Thursday, 29 March 2012

RAF Halton Open Day 1974

Welcome, its June 1974 and today we are off to the School of Technical Training at RAF Halton for their much missed open day. I still have memories of being taken to the open day in the early 60's and walking past a line of Meteor's waiting to be axed on the way from the car park and seeing a Javelin doing aerobatics, but today is still interesting as its a rare opportunity to see some of the RAF's maintenance airframes some not usually associated with the RAF and get to grips with the M  sequence of identities. So the Zenith B is full of film and we can all squeeze into the vaguely rally prepared 1960 Mini as its only a couple of miles down the road.

                                  We start off with Canberra B(1) 8  8204M formerly  XM271

Jet Provost 3 8410M formerly  XR662. The JP3's could often be seen taxying around the airfield  for aircraft marshalling practice as well as the usual use for engineer training.

Piston Provost T1  8060M formerly WW397 like the JP3 the Provost T1's could often  be seen running round the airfield training marshaller's as well as being taken to pieces by the engineering students.

The Sea Vixen FAW2 was not usually associated with the RAF but a number turned up at Halton after they were retired by the Royal Navy and were given RAF maintenance serials ( the Navy had their own maintenance number series) here we see  8143M  the former XN691.

And finally against an impressive backdrop of Sea Vixen's is Spitfire 16 RW386, one of Halton's travelling circus of aircraft taken by road to display at various airshows in company with a JP3 and Canberra nose.

And so as the Mini roars off into the Chiltern Hills, we say goodbye to Roger and Reggie till next time.

PS if you would like to feed the fish just left click some food into the pond.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Wycombe Air Park 1971

Welcome, today we are off to a typical small air show  of the early 70's. Its often forgotten that in this period local air shows consisted mainly of light aircraft with the occasional airliner as you could count the number of warbirds to be seen on one hand, with Air Commodore Wheeler's MK1 AR213 ( retrofitted as a MK9) and Adrian Swires MK9 MH234 being the only Spitfire's in private hands , Hawker Siddley had their Mosquito RR299 and Hawker Hart,and that was it, not a Harvard, Mustang or anything else to be seen, unless you went Old Warden whose collection ended at 1939 in those days.  RAF open days, of which you were spoilt for choice and had enough aircraft from Hastings to lightning's to put on a full display without outside help plus the Lancaster still operated by RAF Scampton without a mid upper turret and the memorial flight being  2 hurricanes and 5 spitfires .

So lets be off, we are in the Bedford HA van (based on the Mk1 vauxhall viva) and the camera has been unwisely upgraded to an Agfa Stillette Rapide ( an attempt to get into the instamatic market where instead of winding the film back it fed into an empty cassette , but this limited you to only using agfa film in special cassettes). We rattle our way through the Chiltern,s to High Wycombe formerly RAF Booker for the annual Wings and Wheels display.

We start off  with the Red Devil's Islander G-AXDH.

Not the real thing but I presume one of the Balsa Wood extra's  from the Battle of Britain film made about 5 years previously.

Something sadly missing from the current air show scene is Hawker Siddley's Hawker Hart G-ABMR now confined to the RAF Museum.

Stampe G-AXPW, also note that in those halcyon days before the safety elf's crawled their way out of the mines the public could freely wander round the display aircraft .

Miles Monarch G-AFLW.

Another star of the Battle of Britain film  is this unidentified HA1112 Spanish built merlin engined ME109. Which was on static display only.

Another view of the HA1112, and in the background a bleriot replica from the Those Magnificent Men film.

 And now a real rarity not the T3 that you would first think of (look at the bulged bomb bay) but another film star making its final appearance in the UK is Mosquito B35 G-ASKA / N9797 coded HT-G from its roles in 633 squadron and Mosquito Squadron. Unfortunately it didn't fly in the display. Shortly afterwards it routed via Luton to the Confederate Airforce in Harlingen Texas,  but later made some other Atlantic crossings in a container as part of Doug Arnold's wheeling and dealings in warbirds, finally ending up with Kermit Weeks I believe.

And so as the HA Van rattles its way into the sunset, we say goodbye to Roger and Reggie till next time.

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

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Heathrow Terminal 3 Car Park In Glorious Black and White

Welcome, it's the 19th June 1973, and we have  raced along the lanes in the nearly rally prepared Mk1 Ford Cortina Estate, and wound our way to the top of terminal 3 car park  where we can wind the airband radio up to full volume and watch the comings and goings on 28 left. The 300mm is screwed onto the Zenith B and we are loaded with high quality Ilford black and white film as, if your memory is long enough  colour prints were not that good  and  slide film was a rare luxury for an operations assistant on the princely sum of £17 per week  paid by Britannia Airways.

Boeing 727-21 N323PA of Pan American used on their European services from Berlin. The Berlin corridor was a strange left over from World War 2, as up until the wall came down Berlin was still an occupied (by the UK,USA,France and Russia)city and technically still at war in the 1980's!  it required a clearance from the embassy military attache to fly up the corridor, who would reply that the USA and France had been notified and were ok, but the Russian's would be told 2 minutes before you entered the corridor which you did at your own risk and no responsibility would be accepted if they shot you down!

Lufthansa Boeing 727-30QC D-ABIU

Delta Boeing 747-132 N9899

Possibly the last visit to Heathrow for a DC7C, we see Aer Turas EI-AWG touching down, shortly afterwards the aircraft was written off at Luton when failing to select prop reverse on landing came off the 26 end of the runway  over the 20ft drop into the approach lights.

Viscount 800 G-AOHG with Channel Islands titles.

Cambrian Viscount 800 G-AOYS

BEA Cargo Merchantman G-APEJ.

LOT Ilyushin 62 SP-LAB.

And so as the Cortina winds its way back down to the car park entrance, we say goodbye to Roger and Reggie till next time.

PS. If you would like to feed the fish please left click some food into the pond.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Luton Airport 1970

Welcome, Its Instamatic time again, join us as we take a very slow trip to Luton in early 1970 courtesy of United Counties Number 61 Bristol Lodekker to Luton Bus station then the town bus to the airport, so there is plenty of room for everyone but you will have to pay your own bus fare, about 1s6d. Sorry the pics are typical instamatic quality but none the less interesting, unfortunately not having discovered the delights of the Ian Allen British Civil Aircraft Registration yet I don't have all the registrations.

Autair Helicopters Bell 47 Crop Sprayer G-ATZX

Flying Enterprise AKA Luton Flying Club Piper Apache G-ARBN.

In a state of semi decay on the grass is Miles Messenger G-AJKL

Autair and Courtline's 111-400 G-AWBL

A rarity even then was Ted Smith Aerostar N7480S

And so as the bus chugs its way past the terminal building we say goodbye to Roger and Reggie till next time.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Conair A26 Waterbombers

Welcome, It's May 1981, we have parked the Austin Metro at Heathrow and winged our way to Vancouver via Calgary ( where we were treated to a flypast by the Snowbirds as we taxied out) in business class luxury as we had a free upgrade courtesy of Ian Allen travel on an Air Canada Tristar 500. We have now made our way to the rural setting of Abbotsford  to visit Conair and their fleet of mostly ex warbird waterbombers ( technically they drop red mud as its stickier and you can see where its been dropped). Today we have a selection of A26  Invaders, long time favourites of fire fighting companies, parked out waiting for the fire season to start, when they will be sent off to forward bases.






And so as the coach disappears  back towards the bright lights of Vancouver we say goodbye to Roger and Reggie till next time.

P.S. if you would like to feed the fish please left click some food into the pond.