Aeroplane Monthly 2015-08

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August 2015

Vol 43, no 8 • Issue no 508

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NEWS • D-Day lead ship C-47 traced • Doolittle’s Lockheed Vega to fly • Aeronca C3 airborne after 67 years • TSR2 outside for Cosford show • Middle Wallop museum expansion … and the month’s other top aircraft preservation news


HANGAR TALK Steve Slater’s monthly comment column on the historic aircraft world



‘RED 7’ IN BRITAIN Bf 109G-4 crosses the Channel


BATA LOCKHEED 10 A beautiful Electra returns to Europe


B-29 ATOMIC BOMBERS The final wartime blows against Japan


COMMEMORATIVE AIR FORCE The future of the famous US warbird organisation


TWIN PIONEER SALES TOURS Hawking the ‘Twin Pin’ worldwide


ARADO Ar 196 One fascinating floatplane


GREAT WAR DISPLAY TEAM Behind the scenes with the popular UK show act AEROPLANE MEETS… PETER HOLLOWAY From policeman to Shuttleworth pilot




HOOKS’ TOURS More wonderful colour images from Mike Hooks’ collection, this month focusing on Frati designs


EVENTS Event listings and previews, plus reports from La Ferté Alais, Duxford and Chino




102 CLASSIC WINGS Twenty-five years of Duxford pleasure flying

DATABASE: F-101 VOODOO Former Voodoo pilot Gp Capt Nigel Walpole on McDonnell’s ‘One-O-Wonder’

This classic formation photographed by Richard Paver on 19 May comprises the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Hurricane LF363, flown by Wg Cdr Justin Helliwell, in formation with the specially-painted Typhoon from No 29(R) Squadron at RAF Coningsby piloted by Flt Lt Ben Westoby-Brooks. This pairing was arranged by the BBMF as a 75th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Britain. The Typhoon is in the colours of the Hurricane flown by Flt Lt James Nicolson of No 249 Squadron, who was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1940. The Hurricane wears the markings of No 1 Squadron during the Battle of Britain, representing the aircraft flown by Sgt Arthur Clowes DFM, an ace with 10.5 confirmed kills.

COVER IMAGE: The Commemorative Air Force’s B-29 Superfortress Fifi. LUIGINO CALIARO




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Aeroplane traces its lineage back to the weekly The Aeroplane, founded by C. G. Grey in 1911 and published until 1968. It was re-launched as a monthly in 1973 by Richard T. Riding, editor for 25 years until 1998. 3

From the



ime was when I, and many others, looked forward to the Spring Bank Holiday as the traditional date for the Air Fete at RAF Mildenhall, that great military aviation spectacular that, to my mind, has never quite been surpassed. Well, Air Fete may be long gone, but the air displays of 2015 provided good reason to anticipate that weekend. At IWM Duxford was staged an excellent VE Day Anniversary Air Show; across the Channel, La Ferté Alais put on one of the best recent editions of its Meeting Aérien. We cover both this month. Between them, the two events witnessed the public flying display debuts of a Blenheim, Fury, Bristol F2B and Sopwith 1½ Strutter — not bad going. At Old Warden that Saturday evening, meanwhile, the DH88 Comet flew with a BBMF Hurricane and Spitfire; the holiday Monday’s biennial Dutch show at Oostwold was a first-rate affair. Wherever one chose to go, there were riches aplenty. Such is typical of the European historic aircraft scene at present. Many projects have happened to reach fruition around the same time, but there is a definite vibrancy to be felt. In the UK, any thoughts that it would be hard for 2015 to live up to the buzz created last year by the two Lancasters and the Comet’s return to flight have been dispelled. As outlined elsewhere in these pages,

Flying Legends has many a ‘first’ up its sleeve, and we are now approaching the start of the year’s major Battle of Britain 75th anniversary commemorations, with some outstanding spectacles being planned. Interest in historic aeroplanes shows no sign of decreasing — far from it, as new opportunities present themselves. The burgeoning industry around warbird passenger flying is one such, and we are witnessing a welcome resurgence in terms of First World War aircraft, centenary events in mind. Even on the modern military front, so often thought of as being in decline, 2015 brings much of note. This summer season promises much, and long may the positive trend continue. It’s excellent news for all of us with a passion for aviation in its many forms. Talking of the Battle of Britain commemorations, next month’s Aeroplane will be a special bumper issue with the events of 1940 as a major theme. Why not subscribe to guarantee your copy, and save money at the same time? See pages 22-23 for details. Finally, apologies that it was not possible to bring you our regular ‘Q&A’ pages this month. Rest assured, though, that the feature will return next time. Ben Dunnell



‘ Tu r b o ’ TA R L I N G

Nigel WA L P O L E

Gordon was trained on Chipmunks by the RAF in a University Air Squadron and was then selected for the BEA/ BOAC training scheme for graduates at Oxford. He went on to fly professionally for 32 years as a commercial pilot with British Airways on the Hawker Siddeley Trident, BAC One-Eleven, Boeing 757, 767 and 747-400, retiring with more than 15,000 hours to his credit. He has also flown many aerobatic and vintage aircraft, and today leads the Great War Display Team.

Born in 1970, Stefan Schmoll lives in the western part of Germany — during the 1970s and ’80s, he was surrounded by American and German fighter bases, so he had to decide between loving or hating jet noise, and came down firmly in favour. In the late 1980s he made his first visit to Duxford and Old Warden, and he has been an historic aircraft enthusiast ever since. In Germany, he is involved in several clubs like Paderborn’s Quax-Flieger group. He started writing for magazines in Germany, Great Britain and New Zealand 10 years ago.

Flt Lt, later Capt, ‘Turbo’ Tarling had two tours flying the CF-101 Voodoo — from 1962 to 1965 with 425 AW(F) ‘Alouette’ Squadron at Royal Canadian Air Force Station Bagotville, Québec, and 1974 to 1977 with 416 AW(F) ‘Lynx’ Squadron at Canadian Forces Base Chatham, New Brunswick. He accumulated 1,189 hours in the CF-101, 10,460 hours in jets, and 11,645 hours’ total time in 50 types of aircraft and helicopters while in the RCAF/Canadian Forces. He retired in 1982.

Nigel flew Hunter F4s and Swift FR5s in Germany, before an exchange tour on the RF-101. He then commanded a Hunter OCU in the UK and a fighterreconnaissance squadron in Germany. As a wing commander, he served with 16 Parachute Brigade and had a brief tour on a maritime strike/attack Buccaneer squadron, before commanding the Jaguar strike/attack wing in Germany. He left the RAF in 1988, and has since published nine books and many articles on the Cold War.




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O N LY J U … Another busy season looms for the Deutsche Lufthansa Berlin-Stiftung and its Junkers Ju 52/3m. What does it take to keep this grand old airliner operational, and how has the German flag carrier been able to make it work? WORDS: BEN DUNNELL


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motor transport was the modern-day workhorse of its time. Yet there has to be sense behind the sentiment. No classic airliner is cheap to operate, and Lufthansa wouldn’t fly the ‘Tante Ju’ if it didn’t derive commercial benefit. This involves a busy annual programme of pleasure flights, generally in Germany but also venturing further into Europe. In this the DLBS must strike a difficult balance — flying the aircraft enough to raise revenue, while not working it too

hard. Its responsibility is considerable, for the 1936-vintage Ju 52 is now officially an historic monument, so designated by the city state of Hamburg where the aircraft is based. Heading things up on the flying side is Georg Kohne, currently the DLBS’s chief pilot. A self-described “grass-roots pilot” who started flying on gliders and Piper Cubs and worked his way up to the airlines, he is now a Lufthansa captain and instructor on the Airbus A330 and A340. Georg’s association

ABOVE: Junkers Ju 52/3m ‘D-AQUI’/ D-CDLH of the Deutsche Lufthansa Berlin-Stiftung. GUNNAR ÅKERBERG 23

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ufthansa is a notable antidote to those companies that throw words like ‘heritage’ around without appreciating it in the slightest. For close on 30 years it has put its money where its mouth is, and sought in recalling its past to conjure up moments from it. The Junkers Ju 52/3m operated by the Deutsche Lufthansa Berlin-Stiftung (DLBS) foundation takes one back to the era when the corrugated-skin, tri-



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D-Day lead C-47 traced

Seen wearing spurious, fading Vietnam AC-47 markings, the D-Day lead ship C-47 is currently in the Basler back yard at Oshkosh. CAF

On 6 June the Texas-based Commemorative Air Force announced the discovery of C-47 Skytrain 42-92847 That’s All, Brother, the lead aircraft for the D-Day airborne assault. Amazingly, the aeroplane is in the famous Basler boneyard at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where it was waiting to be cut apart and re-manufactured to Basler BT-67 configuration, which requires the installation of Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A67R turboprops, the insertion of a 40in fuselage extension, and modifications to the wings. The CAF has come to an agreement with Basler to purchase 42-92847, but the deal must be completed by 31 August. With the deadline approaching, the CAF has launched a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign to raise the funds to rescue this priceless piece of history before its originality is lost forever. Adam Smith, executive vice-president of strategic development for the CAF, says: “We’ve never done this before. It’s a really important project for us, and we feel passionate about saving this aeroplane. For us, the fact we can say it was there, and served as the lead of the largest invasion force ever, helps us tell the story. We’re in the business of inspiration and storytelling.” The history of the machine was only discovered recently when SSgt Matt Scales of the Alabama Air National Guard was researching the story of former Birmingham, Alabama resident Col John M.


Donalson, the 438th Troop Carrier Group commander who flew 42-92847 during Operation ‘Overlord’. After being selected as formation leader, That’s All, Brother was fitted with a primitive form of airborne radar in a pod under the fuselage, to help guide the formation to an accurate drop. When the aircraft taxied out at Greenham Common for its 23.48hrs departure to France on 5 June 1944, it passed a row of senior officers and film cameras recording the start of the mission, producing footage that still survives and will now provide vital clues to help re-create the exact paint scheme worn by the aircraft 71 years ago. At 00.48hrs on 6 June, 42-92847, in the lead of Mission ‘Albany’, a contingent of 431 aircraft, dropped its load of paratroops from the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment behind enemy lines on the Cotentin Peninsula. It then flew back over the Channel and the ships of the invasion fleet, but

had taken several hits from flak, one crew member being injured. That evening, the aircraft flew another mission, towing a Waco CG-4A glider that carried a reconnaissance team, headquarters unit and medical team from the 82nd Airborne. The aeroplane went on to fly in Operation ‘Market Garden’, the relief of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, and the crossing of the Rhine. After the end of hostilities it passed through the hands of 16 civilian owners, being registered N88874 before its acquisition by the Aero Heritage Museum at Falcon Field, Mesa, Arizona in 2004. There it was painted up as a Vietnam War AC-47 ‘Spooky’ gunship. The airframe was sold to Basler in December 2008. “This is a modern miracle”, said CAF president/CEO Stephan C. Brown. “The aircraft was within weeks of being torn apart. We now want to bring this world-class artefact back to the public as part of the CAF’s mission to educate future generations about the legacy

and values of those who fought for freedom in World War Two.” Plans call for the aircraft to be restored to flying condition in its exact D-Day configuration, after which it will act as a ‘flying classroom’, allowing school children and other visitors to go on board and sit in the original paratrooper seats. Inside the darkened aeroplane, hidden speakers and sensors will carry people back in time to the night of 5-6 June 1944. That’s All, Brother will be based in Dallas as a centrepiece of the CAF’s new National Airbase. It will be available to attend major national commemoration events, airshows and flyovers. The CAF also plans to fly the aircraft to Europe in the summer of 2019 to participate in the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the last opportunity for living veterans to attend a major commemoration event. The Kickstarter fundraising page can be accessed via

Two archive shots of the historic Skytrain. The That’s All, Brother nose art alluded to the anticipated demise of Hitler and the Nazi regime. Meanwhile, the under-fuselage radome is visible in the film still of 42-92847 at Greenham Common on 5 June 1944. CAF


Doolittle’s Lockheed Vega to fly A Lockheed Vega that was aviation legend Jimmy Doolittle’s personal mount while he was head of the aviation division of Shell Oil during the 1930s is approaching the end of a complete rebuild with Heritage Aircraft in Chalfont, Pennsylvania. The aircraft is part of a large collection of 1920s/’30s classics put together over a 45-year period by hotel owner John Desmond at Malvern, Pennsylvania. Desmond died in August 2014 at the age of 90, and his collection, which includes such rarities as a Pitcairn Super Mailwing, Travel Air S-6000 and a Curtiss Fledgling, is now up for sale. The Lockheed Vega 5C, NC13705 (c/n 203), was delivered to Shell Aviation in San Francisco during October 1933, finished in the company’s striking yellow orange and red scheme, and given the fleet number ‘Shell 7’. Shell kept the aircraft for 11 years, selling it in 1944 to the famous used aircraft salesman Charles H. Babb at Grand Central Airport in Glendale, California. It then spent 18 years with Mercer Air Service of Burbank. After being dismantled and placed in storage, the airframe was rescued by Desmond after suffering flood damage in 1988. Heritage Aircraft began the Vega restoration in 2011 using blueprints, old pictures and the original machine for accurate measurements to ‘reverseengineer’ the aeroplane. William

Nothing could capture the essence of early American corporate aviation more than former Shell Oil Lockheed Vega NC13705, pictured in the Heritage Aircraft workshop in early June. STEVE LINDROOTH

McDevitt, who began working as John Desmond’s workshop foreman in 1999, says: “We had several false starts on the Vega project over the years. We would drag it out of storage and just sort of stare at it, trying to come up with a restoration plan without much success. Then, back into storage with it. Finally in 2011 we dug it out and started in earnest. We developed a plan for moulding the fuselage and just went for it. “The most difficult aspect of the restoration was the

fabrication of the fuselage. The method that Lockheed used was not practical for a one-off attempt, so we resorted to the boat-builders’ method of ‘cold-moulding’ it. This worked out well and would be repeatable were someone interested in building another Vega. The wing also presented challenges. The construction of it was pretty straightforward, but the logistics of building and handling a 42ft, fully plywoodskinned wing were interesting to say the least. It had to be turned

over several times during construction and be mobile enough to be moved around the shop for painting, etc. “The aircraft is nearly complete now. It still needs some finishing touches on the engine installation and the interior needs to be installed. A reasonable date for first flight would be late this summer or early fall, barring, of course, any unexpected problems.” For details of the sale of John Desmond’s collection, contact [email protected].

Finnish debut for Norwegian MiG The Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron’s SB Lim-2 N104CJ made its European public debut at the Turku Airshow in Finland on 6-7 June. For the occasion, the Polish-built MiG-15UTI, piloted by Kenneth Aarkvisla, was specially painted in Finnish Air Force markings with serial ‘MU-2’. Finland never operated the MiG-15 as a front-line fighter, but it did acquire a quartet of twoseaters, produced by Aero in Czechoslovakia, as conversion trainers for its MiG-21 force. Two of the original four aircraft, including the real


MU-2, survive in Finnish museums. The Historical Squadron, best-known for its Vampire pair displays, has a busy season of appearances lined up for its new acquisition. The SB Lim-2 is usually painted in Soviet colours as ‘Bort 18 red’, the MiG-15UTI in which cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin lost his life in 1968. It will make its British debut at the RNAS Yeovilton Air Day in July, and is also scheduled to visit the UK for displays at Sunderland, Bournemouth and Dunsfold later in the summer. Ben Dunnell

SB Lim-2 N104CJ in its temporary Finnish markings. PERTTU KARIVALO 7


Aeronca flies after 67 years Aeronca C3 G-ADRR made its first flight in 67 years at Old Warden on 7 June, when Rob Millinship took it aloft for a 20-minute test flight. Rob reported that there were no problems, and that ’DRR flew very well. It was hoped that the three-hour test schedule would be completed in mid-June, and that the aircraft will fly at Shuttleworth shows later this season.

Built in 1936 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and flown as NC17424, the machine was de-registered in 1948 after the death of owner James W. Steger of Pulaski, Virginia. Imported into the UK by licenced CAA engineer Dudley Morgan in 1989, it was put up for sale in 1996 in an unfinished state. Steve Rudkin, a volunteer ground handler at Old Warden, then purchased it along with a

zero-timed JAP J99 engine that had been stored in the Orkney Islands since new. The J99 is a licence-built Aeronca E-113-C powerplant manufactured in Peterborough. Colin and Mark Essex acquired ’DRR in June 2013, and the airframe was moved to their workshop in Coventry. After 1,200 hours of work, it was ready for assembly, and in July 2014 the Aeronca,

resplendent in an insignia blue and ocala orange paint scheme, was moved to Old Warden for assembly. Magneto and carburettor problems delayed engine ground runs, but these were overcome. The aircraft was signed off by Rob Millinship and the permit to test was granted in May this year. Five Aeronca ‘bathtubs’ are now flying in the UK.

Rob Millinship flying Aeronca C3 G-ADRR at Old Warden during the evening of 7 June. TAD DIPPEL

Aussie Mustang funding appeal

The Australian National Aviation Melbourne is seeking funds to Museum at Moorabbin in the acquire Commonwealth Aircraft south-eastern suburbs of Corporation (CAC) CA-17

The restored fuselage of CA-17 Mustang Mk20 A68-71, the oldest survivor of the type now remaining in Australia. ANAM


Mustang Mk20 A68-71, the oldest CAC Mustang to survive in Australia. The airframe is complete and in very good condition, having been the subject of a long-term restoration to fly at Gisborne, Victoria since 1984. The asking price of $250,000 includes funds to re-assemble the aircraft, complete the paint and electrical wiring, and install the engine and propeller, which are the only major components currently missing. It is hoped that the fighter will be displayed in ground running trim. Built in the CAC factory at Fishermans Bend, Melbourne, A68-71 was delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force in April 1946, but suffered damage in a landing accident at RAAF Pearce, Western Australia in April 1949, and subsequently

became an instructional airframe at that base. In October 1952, it was sold to the Midland Technical School Aeronautical Annexe at Perth Airport, passing to the RAAF Association Aviation Museum at Bullcreek, Perth, 20 years later. In 1984 the un-restored machine was acquired by Derek A. Macphail for restoration to fly, and moved to Gisborne. It was registered VH-VID in 2002. If the target is achieved, A68-71 will join several other Commonwealth-built aircraft at Moorabbin, including Wirraway, Wackett and Winjeel trainers, and a CA-12 Boomerang restoration project. By 10 June, 50 per cent of the purchase price had been raised. For details on how to donate to this worthwhile project, go to


Dove back to Old Warden Andrew Wood’s Sopwith Dove reproduction G-EAGA arrived at Old Warden in late May, and will soon be re-assembled for a return to the air. The 80hp Le Rhône-powered machine has not flown since July 2000, when the port undercarriage collapsed following a landing at Andrewsfield, the aeroplane going up onto its nose and suffering damage to the engine cowling and propeller. Built by Skysport Engineering at Hatch, Bedfordshire in the early 1990s, G-EAGA made its first flight during the summer of 1993. Repairs to the airframe were carried out at Vintage Fabrics at Audley End, and the

engine was worked on at Great Dunmow-based Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialists P & A Wood. The Dove is a post-World War One, two-seat development of the Sopwith Pup. Ten were built, with one, G-EBKY, being converted into a single-seat Pup for Richard Shuttleworth during 1938. It still flies with the Shuttleworth Collection as ‘N9917’. Also now back at Old Warden is former Shuttleworth Collection-owned DH60G Moth G-ABAG, acquired by P & A Wood some years ago. The machine has the distinction of having been flown by actors Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir Ralph Richardson.

RIGHT: The fuselage of Sopwith Dove reproduction G-EAGA at Old Warden on 3 June. TONY HARMSWORTH

Chanute museum to close Almost a century after the air base it commemorates was first established, the Octave Chanute Air Museum in Rantoul, Illinois, will close by the end of December. The non-profit, tax-exempt attraction — which opened in 1994, and is now the largest aviation museum in the

state of Illinois — is losing its long-standing support from the village of Rantoul, which has covered the museum’s utilities and building maintenance costs and kept the rent low. The village can no longer afford to cover the costs, and the museum is unable to pick up the extra expense.

Utilities alone would cost $30,000 per month. Named after aviation pioneer Octave Chanute, the base opened in 1917. More than 1.5 million troops trained there before defence cuts saw closure of the facility during 1993. The museum tells the story of

One of the prize exhibits at the Octave Chanute Air Museum is P-51H Mustang 44-64265. Painted as Louisiana Heatwave, the aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of the USAF. OCAM


Chanute Field/AFB, aviation in Illinois and of Octave Chanute himself. More than 40 aircraft and missiles are currently exhibited. Museum staff are compiling an inventory of the collections, and contact has been made with other tax-exempt and governmental museums to find appropriate homes for the artefacts. As the American Association for State and Local History notes in its publication ‘When a History Museum Closes: Ethics Position Paper 2’, history museums must ensure that the collections remain in the public domain. After the legal title to artefacts has been transferred to the tax-exempt organisation, the objects are placed in the public trust. It is therefore considered poor museum practice to return them to the former owners, which would result in them being removed from the public sector. A total of 28 aircraft are on loan to the museum from the National Museum of the US Air Force, including a very rare P-51H Mustang, XB-47 Stratojet 46-0066 (the second and only surviving prototype of the first American swept-wing bomber), a B-58A Hustler, a WV-2/EC-121K Warning Star and a C-97G Stratofreighter. Replicas on show include a Wright 1903 Flyer, and an 1896 Chanute Glider. 9


TSR2 stars at Cosford show

The RAF Museum’s BAC TSR2 XR220 was moved out of the research and development hangar at Cosford on 11 June

in readiness to go on static display at the RAF Cosford Air Show three days later. It was the first time the aircraft had

been outdoors for the event since 2000, the occasion this time being the 50th anniversary of the strike jet’s

cancellation. A full report on the sell-out Cosford show will be carried in next month’s Aeroplane. Cosford’s TSR2 on the move on 11 June. DENIS J. CALVERT

24 fighters for Biggin event Plans for the Biggin Hill Battle of Britain ‘Hardest Day’ 75th anniversary commemoration on 18 August are now firming up, with 18 Spitfires and six Hurricanes scheduled to gather at the famous Kent fighter station.

