Friday, 30 May 2014

Cold War Jets Open Day 1, 2014

At 09:00 on Sunday 25 May 2014, the gates at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground/Aerodrome opened to the public for the first of two open days in 2014 of the Cold War Jets Museum. The weather was near perfect and although a light shower was forecast it never materialised throughout the day. With an ever increasing number of aircraft in or being returned to running condition, this unique museum has become the jet equivalent of Duxford, albeit none of the aircraft are airworthy. But that does not detract from its popularity.

Visiting Aircraft

During the morning several visiting aircraft arrived, which included amongst others an L-4 Cub and an Auster, a Fox Month and a couple of ex-military aircraft, a UK registered SIAI-Marchetti SF-260 in Italian Air Force colours and a German registered Piaggio P-160.
In addition over a dozen other light aircraft arrived.
Also arriving at the western end of the airfield were a brace of Gazelle helicopters.
They remained anonymous till they departed, when they flew along the length of the runway at low level before making an abrupt 180 turn to depart. 
A visitor seen before at these open days was a Jet Provost T4, arriving from North Weald, which was followed by a Jet Proost T5 in little while later. Both aircraft performed flypasts before landing and after taking off at the end of the day.

The Performers

Most of the aircraft performing fast taxi runs have been seen before, but there was one notably return to the running fold, Buccaneer XX900, which had been "laid up" for a few years following a problem. Although not painted yet, it was back to full running order thanks to its new owners, Denis and Lee Parker. The other aircraft that made its debut was Vickers VC-10 ZD241, which in the hands of Andy "Tonks" Townshend, closed the show and unfortunately,  as it taxied back to the head of the runway, suffered a tyre deflation due to a brake unit binding slightly causing it to get a bit hotter than the others. Fortunately the problem is rectifiable without difficulty.
Follow are a few images of the running aircraft. 
Canberra starting up
Nimrod MR2 spools up its Speys

Victor K2 at full flight this time though!

VC10 ZD241 returns after its blast down the runway

L-29 Delfin returns from its noisy run

Jet Provost T3 accompanied the Delfin on its run
One gorgeous looking Buccaneer, wings folded and airbrake open being shown off

A welcome return of Buccaneer XX900, with electrical and hydraulic problems sorted

Lightning XR728 being "flown" by John Ward

Unfortunately Geoffrey Poole's Hunter T7 developed a problem with the Avpin starter unit and didn't run.

Mid-afternoon BBMF Spitfire XIX PM631, resplendent in D-Day stripes, made a few low level passes in the hands of BBMF boss Duncan Mason 

 On the side-lines

Pat Fitzgerald's baby Tristar C1 ZE705 on display. Its future and the other four Tristars is rumoured to be as air tankers fighting forest fires in the US after conversion 

This Sea Vixen has had a few problems, but should be joining the "runners" in the not too distant future. Just imagine a Sea Vixen and Buccaneer in Royal Navy colours running together. The latter is already a runner, but had brake problem this time around and since stopping is rather important after a high speed taxi she remained on the "flightline". A raspberry-ripple Tornade GR1 is being rebuilt to running condition by a team from RAF Marham, so watch this space.

Ever since the first open days in the nineties these events have grown in popularity and every years sees increases in crowd numbers, which is not surprising when the number and variety of aircraft have increased. More will be added as time goes bye, a Hunter GA11 is not far off and there is a German F-104G Starfighter, that needs work and an engine.

The next scheduled event at Bruntingthorpe are:

July 27, 2014 Lighting Preservation Group - Double Q-Shed Scramble, ticket via the website:
August 24, 2014 Cold War Jets Museum Open Day 2

30 May 2014
Theo Claassen

Friday, 9 May 2014

Visit to Brooklands

On Thursday 8th of May some of us were lucky enough to get a seat on the Rolls Royce Heritage coach for a visit to Brooklands Museum in Surrey. The weather forecast wasn't very good and the rain soon hit us as we were travelling down the M40 towards Oxfordshire and with delays the M25 we arrived at the museum around 11:00.

The museum is home to many iconic vehicles from horse-drawn busses to Concorde and there are a great many other interesting things to see. This blog concentrates on the aeronautical side and is intended to be more of a photographic report of the visit. There are however a few points worth a mention, the first of which being the overwhelming enthusiasm of the volunteers that can be found around most of the exhibits. Stories and information are abound and access to some of the airframes offers an insight into the technology as well as the use of the individual aircraft. One of the volunteers in the hangar persuaded me to shoehorn myself into the cockpit of two-seat Harrier G-VTOL, which many years earlier I had photographed, on several occasions, at various Farnborough air shows in the eighties.
The second point to make is that there are several replica aircraft, e.g. Sopwith Camel and Tabloid in the main display hangar, that provide a good visualisation of those aircraft that are no longer available in original form.
The third and final point is that some of the unique exhibits, such as the Lancaster Nose section and the fuselage of Swift F4 WK198 are out in the open as is Viking G-AGRU, which has its starboard engine with mounted propellor stacked behind it with some tarpaulin draped over the top.
Hopefully when the new hanger is built the unique and vulnerable exhibits can be brought indoors. There was even the suggestion of Eden Project like domes to house the larger aircraft, but that will cost a small fortune and is many years away, if ever!

BAC-111 Test Aircraft

First production Concorde

Loch Ness Wellington

Loch Ness Wellington


Canadian Lancaster Nose


P-1127 prototype
Roe 1 replica

Swift F4 WK198 *
In the second half of the seventies I was a member of the North East Aircraft Museum at Sunderland Airport (ex RAF Usworth and today the Nissan car factory). It was NEAM that rescued this important fuselage from a scrap yard and restored it as best as possible. The wings and horizontal tail surfaces had disappeared hence the current state of the restoration. WK198 was flown by Mike Lithgow on 25th September 1953 to a new World Speed Record of 1,184km/h. Including this fuselage, only six aircraft have survived

Yours truly trying Harrier T1 G-VTOL for size (too small)
Valiant starboard undercarriage leg


VC10 Cockpit
Viking G-AGRU (see link below)

Vimy replica that Steve Fossett flew to Australia

Viscount 800
Main museum building from motor racing's heyday