Monday, 30 January 2012

Number 20 in a Never Ending Series

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Luton Airport 1979

Welcome, the Morris Marina is ready and the Canon AE1 has plenty of film left, so lets head up the hill to Luton once again, can you still keep an ear out for the clonking from the rear axle as the source is still a mystery !

An unusual arrival is Boeing 737 C-FPWD of Pacific Western here for a summer lease.

Just turning onto stand is DC8 TC-JBV of BHY Bursa Airlines.

Its July 1979 and the last ever flight of an aircraft in Laker colours arrives as the Skytrain DC10 G-GFAL shuts down ready for repainting in Continental colours.

Familiar airline unusual registration. F27 PH-KFH  of British Midland whistles onto the light aircraft parking area.

Summer brings a number of European charter operators into Luton, here is Boeing 727 F-GCGQ of Europe Aero Service.

Passing through a long way from home is Gulfstream 1  VH-WPA of Skywest Airlines.

And finally we see Boeing 737  G-BKHO of the short lived Orion Airways, later taken over by Britannia Airways.

And so as the Marina clonks its way into the sunset round the perimeter road we say goodbye to Roger and Reggie till next time.

P.S. if you would like to feed the fish, just left click some food into the pond and watch them chase after it. 

All photo's available as 6" x 4" prints, please email for details.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Airships at Cardington

Welcome, today we are off to Cardington ( or as the media still referred to it 50 years after the event "The home of the ill fated R101".Never the nearly successful R100.)  to view some of the various colour schemes seen on the Skyship 500's and 600's of Airship Industries during the 1980's. So check there is enough film in the Canon A1 and jump into the Mini Metro and we be off.

We start off with Skyship 500 G-BIHN on an advertising contract for Pan Am.

Not Cardington but the old US Navy Airship Shed ( larger than Cardington but built entirely of wood, sadly burnt down about 5 years ago in an accident with a welding torch.)  at Weeksville  North Carolina we see a rarity, Skyship 500 G-SKSA this Airship  never flown in the UK was built in Canada and based in the USA but remained on the UK register. Another oddity at Airship Industries was that all the Airships were referred to not by their registration or constructors number but by the build sequence number  SA always being called 500/02 or 502 being the second 500 built.

Skyship 500 G-BIHN or 501 as it was known on one of its many Fuji contracts. One point to note for modellers is that the green band either side of the nose was not symetric as the red Fuji on the white stripe reversed direction on the starboard side.

Skyship 600 G-SKSC or 601 in French Navy colours for trials in early 1985. As was usual all was not as it seemed with Airship Industries, part of the trial was an unrefuelled 24 hour patrol which whilst the Airship kept the engines running for 24 hours actually had to sneak back into Brest at 1am to have ballast added to avoid having to vent Helium  to make up for the fuel burnt off, but this was conveniently forgotten  in the press releases, another feature of this fight was the "not invented here syndrome" rife at Airship Industries, as everything was always done last minute and there was no time to certify the external fuel tanks required for the 24 hour flight and buying in off the shelf certified tanks was not the done thing at AI, so the Chief designer who also owned a boat building business, had his glass fibre men knock up a couple of non crash worthy tanks with morris minor fuel pumps to bolt on when out of the UK and sight of the CAA. Of course the Morris Minor fuel pumps couldn't keep up with the engine consumption so had to be run from start up taking most of the flight to transfer into the main tank leaving some very hot pumps. The successful part of the trial was deploying and retrieving an inflatable boat at sea.

G-BIHN at Cardington in October 1984 about to depart for Shoreham for filming its part in the James Bond film View to a Kill for which a large number of models and full size parts were built including a Gondola to hang from a crane. The live Airship shots were filmed at Amberly Chalk Quarries as were the dangling a dummy James Bond from the bow ropes in the prelude to the Golden Gate Bridge Scenes, which was realistic enough to cause a surge of 999 calls to Sussex Police reporting someone hanging onto an Airship. For the eagle eyed amongst you if watch the Golden Gate scene in View to a Kill, 95% of which was done using models the live scenes are G-ASKA in Fuji colours filmed head on into the sun over the Golden Gate Bridge so Fuji cannot be seen  but the asymmetric Green stripe on the nose is obvious if you look for it.

Skyship 600 G-SKSC advertising a Saudi Cultural exhibition.

And finally Skyship 500 G-BIHN doing Xmas promotional work for Disney. There were a different set of characters painted on the starboard side. 

And so as the Metro rattles along the A600 into the distance we say goodbye to Roger and Reggie till the next  time.

All photo's can be purchased as 6" x 4" prints. Please email for details.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Texas 1978

Welcome, Today we are off to somewhere a bit more exotic, leaving the Morris Marina in the long stay car park at Gatwick we head out over the pond for a classic crossing in British Caledonian's Boeing 707-321c G-ATZC to Houston followed by the Southwest Boeing 737 "Lovejet" to Dallas for some classic Military spotting.