The aircraft will fly a commemoration sortie in three formations, starting with a stream take-off at 13.00hrs. The first formation will head south to overfly the Solent, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth, with the second group heading east to pass over Dover, the former RAF fighter base at Hawkinge, and the Battle of Britain Memorial at

Capel-le-Ferne, Folkestone. A third formation will route over former Battle of Britain airfields at West Malling, Detling and Gravesend, with all three formations returning to Biggin Hill for a stream landing before parking in a line on the second runway. At 15.00hrs, there will be a flightline walk for guests to see the fighters and meet the pilots. Military and civilian veterans of the era are being invited to witness and share the occasion. Access to the Battle of Britain enclosure on the day is limited

to 3,000. Tickets for access to the Battle of Britain enclosure at Biggin are £40 per person, which includes the flightline walk. Children aged 15 and under will be admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult, with a maximum of two per adult. This event is a joint venture between Biggin Hill Airport and the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar. Net proceeds will be donated to the RAF Benevolent Fund. Tickets can only be purchased online from

Something of a taster for Biggin Hill’s 18 August event was provided by the airport’s Festival of Flight on 13 June, where Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar Spitfire IXs MK912 (left) and TA805 displayed superbly in the hands of Paul Bonhomme and Steve Jones. The successful Festival of Flight was somewhat weatheraffected, but also saw five BBMF fighters — three Spitfires and two Hurricanes — flying with the Red Arrows, and the Airbus Group’s Bf 109G-4 ‘Red 7’ taking part in a spirited tailchase with the Heritage Hangar’s Hurricane and three Spitfires. PAUL FIDDIAN





Pup prototype emerges

Prototype Beagle Pup G-AVDF in the Aero Classics Engineering hangar at Turweston on 9 June. ANNE HUGHES

The first prototype Beagle Pup, G-AVDF, was moved from its long-term storage location in Brimpton, Berkshire on 9 June to the Aero Classics Engineering hangar at Turweston, Northamptonshire, where the machine will be fully restored to flying condition.

The move came after the owner, David Collings, took the decision to form a club which will oversee the restoration of this historic aircraft. David says: “The Pup prototype was acquired by the late John Chillingworth and myself with the intention

of restoration as a flying tribute to the British light aviation industry. In addition to the airframe we acquired a fascinating collection of related archive material. Sadly, following John’s death, the project lost momentum and the airframe has been in store

for a number of years”. The aircraft last flew on 28 May 1969, just over two years after its maiden flight on 8 April 1967 at Shoreham, Sussex. It is hoped that ’AVDF will be airworthy in time for the 50th anniversary of that flight, in April 2017.

Indian Dakota project progresses Douglas DC-3C N347DK took to the air again during May. When the aircraft flew in to

Cotswold Airport during the airshow on 19 June 2011, it was believed to be destined

Indian-marked DC-3 KN397/G-AMSV en route from Cotswold Airport to Coventry on 20 May this year. TIM BADHAM


for the Indian Air Force Vintage Flight. Subsequently stripped to bare metal, it had IAF roundels and fin flashes applied the following year but remained grounded. Stored by C2 Aviation, the Dakota took up its former UK civil registration G-AMSV in September 2014, after it was acquired by Indian Member of Parliament Rajeev Chandrasekhar and registered to his company Hindustan Infrastructure Global Investments. Earlier this year it was re-painted in the distinctive brown/green camouflage of a typical IAF Dakota in 1947, carrying the serial KN397 from its service with the RAF. Rajeev’s father, a

retired IAF Air Commodore, flew Dakotas after independence in 1947. Following the Dakota’s ferry flight to Coventry on 20 May for major overhaul by Air Atlantique, its former operator in the marine pollution control role, it was announced by Atlantic Air Operations director Paul Beaver that the Indian Dakota Project would see a new ‘heritage aeroplane’ on the UK airshow scene when the work has been completed. “The aim of putting the Dakota back into the air is part of a project to develop an understanding in Britain of India’s role in support of the Allies in two world wars”, he said. Peter R. March


Middle Wallop museum expansion The Museum of Army Flying at Middle Wallop is gearing up for a major redevelopment project. Having first opened to the public in November 1974, added a purpose-built hangar of some 16,000 square feet in 1984 and a second hangar in the 1990s, it is today totally full. Plans have been prepared to add another hangar, modernise and double the size of the archive, re-interpret the collection, improve educational and workshop facilities for volunteers and adopt the latest standards of accessibility. In addition, it is planned to build a memorial wall commemorating the lives of more than 5,000 soldiers who have died in the service of British Army flying. The Historic Aircraft Flight Trust (see last month’s news pages) has an obvious tie with the museum, and the development currently envisages having two HAF aircraft on display together with a restoration project such as Tiger Moth EM840. Visitors would also be able to see the aircraft undergoing light maintenance and, when required, being rolled out of the museum hangar and onto the airfield to fly. The Heritage Lottery Fund has been approached for

It is hoped that the restoration to airworthiness of the Historic Aircraft Flight Trust’s Tiger Moth EM840 will be among the projects visible in the new Museum of Army Flying development. PETER R. MARCH

assistance with the funding for this project, the total cost of which is estimated as £4.4 million. At this stage, the museum has applied for £300,000-worth of development funding. If this is successful, it will take up to two years to prepare an application for the balance required to actually build the new infrastructure. The museum has undertaken to raise £1.36 million of the total cost. The result of the bid application should be known in late July. Peter R. March

Army Historic Aircraft Flight Sioux AH1 XT131 airborne at Middle Wallop on 22 May, its first flight for several years. SIMON FENWICK

Norseman to Norway The Norwegian Spitfire Foundation has started operating Noorduyn UC-64A Norseman SE-CGM on behalf of its owner, the Norsk Luftfartsmuseum (Norwegian

Aviation Museum) in Bodø. The aircraft, currently Europe’s sole airworthy example of the type, was ferried from its previous base at Västerås, Sweden, to Kjeller on 28 May in the hands

UC-64A Norseman SE-CGM flying in Norway on 29 May. AERODROME.NO


of Lars Ness and Finn Terje Skyrud. This took place exactly 70 years to the day since it first landed in Norway, on 28 May 1945. The Foundation, which already operates ‘sharkmouthed’ P-51D Mustang G-SHWN on behalf of its owner Shaun Patrick, will fly the Norseman to, in the words of Norsk Luftfartsmuseum director Erlin Kjærnes, “convey Norwegian aviation history on a national basis”. Post-war, the Royal Norwegian Air Force operated numerous UC-64s including this 1944-vintage example, which had been serialled 44-70515 in wartime USAAF service. It first arrived in Sweden during 1963, passing through a number of owners, and being operated both on wheels and floats. Ben Dunnell

Public vote for RAFM for Lottery prize The RAF Museum’s First World War in the Air exhibition, which opened in December 2014 at Hendon and on 15 January this year at Cosford, has been shortlisted for the National Lottery Awards 2015. The winner will be decided by public vote, which will take place during a five-week period from 24 June to 29 July. The exhibition is competing against six other projects. Votes are to be cast by ’phone or online. To support the museum, go to www.lotterygoodcauses. 13


DH anniversary gatherings Moth 90th celebrated

Gusting winds around the country and a strong crosswind at their destination limited the turnout of DH60 Moths at Old Warden for the type’s 90th birthday party organised by the de Havilland Moth Club on 3 June. Nigel and Sally Ann Reid flew G-AAWO in from Lee-on-Solent, from where Malcolm Paul and Phil Warren also arrived in G-AAJT. Ben Cox brought racing DH60 G-AAXG from Langham but owner Simon Kidston, who was planning to join the party by taking a commercial flight from Geneva to Luton, spent all

morning in the Swiss departure lounge until he was forced to cancel. Other crews were cruelly frustrated by the wind at White Waltham, Goodwood, Durley, Biggin Hill and Malshanger. Sixty members and guests attended a birthday luncheon in Old Warden’s Hangar 3, which was dressed with the world’s oldest DH60, BAE Systems-owned G-EBLV, and the Shuttleworth Collection’s DH60X G-EBWD. Amongst the guests were Henrietta, Duchess of Bedford, president of the de Havilland Moth Club; Eric Broad, son of de Havilland test pilot Hubert Broad;

A line-up of DH60s at Old Warden on 3 June, with Lee-on-Solentbased DH60G G-AAJT in the foreground. TONY HARMSWORTH

Desmond Penrose, associated with G-EBLV for over 50 years; and Howard Mason, BAE Systems Heritage Manager. Further celebrations of the 90th anniversary will be held

at the International Moth Rally at Woburn Abbey on 15-16 August, the 30th event held at Woburn, which also marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of the club.

A total of 42 DHC-1 Chipmunks graced the Old Warden turf on 22 May to celebrate the 69th anniversary of the prototype, CF-DIO-X, making its maiden flight at Downsview, Toronto on 22 May 1946. The event was organised by Chipmunk owner Carol de Solla Atkin, who says: “I started arranging Chipmunk gatherings five years ago as a means of getting owners together to share information on owning and maintaining their aircraft. My first one was at Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 2010, followed by the 65th anniversary event, held at Panshanger in May 2011. The 70th anniversary of the first

flight of the Chipmunk will be in 2016 and really ought to be an extravaganza. Whoever hosts it will need time and money spent on it. As I have no money, I elected to do my own thing at zero cost a year early!” The furthest-travelled Chipmunk was OY-ATO, flown by Jacob Thordsen from Tønder in south-western Denmark. There were also visitors from France, Belgium, and Ireland. A highlight for the large crowd that arrived for the event was an 18-strong Chipmunk ‘Balbo’, organised by Robert Miller, head of training at Goodwood-based Ultimate High.

Massed Chipmunks descend on Old Warden

LEFT: The Chipmunk 69th anniversary ‘Balbo’ over Old Warden, as viewed from above. DAMIEN BURKE

French Skyraider flies again At La Ferté Alais on 18 May, the Amicale Jean-Baptiste Salis’ AD-4N Skyraider BuNo 124143/F-AZDP flew for the first time in almost four years. This, of course, was the aircraft involved in the mid-air collision with P-51D Mustang Big Beautiful Doll at IWM Duxford’s Flying Legends show in July 2011. Following the incident, the aircraft had a loaned outer starboard wing section fitted at Duxford as a temporary measure, enabling


it to fly out on 30 September that year. However, upon returning to La Ferté it remained grounded pending acquisition of a new replacement wing section. This was made at the end of 2014 and the aircraft returned to the air. A successful test flight by Bernard Vurpillot on 18 May preceded the Skyraider’s participation at La Ferté’s Meeting Aérien (see the Events pages) the following weekend. Ben Dunnell

An air-to-air view of AD-4N Skyraider F-AZDP following its recent return to flight at La Ferté Alais. FRÉDÉRICK VANDENTORREN



Our monthly comment column on the historic aircraft scene THE SPRING MONTHS have seen a remarkable aircraft has been kept in Berkshire, but, after a recent As well as being a private pilot variety of aircraft taking to the air for the first time. structural survey deemed the airframe capable of a and enthusiast, Steve Slater is a commentator on the vintage Behind the scenes, too, some less high-profile return to flight, preparations were made to move it aviation scene and chairman of the aeroplanes are on their way back into the skies. It to Aero Classics Engineering at Turweston. Vintage Aircraft Club — never ceases to amaze me what interesting old The target is that G-AVDF will be airworthy by aircraft keep cropping up, and where. April 2017, the 50th anniversary of its maiden flight. The first of these can hardly be described as ‘hidden’, as six Owner David Collings is keen to involve those originally involved Lockheed Tristars have been a part of the Bruntingthorpe skyline with the aircraft at Beagle and any others who are interested in its since being retired from RAF service a year ago. The venerable history and its return to flight. As a first step, he has created the pioneer wide-body jets were replaced in their tanker/transport role Beagle Pup Prototype Club, with a ‘chat page’ on Facebook for by eight Airbus A330 Voyagers operated on a £13-billion contract by anyone who would like to support the restoration of a unique bit AirTanker, a consortium made up of Babcock, Cobham, the Airbus of British light aviation history. Group, Rolls-Royce and Thales. Now an independent company, AGD Talking of aviation history, while somewhat overshadowed by Systems, intends to return the Tristars to airworthiness. this year’s major Battle of Britain and VE Day anniversary They will apparently be commemorations, it is worth operated under Federal remembering that there are Aviation Administration still some important World certification and have already War One centenaries to been assigned FAA ‘N’ honour. On 25 April, one such registrations, ahead of their 100th anniversary was deployment on in-flight marked, that of the action refuelling, cargo, personnel and medevac missions to offer a lowerwhich led to the first aerial Victoria Cross. It was posthumously cost supplement to US, UK and other NATO forces. For some who awarded to BE2 pilot William Rhodes-Moorhouse for a bombing felt that the withdrawal of the Tristars after over 30 years of loyal raid on the marshalling yards at Courtrai, which, despite his being service around the world was somewhat overshadowed by the fatally wounded, successfully prevented troops and munitions tributes paid to the VC10, there might be some poetic justice in being rushed to the front line in support of the German attack on seeing the big grey birds returning to flight. Ypres. There could barely be a greater difference between the Tristars In addition to commemorative stones laid in London and at and the first prototype Beagle B121 Pup, G-AVDF, which has not Beaminster in Dorset where Rhodes-Moorhouse is buried, there flown in 45 years. The aircraft, which made the type’s first flight in was a far more active occasion at his former home in the hands of ‘Pee Wee’ Judge on 8 April 1967, remained in the hands Northamptonshire. The Spratton Historical Society organised a of the company throughout its flying life and was used for flightweekend of activities including WW1 re-enactors, displays and testing, first in its original 100hp form with a Rolls-Royce Continental festivities, culminating in a WW1 flypast timed, to the minute, to engine, then with a 200hp Lycoming fitted as a flight test ‘mule’ for the moment Rhodes-Moorhouse had made his attack 100 years the forthcoming Bulldog military trainer. previously. There couldn’t be a better example of a local The Pup ended its flying career in 1970, before being stored at the community celebrating one of its own, and marking a special Shoreham factory until Beagle’s liquidation. More recently the moment in our aviation history.

‘Behind the scenes, some less high-profile aeroplanes are on their way back into the skies’

The first prototype Beagle Pup, G-AVDF, at the 1967 Paris Salon. It is currently being resurrected. VIA TONY GARDINER


MERLIN ENGINE RUNNING DAYS We are offering you the opportunity to run a Rolls Royce Merlin Engine hands on. The engine run is free of charge to anyone who has made a suggestive donation to us of £85 or more. This is available from March to December come rain or shine, however people are advised to ring 24 hours in advance to check this. If we are unable to run we can offer alternative suitable dates. We are able to offer up to 4 places per day.

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Letter of the Month Great days at Dornier

Congratulations on your excellent article on the Dornier Do 31 in the July edition of Aeroplane. It was of particular interest to me as I was involved in the Hawker Siddeley effort in support of the ‘small rig’ tests. HSA wanted to participate in the flight trials, so decided that as the Do 31 project was a jet V/STOL transport volunteers would be requested from the P1127 and DH125

ABOVE: From left to right: Karl Kössler, Dornier test pilot; Clive Rustin, RAE Bedford Aero Flight test pilot; Bill Bedford, HSA Dunsfold chief test pilot; Drury Wood, Dornier chief test pilot; Hugh Merewether, HSA Dunsfold deputy CTP; Bill Chinn, RAE Bedford Aero Flight scientist; and Radoslav Draganow, Dornier head of flight test.

‘Pip’ the pioneer

I very much enjoyed reading July’s Aeroplane. I wonder how many eagle-eyed readers spotted that two separate articles made mention of the same pilot? In the first, ‘The Dutchman and the Desoutter’, there is a reference to Desoutter I G-AATI Oarangi and the attempt on a longdistance flight from Croydon in 1930. The trip, completed by pilots H. L. Piper and C. E. Kay, became only the eighth flight from Britain to Australia. Harold (‘Pip’) Lord Piper was a New Zealand aviator who joined the RAF and went on to become the chief test pilot for Shorts, testing at least 166 Sunderlands. Harold was one of two famous uncles of a friend of mine, the late Dudley Parsons. Dudley enlightened me as to this uncle’s exploits and later commissioned a special painting from me to commemorate Harold, his aircraft and his adventures [reproduced at right]. The only picture reference I ever found was a photo in ‘British Commercial Aircraft’ by Paul Ellis. The second article was the ‘Database’ on the Short Empire boats. The Maia part of 18

flight development departments at Dunsfold and Hatfield. I was the lucky Dunsfold man, with Don Burns getting the Hatfield ticket for the three-month posting. We worked with chainsmoking Rado Draganow’s engineers, and with Drury Wood who was very good company and an excellent drinking companion, making us very welcome. The highlight of our time at Oberpfaffenhofen was the joint HSA/RAE Bedford assessment by Dunsfold test pilots Bill Bedford and Hugh Merewether, and Clive Rustin from Bedford. Don and I, and Bill Chinn from the RAE, supported and reported the evaluation as did Robin Balmer, then a stability and control engineer from HSA Kingston. There were many lively discussions about the fully auto-stabilised flight control system as Clive was an auto-control enthusiast, but at HSA we were less committed to the technology, having found it helpful but non-essential on the P1127s. When Drury came to Dunsfold to fly P1127 XP980 I worked with Rado and Hugh Merewether in planning his flights and analysing the test instrumentation data. In the group photo on page 77 I am the first on the left explaining something by actions. Don is third from the left, Bill Chinn is fourth from the right and Rado is third from the right. Second from the left is Rod Hacking, the indispensable resident Rolls-Royce engineer who looked after the engines. This posting was one of the most memorable and enjoyable in my career with Hawkers. Chris Farara (Drury Wood responds: “It was such a successful programme because we didn’t have to ask anyone for permission. Our project engineer, Hans Schabronath, gave Draganow and I permission to run as we chose and we did at max speed full ahead.”)

the Mayo Composite was flown by John Lankester Parker. His deputy at the time, piloting Mercury, was Harold ‘Pip’ Piper. I hadn’t come across Dudley’s relative in many publications over the years, so to find him mentioned twice in the same magazine is amazing! Most readers will have heard of his second, more famous uncle: another test pilot (whom I had the pleasure of meeting several times) — one Alex Henshaw. Graham Henderson GAvA

Finding your way with BOAC

Living in the deepest Antipodes, I’ve only recently seen your April edition with the articles about the 75th anniversary of BOAC. I joined BOAC in 1958, following National Service in the RAF. I was engaged as a second officer pilot, but was employed as a navigator for the first three years, and thereafter as either co-pilot or navigator until I was promoted to captain 16 years later. All new entry pilots of that era had to gain the flight navigator’s licence, as the original WW2 navigators were being phased out. The radio officers had gone, the navigators were going, and the flight engineers feared that they were next. They were right, of course, but it took a bit longer than was envisaged at that time. I didn’t want to be a navigator — I was a pilot, for Pete’s sake — but now I’m glad I had the opportunity to experience astro navigation techniques and grid navigation across the North Pole, and would love the chance to navigate a 707 across the Atlantic again. When I tell people that I used to AEROPLANE AUGUST 2015

navigate a 707 with a sextant, they start nervously looking around for the men in white coats. I instruct now at the local flying club, and recently a young student asked me what a sextant was! A nav instructor once told me that I would never make a navigator as long as I had a hole in my **** until I’d been over Berlin with the shells coming through the cockpit as I tried to get a three-heading wind drift reading through the drift sight. I never had to, but equally, as an eventual instructor myself, I wondered if some of my students would ever get to grips with the sextant. They never really needed to, as along came INS and now GPS. The comments about the authoritarian ‘North Atlantic Barons’ were spot-on, though many were perfect gentlemen and a delight to fly with, and I’m glad I knew them. I remember being chastised by one for addressing the co-pilot familiarly: “We DON’T use Christian names on the flight deck, Mr Murgatroyd”. At one time or another I flew with all the captains named in the article. Many years later a colleague remarked that the wheel had turned full-circle. Some of them couldn’t fly an instrument let-down to an ILS approach to save their lives, but pop out of cloud too high, too fast, not configured or lined up, and say, “The airfield’s over there, sir” — never forgetting the sir — and they would straighten up and fly an immaculate visual approach to a copybook manual landing, whereas some of the young pilots we were then training, having grown up with Microsoft Flight Simulator, could fly an instrument let-down far better than we ever could, or likely would, but pop out of cloud at minima and have to land a real aeroplane on the real earth and they lost it. I’m reminded of his remark when I read some of the more recent landing accident reports. I flew as crew on the Stratocruiser, Britannia, 707 and 747, and well remember many of the milestones referred to. Thank you for the memories. Alan Murgatroyd, New Zealand

Cargo colours clarified

I have just finished reading the BOAC section in the April issue and found it most interesting. Many years ago, while employed by Qantas, I used to service and certify BOAC Boeing 707s. On page 47, in the ‘Atlantic Race’ boxed item, I note that the caption under the photo implies that the 707 in the background is a BOAC 707 freighter. In fact, it is a 707 powered by R-R Conway 508 engines, as denoted by the nose cowl of number three engine. BOAC 707 freighters were only powered by P&W JT3s. The top cowl, or turbo compressor cowl, is painted dark blue. To the best of my knowledge the P&Wengined aircraft never had the cowl painted, as did the R-R-powered aircraft on subsequent liveries. Paul Hockey, Shellharbour, NSW, Australia AEROPLANE AUGUST 2015

‘Iron Annie’, ’70s-style

The article in the June issue about Lufthansa's Ju 52 reminded me of my first aviationrelated visit to the USA in June-July 1975. On 2 July we arrived at what was then called Ti-Co International Airport to see, much to our surprise, a Ju 52 parked up on the apron. Yes, it was N52JU, and I attach a photograph (above) I took of it all those years ago, before it was given loving care by Lufthansa. Paul Smith, Spalding, Lincolnshire

‘Tin Goose’ expedition

Having lived in Papua New Guinea — in the capital Port Moresby — from 1975 to 1978, I am always interested to read articles about PNG aviation. I enjoyed the ‘Tin Geese’ article in the May edition of Aeroplane — the photo of VH-UBI/A45-1 at Kila Kila with the 44-gallon oil drums lying around and the eucalyptus trees in the background was, I thought, particularly evocative. I can still easily recall the heat and humidity which photos don’t really transmit. I cannot remember seeing any sign of the old Kila Kila airfield when we were there; I think Kila Kila had become a suburb of Port Moresby by then. The wreck of VH-UBI/A45-1 was quite well-known when we lived in PNG. Unfortunately, it needed something of an expedition to see it and I never managed to visit Lake Myola. However, an Australian friend (named Malcolm Dow, if I remember correctly) gave me some photos he had taken of his visit, during the period 1975-78. [One is reproduced here — Ed.] I should like to pick up on one point in the article — Bob Piper refers to the use of Junkers F 13s in the Wau and Bulolo goldfields. They were supplemented by other

Junkers ‘corrugated metal’ types, including single-engine W 33 and W 34s, and in particular the large G 31 tri-motors, of which I think there were four. They flew in parts for huge dredgers which were assembled at Bulolo, rather like a giant Meccano set. Stephen Thair

Summers with Scillonia

In 1966 I was a keen young co-pilot in BEA on Vickers Vanguards when I saw an advertisement in Flight for freelance Rapide pilots in the West Country. It sounded just the sort of thing to do during the quite generous days off and leave provision that were then the norm in the corporations. I was not disappointed. After being cleared by Bryan Neely’s chief pilot, Norman Vacher, I was sent off to do numerous ‘round Sennen Cove and the Longships Lighthouse’ scenic flights, at 18 shillings and sixpence and “No more than 10 minutes, mind!” To add variety there were appearances at the Culdrose airshow, crayfish delivery trips to Quimper and proper airline passenger flights to St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly. These were mostly done by Norman. By 1968 I was a Boeing 707 first officer in BOAC. Not long after I joined, BALPA (the British Air Line Pilots’ Association) called a strike. So, back I went to St Just for more Rapide flying — thank you Bryan. I did not really want to go back to work when the union settled three weeks later. Pictured is my personal transport in front of G-AHAG. Peter Benest

The editor reserves the right to edit all letters. Please include your full name and address in correspondence. 19

Bf 109 ‘RED 7’

ABOVE: Klaus Plasa flying Bf 109G-4 ‘Red 7’ over southern Germany en route to the UK on 11 June.

