Sunday, 15 October 2017

Visit to Gnat Display Team

When our fellow RAG member Ray Ball needed some detail pictures and measurements of the Gnat in order to build an accurate model of Gnat XR992 Oliver Wheeldon, the Gnat Display Team's chief pilot, invited Ray down to North Weald. Yours truly tagged along to take some pictures too.

As reported in the aviation press a little while ago,  the GDT are restoring an ex- Indian Air Force Gnat F1 to flying condition, which is not without its challenges, especially because it is very different from the Gnat T1 in several aspects, not least the engine, which is a much more powerful version of the Rolls Royce Orpheus turbojet.

The pictures below show some of the aircraft found in the GDT hangar.

Gnat F1 is undergoing a return to flight restoration

F1 with long range tanks.

Gnat F1 tail cone
XR992 having some issue sorted

N513X was used in the film " Hot Shots - Part Deux" and will eventually be restored to flying condition.

XR538 in good condition with slipper tanks.
XR538 front cockpit right side

XR538 rear cockpit right side  
XR538 front cockpit left side wall 

XR538 front cockpit right side wall

One of two UH-1 Hueys flying in the UK
Our thanks to Oliver Wheeldon whose endless patience allowed us to take our pictures.
The Group will meet Oliver next year when he will be coming to give us a talk.

Burbage, 15 October 2017

Halifax MZ920 Memorial

David George writes:

"73 years ago today, on the 14th October 1944, five crew members of Handley Page Halifax MZ920, WL C, died when their aircraft crashed in the parish of Dunchurch. They were on their second mission of the day when a serious fire broke out in the outer starboard engine. Two of the crew managed to escape by parachute but unfortunately the others were unable to leave the aircraft as the escape hatch had jammed.
I have enclosed photos of four that died that night. They

  • F/L Donald Zachary Taylor Wood, RCAF - Pilot
  • F/O Bill Ewing, RCAF - Navigator

  • Sgt Geoffrey Grant. RAFVR - Flight Engineer

  • Sgt Donald Ward, RCAF - Rear Gunner
I haven't been able to locate photos of Sgt Parsons who also died in the crash nor the latter two below, who survived the crash.
  • Sgt Owen Parsons RCAF - Mid Upper Gunner 
  • F/O W Stirling, RCAF, Bomb Aimer
  • F/S O Stamatis, RCAF, Wireless Operator. 

A Memorial Stone can be found on The Heath in Dunchurch which was dedicated in June 2004".

Following the Remembrance Day Service at the Dunchurch Parish Church on Sunday 12 November 2017 there will be a wreath laying at the Memorial to honour the crew that perished that night.

Rugby, 14 October 2017

Lutterworth Museum Trip to Coningsby & East Kirkby

The Lutterworth & District Museum, who are the custodians of some valuable and rare memorabilia and artifacts relating to Sir Frank Whittle, invited our Group to participate in a visit to Bomber County and specifically the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby and the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at East Kirkby. The visit took place on Thursday 5th of October 2017 and eight of us joined the ranks of the museum folks.

The following are some pictures of the BBMF visitor centre and hangar where we found all aircraft but one Spitfire that was at Biggin Hill for an overhaul. The Avro Lancaster had returned from the Netherlands the previous day where is had overflown the site where a Lancaster is being recovered.

The Dakota has not flow for two years now due to engine issues


Our Guide Tony in full swing

Returned from the Netherlands in time for our visit

Quad guns in this Lancaster
500lb bomb


Grand Slam
We arrived at LAHC around one o'clock to witness Lancaster NX611 "Just Jane" perform a taxi run, so from one Lancaster to another.

Note the missing aileron

Twin guns in this Lancaster

Mosquito Might Fighter being returned to taxi condition

Once the taxi run was done, it was queueing in the NAAFI for some delicious and value for money lunch. A great place to visit with its nostalgic atmosphere.

Burbage, 7 October 2017