First Stop is  Carswell AFB where we find Texas Air Guard  KC97 53-0283

Nearby is Vietnam Veteran B52D 55-0054

Also still operational at Carswell is another Vietnam Veteran AFRES F105D Thud 60-458.

We move on to Ellinton AFB  and see another veteran, a visiting F106B Delta Dart 59-0158.

Resident at Ellington and still soldiering on from the 50's is F101B Voodoo 57-427 of the Texas Air Guard where we were told to photograph anything we liked "as there's nothing secret here"

Moving onto the NASA area of Ellington we find another survivor of the 50's  a Martin WB57F N925NA on a weather research programme and still flying high enough to require the crew to wear space suits.

Found in a corner of Harlingen  is a large part of the former TWA fleet of Convair 880's now owned by American Jet Industries awaiting sale, including N801AJ/N804AJ/N806AJ

And so as our Southwest "Lovejet" climbs away into the distance towards our waiting  BCAL 707 we say goodbye to Roger and Reggie till next time.

All photo's available as 6" x 4" prints. Please email for details.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Heathrow Arrivals

Welcome, today we turn the clock back to 1973 and a trip to Heathrow. It's going to be a squeeze as we are in the nearly rally prepared MK1 Ford Cortina Estate, so you will have to fit yourselves in between the full harness seat belt anchors and the 51/2J spare wheel as its too wide to fit the carrier underneath. So grab your Zenith B's and we will make the tortuous journey round Uxbridge and Slough, although there is a rumour that the Government will make all our lives wonderful in 15 years time by building something called an M25, but the views from the Queens Building will make it all worthwhile.

We start with a view from the top of the Terminal 3 Car Park of VC10's on the BOAC stands.

Now to the roof of the Queens Building and the panoramic view of the Terminal 1 parking area and the Aer Lingus Boeing 737-200 EI-ASG.

Rushing back to the terminal 3 car park we find BOAC Boeing 707-436 G-APFC.

Another BOAC Boeing 707-436 G-APFI and note the magnificent line up of BEA Merchantmen outside the Cargo Centre in the background.

Back to the Queens Building for the arrival of Cambrian BAC 1-11series 400 G-AVOE.

And finally today we see BEA Trident 3 G-AWZG.

And so as the nearly rally prepared MK1 Ford Cortina Estate disappears in a cloud of dust and blue smoke in the direction of Slough, we say goodbye to Roger and Reggie till the next time.

All photo's are available as 6" x 4" prints, please email  for full details.

Number 13 of a Never Ending Series

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Shuttleworth Airship Disaster

Welcome, today we are off to Old Warden.  There is plenty of room as its 1975 and I have borrowed my brothers VW camper, so if you are feeling agile you can shin up the door and sit on the roof for an uninterrupted view of the display. Unfortunately its an early start as in 1975 we have to be queuing  by 0800 to stand a chance of parking on the airfield. So screw the 300mm onto the Zenith B its going to get exciting.

Its day 2 of the  August bank holiday  double event, and as we drive down the lane we see a large silver object parked near the trees, so grabbing our airfield passes from the photo section we head out across the airfield for a closer inspection, being careful to check for landing aircraft before crossing the runway. We now behold the magnificent flying machine in front of us, which appears to be made from items found in a skip ! Beneath an army surplus barrage balloon are attached a couple of deckchairs as rudders , and the pilot sits on a platform made from old pallets nailed together with some 4"x2"s, and powered by a couple of flymows from the Payless DIY sale, the whole ensemble is moored to an army surplus bedford wireless truck. In a moment of optimistic but misplaced enthusiasm one of  the assembled ground crew refers to it as an "Airship". Yes its the fabled Airbourne Industries Gas Airship G-BAWL. Having failed to make it back to the airfield in a 10kt headwind after the previous day's display, resulting in an army of volunteers walking the airship back  to its parking spot through the brussel sprout fields of bedfordshire the pilot decides to go off for some practice during the morning. So after droning round the A1 roundabout for a while  he returns to the airfield.

Unfortunately the inexperienced ground crew position themselves in front of the trees, forgetting airships don't have brakes and that there was nowhere to go in the event of an overshoot. Of course the inevitable happened , the ground crew failed to catch the airship and on it sailed into the trees puncturing the envelope making a very expensive hissing noise.

The aftermath showing all that remains are the 2 air filled  ballonets.

Back on the other side of the runway we find Thruxton Jackaroo  G-APAM formerly owned and raced by Sheila Scott.

An unusual visitor is Sipa 903 F-BGHX

As the Campervan  rattles its way off in the direction of Shefford we say goodbye to Roger and Reggie till next time.

All photo's available as 6" x 4" prints. please email for details.