‘RED 7’ I


rriving in the UK during mid-June for a short tour was Messerschmitt Bf 109G-4 D-FWME ‘Red 7’ of Airbus Heritage. Owned by the Airbus Group and operated in conjunction with the Flugmuseum Messerschmitt, the aircraft — a converted Hispano Buchón — is based at Manching in southern Germany. This Airbus Defence


and Space site accommodates the Flugmuseum Messerschmitt, featuring airworthy examples of many of Willy Messerschmitt’s designs such as the M17 replica, Bf 108, the Me 163 in glider form, and the new-build Me 262. After engine problems resulted in a belly landing in a field during participation at the Roskilde airshow in Denmark in August 2013, damage

to ‘Red 7’ was less serious than originally expected. The airframe was relatively easy to fix, the opportunity being taken in the course of replacing parts to incorporate changes aimed at improving flight safety. At the same time, the DB605A powerplant was given an extensive overhaul using the expertise available in the Flugmuseum’s engine workshop and the know-how of engine buff Siggi Knoll.


’ I N B R I TA I N The Flugmuseum Messerschmitt’s Bf 109G-4 heads across the Channel for a brief UK tour WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY: DR ANDREAS ZEITLER

The aircraft was re-flown just a year later on 20 August 2014 and has since been presented at some smaller airshows in Germany. It was also flown during an event at Manching on 28 May to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the first Bf 109 prototype’s maiden flight. Having made stops at FrankfurtHahn and Ostend, D-FWME crossed the Channel to land at Biggin Hill on


11 May, where it participated in the Festival of Flight two days later. Apart from that, ‘Red 7’ is scheduled to perform at Duxford’s Flying Legends and then the Royal International Air Tattoo. RIAT was the scene of the Bf 109’s only previous British appearance, in 2010. ‘Red 7’ was flown to the UK by Klaus Plasa, a National Test Pilot School graduate, Luftwaffe Transall

pilot and a regular exponent of taildragger aircraft. He will share display duties with Airbus Heritage’s second Bf 109 pilot Volker Bau, a graduate of the Empire Test Pilots’ School who works as a test pilot for Airbus Helicopters. • Aeroplane will carry a more detailed report on Bf 109 ‘Red 7’ in an upcoming issue. 21






During WWII, on one raid alone, Nuremburg March 1944, more Bomber Command airmen lost their lives than were lost in the Battle of Britain. These were ordinary men who became part of extraordinary events. One such was Arthur Darlow, the author’s grandfather. A pilot of a Lancaster crew in 405 RCAF crew, they were one of the legions of men who took the offensive against the enemy for most of the war. Their story, vivdly recreated here, is special.

For more than 150 minutes you will fly the Curtiss 46 aircraft on half a dozen trips across Alaska. Pilots and mechanics go over every aspect of this fascinating aircraft after an introduction by the Everts family. As a bonus this DVD also includes another half a dozen trips in the cockpit of the DC-6 to destinations not previously covered in the series making this another must see programme!




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In the 1930s, a Lockheed 10 Electra was the corporate aircraft of famous Czechoslovak shoe manufacturer Bata. Now this very machine has returned WORDS: STEFAN SCHMOLL




t marked a homecoming after 76 years when, on 28 May, pilots Milan Vacík and Nikola Lukačovič touched down in Lockheed 10A Electra ‘OK-CTB’/N241M on the small grass airstrip at Točná in the southern suburbs of Prague. Under their collective belt since setting off from Hamilton in Ontario, Canada, were nine sectors involving about 40 flying hours and 9,700km (6,027 miles) — not bad for a 78-year-old machine. Hundreds of onlookers gave the visibly touched crew an enthusiastic welcome at Točná. After all, it’s not every day that a Lockheed 10, currently the world’s only flying example of this elegant type, crosses the Atlantic. A few years ago, a Czech entrepreneur discovered this 1930s icon in Texas. He did not let up until he was able to acquire N241M from long-time owner James Almand in 2010. Since then, Wichita Air Service in Kansas has restored the twin-

engined Lockheed to a condition better than new, a maiden flight being carried out on 12 March this year. In addition to fully-overhauled Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior engines, the new owner attached great importance to an authentic interior, appearing just as it did when the aircraft was operated by Czechoslovak shoe manufacturer Bata before the war. Of course the cockpit is not in the style of the Thirties, including as it does many modern instruments. It would, as Nikola Lukačovič said, be somewhat irresponsible to attempt to cross the Atlantic today with period equipment. The Electra makes a beautiful sight, highly polished and sporting the historic Bata livery. Thankfully, it is not scheduled to disappear into a hangar, but will form the main attraction of a planned museum at Točná. In addition, the enthusiastic Czech crew plans to take the twin to selected classic aircraft events and airshows all over Europe.

This forms the latest chapter in the outstanding history of an airframe that was built at Burbank, California in 1937 with the constructor’s number 1091. From that April until March 1939 it served as Bata’s corporate aircraft, registered OK-CTB. A few days before the German invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Electra was flown (carrying, it’s said, Bata family members and the company’s general manager) to Poland, which was at that time still free. Then it went via Yugoslavia, Italy and Paris to London, where the natural metal Lockheed was used as on VIP shuttles for a couple of weeks. In May 1939 it was sold to the Royal Canadian Air Force, which flew it as a transport in Canada with the serial RCAF 7656, until its retirement in 1946. The aircraft was sold for a sum of C$42,000. After passing through the hands of several US owners, with registrations N79236 and N241M, the Electra was purchased in 1974 by James Almand

BELOW: Lockheed 10A Electra N241M, marked as OK-CTB, over Germany on 26 May during its delivery flight to Prague. CHRISTIAN BRAMKAMP


BATA LO CKH EED 10 from Grand Prairie, Texas. He operated it for many years in its former RCAF colours (see the front cover of the June 1981 Aeroplane Monthly). The first stage of the aircraft’s ‘homecoming’ trip to the Czech Republic took place in April. After successful flight-testing by some American colleagues, Milan and Nikola flew the Lockheed from Wichita to Hamilton, where it was exhibited for a few weeks at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. There took place a very special meeting, when the daughter of Tomáš Bata Jr, Rosemarie Bata Blyth, visited the former family aircraft. Meanwhile, Vaclav Bejček and Jarda Anyz, the two mechanics on the team, used the period spent at Hamilton to make final technical preparations for the big adventure. The 1,900km (1,180-mile) stretch across the endless cornfields of the mid-western United States and along the shores of the Great Lakes was only the prelude. ABOVE: With Lockheed 10A OK-CTB, Bata helped pioneer corporate flying in Europe. VIA MILAN VACÍK

RIGHT: A previously un-published photo of Jan Antonín Bata in front of his family firm’s Lockheed in Brno during 1937. He was the half-brother of company founder Tomáš Bata, who died in an air crash in 1932.


‘To pilot the historic Lockheed along the icebergs and fjords of Greenland and Iceland was an incredible experience’ RIGHT: Cruising serenely over the Greenland glacier.


In mid-May it was time for the Atlantic crossing. On 20 May Milan and Nikola flew the Electra to Iqaluit, one of the last outposts of Canada’s far north-west. The crew refuelled the aircraft from barrels brought with a forklift by the friendly airport staff. Because of the cold, the engines needed a certain warm-up time, providing a good opportunity to de-ice the airframe — a job for men rather than boys! Having dressed in the obligatory dayglo survival suits, the crew made for the first over-water stage, across the 350km (217-mile)-wide Davis Strait to Nuuk airport in Greenland. Here a small leak on the oil line to the port engine made for a day off, at least for Milan and Nikola who were finally able to catch up on lost sleep, while Vaclav and Jarda solved the minor problem. Instead of taking the shortest route across the vast, uninhabited landmass


BELOW: Caption


of the world’s largest island, the Electra went along the fjord-rich south coast of Greenland to Kulusuk. Due to thick clouds, for a time it had to fly at iceberg level along the coastline, an unfamiliar feeling for both these experienced airline pilots. Fortunately, the crew was far from alone. Nikola was proud that they were able to use, a new program which showed the forecast wind conditions. It was developed by his brother Ivo, who also happens to be the Electra’s owner. On Facebook, Milan reported daily from the individual stages of the journey and posted the latest photos, while it was possible to follow progress almost live on a spot tracker. In addition to all the modern technology on board, a Cessna Citation CJ4 business jet served as support aircraft during the entire trip. “In the sunny sections”, said Milan, “it was a dream of a flight”. To pilot the historic Lockheed along the icebergs and fjords of Greenland and Iceland was, for him and Nikola, an incredible experience. After another 1,100km (683 miles) over the rough North Atlantic, the Electra reached European ground on 25 May when it touched down at Wick in the far north of Scotland. Much of the tension now evaporated, as the most difficult part of the journey was over. The survival suits could be taken off, and it was back to more relaxed flying between cities and airfields. Word spread quickly that IWM Duxford was the night-stop venue after the following day’s stage. Many onlookers were present that evening when the Electra landed. The next morning the crew, fortified by a


ABOVE: A fine study of the Electra over Canada. TOCˇ NÁ AIRPORT LEFT: Wearing survival gear, Milan Vacík (left) and Nikola Lukacˇovicˇ make for the Faroe Islands. TOCˇ NÁ AIRPORT BELOW: The four crew members who conducted the ferry flight on the tarmac at Siegerland: from left to right, Vaclav Bejcˇek, Milan Vacík, Nikola Lukacˇovicˇ and Jarda Anyz. STEFAN SCHMOLL

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LOCKHEED 10 BACKGROUND First flown on 23 February 1934, the Lockheed 10 Electra was a rival to the Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-2. It was Lockheed’s first twin-engined, all-metal aircraft, and laid the foundation for a large family of military and civilian types in the years that followed. From 1935 onwards, 149 Electras were built, with four different engine specifications. Some 115 of the two-pilot, 10-passenger machines were delivered to airlines, and nine from the factory to the armed forces of Argentina and the US. Only 25 examples, including Bata’s OK-CTB, went to wealthy private individuals and


companies around the world. Of those, several were impressed into military service during World War Two, being used primarily for VIP transportation. Another 130 examples of the smaller, six-passenger Lockheed 12 Electra Junior were produced, starting in 1936. Today, only 16 Lockheed 10s survive. Aside from ‘OK-CTB’/ N241M, just one can be found in Europe — the 1935-vintage c/n 1037, formerly NC14959, NC243 and NC5171N, which is displayed hanging from the ceiling of the Science Museum in London.


LEFT: N241M is the sole airworthy Lockheed 10 not only in Europe, but also the world. STEFAN SCHMOLL

full English breakfast, continued by hopping to interesting airfields en route to Prague. Lelystad in the Netherlands was on the list as a refuelling stop, the Aviodrome museum’s re-creation of the historic Amsterdam-Schiphol terminal offering great photographic opportunities. One felt almost transported back to the time when OK-CTB was flown around the capitals of Europe almost 80 years ago. Because of prevailing tailwinds on large sections of the journey, the team progressed faster than planned. The Electra thus touched down four days earlier than expected at the Siegerlandflughafen in mid-western Germany, from where our photoshoot took place. But the stops in England, Holland and Germany were nothing compared to the excitement at Točná when the Lockheed 10 landed on Thursday 28 May, its first time on Czech soil since 11 March 1939. It concluded a perfect Atlantic crossing in this historic airliner. In early June the Electra starred in the famous airshow at Pardubice, surely not the last appearance of this rare icon of European aviation.

ABOVE: The Electra’s elegant lines are set off beautifully by the smart Bata livery. STEFAN SCHMOLL

LEFT: An appropriate backdrop for a 1930s airliner — the recreated AmsterdamSchiphol terminal building at Lelystad’s Aviodrome museum. TOCˇ NÁ AIRPORT

BELOW: Arrival at Tocˇná was delayed by a day due to strong winds, but still proved a cause for celebration. MARTIN HALES

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: With special thanks to Milan Vacík and Nikola Lukacˇovicˇ. The author is also grateful to Christian Bramkamp, who organised the photo-shoot at Siegerland.



AT O M I C B O M B E R S of the 509 509th th No single aircraft has ever been able to end a World War in less than a week, but two of the 509th Composite Group’s B-29 Superfortresses did just that WORDS: WARREN E. THOMPSON


BELOW: Almost wall-to-wall B-29s at North Field on Tinian in the summer of 1945. CARL GARNER

olorado Springs, September 1944. Col Paul Tibbets, an extremely experienced Boeing B-29 Superfortress pilot, was called in by Gen Uzal Ent, commander of the 2nd Air Force, to receive some confidential news. He was to take command of a special unit tasked with dropping a new weapon on Japan. With Tibbets and Ent were three representatives of the Manhattan Project, the US research effort engaged in producing the first atomic bomb. This meeting would, it is no exaggeration to say, change the course of warfare. Tibbets was charged with putting together a group of talented people to form the 509th Composite Group (CG) at Wendover Army Air Field, Utah. It was officially activated on 17


December 1944. The enlisted types and officers were called in and told that they would be delivering a weapon that could shorten the war by at least a year. It was a top-secret project, not to be discussed with anyone except those involved with the 509th. The codename for the modifications to the B-29s that Tibbets’ crew would be flying was ‘Silverplate’. The men involved found out quickly that their training involved ensuring their ability to fly and navigate for 3,000 miles over water. Various experimental models of the bomb were dropped during missions carried out from Batista airfield in Cuba. A total of 15 specially-equipped B-29s were made for the group. The ‘Silverplates’ were rigged with high-strength internal supporting

structures with a massive shackle for holding and releasing a five-ton bomb by a single lug. A sway brace was installed to prevent dangerous lateral or longitudinal movement of the bomb within the forward bomb bay compartment. The fuselage was devoid of gun turrets and sighting blisters, and the only means of self-defence were the twin .50-calibre guns mounted in the tail turret. The first ‘Silverplate’ B-29 was delivered on 19 March 1945, and the 15th and last on 15 June. To the public, the media and the rest of the Army Air Force, the 509th CG did not exist. Only a very select few outside the group knew of the atomic bomb. On Memorial Day, 30 May 1945, the small Composite Group — its maximum numbers of


personnel amounted to 1,542 enlisted and 200 officers — moved from the US to North Field, Tinian, in the Mariana Islands. The Marines had captured Tinian 10 months earlier. It would end up as the biggest air base in the Pacific and a ‘springboard’ for the enormous B-29 missions, involving some 800 aircraft at a time, which targeted Japan. The intensity of the long-range practice missions did not let up, but they were not conducted over the Japanese mainland. The first was against Rota and Guguan, closely followed by strikes against the Japanese naval base at Truk and Marcus Island. None counted as combat missions as the 509th was still considered to be in training. But, on 20 July, the group was ordered to begin bombing targets in Japan. The first objectives were Ōtsu, Fukushima,

Tokyo and a few others. These early missions had a distinct purpose — they would not only familiarise the crews with primary target cities, but also accustom the Japanese to the sight of very small numbers of high-flying B-29s overhead without causing undue alarm. As an extra security precaution, the tail markings on the 509th’s bombers were constantly changed, using those of other Bomb Groups. The original symbol for the 509th was a forwardpointing arrow within a large circle. To further keep up the secret, XXI Bomber Command authorised attacks against targets around the cities that were to be the recipients of the ‘A-bombs’. Twelve such strikes were sent out in four days, only involving two to six bombers each. The deception plan was working overtime.

The 509th flew so-called ‘pumpkin bomb’ missions, denoted on the lefthand side of the aircraft by pumpkin symbols. ‘Pumpkin bombs’, so named on account of their shape, were light-cased 10,000lb bombs similar in configuration to the ‘Fat Man’ atom bomb. The targets on which they were dropped were not of vital importance, but these sorties gave aircrews the knowledge that they were ready for the real thing. When President Truman was brought up to speed on the atom bomb, a special committee recommended to him that it should be used against Japan as soon as possible; that it be employed against a dual target (a populated area that also had important military targets within the ‘kill zone’) and that absolutely no warning be

ABOVE: B-29A Enola Gay on Tinian with the 509th Composite Group’s regular tail markings of a forward-facing arrow within a circle. These would be changed on just about all missions flown from the base, using one of four markings from other Bomb Groups stationed there. CARL GARNER





RIGHT AND ABOVE: The two types of atom bomb used for the 1945 strikes: the ‘Little Boy’ (pictured right, in the bombing-up pit at Tinian prior to loading into Enola Gay) and the ‘Fat Man’. ABOVE MIDDLE: Enola Gay about to land back at Tinian after the mission against Hiroshima. As can be seen here, by now the B-29 wore the ‘R in a circle’ marking of a 6th BG machine. Enola Gay was the weather recce ship for the primary target of the 9 August mission, Kokura. PRESS ASSOCIATION IMAGES

BELOW: The crew that flew Enola Gay on the Hiroshima raid. Col Paul Tibbets is in the middle, smoking a pipe. NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION

given to the enemy in advance as to the nature of the weapon. The first intended target was still not ready to be announced, the committee suggesting a city that had been relatively un-touched in order to produce the most significant psychological and experimental results. With this, six potential targets had to be removed from the hit list. Gen ‘Hap’ Arnold, chief of the Army Air Forces, stated that Kyoto was the largest city in Japan that had not been bombed. The other three cities on this list, in order of total population, were Hiroshima, Niigata and Kokura. Gen Curtis LeMay, the boss of XXI Bomber Command, was ordered to reserve these as targets for the 509th CG. A short time later, Secretary of War Henry Stimson convinced Arnold to remove Kyoto. The argument was that it had great significance to the Japanese people as a national shrine of religion and culture. Its replacement on the list was Nagasaki. Data on the projected atomic explosion was passed on in the form of a memorandum from nuclear physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, a key member


of the Manhattan Project team back in New Mexico, to Gen Carl A. Spaatz at Tinian. It read, “It is expected that radioactive contamination will reach the ground. The ball of fire should have a brilliance which should persist longer than the one at Alamogordo [where a trial artificial explosion was carried out on 16 July], since there will be very little, if any, dust mixed with it. In general, the visible light emitted by the unit should be even more spectacular. Lethal radiation will, of course, reach the ground from the bomb itself.”

From the Alamogordo test explosion, Oppenheimer had calculated that the energy release from that first bomb due to be dropped on Japan would be in the region of 12,000 to 20,000 tons of TNT. It would have taken 2,000 B-29s carrying full conventional bomb loads to generate that much destructive power. Yet, even for those involved in the project, it was hard to imagine the destruction about to be unleashed on Japan.

The next big problem for the planners: what if the first two bombs drew no reaction from the Japanese military? How many bombs would be necessary before they surrendered? Manhattan Project director Maj Leslie Groves wrote a memo dated 30 July 1945 to the Chief of Staff. In this he outlined a schedule that answered any questions as to how far the United States would be willing to go to prevent the invasion of Japan. “In September”, he stated, “we should be able to have at least four bombs ready with the same number available for the month of October. In November, the number would increase to five bombs and then seven available for December”. Only the imagination could suggest the number of civilian casualties after 20 atomic bombs had done their job. On the afternoon of 2 August, Tibbets and his bombardier Maj Tom Ferebee arrived on Guam for a session with Gen LeMay. Tibbets asked which target had been selected for the first bomb. LeMay answered quickly that it would be Hiroshima because he knew it contained a large number of troops and war-related factories. LeMay asked Ferebee to show him the aiming point (AP) he had selected, and he placed a finger on the T-shaped Aioi Bridge in the centre of Hiroshima. It was ideal. A meteorologist in Washington DC had made a long-range forecast stating that four days, 6-9 August, would see favourable weather over the selected targets for the ‘A-bomb’ drop. This helped set the 6 August date for Hiroshima. A three-ship of ‘Silverplate’ B-29s would be over Hiroshima on that day. The Superfortress carrying the 9,700lb ‘Little Boy’ atomic bomb was 44-86292 Enola Gay, named after Tibbets’ mother. With it was 44-27353 The Great Artiste, coded 89, the principal instrument ship that accompanied the main bombers on both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki missions. Its regular aircrew was increased by three, namely


members of Project-A, the key planners regarding the use of the atomic bomb. They were on board to operate and monitor instruments. The third aircraft was equipped with a special high-speed Fastax camera brought in from Los Alamos to record the initial explosions and growth of the fireball. This duty would be shared by two B-29s: on the Hiroshima mission it was carried out by Necessary Evil, code 91, and on the Nagasaki drop three days later by Big Stink, code 90. Three more Superfortresses carried out weather recces early on the morning of 6 August. The destination of Straight Flush was Hiroshima, Jabbit III covered Kokura, and Full House was over Nagasaki. Their reports would determine the final target. At 02.00hrs, Col Tibbets arrived on the Tinian flightline, where Enola Gay, its ‘Little Boy’ weapon loaded into the bomb bay, was illuminated by spotlights. He started engines at 02.27, and eight minutes later he was ready to take off. The instrument and photographic ships followed at twominute intervals, the trio of aircraft joining up over Iwo Jima at 8,000ft. Enola Gay’s navigator Capt Theodore ‘Dutch’ Van Kirk set course for Shikoku, an island off the south-east coast of Japan. According to records, if all three aircraft found themselves in cloud, they were to return to base with the ‘A-bomb’ intact. During the flight, two bomb specialists — mission commander/weaponeer Capt William Parsons and his assistant 2nd Lt Morris Jeppson — went into the bomb bay to arm the weapon, a job that took 20 minutes. A weather report from Straight Flush confirmed that the weather over Hiroshima was fine. At precisely 08.15hrs Japanese time, Ferebee pushed the button that opened the bomb bay and released the weapon. Enola Gay was at 31,060ft with a ground speed of 328mph. At that moment, Tibbets took over control and executed


a violent 150-degree turn away from the AP. The ‘Little Boy’ was timed to explode 1,890ft above ground. Fortythree seconds after leaving the bomber, the bomb detonated 800ft from the AP. By this time, the three Superfortresses were 15 miles from the blast. What they saw next was an instant, huge fireball engulfing the area, followed by a phenomenon that only the tail gunner could see. A visible mass

from the detonation. The core of the blast would have hit a temperature of 50 million degrees Centigrade. After three orbits of the target area, Tibbets headed for Tinian with the two other B-29s trailing close behind. The mushroom cloud did not fade from view until they were about 360 miles from Hiroshima. Enola Gay landed at 14.58hrs local, completing a 12-hour 13-minute sortie.

