list from RAF Brawdy in 1977, a look
at Burt Rutan’s plans for an active retirement, we consider the meteoric growth of air travel in
the Gulf States, and profile the Piaggio Avanti ; also a look back at the A340 programme as
Airbus shuts down its A340 line.

Be a Super Earlybird !         If you want to take advantage of cheaper ticket prices for the
                             th th
Air Tattoo at Fairford on 7 -8 July you have only got until 4th January. Then the price for
an adult ticket goes up from £29 to £34. After 31st March all the EarlyBird offers are over
and the standard price will be £39 plus £4 booking fee. Call 0800-107-1940 to book your
EarlyBird tickets now.

This year’s Christmas Quiz appears below with spaces for you to pencil in your answers.
If you want to enter the competition for a major prize, then please complete your answers
on the separate answer-sheet and send it to me by 10th January. Good luck !


                             2011 Christmas Quiz
       (please send in your answers on the separate answer-sheet)
  1.   Which was the first Chinese airline to operate
       the A380 ?
  2.   What nationality was the famous Battle of
       Britain pilot ‘Sailor’ Malan ?
  3.   Which was the favourite pub of the Biggin
       Hill fighter pilots in WWII ?
  4.   Who is the owner of India’s Kingfisher
       Airlines ?
  5.   What is the designation of the re-engined
       Boeing 737 series yet to be built ?
  6.   Which RAF squadron called itself ‘The
       Firebirds’ ?
  7.   Which RAF fighter squadron’s emblem was
       a tiger’s head ?
  8.   Where in the UK can you see a Saab Viggen ?
  9.   Where in the UK can you see a Supermarine
       Attacker ?
 10.   Which airline flew the largest number of
       De Havilland Comets ?
11.   What was Flybe called before it re-branded
      itself in 2002 ?
12.   Where in the UK is Eastern Airways based ?
13.   Name Istanbul’s second airport, used mostly
      for charter flights.
14.   Who first test-flew the English Electric
      Canberra, and when ?
15.   Where is the LAA (the Light Aircraft
      Association) now based ?
16.   Which UK farm strip is nicknamed
      ‘Yak City’ ?
17.   What was the name given to the recent UK
      air operations against Libya ?
18.   Which aircraft is expected to replace the
      Lockheed P-3 Orion in US Navy service ?
19.   By what (Dutch) initials is the Royal
      Netherlands Air Force also known ?
20.   What is now the most widely-flown
      commercial aircraft that was made in
      Russia, the CIS and Ukraine ?
21.   Which helicopter is now a gate-guard at
      RAF Stafford ? (type and serial, please)
22.   What is the registration of the S-76 currently
      used to transport HM Queen and other Royal
      Family members in this country ?
23.   Name the RAF’s new tanker-transport
24.   The last ever RAF Nimrod flight was on
      29/7/11. From where did it take off ?
      Where did it make its final landing ?
25.   Where and when was the first NATO Tiger
      Squadron Meet held ?
26.   Name the airline group formed out of
      British Airways and Iberia in 2011.
27.   Which aircraft has the registration G-VETA,
       and why ?
28.   Name the very last US Space Shuttle to fly.
29.   A new type for the RAF in 2014 will be the
      Atlas C.1 – how is it now better known ?
30.   Where is Tullamarine airport ?
31.    At which British airport (now sadly closed)
       can you see a De Havilland Heron preserved ?
32.    Which British airport in 1958 became the first
       in the world to have road, rail and air links
       from the outset ?
33.    Which US-built airliner was on the British
       Civil Aircraft Register in 1959 and is still is
       use today with the same registration ?
34.    Where was the NBAA (National Business
       Aircraft Association’s) annual meeting and
       convention held in October 2011 ?
35.    Which airline will be the first to operate
       the Boeing 747-8I (for Intercontinental)
       passenger aircraft ?
36.    Where could you once see Boeing 727s
       wearing British Airways colours ?
37.    How many men ever piloted an SR-71
       Blackbird ?
38.    Of which country is T7- the international
       civil aircraft registration ?
39.    Name the third of the US-built second-
       generation jet airliners (707, DC-8 and ….?)
40.    Name the Japanese equivalent to the
       Avro 748 airliner.
41.    Which civil jet engine has sold the most
       widely ? (20,000 plus)
42.    Which was the first airliner to adopt the layout
       with engines on the rear fuselage sides ?
43.   How many DC-4s were converted to Carvairs?
44.    What was the first airliner to leave from
       Heathrow Airport (on 1st January 1946) ?
45.    Complete the following phrase : “ The only
       replacement for the DC-3………………..”
46.    Name the Mongolian airline that recently
       started flying the Avro RJ.85.
47.    What other Western-built aircraft is in their
       fleet ?
48.    What is the civil registration prefix for
       Mongolia ?
49.    Name two double-deck airliner types flown
       by Air France (not including the Boeing 747).
50.    Which supersonic jet fighter was built in the
       greatest numbers ?

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