Sunday, 23 March 2014

Tristar C.1K ZD953 arrives at Bruntingthorpe

Following the postponement of the second and third Tristar arrivals the Wednesday before, the next deliveries were scheduled for Wednesday 19 March 2014.  Alerted by an email from friend Geoffrey Pool, who owns a two-seat Hunter, which is a "runner" based at Bruntingthorpe,

Ray Ball and I arranged to meet up for the event and as noted in the blog for the previous weeks arrival we were confined to the Cold War Museum aircraft pans. We met with various people and one of GJD Services's employees kept us informed on the progress. The plan for the day was to delivery two aircraft, ZD953 and ZE704 and the weather was perfect all day. The first aircraft was due to arrive at 12:00 and the following later that afternoon, with the aircrew being ferried backward to Brize Norton by BAe-146 of 32 Squadron.

RAF regulations require two RAF fire engines and an RAF ambulance to be on-site for the arrival procedure, the first fire engine arriving with the ambulance around 10:45. But, the second fire engine broke down on its way to Bruntingthorpe and the flight had to postponed till a second fire engine could be brought in, which arrived just before 13:30. Pat Fitzgerald and his wife Sandra turned up, but unfortunately had to leave well ahead of the aircraft arriving. Clifford Hill of the Coventry Aero Club, was also there and with the postponement of the first arrival we decided to have a quick lunch in the cafe on the airfield, which was recommended by Geoffrey.

Having returned from lunch, we were informed that the first aircraft was airborne and after a radar fix with Birmingham airport would transit to Bruntingthorpe. At just after 14:30 Dave Walton, who's company owns the airfield, drove into aircraft pan where we were gathered, pointing ahead....there was a dark grey
Tristar at roughly 3,000ft south of the airfield heading in an easterly direction. Dave Walton had given us permission to move onto the grass area between the taxiway and runway, where the windsock is located, an ideal position for unobstructed photography. So having seen the Tristar disappear towards the East we made our way over to the area around the windsock, but had to wait for another 15 minutes or so before the aircraft's faint image appeared just over the canopies of trees.

The first approach was made with the undercarriage up, flaps down and slightly to the south of the runway and was followed by a right hand circuit culminating in a full stop landing. The aircraft turned on the runway and backtracked, parking and shutting down at the end of the high speed turnoff t the eastern end of the runway. Within 10 minutes BAe-146 shuttle (ZE700) arrived to take the aircrew back to Brize (shown in the picture above, departing at 15;50). Shortly after its departure the news came that the second Tristar (ZE704) would not be delivered that day due to low sun over the runway expected when the aircraft would have made across from Brize Norton.

Here is an arrival picture taken by Ray showing were we were standing when the Tristar made its final approach and the picture below shows ZE700 departing Bruntingthorpe.

The final four Tristars are slated to arrive on the Leicestershire airfield on Tuesday 25 March 2014 and if that is the case it will be a busy day starting early in the morning and hopefully all RAF emergency cover will be there in time. Scheduled arrival times 09:30, 10:00, 13:00 and 15:30.

The Tristar that arrived on 12 March will be kept in running order and the longest present Buccaneer, XX900, has changed hands and is now owned by a small team lead by Denis Parker, who hopes to have the poorly hydraulics sorted and have the aircraft in running order again for the first Open Day in May.

25 March 2014
Theo Claassen

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