ABOVE: Col Paul Tibbets (right) shakes hands with Maj Charles Sweeney, about to fly B-29 44-27297 on the second atomic bomb mission. Sweeney was the 393rd Bomb Squadron CO. ROBERT KRAUSS

‘The Hiroshima mushroom cloud did not fade from view until 320 miles away’ of air was rushing up and away from the blast — it was a shockwave moving at a much greater speed than the B-29. The tail gunner shouted for everyone to brace and then the first wave hit, throwing Enola Gay around like a toy. Four seconds later, another shockwave hit them with about the same intensity. Tibbets fought to get the aircraft back onto an even keel, and within seconds they were back into calm air. They set up an orbit above Hiroshima at 29,200ft and 11 miles

The Japanese press merely stated that a new type of bomb had been dropped by parachute. The only parachutes involved were those used to release items from the instrument ship to record the intensity of the explosion. Plans, meanwhile, were being finalised for the second ‘A-bomb’ attack. The intended date was 11 August, but weather reports stated that 9 August would be a better choice. The primary target was Kokura, with Nagasaki as the designated alternate.

BELOW LEFT: The ‘mushroom cloud’ that rose over Nagasaki in the wake of the 9 August 1945 attack. NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION

BELOW: B-29 44-27297 en route to bomb Nagasaki. USAF


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B-29 ATO M IC BOMBER S BELOW: The crew involved in the Nagasaki mission, with pilot Maj Charles Sweeney fifth from right.


PICTURES BELOW: The nose art of some of the B-29s engaged in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki missions (though it should be noted that the artwork was mostly added or re-instated after the missions in question). 44-27297 Bockscar was the aircraft that bombed Nagasaki; 44-86291 Necessary Evil was the photo ship that covered the Hiroshima mission; 44-27301 Straight Flush flew weather reconnaissance over Hiroshima; and 44-27354 Big Stink was the Nagasaki photo ship.

This time, the lead ship, carrying the 10,300lb ‘Fat Man’ bomb, was 44-27297. Usually this aircraft was named Bockscar, but the nose art and name were not carried for the 9 August mission. The pilot was Maj Charles Sweeney. He and his crew arrived over the Yakushima rendezvous point right on schedule, but, after a 45-minute wait for the camera ship, Sweeney headed for Kokura. Unfortunately, it was ‘socked in’ by bad weather and smoke from fire-bomb attacks on nearby targets. With this in mind, he pointed the aircraft straight for



Nagasaki, realising that the lack of fuel resulting from the un-planned hold and problems with a fuel pump would force him to land on Okinawa. Conditions over Nagasaki were not much better than what they had found at Kokura. Suddenly, the bombardier, Capt Kermit Beahan, found a hole in the clouds and they let the bomb go. It was 10.56hrs Japanese time. The shockwave from the bomb was worse than the crew had imagined. One crewman described it as “like a telephone pole beating us to death”. By the time the B-29 reached Okinawa,

its fuel levels were dangerously low. Nevertheless, Bockscar made it, and was back on the ground at Tinian at 23.39hrs. This second ‘A-bomb’ mission was enough to bring Japan to surrender. An announcement to that end was made on 15 August. Exact death tolls from the two sorties are hard to calculate, but it has been estimated that some 70,000 to 80,000 people died in Hiroshima, and 35,000 in Nagasaki. Said Col Paul Tibbets, who died in 2007, “Word did not immediately come from the Japanese, so several of our bombers were supposed to fly ‘pumpkin’ missions. The final [one] of these missions was on 14 August. On that mission against Nagoya munitions arsenal we had a 10,000lb ‘Pumpkin’ bomb, 7,200lb of fuel and two .50-calibre guns mounted on the tail. The distance was 1,500 miles from Tinian, which would be like a bomb mission from Mexico to Canada. On our bomb run we noticed several fighters getting airborne, but they did not bother us. If word came of the Japanese surrender while we were en route to Nagoya, we were to turn around and drop the bomb in the ocean. I think we received word right before we touched down at Tinian. “The 509th CG stayed on at Tinian until November 1945. At that time we flew the aircraft to our new permanent base at Roswell AAF, New Mexico. Every member of the 509th knew that we had prevented the invasion of Japan, and hundreds of thousands of our men had been spared.”


Trains and planes F_P.indd 1

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With a new strategy of Airbases across the United States and other developments in the offing, the future of the Commemorative Air Force looks increasingly positive WORDS: RICHARD MALLORY ALLNUTT




he TBM Avenger’s Wright Cyclone engine shuddered into life as we sat on the tarmac at the normally sleepy rural airfield in Culpeper, Virginia. The scent of hot exhaust mixed with motor oil and other aromas wafted in through the open cockpit window as a small fleet of World War Two aircraft taxied past our position. Soon the pilot unfolded the Avenger’s wings, and we too joined the throng of warbirds waiting to take off for the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover. One by one they roared into the sky: Mustangs, Warhawks, Texans, Corsairs, Avengers, Skytrains, Mitchells, a Helldiver, Invader, Catalina and myriad liaison types and primary trainers. As our aircraft climbed, we joined the Helldiver and latched onto its starboard wing as we circled the rendezvous point. A pair of B-17s sauntered


overhead in a similar orbit 500ft higher with a trio of Mustangs in escort. Below, a B-29 passed over the bucolic Virginia farmland. Elsewhere other WW2 aircraft circled safely in their racetracks, awaiting their turn to fly over the capital. All told, 56 warbirds, gathered from across the United States, launched for a formidable flypast over Washington DC on that day, 8 May, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of hostilities. This hugely successful endeavour was the result of countless hours of toil from thousands of dedicated people, most of them volunteers. While several different organisations contributed significantly to the effort, chief among them was the Commemorative Air Force, whose aircraft and personnel formed the backbone of the event. The CAF spearheaded the immensely complex negotiations with no fewer

than 17 different federal agencies for permission to overfly the heart of Washington DC, which, since ‘9/11’, has become all but impossible for non-military/law enforcement aircraft. The flypast even required the shuttingdown of the capital city’s main airport for more than an hour, so it’s easy to imagine how much red tape needed wading through to pull off this feat. It was a major triumph for the CAF and the warbird community as a whole. It was also a clear demonstration of the modern CAF’s organisational skills, not to mention its political savvy, and a far cry from where it stood 15 years or so ago when it was still named the Confederate Air Force and mired in a series of difficulties. Now approaching the 60th anniversary of its founding by five friends with a single P-51 Mustang in 1957, the CAF is looking ever stronger. It is positioned to consolidate

ABOVE: The CAF’s SB2C Helldiver amid the throng of warbirds involved in May’s Arsenal of Democracy Flyover.


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ABOVE: CAF aircraft and staff outside the terminal at Dallas Executive Airport for last year’s ceremony announcing the location’s choice as the National Airbase. SCOTT SLOCUM/CAF

that strength with the Airbase strategy, and a renewed push to broaden its reach into a more diverse demographic. The CAF’s decision to move its headquarters from the relative backwater of Midland to the thriving metropolis of Dallas, Texas is perhaps its most important in some time. It will become the National Airbase. Four or five of the larger CAF units will also become Airbases, like the former Arizona Wing has already. The Airbase will be far more than just a hangar in which to house,

charge in building the National Airbase in Dallas. Aeroplane held an extensive conversation with Smith recently, to learn a little more about where the Commemorative Air Force is headed. While his title may sound grandiose, Adam Smith is anything but. He is softly-spoken and self-effacing, but carries a deep enthusiasm and understanding of aviation and its history. A former curator of Scotland’s Museum of Flight at East Fortune, he has a strong track record for getting things done within the museum

‘Making sure that social history is carried along is really important to us’ BELOW: Based with the Great Plains Wing at Council Bluffs, Iowa, P-51D Gunfighter is a CAF stalwart.


maintain and restore aircraft. It will develop into a more interactive and educational centre, while still maintaining flying vintage aeroplanes at its heart. These broad strokes demand focus to succeed, so the CAF hired Adam Smith, a Briton, a little over a year ago as its new executive vice-president of strategic development to lead the



world, as well as with organisations like AOPA (the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) and the EAA (the Experimental Aircraft Association). According to Smith, the CAF is “roughly two years into what is probably a 10-year journey for the organisation. We’ve been in Midland for 25 years, but despite everyone’s best efforts it’s turned out not to be the right place”. With just 8,800 visitors to the CAF’s museum at Midland last year, it was clear to nearly everyone that a move to a better location was essential. Smith added, “It’s not the easiest; as you have to admit to yourself, it wasn’t working out. In order to move the headquarters, 75 per cent of the organisation needed to vote in favour. And that’s what happened.” Some 23 different US cities bid for the honour of being the CAF’s new home, but Smith says Dallas was by far the best candidate. After making the news official in April 2014, the process has moved into what Smith

calls the “quiet phase”, where there isn’t a lot to show publicly. “There are no architectural drawings, impressive diagrams or formal exhibit plans. You’ve got to work to create that. You’ve got to talk to major funders. Right now we are deep into that. It will probably be another six months, at least, before we will come out and say ‘here is the vision we will try and raise the money for’. Then you’ve got to allow another couple of years to raise the money for it, and a further couple of years to actually build it. From where I sit right now, the best-case scenario is that there is something open to the public in 2019. But, truthfully, 2020 is probably more likely.” What should be built at Dallas? The CAF board gave Smith a series of guiding principles to work with. Primary amongst these was for the National Airbase to stay “true to the mission of the CAF”. It is going be rooted in aeroplanes that fly. Smith added, “I think, over the last decade, what the CAF has been doing is asking the question, ‘Why do we fly and preserve these airplanes, and how are we going to use them? What is the educational mission of the CAF?’” He sees the Tuskegee Airmen Red Tail Project as a primary example of how the CAF is evolving in this direction. The Red Tail Squadron has succeeded well beyond expectations. It is more than just the aeroplane, a beautifully-restored P-51C Mustang painted to represent an aircraft flown by the Tuskegee Airmen. It has succeeded because the aircraft is presented as a living history experience. It tours the United States alongside a major ground exhibit in the form of a mobile panoramic movie theatre. Airshow visitors can watch a


superb film presented in immersive surroundings within the 53ft-long tour vehicle that tells the compelling story of African-American airmen in WW2. The programme has become hugely popular and is one of the most important within the CAF. Smith says, “What that project has done in microcosm, as one unit within the 60 units of the CAF, is what we want the whole of the CAF to do a lot more of, which is to marry up the act of preserving and flying the aeroplane with a strong, experience-based, youth education outreach programme. So you will be seeing a lot more of that in our units, but you will also be seeing that woven into the National Airbase… The CAF is not just about flying aeroplanes, although there is no question [that] that will continue at the heart of what we do. In the future we want the CAF to be just as well-known for being an educational organisation.”

Another aircraft bound to receive similar treatment to the Red Tails Project is the newly-acquired C-47A Skytrain That’s All, Brother. As discussed in the news pages of this issue, the CAF has successfully negotiated a deal to buy this recently re-discovered aircraft. That’s All, Brother, as the lead paratroop transport for the D-Day invasion, is poised to become the most significant travelling aviation exhibit within the CAF when it finally takes to the air again following an extensive and accurate restoration to its original

wartime configuration. The exhibit which will accompany the aircraft wherever it travels will be a major draw and spread the story of the ‘greatest generation’ in a way few exhibits ever could. As Smith relates, “This is a strategic move for the CAF. It’s the first time in a long time that they’ve gone out and got a major asset. Very specifically we saw an opportunity in this. It’s about being able to tell a story — to be able to say ‘This was there’.” It was a major investment for the CAF, costing well above the average C-47, but considering that the Kickstarter fundraising campaign levied the additional US$75,000 acquisition cost within roughly a day, it’s clear that major public support is present.

The concept behind the National Airbase has flying aeroplanes at its core, but it will be a ‘living history’ museum as well. As Smith says, “I feel that we are in the story-telling business, and being good story-tellers is as old as human beings. So, again, as we think about these aeroplanes, I’m very anxious for them not to become abstract machines; that our focus is on counting the rivets or talking about the horsepower or the speed… that kind of stuff. There’s a place for that, but frankly that isn’t the place we are headed. The point of preserving them is because they were built by humans and flown by humans and they had fundamentally human and social consequences. Making sure that social history is carried along just as much as the machinery history is

ABOVE: Under moody Texan skies, the Southern California Wing’s A6M3 ‘Zero’ leads P-51Ds Gunfighter and ‘Red Nose’, the latter being the CAF’s founding aircraft. DR ANDREAS ZEITLER

BELOW: B-17G Texas Raiders on the tarmac at Manassas, Virginia, during preparations for the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover. RICHARD MALLORY ALLNUTT



ABOVE: B-29 Fifi and the Red Tail Squadron’s P-51C are key aircraft for the CAF.


really important to us… What is the compelling story that is carried by this aeroplane, and how are we going to tell that story most effectively? And how does that advance our mission to engage and inspire as many people as possible in the United States of America?” The CAF was founded by the generation that lived through and flew in WW2. Over the organisation’s history, WW2 veterans have nearly always been present at events for the public to actually converse with. But the CAF is now facing the hard reality that it will soon have no WW2 veterans left to maintain that human connection. Taking that reality, it has looked at how other historical disciplines have handled this cycle. In the USA, a strikingly obvious era to evaluate is the Civil War. This seminal event in US history was perhaps the first conflict to feature major reunions between combatants in the decades that followed. Even 50 years after the Battle of Gettysburg,

forming stronger bonds with the people that want to keep history alive”. Smith expects that live interpreters “dressed in the costume of history” will form part of the docent cadre at the National Airbase, “to help you understand history through the eyes of human beings.” Smith feels that aviation museums can learn much from those in other disciplines. He notes that, “There is a tendency among aircraft enthusiasts to only go to aviation museums, and we take all of our reference points from that. ‘Duxford is fantastic… so let’s just re-create Duxford’.” Smith sees this as a mistake. “We want to be innovative with what we are doing in Dallas. You can often find really cool things that are being done outside of aviation, and part of what we can do is to bring [those ideas] into aviation.” Having worked in a coal mining museum and a museum of Victorian farming, Smith knows how difficult it is to get young people interested in those kinds of subjects. By working

‘We want to be innovative with what we are doing in Dallas at the National Airbase’ thousands of Civil War veterans gathered on its anniversary. A halfcentury later, and they were all gone. But their stories are still very much alive in America today because, as Smith notes, “a re-enacting movement sprang up and has become that human part of the Civil War that helps keep it in the memory.” Smith says that something similar is happening with WW2 re-enacting, which is experiencing massive growth, and added: “We want to embrace that. And that’s why you see the staff


and thinking non-traditionally, you can gain their attention. “If we combined these amazing assets [the aircraft] and that amazing ability we’ve got to inspire… with working hard and really using some of the techniques that others have developed because they’ve got to work harder than us, that’s when we could do something really special. That’s what we are striving for at the National Airbase.” As an example of lateral thinking, Smith notes that the UK’s National Railway Museum in York engaged

with a whole new audience when it transformed a platform at a London station into a theatrical stage for a production of ‘The Railway Children’. Right at the appropriate moment in the play, one of the museum’s trains steamed onto the ‘stage’, smoke billowing from the funnel and whistle blaring. It was an electric moment, which grabbed everyone present from the child to the die-hard rail enthusiast alike. One can imagine how something similar could be achieved with a WW2 aeroplane taxiing up during a scene in a theatre production. Smith says he isn’t planning on doing this, “but”, he adds with a grin, “I might!” Adam Smith is also interested in how to improve airshows as a form of mass public entertainment. What could be achieved by using a better set of production values and adding more storytelling, so it’s not just a procession of one act after another? The CAF used to tell the story of WW2 during its Airsho when it was based at Harlingen, but hasn’t in some years. “A highproduction values, storytelling airshow is something you can expect to return to the CAF programme. This will likely start before the National Airbase buildings go up; perhaps as early as 2016, but certainly by the following year.” Talking about his time at the EAA, Smith adds, “We made a huge breakthrough at Oshkosh by doing the night show. It took five years of arguing just to get permission to do it, but eventually we did and it was a knockout success… By doing it at dusk and at night you’ve created a mood and an atmosphere. “When I talk about high production values, I’m actually saying that almost the worst time to hold an airshow is when most airshows get held — in


the baking heat of the harsh afternoon sun. What if, deliberately, we do it in the golden light near sunset? Do you think that might be cooler? Do you think there will be more mood and atmosphere? Yes, of course there will be. And then it sets you up for night-time, and you can do interesting things at night too. Why have the sunset shows at Shuttleworth become legendary? It’s romantic.” While the National Airbase will celebrate the 160-plus aircraft within the CAF, they can’t all be stationed in Dallas. There may be as few as 20 on permanent display, but that will allow visitors to focus more closely on what’s present rather than flitting from one aircraft to another, as one can do at a bigger museum. However, the National Airbase will rotate new aircraft in regularly, thereby sharing them around a network of bases. Smith’s museum career has shown him that the ability to regularly present something fresh with a new story is precious because it maintains interest. He continues, “We have already got that asset base. It’s just putting in place [a structure] where we can move things around a little more easily to benefit everyone. In many ways that’s no different to how every art museum around the world works. You’ve got your permanent collection, but what drives attendance are the temporary exhibits. Our world wants to connect with that.”

LEFT: Pictured flying through a typical CAF Airsho pyrotechnic spectacular, B-25J Yellow Rose belongs to the Central Texas (Centex) Wing at San Marcos. DR ANDREAS ZEITLER

However, Smith stresses, “One of the promises I made to the CAF was [that] as we made the National Airbase we were not going to take anyone’s airplanes away from them. We are going to honour that promise. But do we want that B-17 to be displayed there sometimes? You bet! It’s what I call a short-term loan programme. There are some logistical problems to overcome, but it will be relatively easy”. The temporary loan periods are expected to last three months or so.

Smith also sees the CAF’s nose art collection, by far the largest of its kind, as a valuable asset. It seems a shame to lock it all away in Dallas, so there’s every possibility of seeing elements of

the collection travel to other locations as a way of both promoting the CAF and bringing in more revenue. While the new buildings are undergoing construction in Dallas, the nose art collection will go on tour, with its first stop being at EAA Oshkosh AirVenture 2016. The CAF wants to reach out to members of the population who have often been sidelined. For instance, aviation enthusiasts are overwhelmingly male, so traditionally male perspectives are often dominant in aviation museums. Excluding half of the population isn’t acceptable, so the CAF will work on ways to present stories that are more inclusive to women. In looking at how other aviation museums around the world have done this effectively, Smith notes

BELOW: With its fleet of ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!’ film replica ‘Zeros’, ‘Kates’ and ‘Vals’, the CAF remains ideally placed to tell the story of events surrounding America’s entry into WW2. LUIGINO CALIARO BELOW LEFT: Part of the CAF’s nose art collection, which will go on tour next year. LUIGINO CALIARO BOTTOM LEFT: The use of reenactors, as here with the CAF’s SBD Dauntless at an event in Akron, Ohio, is in future intended to help the CAF connect with its audience. RICHARD MALLORY ALLNUTT



ABOVE: The Houston Wing’s C-60A Lodestar Goodtime Gal has been airborne again since 2011. Here it flies with C-47B Skytrain Bluebonnet Belle from the Highland Lakes Squadron, based at Bluebonnet, Texas. LUIGINO CALIARO

that the Australian War Memorial in Canberra exhibits a Lancaster with its story presented not through the eyes of a crew member, but rather those of the pilot’s girlfriend. This has proven a major hit across a diverse range of visitors, rather than exclusively the traditional aviation enthusiast. Also, being based in Dallas, Texas means there is a major regional Hispanic demographic, with over 42 per cent of the population being Latino. The Hispanic community has traditionally not engaged significantly with the CAF, because its connection with the American struggle in WW2 is not well known. However, when CAF staff brought up the story of the Mexican Air Force ‘Aztec Eagles’

squadron, this immediately garnered a great deal of interest from Dallasbased Hispanic-American history associations. The ‘Aztec Eagles’ flew the P-47 Thunderbolt alongside their American allies in the Pacific during the latter stages of WW2, and it just so happens that the CAF has an example in need of restoration, so this may be a way of working together with the local community and bringing in a whole new set of volunteers and visitors to CAF events. As a word of caution, Adam Smith says the CAF must be financially sustainable if it is to continue its mission. “The CAF is a blue-collar organisation. It is very grass-roots. It is not driven by wealthy people at all. It

is driven by passion and enthusiasm of thousands of volunteers. They bring that love, that time and that labour, and they bring as much money as they can too, because they are passionate, but it is not driven by deep pockets. We’ve got to be careful. We find ourselves operating the largest fleet of historical aeroplanes in the world by far, so part of what we are doing with the organisation is about how do we create a business model where we can continue to do this in the future.” It clearly seems to be on the right track. Stephan C. Brown, the CAF’s president and CEO, has presided over many of these forward moves and can be justly proud, along with his staff and the 11,000 members who make up the Commemorative Air Force.


Rotary-wing aircraft have been largely ignored by the CAF. With this omission, it is shunning the many helicopter pilots who might otherwise engage. As a result, it is now actively resurrecting an extremely rare, early helicopter: a Sikorsky R-4B. N4605V has been with the CAF since 1973 and is one of just a handful of complete survivors. It was acquired from rural Ohio, where it served briefly in the crop-dusting role. Sergei Sikorsky, the 90-year-old son of Igor Sikorsky, the helicopter’s designer, is supporting this project with great enthusiasm. Currently, the official plan is to restore the R-4 in Fort Worth, Texas. The CAF hasn’t yet chosen what markings the helicopter will wear, but it’s likely it will represent the 1st Air Commando Group YR-4B flown by 2nd Lt Carter Harman in Burma during WW2. Harman performed the very first helicopter-borne combat rescue in April 1944, when he ferried three wounded British soldiers and their American pilot from the crash site of a downed Stinson L-1 Vigilant. The CAF has nearly everything it needs to fully restore the R-4B, including a spare engine and rotor blades. Adam Smith does not see it being too complicated to restore, as it is little more than a fabric-covered steel-tube frame, with a level of complexity similar to a Stearman biplane. The trickier thing, though, will be re-learning how to fly it!




