Branch Secretary : Alan V. J. Eley 46, Cricket Lane Lichfield, Staffs WS14 9ER 01543-264674 E-mail : email@example.com 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 th 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 st 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 MD-11Fs. - 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 Leasing 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 Europe. 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 after 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 th 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 ! Alan. 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 aircraft. 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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