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15/06/2015 10:59


AIRFIELDS ARE FOR SISSIES! When Scottish Aviation sent its new Twin Pioneer on demonstration tours, it really put the aircraft through its paces WORDS: DAVID DORMAN

BELOW: Twin Pioneer G-AOEO at Davos, Switzerland, where passengers were taken by horse-drawn sledge from aircraft to hotel or ski-lift. AEROPLANE


uring the first weekend of January 1957, there was frenetic activity at Scottish Aviation (SAL)’s Prestwick airfield as the workforce demonstrated their ability to recover from Hogmanay by preparing three Twin Pioneers for simultaneous demonstration tours. Such tours have long been part of the promotional armoury of manufacturers, introducing their aircraft to customers in a bid for sales. To undertake three at once was a bold statement of intent by the

SAL management, who believed they were on to a potential winner with the aircraft. Furthermore, all three were sent as far away from each other as is possible to imagine, compounding the logistical challenges that faced Noel Capper, SAL’s chief test pilot, who was tasked with planning this exodus. One aircraft was sent to the Far East and Australia, another despatched to North and South America, and the third was demonstrated in Europe. What had led to this dramatic leap of faith? Scottish Aviation had been established in 1935 by Gp Capt David Fowler McIntyre and Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, Marquis of Clydesdale. They had achieved international fame two years earlier when they became the first men to fly over the summit of Mount Everest in

specially-converted Westland Wallace biplanes. They were determined to create a new company “to establish the aviation industry in all its branches in Scotland”, their initial target being to train much-needed pilots for the RAF. Scottish Aviation bought 157 acres of land at Prestwick, but also acquired a further 190 acres adjoining it for future expansion of the airfield. Over a five-year period to 1941 the company passed out 1,334 pilots, nearly 2,000 air observers and some 1,200 wireless operators. In addition, SAL set up a repair and modification factory and developed Prestwick into an established airport. All land-based Lease-Lend aircraft from North America flew to Prestwick, where SAL serviced and modified those types to British operational standards. During the war the company added formal design approvals to

its capabilities. SAL’s first foray into aircraft design and production post1945 was in response to Air Ministry specification A4/45, which led in 1947 to the first flight of the Pioneer. This light military communications aircraft was designed to carry four passengers and a pilot. By operating from rough surfaces and small landing strips not exceeding 300ft in length, it was able to serve and supply isolated troop contingents. The RAF took 40 of the total of 58 Pioneers built between 1952 and 1962, and the aircraft served with distinction, operating from rudimentary short airstrips in Malaya in jungle warfare conditions. The Twin Pioneer scaled up the exceptional STOL performance of the smaller Pioneer, enabling a commercial load of 16 passengers to be carried in the 19ft-long cabin over ranges of up to 500 miles. The three tour aircraft were Series 1s with the 550hp Alvis Leonides 514/8 engines. The definitive production version — designated the Series 3 — was powered by the 640hp Leonides 531. It offered maximum space for freight, while other variants included an air ambulance for nine stretcher cases and two ‘walking wounded’ and two attendants, a cropduster/sprayer, and a survey version. So slow and docile was the Twin Pioneer that SAL boasted, and indeed demonstrated, that the aircraft could take off at “bicycle speeds”. Its intended market was seen to be for use in areas where geographical conditions made the construction of airfields impractical, or where traffic density or the economic situation did not justify capital expenditure on it. SAL also believed that the type could be used on inter-city operations


because of its ability to operate from locations much closer to city centres than conventional aircraft. A Flight review of the Twin Pioneer (known affectionately as the ‘Twin Pin’) in 1955 concluded that the type’s versatility and economy had scarcely started to be appreciated and that the aircraft was in a class of its own, with worldwide appeal. Market demand seemed healthy, enquiries were coming in from across the world, and the initial aim was to manufacture a first batch of 200 aircraft. The prototype, G-ANTP (c/n 501), first flew on 25 June 1955 and the type certificate was awarded in November 1956. On the back of this optimism, and with the SAL motto ‘The World O’er’ (taken from Robert Burns) seeming particularly appropriate, the sales tours got under way. First away on 4 January for a planned 18,000-mile tour was G-AOEP (c/n 504), the fourth prototype. Remarkably, this aircraft made its first flight on 27 December 1956, so it only had a few hours on the clock. Resplendent in Scottish Aviation’s house colours, the aircraft bore the company’s crest of the lion rampant and the Hamilton family heart motif on the nose and outer fins.

It was an arduous, gruelling undertaking, much of it in intense tropical heat. A total of 83 sectors were flown, and Blair’s logbook indicates that some 40 demonstration flights were carried out. Just over 169 hours were logged. Various SAL executives took part in stages of these tours including David McIntyre. The first substantive demonstrations were made in Tehran on 16-17 January. Among the passengers carried was His Imperial Majesty, the Shah of Iran, who flew in the aircraft from a polo

ABOVE: The Shah of Iran stepping down from the Twin Pioneer after the demo flight in Tehran. AEROPLANE TOP: A splendid Charles E. Brown portrait of Twin Pioneer prototype G-ANTP, taken on 17 August 1955, less than eight weeks after its maiden flight. AEROPLANE

‘It was an arduous, gruelling undertaking, much of it in intense tropical heat’ Piloted by Capts Roy Smith and John Blair, G-AOEP was away for just over three months, the tour finishing at Melbourne on 6 April. In the truest sense of the phrase, this was to be a sales tour; the aircraft was planned to be sold wherever an opportunity arose.

field in the centre of the city, hosted by David McIntyre. Possibly as a direct result, by the beginning of 1958 the Iranian Civil Aviation Club had taken delivery of three Twin Pioneers. The next series of flights took place in Karachi and at Delhi’s Safdarjung

ð 45


ABOVE: A classic setting for a ‘Twin Pin’ — G-AOEP at Long Atip, Sarawak. AEROPLANE

ABOVE MIDDLE: Every sales tour to Australia has an airto-air taken over Sydney Harbour and the Twin Pioneer was no exception.


airport, followed by a demo flight on 31 January between Calcutta and Rangoon. For the next few days until 6 February ’EP conducted demos between Rangoon and Bangkok, Bangkok and Phnom Penh, and Phonm Penh to Saigon. Next stop was Malaya, where the earlier Pioneer had been so successful with the RAF. Local demos were carried out between 8-14 February from RAF Butterworth in Penang, Kuala Lumpur and the short, narrow Army airstrip at Seremban, normally used by Auster light aircraft, where the ‘Twin Pin’ showed its capabilities in a variety of communications and transport roles. Further demonstrations were carried out to the military at Singapore, Seletar and RAF Changi.

Between 14 February and 21 March, ’EP transited to and was demonstrated extensively in the British territories of North Borneo, Sarawak and Brunei, as well as the Philippines and Indonesia. Twelve demos took place with nearly 17 hours recorded, though some of the flights in Borneo particularly were only of short duration.

to use these airstrips to save them days and even weeks of travel on foot or by boat. SAL believed that the tobacco, coffee and pepper crops grown here could now be transported easily by air, swiftly and in bulk, giving these communities the opportunity to market their produce and radically improve their development. In the Philippines, Zamboanga, Cebu and Manila were on the itinerary, while Jakarta, Den Pasar (Bali) and Koepang (Timor) — all in Indonesia — were visited before the aircraft flew to Darwin, Australia on 22 March. There the Twin Pioneer went to the Northern Territories, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, operating eight local demonstration flights from Charleville to Brisbane, Tamworth to Sydney, Sydney to Canberra, short flights in and around Melbourne, including the local airfields of Berwick and Moorabbin, and Launceston to Hobart in Tasmania. The final flight was 6 April’s two-hour five-minute sector from Launceston to Moorabbin. On 1 May G-AOEP became the first ‘Twin Pin’ to be sold when it was bought by Consolidated Zinc Pty Ltd and

‘The Twin Pioneer offered people in Borneo a change in their fortunes, able to save them days or even weeks of travel’ The landing strips there were frequently only 45ft wide, considerably narrower than the 76ft 6in wing span of the Twin Pioneer, and had been hacked out of the jungle by the Borneo Evangelical Mission for use by single-engined light aircraft. To the local population the much bigger Twin Pioneer offered the promise of a change in their fortunes, with its ability


re-registered VH-BHJ. It remained in Australia until being written off in a hurricane in Western Australia during December 1960. Noel Capper (‘Cap’) himself commanded the second aircraft, G-AOEN (c/n 502), for the Americas tour, alongside another pilot, Mr T. Holiday, who had recently joined SAL after flying Pioneers in the Malayan

jungle. This example left Prestwick on 15 January and was flown to Montréal by Capt Clyde Pangborn, an American freelance ferry pilot. While all the three tour aircraft were equipped with additional 30-gallon tanks in each wing, ’EN also had a long-range tank in the fuselage for the North Atlantic crossing. The weather contrast between the first and second tours could not have been more marked. On one overnight stay at Seven Islands in Québec Province, Canada, the aircraft had to withstand -67.5 degrees of frost. ‘Cap’s’ logbook shows the tour starting on 5 February at Montréal’s Dorval airport, finishing nearly four months later on 28 June at Santos Dumont airport, Rio de Janeiro. Over 100 flights are recorded, but many of the demonstrations are noted as ‘local flights’ and not broken down in detail, so the real numbers were higher. Total hours add up to 144 but, again, the actual figure would have been greater. Demonstration time in North America was limited, being confined to flights in Washington DC and Fort Rucker, the US Army Aviation base in Alabama, between 8-14 February. Thereafter, for nearly a month ’EN was flown around the Caribbean, part of Central America and northern South America. It took in the Bahamas, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Trinidad


and Tobago, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, British Guiana, Barbados, Grenada, Martinique and Guadeloupe, Surinam and French Guiana. This element of the sales tour is notable for the number of interisland flights undertaken, both internationally and also linking communities from one island grouping, such as in Guadeloupe where flights to the islands of La

Désirade and Marie Galante took place. Some sorties were operated to unusual airstrips, such as the racecourse on St Vincent and the beach on Harbour Island in the Bahamas. G-AOEN visited nine South American countries from 20 March until late June, starting in Venezuela and finishing in Brazil. En route it took in every nation except Uruguay. Over 72 flying hours were logged, but logbook details of actual

demonstrations are sketchy. A muchneeded two-week break was taken in Lima, Peru. The aircraft operated in different airfield conditions, ranging from remote jungle strips to downtown city airports such as Buenos Aires Aeroparque and Rio de Janeiro’s Santos Dumont, and from coastal airfields to high Andes runways. Even in La Paz, at over 13,000ft elevation, the aircraft took off in less than 1,200ft.

ABOVE: Members of the local population stand by G-AOEP at Ranau, North Borneo. Note the specially-shaped bales of tobacco in the foreground, designed to be carried on a man’s back — SAL’s vision was that in future the bale shape would change to be more appropriate for air transportation. VIA ALAN ROBERTSON

TOP: An unidentified individual with G-AOEN at Seven Islands, Québec Province, Canada in temperatures of -67.5 degrees. VIA ALAN ROBERTSON

LEFT: British Army personnel inspecting the Twin Pioneer at Seremban airstrip in Malaya. VIA ALAN ROBERTSON



ABOVE: Who needs a runway? The aircraft at Santa Rita airstrip in the Colombian Andes — no sign of the priest and the champagne bottle, though. VIA ALAN ROBERTSON

One notable occurrence was in Colombia with a demonstration to Santa Rita, a remote community in the Andes situated a one-and-a-half-day pony ride from the nearest road. The villagers had created a landing strip for single-engine aircraft. When the ‘Twin Pin’ landed, the local priest rushed down with a bottle of champagne to celebrate an innovation he believed could lead to more development of the area.

airstrip on the frozen lake at St Moritz (altitude 6,090ft) and Davos. Trips were also undertaken to Zermatt, where a 1,200ft snow strip had been created by driving a truck repeatedly over the white powder. At the Paris Salon later that year, the aircraft demonstrated its short-field city centre credentials by operating a shuttle service between Issy-lesMoulineaux heliport, to the south of the Eiffel Tower, and Le Bourget.

‘After the two Twin Pioneer crashes in 1957, prospective deals evaporated’ BELOW: Less gruelling demonstration flying was undertaken by the ill-fated G-AOEO at the 1957 Farnborough show. AEROPLANE

With the tour completed, ’EN returned to the UK in time to appear at that year’s Farnborough show. It ended its days two years later on a demonstration flight to Africa where it suffered an engine failure at Luabo, near the Zambezi in Mozambique, and was written off after a forced landing. The third departure from Prestwick was G-AOEO (c/n 503) on 4 January, flown by Capt Tommy Hope. The aircraft was operated by Swissair from 26 January until the end of March on winter sports flights between a 1,200ft

But it was a December 1957 demo tour to North Africa that was to prove so devastating for SAL, the aircraft and the family and friends of David McIntyre. On 7 December, G-AOEO crashed in the Libyan desert, 360 miles south of Tripoli, while on an oil survey demonstration flight. On board were McIntyre, pilot Roy Smith, flight engineer Raymond Clapham and three passengers. News of the tragedy made international headlines and caused deep shock in Scotland where McIntyre was

a household name. That evening, an SAL Dakota took off for Libya carrying Mr T. D. M. Robertson, the company’s general manager, plus Noel Capper, other executives and technicians. Their mission was to retrieve the bodies and to start their own crash investigation. The cause was quickly established, being traced to a fatigue failure in the main strut’s fitting to the port wing and collapse of the front ‘vee’ brace tube. SAL engineers had already established that the T2 tube material used was a potential problem and specified T50 as the preferred alternative. Most aircraft had been updated but not ’EO. Colleagues had urged McIntyre to have the material changed — a two-day job — but he was not prepared to accept the delay. This accident was among the first recognised examples of metal fatigue. SAL had already dedicated a ‘Twin Pin’ to a three-year programme of airframe fatigue tests. When ’EO crashed it had only flown 564 hours, whereas tests had shown the T2 material to have a safe life of over 2,000 hours. But this figure only took into account normal utilisation where the aircraft would take off, climb to 3,000ft, cruise at that altitude and then land. ’EO was flying a very different pattern as a demonstrator: taking off and landing more frequently, seldom cruising any higher than 1,000ft, where stresses were greater due to turbulence at low altitudes, and operating in the extremes of the Libyan desert. When the fatigue calculations were re-run to simulate the operating conditions in which ’EO was flying when it crashed, the results showed the metal fracturing after as little as two hours’ flying. Paying tribute to his friend and colleague, Douglas, Marquis of Clydesdale, said: “Gp Capt McIntyre always played the prominent part in the inception and meteoric development of the company and the airport at Prestwick before and during the war year. On him fell the organisation and management of the first Atlantic air service from this end, and during his nine months in control, not a single serious accident occurred.

“Since the war he struggled, sometimes against great opposition, for the establishment of an aircraft industry in Scotland, which is now an accomplished fact with an approved design organisation. He was a man of vision and dynamic personality and his death in the prime of this life is a sad loss not only to the company, but to Scotland and aviation.” Sadly this crash was not the first for the Twin Pioneer. In August 1957, one of three sold to De Kroonduif NV of Dutch New Guinea had crashed off the Biak coast after only 250 flying hours. The only witness, a native fisherman, reported that a wing had fallen off — this had led directly to the investigation of the T2 strut by SAL. The proximity of these two crashes in the early stages of deliveries was particularly damaging to the aircraft’s prospects. Prospective deals evaporated, and existing buyers asked for their Twin Pioneers to be deferred and deposits returned, although by this time the RAF had placed its first order. SAL responded with further demonstration tours in the next few years and through to 1964 with production aircraft, but that is another story.

Both the Pioneer and Twin Pioneer were conceived when the British Empire was starting to wane. McIntyre’s visions were for the Pioneers to be the workhorses doing the ‘grunt’ work in remote areas from rough terrain, but also city centre services, while his grandiose plans for giant flying boats linking the far-flung Empire never came to fruition. SAL was beset by constant financial difficulties. These led to progressive decisions to reduce the size of manufacturing batches, meaning significant economies of scale could not be realised, and the Twin Pioneer was never fully ‘productionised’. The price per aircraft rose to £60,000, but margins were always very narrow. Fundamentally, the countries that needed this type of aeroplane were

precisely those which lacked the means to purchase it. Where economic aid was provided to these nations, more often than not it was used to build airfields for larger aircraft such as war surplus Dakotas, which in Chile and Peru were given away by the US government at $1 each, or, in another case in Australia, second-hand Ansons acquired for £15. Total production of the Twin Pioneer finally reached only 87 units,

so it was not a commercial success for Scottish Aviation. Technically, though, it was a successful design, and the aircraft did the job it was intended to do. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: The author would like to thank Alan Robertson, Dougal McIntyre, John Hope, Ian Adams, John Chalmers and Tony Merton-Jones for their help in compiling this article.

ABOVE: A classic shot of the ‘Twin Pin’ on the lake at St Moritz. VIA ALAN ROBERTSON

TOP: On the sand beach at Harbour Island in the Bahamas. VIA ALAN ROBERTSON


This year marks the 80th anniversary of the founding of Scottish Aviation on 9 August 1935. 2015 is also is the 60th anniversary of the first flight of the Twin Pioneer. Scottish Aviation eventually became the Scottish Division of British Aerospace in 1977 and is now BAE Systems Regional Aircraft, while the aerostructures business has become part of Spirit Aerosystems. Both entities still operate from Prestwick. Over time, some 1,000 aircraft were produced at Prestwick, while thousands more aircraft and engines passed through for overhaul, and many hundreds of major aircraft assemblies were constructed. Today, BAE Systems Regional Aircraft is responsible for ongoing engineering and customer support and continued airworthiness for over 500 regional aircraft with some 170 operators ‘the world o’er’.


ARADO Ar 196

SEVERAL CAREFUL OWNERS… Interned in Sweden towards the end of the war, the life of this Arado Ar 196 took many turns, including ownership by an MI6 agent WORDS: JAN FORSGREN


BELOW: A rare view of the Ar 196 at Horten while in Royal Norwegian Air Force service. It is undergoing an engine check. Note the Werknummer painted on the fin. VIA MATS AVERKVIST

f more than 600 examples of the Arado Ar 196 twin-seat maritime reconnaissance floatplane, one, through a series of extraordinary events including some very unusual twists and turns, came to lead a rather interesting life. During its five-year history, from its acceptance by the Luftwaffe in 1942 to its crash in 1947 while being operated as a target tug by a Swedish company, this particular Ar 196 was flown by no less than three air arms and four commercial firms, as well as being owned for about a year by a British MI6 agent.

The Ar 196A-3 in question was the sixth of only 23 built by SNCASO at St Nazaire, France, being assigned Werknummer 1006. After being checked by a Luftwaffe inspector on 1 August 1942, some differences and defects when compared with Aradoproduced Ar 196s were discovered. This resulted in the aircraft, carrying the code DH+ZF, being supplied to a training unit based on the island of Rügen, possibly 4. (Bordflieger)/FliegerErgänzungsgruppe (See), instead of an operational front-line unit. During early 1943, the Ar 196 was transferred to 1./FlErgGr (See) in Copenhagen.

While serving with that outfit, it was interned in Sweden on 11 February 1943. According to Swedish military records, the Arado was observed flying low along the country’s coastline, within its territorial waters. It was fired upon by Swedish naval vessels, after which it landed at Sund in the province of Blekinge at 15.59hrs local time. The pilot then appeared to power up the BMW 132K engine in order to take off, resulting in further gunfire from the Swedish defences. With that, the pilot, Uffz Ludwig Hammer, finally shut down. The Ar 196 was boarded by Swedish military personnel, Hammer

being transferred to a naval vessel. The observer, Lt Helmut Abramowski, remained on board the Arado as it was towed into Karlshamn harbour. Before the Ar 196 landed, a sack, possibly containing a camera, was seen being thrown from the aircraft. The sack and its contents could not be recovered, but it was suspected that the crew had photographed Swedish naval installations. They were interned, being transferred to F 5 wing at Ljungbyhed (the base of the Flygvapnet primary flight training wing) for interrogation. Neither Abramowski nor Hammer admitted or acknowledged that they had been involved with any kind of photography. They claimed that their mission was to perform a routine return flight from Copenhagen to the Danish island of Bornholm. The reason for them ending up in Sweden was said to be a navigational error. Abramowski’s and Hammer’s enforced stay in Sweden was, in the event, rather short and informal. The pair spent two nights as guests of a couple of the flying instructors, before being allowed to return to Denmark by ferry on the night of 14-15 February. The Ar 196, however, remained in Sweden, and was stored at the southeastern naval base at Stumholmen until early 1945. In January of that year, the German authorities gave permission to sell off some of the Luftwaffe aircraft interned in Sweden, including the Ar 196. Almost immediately, it was purchased by AB Industridiesel, which had close connections with several German companies. Some weeks later, the aircraft was sold to AB Continent Agenturen, which was a front for the Norwegian government in exile.


By early 1945, a chain of observation posts had been established in the Swedish mountains along the border with Norway. This was in preparation for a possible invasion of German-held Norway, which, had it occurred, would probably have involved both regular Swedish forces and Swedish-trained Norwegian police troops. The posts were supplied by air, using Swedish-registered Waco YKS-7 SE-ANG. However, it was written off

for collecting refugees and inserting secret agents into Norway. To speed things up, the Ar 196 was purchased by an MI6 officer, Maj John Turner. The deal was finalised on 16 April. Eleven days later the Arado was issued with a temporary certificate of airworthiness, valid for one month, and registered as SE-AOU. Incidentally, this registration was later re-assigned to a Fiat CR42. According to official registration documents,

ABOVE: The Arado, still sporting Luftwaffe codes DH+ZF, soon after its internment in Sweden. VIA BO WIDFELDT COLLECTION

‘It was suspected that the Arado’s crew had photographed Swedish naval bases’ in an accident on 18 February 1945 at Stenudden in northern Sweden. The Norwegian pilot, Halvor Bjørneby, and the sole passenger sustained some injuries, but managed to escape and reach a populated area. A new aircraft was needed, and the Ar 196 fitted the bill nicely. In fact, it was seen as the ideal vehicle for such duties, as well as

SE-AOU was leased to Skandinaviska Aero AB, which was to operate it as a target tug on behalf of the Swedish armed forces, with formal transfer of ownership occurring on 27 May. This, however, did not align with the true course of events. It would appear that the temporary registration was in fact cancelled

BELOW: The Ar 196 shows off its first Swedish civilian registration. VIA SWEDISH AVIATION HISTORICAL SOCIETY 51

ARADO Ar 196

ABOVE: Following its return from Norway, the Arado was registered as SE-AWY.


before 27 May, with the aircraft being flown to Norway on 26 May. On that date, Skandinaviska Aero AB returned the Ar 196 to AB Continent Agenturen at the port of Lindarängen, just outside Stockholm. Here, pilot

to Norway was considered illegal, Bjørneby also being charged with not having a current Swedish pilot’s licence. This somewhat confusing turn of events may have had something to do with Turner wanting to take charge

‘The Ar 196 changed owners again, this time going to No 333 Squadron’ BELOW: SE-AWY in its final colour scheme. The engine cowling and registration letters are blue, and the rest silver. VIA SWEDISH AVIATION HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Halvor Bjørneby and a Mr Bernhoff, another Norwegian citizen, took off at 11.50hrs, officially to fly to Karlstad in Sweden. However, they did not land there, instead continuing directly to Fornebu in Oslo. According to the Swedish authorities, the flight


of his property, in the form of the Arado, before the temporary C of A expired. At this juncture, Turner was in Oslo. The Ar 196 was handed over to A Squadron of No 8801 Aircraft Disarmament Wing, and painted in

RAF markings. It is unclear if any RAF serial was assigned to it. During October 1945, the British authorities, intent on scrapping each and every German aircraft remaining in Norway, set their sights on the Arado, believing it to be a former Luftwaffe machine that had been based there. Yet again, Turner had to step in to rescue ‘his’ aeroplane. With assistance from Turner, the Ar 196 soon changed owners once more, this time going to No 333 (Norwegian) Squadron, a maritime patrol unit equipped with Catalinas and based at Oslo-Fornebu. On 21 November 1945, 333 was passed to Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) control. RNoAF insignia were painted on the Ar 196 by December 1945, along with the Werknummer on the fin. 333 Squadron also re-located to Stavanger-Sola on the west coast. In the spring of 1946, however, the machine was withdrawn from use, and put up for tender. A buyer was soon found in the shape of Swedish firm AB Ahrenbergsflyg, an associate company to AB Industridiesel. During the summer, it collected its new charge, which had been painted in error as ‘SE-ADU’. After an extensive overhaul — which included the fitting of target-towing gear — the Arado was registered on 30 December 1946 as SE-AWY, and painted in the AB Ahrenbergsflyg ‘house’ colours of all-over silver with a dark blue engine cowling and registration letters. Although normally based in Stockholm, SE-AWY would often be deployed to Stumholmen in the Karlskrona archipelago (where, incidentally, it had been stored between 1943 and 1945), towing targets for the Swedish Navy. After one such sortie, it was written off in a landing accident on 19 August 1947. Although the crew was rescued, the Ar 196 sank, and was soon forgotten. Thus ended a flying career decidedly more interesting than most.



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FIGHT’S ON Behind the scenes with the swirling dogfights of the Great War Display Team WORDS: STEVE SLATER PHOTOGRAPHY: DARREN HARBAR


ne of the most commentedupon acts in recent UK airshow seasons has been the Great War Display Team. Whil While lo long-established, the addition of further aircraft and pilots, as well as new choreography of the team’s routine, has created a series of spectacularly swirling ‘dogfight’ sequences as might have been seen from the trenches of the Western Front a century ago. The team’s aircraft represent the Royal Flying Corps, Royal Naval Air Service, US Army Air Service and the air arm of the Imperial German Army, and equally illustrate the diversity of design and rate of development of the period. Up to six different types being flown this year will range from the plodding 65mph BE2 observation biplane of 1914, through

In his Sopwith Triplane, Gordon Brander lines up Bruce Dickinson’s Fokker Dr.I, here flown by Dan Griffith, for a ‘kill’.


ð 57

GREAT WA R DISPLAY TEA M RIGHT: The majority of the Great War Display Team’s 2015 lineup. Front row, left to right: Alex Truman, Gordon Brander, Matthew Boddington, Dan Griffith and Francis Donaldson. Back row, left to right: Will Greenwood, Vic Lockwood, Dave Linney, Bruce Dickinson and Richie Piper.

the short-lived triplane scouts, to the definitive SE5a fighter and the heavilyarmoured Junkers CL.I trench-strafing monoplane of 1918. While all the aircraft in the team may be replicas, many were built to original drawings and specifications, and some of the airframes (and pilots) have interesting histories in their

flies for fun, with a group of pilots from a wide range of backgrounds merely covering the operating costs of their machines. The aircraft, many of which accurately reproduce the quirks of the original as well as their appearance, offer an irresistible challenge. Put a modern-day pilot into one of their open cockpits and they would

‘With nine or more aircraft, a carefully choreographed display sequence is vital’ BELOW: All three SE5as launch together for a preseason work-up at Sywell.

own right. The team’s plans are that the 2015 season will ultimately see it operating with a record 10 aeroplanes, in the words of team leader Gordon Brander, “putting us one up on those chaps in red boiler suits”. However, joking apart, the GWDT is a very different team to the Red Arrows. For a start, no matter how professional its displays, the GWDT

probably struggle to get the aircraft started and taxi, let alone take off or get safely back on the ground. Many of the aircraft need to have their propellers hand-swung for starting, all are taildraggers, and most of them have no brakes, relying on bursts of power over the rudder to turn on the ground and the plough-like effect of the tailskid for retardation. Add in sometimes limited

control responses, the torque reactions from the large, slow-turning propellers and sensitivity to gusts of wind and air turbulence, mainly from those aforementioned big props, and each aircraft demands the fullest of pilot attention. As can be imagined with nine or more aircraft at low level in close proximity, a carefully choreographed display sequence is vital. Each 15-minute performance is flown to a well-rehearsed, standard format which, to the amusement of those on the crowdline, is always walked through before climbing into the cockpits. The display effectively stacks the team’s aircraft at three different levels. The lowest level forms the key focus of the display, allowing groups of aircraft to perform close to the crowd while the others circle in dumb-bell patterns above before diving to the lower levels in turn. It is further enhanced by the addition of period Great War music

and machine-gun fire played through the commentary system, with smoke being generated by the aircraft at the appropriate times. Each manoeuvre is carefully timed, so that as one group of aircraft ‘leaves the stage’ the next are arriving. “We basically start the display with the whole team diving in towards the crowdline, which makes for a great spectacle in itself, not least because at only about 75mph we take a long time to get there”, says Brander. The initial break sees Brander in the Sopwith Triplane and Matthew Boddington in the BE2 making cross-over passes while the other aircraft climb to height and begin their dog-fighting. The first of the Fokker Dr.Is dives in on the Sopwith, while the second Fokker ‘bounces’ the BE. The SE5as climb to 400-500ft and the Junkers CL.Is position to attack the Sopwith and BE after the Fokkers leave, while short bursts of smoke from the aircraft are used to ‘pepper’ the sky. This intense choreography comes to its peak when, after a further lowlevel ‘dogfight’ between the Junkers and SE5a replicas, the respective triplanes dive in for their battle. The combination of the growling Warner radial engines and propeller tip noise, and their distinctive configuration, makes them guaranteed crowd-pleasers. and their agility and power allows them to use more vertical movements in their manoeuvres.

The finale sees the entire team line up for a stream flypast, led by the SE5as, then the German contingent of Fokkers and Junkers, followed by the Sopwith and BE2. This allows the formation to break for a stream landing. The show isn’t over yet, though. As soon as the pilots are out of the cockpits, they meet for a debrief, with additional input from ground-based team members on positioning, timing and any potential areas of conflict. Among the specific challenges of operating the aircraft in the display environment are their relatively low power and thus climb performance in comparison to more muscular machinery. The pilots are continually balancing speed versus altitude and, in addition, some types such as the BE2c will decelerate rapidly (just as in 1914) if turned too hard as drag levels rapidly increase. Another item constantly in the pilots’ minds is the need to avoid being caught in the slipstream of a preceding aircraft, as their relatively ‘draggy’ airframes create an inordinate amount of turbulence for something so slow-moving. Maintaining visual contact is critical, and none too easy in a viewpoint dominated by wings, struts and engine cowlings. The short bursts of smoke are used by pilots at certain points in the display to aid conspicuity for forming


ABOVE: The Replica Plans SE5as of Dave Linney (foreground) and Vic Lockwood.

up, or to signal when an aircraft is leaving a particular part of the display. Indeed, one pilot commented pithily that, given the clarity of some of the radio transmissions from the open cockpits, smoke signals are sometimes rather more effective! Perhaps the stars of the team are its three triplanes. Former British Airways captain Gordon Brander’s replica Sopwith Triplane was built to original drawings by one of the veteran team members, Ernie Hoblyn, in 1997. He flew the aircraft until passing it on to Gordon at the start of the 2010 season. The aircraft represents the prototype Triplane, serial N500, which first flew on 28 May 1916 with Sopwith test pilot Harry Hawker at the controls. Within minutes of take-off, it is said that Hawker startled onlookers by looping the aircraft three times in succession, clearly happy with its control responses and performance. Certainly it was deemed so successful

that it by-passed the normal test flying and, still in clear-doped linen (just like the replica), went straight to France to be test-flown in service with A Flight, No 1 Squadron of the Royal Naval Air Service. The Triplane is reputed to have been sent up in pursuit of an enemy aircraft within 15 minutes of arriving with the unit.

ABOVE: Ex-Harrier pilot Dave Linney fettles his SE5a. BELOW: Team leader Gordon Brander steps away after swinging the prop on Bruce Dickinson’s ‘Dreidecker’.

ð 59



ABOVE: The Sopwith Triplane formates on Matthew Boddington and Steve Slater’s very fine BE2c during the finale flypast. BEN DUNNELL

TOP RIGHT: Dan Griffith (left) heads up a pre-display briefing during the team’s training weekend at Sywell. MIDDLE RIGHT: One of the rear seat occupants of the Junkers CL.Is takes aim.

RIGHT: Stewart Smith flying the Wickenby-based DH2, which will be an excellent addition to the GWDT later this season.


Most production examples were fitted with the 130hp Clerget 9B rotary engine. The replica is powered by an American Warner 165 radial, offering similar power but with significantly longer engine life than the rotaries, which typically were rebuilt after as little as 25 hours’ flying time. A similar Warner 145 powers one of the two Fokker Dr.I replicas, ‘403/17’, which was built by the late John Day and first flew in 2006. It replicates

the Dr.I flown by 13-victory Leutnant Johann Janzen of Jasta 6, carrying the unit markings of a black-and-white striped tail and black cowling with Janzen’s personal ‘white snake’ line on the rear fuselage. He survived a crashlanding when the control cables of his ‘Dreidecker’ were shot away in combat, and became Staffelfuhrer of Jasta 6. After the sad death of John Day at the controls of a Fokker E.III replica in 2013, the Triplane was acquired by

Bruce Dickinson. It continues to fly with the team either in the hands of the Iron Maiden lead singer, British Airways engineer Alex Truman or test pilot Dan Griffith. The Iron Maiden connection last year led to one of the GWDT’s most unusual display locations when it performed to 40,000 heavy metal fans at the band’s concert at Knebworth. The second Dr.I, ‘556/17’, was completed by KLM Cityhopper airline

pilot Peter Bond in 2010. It replicates the example flown by Leutnant Ludwig ‘Lutz’ Beckmann of Jasta 6 in March 1918. Beckmann survived the Great War and commanded a Luftwaffe transport unit in World War Two. The aircraft is powered by a Lycoming O-360 developing 180hp, but it is an interesting feature that while nominally rated higher than the original rotary, the modern unit’s relative lack of torque means that thrust levels are only just on a par with the 110hp Oberursel. Completing the German line-up, two aircraft represent the Junkers CL.I monoplane, developed in 1918 as ground attack aircraft. It was effectively a flying tank, containing armour plating, two forward-firing machine guns and an extended fuselage to carry a gunner firing a third Parabellum machine gun. It was unusual in using Junkers’ patent ribbed duralumin construction, effectively a decade ahead of other aircraft makers. Only 47 were built by the time of the Armistice.

The team’s ‘Bochebaby’ aircraft are actually modified examples of the Bowers Fly Baby, American homebuilts re-modelled by John Day to look like CL.Is. They are actually single-seaters, as the rear gunners are dummies, although the respective rearseat occupants, ‘Hans’ and ‘Otto’, do wear appropriate Great War flying gear. The duties in their front seats are shared among a number of pilots including Richie Piper, Francis Donaldson, whose day job is chief engineer of the Light Aircraft Association, and Yak-3M owner Will Greenwood. The oldest design represented by the team is the Royal Aircraft Factory BE2c, first built in 1912 by the Royal Aircraft Factory at Farnborough. The world’s first purpose-designed military aeroplane, developed with artillery observation in mind, it was an early mainstay of the Royal Flying Corps. The team’s aircraft is a replica BE2c commissioned in 1969 by the makers of the film ‘Biggles Sweeps the Skies’. Designed by film model expert David Boddington, it was built and flown in just 16 weeks by vintage

aircraft specialist Charles Boddington at Sywell, based on Tiger Moth components. Flown, crashed and hidden for 25 years in the USA, it was restored to fly again between 2005 and 2011 by owners Matthew Boddington, son of the original builder, and the author, who doubles as team commentator. The SE5a, designed by Henry Folland at the same Royal Aircraft


While World War One replicas were flown by organisations such as Leisure Sport in Surrey in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the principal roots of the Great War Display Team date from 1988. Back then it was known as the Great War Combat Team, nicknamed the ‘Wombats’ — apparently a contraction of the words War and Combat. It began as an ad hoc collection of aircraft including five SE5as, two Fokker Dr.Is and a Fokker D.VII, but they were among the stars of that year’s Biggin Hill Air Fair. The team’s expansion continued with the arrival of Ernie Hoblyn and his Sopwith Triplane in 1997, and the following year John Day and Bob Gauld-Galliers added their Nieuport 17 and the first of the Junkers CL.Is to the line-up.

Factory as the BE2, demonstrates just how fast aircraft developed during the Great War. It went into service in 1917 and was regarded as one of the definitive fighters of the conflict, with a total of 5,265 being built. There are currently three SE5as in the team, respectively owned by Dave Linney, Vic Lockwood and Mike Waldron. All are 7/8-scale examples built to American Replica Plans designs and powered by

ABOVE: The Bowers Fly Baby home-builts modified to look like Junkers CL.Is have proved very effective in the role.

Sadly the GWDT marked the passing of one of its founder members earlier this year, with the death following a road accident of Doug Gregory DFC. He, along with Des Biggs, built and flew a pair of SE5as from the team’s beginning until remarkably recently. Doug made his final flypast in his SE in January 2013, to mark his 90th birthday. In addition to the more recent arrivals in the team of the ‘Biggles Biplane’ BE2c and later this year the Wickenby-based DH2, there may be other exciting new arrivals in the pipeline. One of the original ‘Darling Lili’ SE5a replicas built by Slingsby has recently been repatriated from the USA by Matthew Boddington, while Fokker Dr.I builder and flyer Pete Bond is also working on a new-build Sopwith Camel.


GREAT WA R DISPLAY TEA M Continental C-90 engines. They are regarded among the sweetest-flying aircraft in the team line-up. Dave Linney, a former front-line Harrier squadron commander who post-retirement flew Hunters, Canberras and Hawks at RNAS Yeovilton and Falcons from Bournemouth on fleet requirements duties, pilots the SE5a representing ‘Zulu’ of No 85 Squadron, the unit led by aces Billy Bishop and ‘Mick’ Mannock in 1918. Dave’s aircraft, G-BDWJ, was the first SE constructed

in Europe from Replica Plans designs. Its first flight was in 1978, and the story was featured in Aeroplane Monthly at that time. It was completely refurbished in 2000. Mike Waldron completed his aircraft in 1995. It depicts B595 of No 56 Squadron, as flown in June 1917 by Lt M. E. Mealing, who gained a Military Cross for his tally of 12 enemy aircraft. It is flown by Ernie Hoblyn, one of the longest-established team members, who also built the Sopwith Triplane.

Vic Lockwood’s SE5a is distinctive in representing ‘Blue 19’ of the American 25th Aero Squadron, complete with its reversed red, blue and white roundel colours. The aircraft was built in America, later sold to Holland, and has been owned and operated by Vic since 2005. Vic has been in military and civil aviation for almost 50 years. He served with the RAF as a fighter pilot and then carried out military test flying duties before spending 20 years at

FLYING THE ‘TRIPEHOUNDS’ The Sopwith and Fokker Triplanes were designed with similar aims in mind. The GWDT leader is one of the few people to have sampled both WORDS: GORDON BRANDER

ABOVE: Fokker chases Sopwith in a well-matched triplane dogfight duo. Dan Griffith and Gordon Brander are flying.

COCKPITS: Getting into the Sopwith cockpit was probably easier for young pilots in World War One. You have to contort under bracing wires and balance on a small hard point on the wing. Once in the cockpit you disappear, with only your head protruding and your legs almost straight ahead of you on the rudder pedals. It is cosy, with a lot more protection from the elements than the Dr.I. Instrumentation in both is eccentric, and almost an afterthought in the Dr.I where they seem to be deliberately placed so you can’t see them. GETTING UNDER WAY: Taxiing needs care due to the lack of any vision, particularly in the Sopwith. There is little forward visibility, even with scallops in the mid-wing, and a mental picture of your taxi route is essential as well as energetic weaving. The Fokker is more spacious and the seating position leaves the shoulders


and head much more exposed, giving less protection but more visibility. Some Fokker pilots even slip off the shoulder harness and look over the nose to chart the path to the take-off point. Fine, as long as you remember to do the harness up again! The Dr.I will ground-loop energetically with excessive use of throttle. The wooden skids on each lower wing were introduced as protection against its tendency to corkscrew on the grounded tip and go onto a wingtip. Taxiing with a tailwind can make them difficult to control, particularly with a crowded flightline like Duxford or Shoreham. Opening the throttle immediately exposes the pilot to slipstream, with the Dr.I’s tiny windscreen giving no protection — it explains why a Dr.I pilot looks like a bank robber with his face completely hidden behind layers of balaclava and scarves. The Sopwith is a lot more comfortable in that the screen is bigger, but visibility is more restricted.


Flight Refuelling Aviation (Cobham) as the company’s chief test pilot, also displaying types including the Spitfire and Mustang for the late Charles Church, and serving on the flying control committees at Farnborough International and RIAT. Despite all this experience, Vic still only refers to himself as an ‘old clapped-out Lightning pilot’! One exciting addition later this season will be the replica Aeroplane Manufacturing Co (Airco) DH2

of 1915, one of the first purposeconceived single-seat fighting scouts developed to combat the Fokker E.III.

‘Flying either of the triplanes is an ideal pick-me-up for bored pilots’ This example was originally built by Viv Bellamy at Land’s End in 1978 and restored by Gerry Cooper at Wickenby in 2007. It is one of only two such full-

IN THE AIR: The Dr.I leaps off the ground like an express lift, and once the tail comes up the world re-appears with a good forward view. The aerofoil section on the undercarriage generates a significant amount of lift to supplement that from the wings. The heavier Sopwith is less sprightly and has a more conservative lift-off after a longer take-off run. Both perform reasonably well in a crosswind, although anything more than 7-8kt requires consideration. Unfortunately, the number of grass fields allowing these aircraft to take off into wind is these days ever more limited. The Dr.I is compact and close-coupled with the weights of the engine, gun and pilot very close together, which makes it extremely agile. It is dynamically unstable, with the all-moving tail demanding constant attention, but combine that rudder with the two large balanced ailerons and it can change its flight path in the twinkling of an eye. The Fokker’s agility is impressive even today and must have been miraculous in 1917. However, in the display flying arena with energetic handling near the ground, care must be taken as the Dr.I will stop flying in spectacular fashion if it hits prop wash or turbulence. While the Sopwith will merely wallow and shake itself in these circumstances, the Dr.I is unforgiving and instantly produces a vertical nose-down attitude, which can be a problem at 200 or 300ft! The rate of climb is impressive in the Dr.I, but less so in the heavier Sopwith. The zoom climb and steep turn available over several hundred feet in the Fokker must have been a huge advantage in WW1 combat. The Dr.I enters manoeuvres enthusiastically, whereas the Sopwith has to be persuaded. Its first reaction to the application of aileron is to send the nose skidding in the opposite direction as adverse yaw kicks in. Even with six ailerons, the Sopwith lags the rate of turn available in the Dr.I, and if max bank angle is combined with rough rudder inputs it will tuck under into a spiral. The Dr.I has a more robust, rigid cantilever construction with few external bracing wires, while the Sopwith is awash with them; flying wires, drag wires, anti-drag wires et al, which produce significant drag. Any change in drag/anti-drag tension allows the whole cell of six wings to move and thus change incidence. That subtle change can cause significant directional handling problems. Both Dan Griffith and myself have had experience of this phenomenon, when a slight tension change demanded a large control deflection to maintain control and regain stable flight. Strangely, once back on the ground, remarkably small rigging adjustments seem to regain the correct incidence and normal control. LANDING: It is true to say that this phase presents most problems for the pilot. Forward vision is minimal once an approach speed of around 65-70kt is achieved and the nose comes up to blot out the runway. In addition, as the nose comes up, the forward view also disappears as the wing angle increases, closing up like a Venetian blind! It is essential to keep airflow over the rudder to have any control on the ground. Therefore, it is best to wheel either


sized DH2 replicas flying in the world and, following some early season work on its Kinner radial engine, will join

the line-up during the summer to add yet another shape and sound to one of the most varied displays on the airshow circuit.

Triplane on with a modicum of power, and the easiest way to judge flare height is by looking to the side of the aircraft behind the wings. Control of the flare is excellent with huge elevator authority, but from then the trouble begins as the slightest cross wind or bump can induce a swing to right or left. It is counter-intuitive but vital to keep the rudder energised by increasing power and applying rudder just after touchdown to give a modicum of directional control, especially on a narrow runway. Neither aircraft has brakes, but energy is quickly dissipated and the landing run short. If in doubt, cut the engine and it will stop quickly. Tailwinds and crosswinds above a few knots are strictly verboten. Flying these aircraft is certainly an ideal pick-me-up for bored pilots!

2010. ABOVE: Peter Bond airborne in his Dr.I, first flown in 2010

ABOVE: This view of Gordon Brander taking off from Shoreham in the Sopwith shows the lack of forward visibility. BEN DUNNELL 63



HOLLOWAY This former police officer relishes his association with the Shuttleworth Collection, and his own vintage aircraft


eople involved in historic aviation come from all sorts of backgrounds. Even so, it’s doubtful that too many started out as a policeman and later enjoyed success with a business making hair extensions. Such was the course of Peter Holloway’s professional life, during which he took up flying and became interested in vintage aircraft. Now he has a small fleet of his own and is privileged to be a fully-fledged Shuttleworth Collection display pilot, current on some of its First World War fighters and inter-war combat types. Appropriately enough, we met for lunch on a delightful early summer afternoon at Old Warden, where Peter spends a good deal of his time. The genteel surroundings are a far cry from his beginnings in the Kent Constabulary. “I joined the police force at 19, in 1972”, he says. “I learned to fly in 1975, on Rollason Condors at Rochester, and I was a member of a syndicate operating a Condor — I think we paid £4 an hour, or something like that. I built up enough hours to do an instructor’s rating while I was a serving police officer. The Chief Constable was happy and gave me official sanction to earn money as an instructor.” His personal and professional interests soon coincided. “I was approached by the Technical Services Unit down in Shoreham to do some flying — surveillance-related, shall we say. I ended up flying a fairly

beaten-up Cessna 150 with an array of antennae on it. In the days before the official Police Air Support Units, we did some very interesting work, which resulted in some pretty high-profile criminals being arrested. It was part of proving the case for police aviation.” One interesting operation with the 150 came in the aftermath of the kidnapping and subsequent murder by the so-called ‘Black Panther’, Donald Neilson, of 17-yearold heiress Lesley Whittle. That experience proved that the police could benefit enormously from air support and additional technology, especially in kidnap situations. Peter subsequently took the Cessna up to Liverpool on a National Crime Squad operation and, “without going into too much detail, it was an effective method.” He served in the police for 14 years, ending up with the rank of sergeant. Following the £26-million Brink’s-MAT bullion robbery from Heathrow in 1983, it was Peter who found 11 gold bars concealed in the garden at the West Kingsdown home of Kenneth Noye, later given life imprisonment for the M25 road rage killing. “I was an acting inspector at Gravesend for a year before I resigned to pursue a career in industry”, Peter recalls, having decided that “there was more to life than being a cop”. His next move came thanks in part to aviation. “I was an instructor for Headcorn Flying School, who operated not only from Headcorn but Rochester




ABOVE: Peter Holloway at the controls of his Fieseler Fi 156A-1 Storch, Werknummer 2088/G-STCH. DARREN HARBAR



meets PETER HOLLOWAY as well, flying Robins. I had an involvement in the training of somebody who owned a garage sign company in Warwickshire, and who made me and my partner an offer that we couldn’t refuse to go and manage it.” Aircraft took a bit of a back seat, but at Hinton-in-the-Hedges he flew a couple of Cessna 150s and a Polish-designed PZL-Bielsko Ogar, “a funny motorglider with a pusher engine”. For that he needed a motorglider rating, which he got on a Grob G109B at Enstone, and for a number of years he was part of a syndicate operating another G109B. “I then mentioned to my syndicate partners that there was a Miles Messenger available. It was the aircraft that had appeared in the opening sequences of ‘633 Squadron’ and a King’s Cup winner. With a new permit, it was for sale for very little money. I thought it was bound to be a shed of a thing, but it wasn’t.” The Messenger was G-AKBO, purchased from prototype Spitfire replica-builder Clive du Cros in early 2000. Initially the group operated it from Turweston, but then, Peter remembers, “I saw an advertisement for hangarage at Old Warden, and we thought that would be the best place to take it. Very quickly I got to meet Andy Sephton, the [then] Shuttleworth Collection chief pilot. On behalf of the syndicate members, I said to him that he’d be very welcome to display it. He replied that he’d love to, and he did. “I suggested to him subsequently that he could display it again. He asked, “Well, why don’t you?” I said that I didn’t think I was experienced enough and that I didn’t think I’d be good enough. Andy said, “I’ll be the judge of that”. So, I got a display authorisation, and displayed the Messenger a few times.” While G-AKBO ended up being sold on after a period of grounding

involved in an aborted take-off mishap while in the hands of a newly-converted pilot. “Gordon had bought it, and funded the repair, but never flew it. To this day I regret that he never flew it, because it came with a bit of baggage — an un-deserved reputation for some handling quirks. It was such a shame. “We went to the back of his workshop hangar at Earls Colne, and there was the Falcon with the wings folded, covered in a variety of bedsheets. Off came the covers, and there was this most beautifullooking aeroplane… Gordon said that every time he took the covers off, it reminded him of why he didn’t want to sell it, because it was so beautiful. I asked if he would sell it, and he said, “Yes, I would”. I thought to myself, ‘I have to have this aeroplane’. We got it out, unfolded the wings, went taxiing up and down, and I was really bonding with the thing. We shook hands on a deal, but the Falcon was pretty much bogged-in at Earls Colne, so I couldn’t fly it out and actually I didn’t have the money either! Gordon said, “Look, we’ve shaken on it, the aeroplane’s yours — come and pick it up when you like. “I became really quite excited about Miles aeroplanes. Lo and behold, my good mate Alan Cooper told me that a Miles Magister at Shoreham was for sale”. The example in question was G-AKPF, owned by Adrian Brook. “The next thing I know, I’m flying along the south coast in this Magister. I’d agreed to buy the Falcon but hadn’t parted with any money, and there I was thinking, ‘I have to have this one, too!’ I actually bought the Magister before I took delivery of the Falcon, and they both came to Old Warden. “By this stage I’d started my own business, and it was beginning to do really well. I’d left the sign industry and started up a business supplying, of all things, hair

‘I became excited about Miles aircraft. I’d agreed to buy the Falcon but hadn’t parted with any money, and there I was thinking I had to have the Magister too’ for repairs — it is now airworthy again with a new owner — it led Peter to further opportunities. “We needed some spare parts for the Messenger, and we’d heard about Gordon Spooner at Earls Colne. I’d also been told that he’d got Miles Falcon G-AEEG”. The 1936-vintage tourer had been bought from Skysport Engineering after it was


extension equipment, training, ongoing consumables and technical support. In 1999 I’d ordered a new Robin Regent from the factory, which became G-HAIR. To design the paint scheme and spec the avionics yourself is a really fantastic experience.” There were plenty more of those to come. By 2005, Peter and his

aircraft were very much part of the Old Warden scene. Apart from the two Miles aeroplanes, he had acquired Ryan PT-22 Recruit G-BTBH, and was displaying all three. Introduced to the rotary-wing world by fellow vintage aircraft owner/pilot Nick Parkhouse and immediately bitten by the bug, Peter got a helicopter licence in short order. He started flying a Robinson R-44 — appropriately, G-FAKE — owned by his company. When the firm was sold in 2006, the R-44 was part of Peter’s severance package. He now has another, G-NIKX. This wasn’t the only opportunity presented to Peter after the sale of his business. Having been fascinated since childhood by the Fieseler Storch, in late 2005 or early 2006 he contacted Glenn Lacey, whose Fairoaks-based RLM Aviation collection was restoring Fi 156A-1 G-STCH. That example wasn’t for sale, while an earlier effort to buy German-based D-EAML (a MoraneSaulnier MS500 Criquet version fitted with the Fi 156’s Argus As 10 in-line engine) had fallen through, the aircraft going instead to Jerry Yagen in the USA. “Then”, says Peter, “because of my interest in the aircraft, somebody sent me a picture of a court notice on the door of a hangar at Fairoaks”. This triggered his eventual purchase of the RLM Collection. “There was a contact number, so I ’phoned it. They told me that all of the viewings had taken place. I asked them whether I was too late, and they said, “No, not really”. “When I walked into the hangars, I was utterly, utterly amazed at what was there. There was the beautiful Stieglitz, the Klemm Kl 35, the Bestmann, the Storch project — world-class work. There was the most enormous inventory, racks and racks of stuff, including an Fw 190 ‘Dora’ project. There was one room just full of instruments. I thought that somebody needed to take a risk and put their hand up for the whole lot. I’d just sold my company and was looking for something else to do, so I decided to […] put a bid in, which was accepted. I ended up acquiring the entire assets, including the toilet rolls, the brooms and the fire extinguishers, of RLM Aviation — all the racking, all the tools. I didn’t know what I was going to keep. It cost me £14,000 just to move the racks of parts and tools.” The deal was announced in November 2006. Of the complete aircraft, the Fw 44J Stieglitz and Bü 181B-1 Bestmann were flown to Old Warden, while the Klemm Kl 35D, then US-registered, had to be moved by road. It soon flew in the UK, but on the German register. The Storch was not yet finished, so was also roaded in.


ABOVE: Where Peter’s Miles interest started — with Messenger G-AKBO, here taking off from Old Warden during 2000’s pre-season training week. STEVEN JEFFERSON

RIGHT: Falcon G-AEEG remains a pride and joy. DARREN HARBAR

LEFT: Two members of the lovely ‘Shuttlewaffe’, the Fw 44J Stieglitz and Bü 181B Bestmann, en route to Little Gransden with the PT-22 in 2007. DARREN HARBAR BELOW LEFT: Peter’s Magister (then serialled V1075, before research revealed N3788 to be more accurate) and Messenger with the Shuttleworth ‘Maggie’. STEVEN JEFFERSON BOTTOM LEFT: The Klemm Kl 35D was, like the Stieglitz and Bestmann, Britain’s sole airworthy example of the type. DARREN HARBAR BELOW: The Storch in its element, nose-high and slow. DARREN HARBAR


meets PETER HOLLOWAY The German aircraft added much variety to Shuttleworth Collection displays, becoming known affectionately as the ‘Shuttlewaffe’. “We had a lot of fun with them”, says Peter. However, with resources still needing to be lavished on the Storch restoration, something had to give. “It became clear to me that, although a lot of the work had already been done, there was a lot still to do. I had to employ a full-time engineer for two-anda-half years to finish it, and I had some expensive disasters with the engine rebuilds. I thought, ‘I’m haemorrhaging money here’”. Peter sold the Fw 190D-9 project, Werknummer 211028 (which had been registered by RLM as G-DORA), to Jerry Yagen. With it went “about 10 tonnes of parts”, plus no fewer than six Junkers Jumo 213 engines, a pair of BMW 801 powerplants for an Fw 190A — and the Stieglitz. “To this day”, Peter recalls, “I regret losing the Stieglitz, because it was the most magnificent aeroplane. Utterly gorgeous”. Members of the enthusiastic Quax-Flieger group from Germany had been regular visitors to Old Warden to see the ‘Shuttlewaffe’, and he eventually agreed to sell them the Klemm, the Bestmann and numerous spare engines. Sadly, having gone to its new owners, the Bestmann was soon written off in a thankfully non-fatal crash at Dortmund airport in April 2011. The Storch finally took to the air in March 2009. Its displays of slow flying are a highlight wherever they may be seen, generally now in the hands of Peter or the aircraft’s other outstanding exponent, Shuttleworth chief engineer Jean-Michel Munn. They have demonstrated it at venues including Duxford, Little Gransden and Sywell as well as Old Warden. On occasion, set-piece displays involving a ‘cat-andmouse’-type dogfight have seen the Fi 156 becoming the ‘target’ for a

of a litre per minute. Thankfully it has proved very reliable, thanks to “an amazing job” by Vintech on the Argus engine. Peter’s aircraft are no strangers to long-distance trips. Three times he has flown the Falcon to Sweden, where it spent a great deal of its earlier life. G-AEEG was sold as SE-AFN in 1936, impressed into the Swedish Air Force from 1941-44, and then privately-owned again until its return to Britain in 1961. Former owners were reunited with the aircraft, and one winter Peter allowed it to be kept in the museum at Västerås. “The flight back was just unbelievably wonderful. That again has got a Vintech engine in it, and when you’re flying hour after hour with nowhere to go if the engine stops… well, it never missed a beat, and it hasn’t to this day. It is the most fabulous aeroplane. I fly it a lot, I fly it as I would a modern aircraft, and the reputation it came to me with was totally undeserved.” By contrast, 2011’s trip to southern Germany in the Storch was a one-off. For suitable payment, Peter had been invited to take part in the Oldtimerfliegertreffen Hahnweide, that year marking the 75th anniversary of the Fi 156’s first flight. “Why did I do that?”, laughs Peter. “On the way out, we were really quite heavy because the thing takes a lot of fuel. We [he and Jean Munn] were crossing the Channel at 49mph, seemingly making quite good friends with people on the ferries looking at us”. A stuck exhaust valve led to a forced landing in Belgium; on stopping at Dortmund, it was discovered that the stickers applied to obscure the swastikas on the tail, as is mandatory in Germany, had blown off in the slipstream! Eventually they made it, taking part at the Hahnweide in a Storch/ Criquet six-ship, after which Peter displayed solo. “They don’t have DAs in Germany”, he says, “but they

‘We were crossing the Channel in the Storch at 49mph, seemingly making quite good friends with the people on the ferries looking at us’ fighter, usually the Shuttleworth Sea Hurricane, though Richard Grace took it on at Duxford this May in Mark Davy’s Yak-3. Of the Fieseler aircraft, Peter comments: “It’s probably the worst aeroplane I’ve ever flown, but it’s also the most exciting”. It’s also hugely expensive to operate, burning more fuel per mile than a Spitfire — in the region


compensate for that by making sure that you’re a mile up in the air and a mile away from the crowdline. So, we were just dots in the distance. What a shame. I think that’s why a lot of Germans like to come here to Old Warden, because you’re ‘up close and personal’.” By now, even having ‘downsized’ his own fleet, Peter’s vintage

aircraft experience had broadened considerably. “Andy Sephton had invited me to fly a couple of the Shuttleworth Collection’s own aeroplanes”, he recalls, “[starting with] the Magister and the Tiger Moth”. Peter was formally appointed as a Collection pilot in 2007. Under successive chief pilots, the late Trevor Roche and now ‘Dodge’ Bailey, he has graduated to a range of Shuttleworth machinery. The latest additions to his logbook are the Bristol F2B Fighter, RAF SE5a and Hawker Hind. The first of those was the ‘Brisfit’, a big step. Of the experience, he says: “I was totally daunted. I had sleepless nights, to the point where I was thinking to myself, ‘Do I really want to do this?’ The responsibility was just enormous. I must admit, I had a bit of a wobble over it. Eventually I pumped myself up where the point where I was in the bubble and just thought, ‘Right, I’m good to go’. Apart from not winding the elevator trim up enough, so the landing wasn’t tidy, type conversion was uneventful. I felt total euphoria.” Peter’s latest acquisition for himself is an ex-Spanish Air Force Bücker Jungmeister, G-BVXJ, which he bought from its previous owners last year. “I missed the Stieglitz”, he remarks, “and I felt that I hadn’t really owned it for long enough”. However, at the age of 62, he feels the time is now right to start disposing of his aeroplanes. “Over the next year or two, I think we’ll see the Magister, the Jungmeister and, regrettably, the Storch going to new homes. If I could remain associated with the Storch, I would love to do so. I’m very proud of it”. Not surprisingly, given the quality of the restoration, interest has not been slow in coming. It will be a sad day when Peter sells the aircraft, but he will be able to part with it knowing that it’s given a lot of enjoyment to many. As ‘Dodge’ Bailey told the author, “Peter is very generous with his aeroplanes.” He will, of course, carry on as a Shuttleworth pilot. “They have been hugely supportive”, he says. It’s not just his fellow flyers to whom that applies, but the engineers, too. “I have the most enormous respect for them. After 10 hours of learning to fly, you’ll probably be able to take an aircraft round the circuit. After 10 hours of learning to be an engineer, you’re still wiping drip trays out.” Peter Holloway’s experience shows how someone from a non-aviation background can get into private flying and, through that, the world of vintage aircraft. What satisfaction and fun it has brought him. As he says, “I would describe myself as an ordinary pilot who’s been given an extraordinary opportunity.”


ABOVE: In 2011, Peter flew the Storch — swastika partially blanked out — to the Hahnweide in order to take part in a six-ship of the type. DAVID HALFORD

ABOVE: White scarf trailing in the breeze, Peter puts Shuttleworth’s Hawker Tomtit through its paces.


ABOVE: Peter’s first public display in the Bristol F2B at Old Warden in October 2013. BEN DUNNELL LEFT: Briefing journalist Dave Unwin for a forthcoming Aeroplane feature on flying the Jungmeister. DARREN HARBAR BELOW: A happy man after his first flight in the SE5a. DARREN HARBAR


Hooks’ Tours


Italian Stelio Frati was an independent designer who crafted extremely streamlined light aircraft. Here we illustrate some of his work for various companies

ABOV AB ABOVE: OVE: OV E: A Ambrosini mb si sini ni completed pl ed 1 10 0 production od ti FF4 4 Ro Rond Rondone nd wooden two-seaters. Later versions included the F7 three-seater built by Pasotti; D-ECUN was the last of 10. Photographed at Diest, Belgium, in August 1988, it was still current in 2014.

ABOV AB OVE: OV E: FFalco al builders bui uild ld Avia Av iami ia mila mi la made ad 10 four-seat f FF14 14 ABOVE: Aviamilano Nibbios in 1958-59. This is eighth production aircraft G-OWYN in stormy surroundings at Diest in August 2004. LEFT: Procaer built 36 F15 Picchios in various versions. These three and four-seaters were basically of wooden construction with aluminium skinning. Pictured at Biggin Hill in March 1967, D-EBNO was an F15B four-seater. MAIN PICTURE BELOW: Aeromere took over production of the F8L Falco from Aviamilano and built 36. D-EHHE, formerly HB-UOI, was their 27th example. It visited the Diest Fly-in, an event at which many Frati designs are present, in August 1995.



WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY: MIKE HOOKS Mike began his aviation photography career in 1945 with a simple box camera, moving on to an Ensign folding camera in about 1948, and later to a Voigtlander Vito B. He converted to colour in the 1950s, and went on to build one of the UK’s most extensive archives of Kodachrome transparencies

he single ingl in gl F250 was I-ZUAR, b uilt ui lt b iami ia mila mi la using si ABOVE: The built by Aviamilano Falco wings and Picchio fuselage with a revised canopy. It was followed by two prototypes of the F260 with a larger engine, production of which was undertaken as the SF260 by SIAIMarchetti. Here, I-ZUAR taxies at the 1965 Paris Air Show.

he SF260 proved d to b di success ABOVE: The be an outstanding as a trainer and light attack aircraft with more than 900 sales, mostly for export. Alitalia bought a number for pilot training, such as I-LELF, exhibited at the 1980 SBAC Display at Farnborough.

ABOV AB OVE: OV E: LLast of the he FFrati ti d ig was the he P vi F1 F130 300 30 0 Je ABOVE: designs Promavia F1300 Jet Squalus two-seat all-metal jet trainer. Two prototypes were built, I-SQAL (which flew in April 1987) and OO-JET, seen here rather optimistically wearing Sabena colours. No development followed.

ABOV AB OVE: OV E: A ft A da produced du d 20 more Fa Falc lc At ABOVE: After Aeromere, LLaverda Falcos. Cranfield in August 1988 was EI-BMF, formerly G-AWSU.


Aeroplane Collectors’ Archive is a series of bookazines produced by a dedicated team of enthusiasts which provide detailed, in-depth insight into legendary aircraft of yesteryear.

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DE HAVILLAND DH108 SWALLOW The aptly-named Swallow was the first British swept-winged jet aircraft. However, its story did not have a happy ending.

GLOSTER E1/44 Born from a World War 2 requirement, this compact single-engined fighter was too late and too slow to succeed..


SUPERMARINE TYPE 510 Essentially a swept-wing version of the Attacker, the Type 510 was to evolve into the less than successful Swift.


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Even in the perilous world of aviation research flying, the p120 had a remarkably short career, signifying the end of Boulton Paul as an aircraft manufacturer.


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Available on PC, Mac, Blackberry, Windows 8 and kindle fire from Requirements for app: registered iTunes account on Apple iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4S, 5, 6, iPod Touch or iPad 1, 2 or 3. Internet connection required for initial download. Published by Key Publishing Ltd. The entire contents of these titles are © copyright 2015. All rights reserved. App prices subject to change.





P74 P78 P85 P88

Creating the ‘One-O-Wonder’ Formidable fighter-bomber Voodoo warriors in SEA Learning to love the CF-101


MAIN IMAGE: A pair of F-101Bs belonging to the 107th Fighter Interceptor Group, Ne New York Air National Natio l Guard, airborne out of their Niagara Falls base in December 1981. PETER GREVE VIA ADRIAN M. BALCH COLLECTION


McDonnell F-101 Voodoo

Creating the


Its original design was much changed, and its original role disappeared, but McDonnell still created a winner in the F-101 Voodoo


he Voodoo story goes back to the final years of World War Two, when the US Army Air Force foresaw the need for a long-range bomber escort fighter to replace the P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang, with the weapons and performance to compete with jet-powered opposition. In 1945, Air Materiel

Command issued an invitation to bid for the production of a long-range, multi-role fighter which could double as a ground attack aircraft, envisaging a single-seat, heavily-armed machine with two engines, capable of 600mph, a combat range (fully loaded) of 900 statute miles and a service ceiling of 40,000ft.

The McDonnell Aircraft Corporation (MDC), with its reputation for ‘boldness with conservatism’, wasted no time, earning a letter of contract in June 1946. It called for a mock-up within two months and for the first of two XP-88 prototypes to fly by April 1948. What emerged was a low-wing design, with the flying surfaces swept back 35

degrees, the horizontal stabiliser set low on the fin, and two Westinghouse J34 axial-flow turbojets housed below a spacious fuselage to give total dry thrust of 6,400lb. The newly-formed United States Air Force, and specifically its Strategic Air Command, took up the cause in 1947. The first XF-88 (the XP, for ‘pursuit’,

ABOVE: The first XF-88, 46-525, made its maiden flight from Muroc in the hands of Bob Edholm on 20 October 1948. USAF




ABOVE: Pictured on the Edwards AFB dry lake, F-101A 53-2418 undertook the type’s inaugural flight. USAF

designation having now been replaced by XF for ‘fighter’), serial 46-525, made its inaugural flight in October 1948, with MDC’s chief test pilot Bob Edholm at the controls. After the flight, Bob declared himself well satisfied with the aircraft’s handling qualities and manoeuvrability, albeit with the need for dampers to minimise directional oscillations and yaw/roll coupling, and modifications to reduce speed brake buffet. There were no problems in the transonic zone, but, despite achieving Mach 1.175 in a shallow dive from 41,000ft, it was clear that the aircraft was underpowered. Thrust augmentation would be necessary, reheat becoming the preferred solution. Westinghouse felt unable to add afterburners to its J34 engines within the confines of the aircraft’s configuration at that time, so MDC produced its own, to provide 34 per cent more static thrust. When the second XF-88 (46-526) flew in June 1949, the afterburners gave a 9 per cent increase in speed, to achieve 700mph at sea level and a greatly increased rate of climb. This aircraft also incorporated a variable geometry stabilator (combined stabiliser and elevator) and was armed with six 20mm cannon. However, the price of these improvements was high, the greater weight resulting in a significant increase in specific fuel consumption and a reduction in endurance — already critical shortcomings in the aircraft. Undaunted, MDC went ahead with intensive trials, including weapons delivery. In 1950 it was selected to participate in the Penetration Fighter Project Fly-Off, winning the day against AEROPLANE AUGUST 2015

Lockheed’s XF-90 and North American’s YF-93A. Despite winning the competition, financial stringency delayed the issue of a contract for the development of the XF-88 until 1952. Then the USAF, attracted by the potential of the aircraft if re-equipped with two Pratt & Whitney J57 engines, each generating 10,000lb of dry thrust and 15,000lb in afterburner, found the necessary funding. The aircraft that emerged from the follow-up trials remained conventional in appearance, but with its fuselage enlarged to accommodate the new J57-P-13 engines and the extra fuel they needed, while the horizontal stabiliser was moved up to be clear of the afterburner plumes, and the speed brakes were hinged forward. The first F-101 (53-2418) had its maiden flight from Edwards AFB, California, on 29 September 1954. It was piloted by Robert Little, who claimed that everything about the flight was “spectacular”. He left the T-33 photo aircraft and the F-100 chase ’plane far behind on take-off, and climbed to 35,000ft at Mach 0.92, without afterburner, before going supersonic in a shallow dive. Only a few engine surges marred an otherwise very satisfactory maiden flight. However, some of the later test flights were far from trouble-free. On one, the loss of both booster pumps left the pilot with gravity fuel feed only and a double flame-out, acquainting him with the poor glide characteristics of the huge fighter, until the denser air enabled successful re-lights. Three flights later, both engines stalled at Mach 1.4, only returning to normal as the speed reduced, the speed brakes being used to

good effect for the first time at supersonic speeds. One by one, modifications or acceptable flight restrictions cured or minimised the engine maladies, but one aerodynamic problem seemed intractable — that of ‘pitch-up’. This stemmed from the need to move the horizontal stabiliser to high on the fin. Trials revealed that the wing then tended to mask the tailplane from the airflow at high angles of attack, or deflect a down-flow onto the high-set stabiliser. This could cause a nose-up pitching moment and loss of control, often followed by a spin, from which recovery could be very difficult. Pitch-up resulted in the loss of three F-101As and an F-101B during the flight test programme. The obvious remedy was to bring the stabiliser down into the jet plume. New metal technologies by then allowed this, but with mass production already well under way, coupled with the delays and extra costs which would result, this option was rejected in favour of a package of measures to reduce the risk of pitch-up. These included the incorporation of sensors to detect the approach of a pitch-up and trigger a warning horn and ‘stick-shaker’, mandatory flight restrictions and repeated advice to pilots on the actions to take, including the use of the brake parachute, should a pitch-up occur. Even so, it remained a problem throughout the life of the aircraft, especially in bad weather, combat operations and other difficult flight conditions. While there were some remarkable recoveries, a number of Voodoos, of all variants, continued to be lost — some with fatal consequences.

MDC carried on its exhaustive test programme with due caution, paying particular attention to the structural integrity of the big aircraft after in-flight cameras revealed some alarming signs of the tailplane “bending almost 20 degrees during severe rolling pull-outs”. Further modifications eventually cleared the later Voodoos for the high-G manoeuvres which might be necessary in combat operations. In its service life, the Voodoo proved to be a very robust aircraft, which, in accidents and combat, helped save the lives of several pilots. By the early 1950s, the original role envisaged for the Voodoo, that of a high-performance bomber escort, was being questioned. The aircraft had the necessary ‘legs’ and was capable of very high speeds, but perhaps lacked the manoeuvrability which might be required. Moreover, as SAC’s new bombers, such as the B-52, began to enter service, its modus operandi changed, and with it the command’s interest in the Voodoo. SAC’s loss was definitely Tactical Air Command’s gain. Given the aircraft’s high speed and long range, the USAF decided to have it evaluated for possible use as a single-seat, all-weather fighter-bomber, and as a tactical reconnaissance platform. To these ends, further trials were carried out by MDC and USAF Air Research and Development Command at Eglin AFB, during which the firm’s chief test pilot carried out some very impressive demonstrations in the F-101, “doing everything but make it talk”. It showed that the aircraft could be operated effectively and safely in both roles. 75

McDonnell F-101 Voodoo

Anatomy of the

F-101 Voodoo

McDonnell’s design made for a large, and tough, combat aircraft

ABOVE: JF-101A 53-2426 was the aircraft that captured the outright world air speed record in Operation ‘Firewall’. USAF


rom the mock-up of its first incarnation in 1946, the McDonnell Model 36C, the design that would become the Voodoo underwent changes in many aspects of its construction, ending up with a largely conventional profile in the first F-101 fighter/fighter-bomber. Thereafter, all the operational and training variants shared the same basic configuration, albeit with differences in structural strengths, powerplants, cockpit ergonomics and, of course, role equipment. Typifying the basic design, the single-seat, twin-engine, supersonic RF-101 was very large for its time, being 69ft 3in long and 18ft high, but with a relatively short wingspan of 39ft 8in. The engine air intakes were triangular ducts at the roots of thin wings which, together with the tail unit, were swept back by 35 degrees. The single-piece horizontal stabiliser was mounted high on the vertical stabiliser, to be clear of jet 76

plumes from the two, 16-stage axial-flow Pratt & Whitney J57 turbojets, each equipped with reheat. The units produced 10,000lb of dry thrust at sea level or 15,000lb in afterburner. In addition to an internal fuel capacity of 2,249 gallons, the RF-101C could carry two 450-gallon fuel tanks. The aircraft was equipped for flying boom and probe-and-drogue air refuelling, with a receptacle behind the cockpit and a retractable probe directly in front. This was the heaviest single-seat fighter at the time, the RF-101C weighing in at 26,136lb empty and 51,000lb maximum. Control was exercised by ailerons at the outer trailing edges of the wings and conventional elevators and rudder in the tail, operated through irreversible hydraulic systems which produced the required control surface deflections, while aerodynamic loads in flight were simulated by an artificial feel system. Hydraulically-operated, electrically-actuated wing flaps,

mounted inboard of the ailerons, operated over a range of 50 degrees, while forward-hinged, panel-type speed brakes were fitted either side of the aft fuselage. The primary electrical power was 200/115-volt, three-phase, 400-cycle AC, supplied by two 30,000-volt-ampere generators, operating in parallel, one driven by each engine. Two transformer-rectifiers received 200-volt, three-phase AC power and 28-volt DC power. There were two separate hydraulic systems, a primary system to provide power for the ailerons, horizontal stabiliser and nose gear steering, and a secondary system to power all other hydraulic operations (such as the speed brakes, flaps, undercarriage, rudder, wheel brakes and so forth, and one section of an aileron and horizontal stabiliser tandem power cylinder). In an emergency, the pilot could release compressed air to lower the undercarriage, and hydraulic

pressure from a separate, emergency reservoir to operate the wheel brakes, but in that event the anti-skid system would be inoperative. A brake parachute was held in a container at the rear end of the fuselage, from which it could be released mechanically. A pitch-up warning system, incorporating two separate sensor units, pre-empted potentially dangerous flight conditions at high angles of attack by triggering audio, visual and stick-pusher signals. The pressurised cockpit was enclosed in a clamshell canopy, which could be operated electrically or manually, and jettisoned internally or externally. Voodoos were fitted with Weber ejection seats operated by a hand-grip and catapult trigger either side of the seat; the canopy would be jettisoned first, and once free of the aircraft, at a safe height, the pilot would be separated from the seat and the parachute deployed automatically. AEROPLANE AUGUST 2015

DATABASE McDonnell F-101 Voodoo



McDonnell F-101 Voodoo

A formidable


The Voodoos of the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing stood ready for nuclear war at Suffolk’s ‘twin bases’, Bentwaters and Woodbridge

ABOVE: The 27th Strategic Fighter Wing at Bergstrom AFB, Texas, was the first active service unit to bring the F-101A into service. USAF


espite the command’s loss of interest in the Voodoo, the first F-101As went to SAC’s 27th Strategic Fighter Wing at Bergstrom AFB, Texas, on 2 May 1957. Two months later, to reflect its new role, the wing was re-named as the 27th Fighter Bomber Wing, and shortly thereafter as the 27th Tactical Fighter Wing, comprising the 522nd, 523rd and 524th Tactical Fighter Squadrons, all within TAC. Armed with four 20mm cannon and with provision for free-fall bombs, structural improvements to the basic airframe resulted in the g limits for a new variant, the F-101C, being raised from 6.33g to 7.33g, improving its effectiveness and survivability. Again there was a price to pay, with an increase of 500lb in weight, but this was mitigated somewhat by modifying 78

the fuel system to reduce the aircraft’s consumption in afterburner. The 27th TFW had an initial establishment of 121 aircraft, comprising 77 F-101As and 44 F-101Cs. In December 1957, TAC welcomed the opportunity to show off its new aircraft, seizing the world air speed record in Operation ‘Firewall’. Maj Adrian Drew, in an F-101 with up-rated engines, averaged 1,207.6mph in two runs at 39,000ft over Edwards AFB, while RF-101s established record times in crossing the USA both ways during Operation ‘Sun Run’ (see page 82). Then in May 1958, two standard F-101Cs averaged 480mph over a 5,600-mile circuit with air-to-air refuelling, and that June four F-101Cs crossed the Atlantic, non-stop with AAR, from Maryland to Liège-Bierset,

Belgium, in six hours 12 minutes. Others traversed the Pacific as tensions increased between the Communists on mainland China and the Chinese Nationalists on Taiwan. However, having spent little more than a year with TAC at Bergstrom, the 27th TFW’s globe-trotting days came to an end. Its F-101s were re-assigned to a specific war role in NATO, and, by the end of 1958, they were on their way to Europe. The Voodoos were bound for the ‘twin bases’ of RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge in a relatively quiet coastal part of Suffolk to replace the ageing and far less capable F-84Fs and give the 81st TFW a full, night/ all-weather nuclear capability. This was a controversial move, most claiming, quite rightly, that it would add to deterrence, while

others argued that it would alter the balance of power and persuade the Soviet Union to retaliate in kind. However, Gen Frank Everest, commander of United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) and Gen Curtis LeMay, USAF vice-chief of staff, prevailed. The first seven F-101s arrived at Bentwaters in December 1958, having flown from the USA, non-stop with AAR, in 11 hours. Comprising the 78th TFS ‘Bushmasters’, 91st TFS ‘Blue Streaks’ and 92nd TFS ‘Avengers’, the wing’s mission was “to conduct special operations against any aggressor forces in Europe, in support of NATO, as directed by higher headquarters”. This meant the maintenance of very high alert states and the possibility of a one-way mission carrying a nuclear weapon deep AEROPLANE AUGUST 2015

DATABASE McDonnell F-101 Voodoo


they would be entirely dependent on pilot navigation, with visual map-reading and any information derived from the F-101’s MA-7 fire control system, its radar adapted from that originally designed for the fighter’s air-to-air gunnery, to give a rudimentary ground mapping facility. Then came the delivery of the nuclear bomb, a Mk7, Mk28 or Mk43. Here again the pilots were assisted by the MA-7 system to become proficient in several delivery options, including an ‘over-the-shoulder’ procedure using the low-altitude bombing system (LABS). This allowed the aircraft to approach the target at 100ft and 540kt for a 3.5g pull-up, until the LABS gyros released the free-fall weapon at a pitch angle of about 117 degrees and 15,000ft. The bomb would continue upwards to top out above 20,000ft before

descending to the target, while the pilot executed an Immelmann manoeuvre, rolling over and diving earthwards to escape the effects of the nuclear explosion. This could be very exciting, especially at night and in poor weather. Later, the ground mapping radar was used in conjunction with the low-altitude drogue delivery (LADD) system, enabling the F-101s to approach and depart the target low and fast, and in all weathers, for the LADD timer to release the bomb automatically. Constant training in these and other delivery modes resulted in the 81st TFW satisfying all its operational training requirements by the end of 1960, to become the first single-seat, all-weather tactical nuclear strike wing in NATO. Not surprisingly, with the Voodoos continuing to suffer teething troubles, the demanding

ABOVE: The 78th TFS shows off its formation skills during a four-ship F-101A/C sortie from Woodbridge in 1961. NIGEL WALPOLE COLLECTION

role and difficult operating conditions (bird strikes on the Suffolk coast being a perennial problem), there were accidents. In one of the first fatalities, Lt Stirling Lee lost control of his aircraft on final approach to Woodbridge, after a hydraulic failure which led to the grounding of the fleet. Soon after flying resumed, Lt Col Charles Simpson was more fortunate, making a very skilful, indeed miraculous, recovery from a pitch-up at low level while taking violent avoiding action. In another extraordinary piece of flying, Capt Jack Shephard saved his aircraft by un-strapping himself and using one leg to help manipulate his throttles when they appeared to have locked solid on final approach to land. The 81st TFW boasted great leadership at all levels, from the wing commander down to the squadron commanders and below. Among these charismatic men were the wing commander, the legendary WW2 and Korean ace Col Robin Olds, and the director of operations, Col ‘Chappie’ James, perhaps the first African-American officer to reach that rank. This formidable pair ran the wing in the mid-1960s and, under their tenure, morale was sky-high. Olds’ departure coincided with the wing’s conversion to the F-4 Phantom II, beginning in June 1965. The necessary number of Voodoos remained at readiness during the transition, until enough F-4s and combat-ready crews were ready to take their place. Progressively, the pioneering F-101s were transferred to the Air National Guard at Little Rock, Arkansas, those with sufficient life left in them being converted to RF-101G or RF-101H standard for use in the tactical reconnaissance role.

ABOVE: F-101C 56-0020 of the 81st TFW on display at Bentwaters in May 1963. ADRIAN M. BALCH COLLECTION 79


into eastern Europe. It may not have appealed to some of the pilots, but the Voodoo was up to the task. Whatever misgivings I might have had about the enthusiasm of the pilots selected for the 81st TFW’s role were quickly dispelled when I became involved with some of them as an instructor pilot on the 4414th Combat Crew Training Squadron at Shaw AFB, South Carolina, and later when I met these and other pilots at the ‘twin bases’ following my return to the UK. The 4414th’s primary role was to train pilots destined for the RF-101s in the USAF’s tactical reconnaissance force, those earmarked for the fighter-bombers of the 81st TFW being there solely for conversion to the Voodoo. In the main, the latter already had fast jet experience, typically from service on F-100 and F-104 squadrons, and, to a man, they had no difficulty flying the aircraft. It was also clear that they relished the prospect of flying the F-101 with the 81st TFW and, as I was to find out later, they were quick to master their challenging new role. The targets for the 81st TFW were, predominantly but not exclusively, those within the ‘counter-air’ category including airfields, command, control and communications (C3) centres and missile sites. Each pilot was given a pre-planned mission, to be learned by heart and on which they would be tested regularly in operational readiness inspections (ORIs) and NATO ‘no-notice’ tactical evaluations (Tacevals). These, and follow-up tasks, required pilots to fly low/low or high/low mission profiles, the latter perhaps with AAR to give them enough range to reach throughout East Germany, Poland and into Russia, and return — sticking to the airspace rules and procedures designed to see them safely through Allied defences and thus avoid fratricide. These pilots became wellversed in AAR, using KB-50 tankers from nearby RAF Sculthorpe, but before entering hostile airspace they would have to be at ultra-low level (50-100ft) and to fly at very high speeds (500-600kt) if they were to survive against the everincreasing Soviet defences, particularly with the proliferation of new radars and anti-aircraft artillery (AAA). This was reflected in their training, albeit within the constraints of peacetime regulations. There would be few, if any, navigation aids available to them at any level, and at low level

McDonnell F-101 Voodoo

Homeland defence As was the original intention, the F-101 was a very potent interceptor

ABOVE: The 4756th Air Defense Wing at Tyndall AFB, Florida, flew F-101Bs including 56-0269 on interceptor crew training duties as well as for test and evaluation purposes. McDONNELL DOUGLAS


n 1955, McDonnell was awarded a contract for a two-seat, missilearmed, all-weather bomber interceptor Voodoo. The prototype F-101B flew in March 1957 and, after exhaustive trials, initial deliveries to USAF Air Defense Command began in January 1959. Although the basic configuration remained the same, the aircraft could be identified by a long pitot head on the nose of a conical radome housing the radar, and a single ‘clamshell’ canopy covering a cockpit for the pilot and a weapons system operator in tandem. It was heavier than earlier variants, and the undercarriage had been strengthened, but it was powered by more powerful Pratt & Whitney J57-P-53 engines, making it the fastest of the Voodoo family. A Hughes MG-13 fire control system governed the delivery of the MB-1 Genie air-to-air missile and two Falcon heat-seeking or semi-active radar homing missiles, all 80

housed in an internal weapons bay below the nose, while the cockpit layout was a pilot’s delight in its relative simplicity. Engine surges during initial trials at the Air Force Flight Test Centers at Edwards, Eglin and Tyndall AFBs were soon resolved, as further efforts were made to minimise the risk of pitch-up before the F-101Bs

were committed to the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) and Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) systems. The new aircraft soon proved its worth in competitions against other contemporary fighters. The missile delivery modes were challenging. One dark and moonless night, an experienced

ABOVE: Canadian Forces CF-101Bs 17482 and 17447 in formation during November 1968. ADRIAN M. BALCH COLLECTION

pilot carrying out a supersonic, snap-up attack watched the automatic pilot follow the aiming dot up to the release point, but then continue to take the Voodoo skywards, to run it rapidly out of speed. This was an unhealthy position for an aircraft inclined to pitch up, but by “burying the stick against the instrument panel” the pilot persuaded the aircraft to “float over the top and head back downhill”, to safety. This was an aircraft that enjoyed much success in interceptions carried at the great heights and speeds of the day. Typically, while on one missile practice camp at Tyndall, the more fortunate Voodoo pilots were able to test their skills with Falcon missiles carrying live warheads against supersonic Bomarc SAM targets launched from nearby Eglin to heights in excess of 50,000ft, and there were some notable kills. The Voodoo’s fire control system was very flexible, one crew recalling that, when faced with a particularly difficult problem, they had no alternative AEROPLANE AUGUST 2015

DATABASE McDonnell F-101 Voodoo

ABOVE: A four-ship of F-101Bs from the North Dakota ANG’s 119th Fighter Interceptor Group. USAF

teamwork between men and machine at its best. At the end of the 1960s, the majority of the F-101Bs were handed over to the Air National Guard, to be replaced by the F-4. The variant also carried on serving in Canada. The Royal Canadian Air Force was impressed by the F-101B, and, following the decision not to proceed with the home-grown Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow, the

F-101B was selected as the RCAF’s air defence contribution to NORAD’s SAGE. Deliveries of the first batch of 56 single-seat and 10 two-seat Voodoos, re-named the CF-101B and the CF-101F respectively, began in July 1961. The CF-101s continued to serve in Canadian Forces front-line units until 1984, by which time 28 had been lost in 23 years — not an excessive number for that time.

BELOW: CF-101B Voodoo 17477 425 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, Bagotville CHRIS SANDHAM-BAILEY

BELOW: An F-101B with an interesting history was 57-0410, which was given civil registration N8234 for use by Colorado State University on thunderstorm research. It was based at Buckley ANGB, where it was pictured in June 1974. ADRIAN M. BALCH COLLECTION



but to meet the Bomarc head-on, in afterburner. The back-seater had spotted the target soon after it was launched, his Voodoo’s radar ‘locking on’ at 54,000ft, and with a closing speed of 3,000kt the firing signal followed almost immediately. With no time to spare, the pilot released the Falcon at eight miles and 52,000ft to score a very impressive direct hit —

McDonnell F-101 Voodoo

Photo Voodoos The reconnaissance RF-101 ended up excelling in its role, as the author discovered during an exchange tour

ABOVE: A pairs landing by 66th TRW RF-101Cs at RAF Upper Heyford in September 1966 is led by 56-0109. The unit moved to the Oxfordshire base following that year’s expulsion by President Charles de Gaulle of US (and NATO) forces from France. ADRIAN M. BALCH COLLECTION


anufacturer MDC reacted positively to SAC’s initial interest in a strategic reconnaissance version of the Voodoo, and took two F-101As off the production line to be the prototypes. When SAC again lost interest, TAC came once more to the rescue, recognising that the Voodoo could provide all it needed for tactical reconnaissance, as a successor to its ageing RF-84Fs. In adopting the same basic airframe, engines and refuelling adjuncts, all that was required was to re-configure the nose section and change the cockpit ergonomics. McDonnell’s confidence was well-founded, earning an initial order for 35 RF-101As and 166 RF-101Cs. They emerged with an array of vertical and oblique cameras to replace the F-101’s 82

radar, cannon and sighting system. The USAF and TAC were very satisfied with their new aircraft, the first of which entered service with the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Shaw in October 1957. Deliveries to the USAFE reconnaissance squadrons followed within a year, beginning with the 32nd TRS of the 66th TRW at Phalsbourg, France. No time was lost promoting the virtues of this latest ‘Century Series’ fast jet, and what better way to demonstrate its capabilities than to criss-cross the United States, non-stop, maximising the use of afterburner and AAR? So it was that, in the autumn of 1957, TAC’s 9th Air Force ordered speciallyselected pilots and RF-101s from the 363rd TRW to prepare for Operation ‘Sun Run’, to take

place between 2 November and 31 December. To that end, Lt Col William Nelson led the team of pilots, comprising Capts Burkhart, Hawkins, Kilpatrick, Schrecengost and Sweet, and Lt Klatt, to George AFB, California, in early November for an intensive programme of training with new KC-135 tankers provided by SAC. On 29 November 1957, after a steep learning curve, Bob Sweet flew an RF-101C on the round trip from Los Angeles-New York-Los Angeles in six hours 46 minutes, and the New York-Los Angeles leg in three hours 36 minutes, while Gus Klatt set the record from Los Angeles-New York in a flight of three hours 7 minutes. Having flown the Swift FR5 on low-level armed reconnaissance in Germany, the author was

already familiar with the operational profiles and tactics taught on the 4414th CCTS at Shaw, and experienced no difficulty with either the conversion or operational training phases of the Voodoo course. He found five sorties in the static flight simulator and the pre-flight briefings adequate preparation for his first flight, in the single-seat RF-101 chased by another (there being no two-seat Voodoos on the squadron at that time), but in this case the ‘chase’ was superfluous, two-way radio communication being lost on take-off. Once the big Voodoo was moving, no more than idle power was necessary to keep it taxiing at normal speeds, during which the nose gear steering and the differential toe-brakes were very helpful, but sharp turns at AEROPLANE AUGUST 2015

DATABASE McDonnell F-101 Voodoo

ABOVE: RF-101A 56-0160 belonged to the 4414th Combat Crew Training Squadron at Shaw AFB. USAF

while the ailerons provided excellent control, rapid movements could impose twisting loads on the wing. Power-operated rudder control was available above 70kt, assisted by a yaw damper. When down, the two-position flaps (fully down or retracted) provided extra stability in certain flight conditions such as in-flight refuelling, while significantly reducing the landing speed and subsequent ground run. Infinitely variable speed brakes


high taxiing speeds could potentially collapse the main undercarriage. On take-off, water from the nose wheel wake, ingested by the engines, could cause compressor stalls and afterburner blow-outs, while 35 per cent of the thrust normally available in ‘military’ (dry) power would be lost if the afterburner failed to light but its ‘eyelids’ remained open. The author had no such problems on his first take-off, in ’burner. He discovered that the rudder became effective at 70kt, the nosewheel lifted off easily at 150kt and, on that unusually cold January day, his clean Voodoo leapt off the ground at 175kt, after the astonishingly short ground run of less than 700 yards. Very conscious of an audience watching from the crewroom, he just managed to AEROPLANE AUGUST 2015

POWERPLANTS Two Pratt & Whitney J57-P13 turbojets, each 10,000lb thrust dry and 15,000lb in reheat DIMENSIONS SPAN: 39ft 8in LENGTH: 69ft 4in HEIGHT: 18ft 0in WEIGHTS GROSS WITHOUT 43,050lb EXTERNAL FUEL: (second batch aircraft) MAX WITH TWO FULL 51,000lb 450-GALLON TANKS: ARMAMENT Unarmed, but later models could carry a single nuclear weapon ROLE EQUIPMENT Five vertical or oblique stations carried a variety of reconnaissance cameras PERFORMANCE MAXIMUM SPEED: 1,000mph SERVICE CEILING: 45,800ft RANGES: normal 1,715 miles, max 2,145 miles


The only nation outside North America to fly the Voodoo was Nationalist China, which acquired four RF-101As in November 1959, in a clandestine arrangement under the auspices of America’s Military Assistance Program. Ostensibly, their Chinese pilots, trained by the USAF, were to patrol the waters between the Chinese mainland and their home on the island of Formosa (Taiwan), but in reality they also covered targets deep into a very hostile Chinese mainland — and some would pay the price. As attrition took its toll, they were replaced, until these Voodoo operations ceased in 1970.

were effective throughout the speed range. The RF-101’s maximum permitted speed was 700kt or Mach 1.57 above 25,000ft, 600kt below that height when ‘clean’, or 500kt and Mach 1.3 with external tanks fitted. Rolls should not be continued beyond 360 degrees, nor negative g sustained for more than 15 seconds. Snap manoeuvres, intentional pitch-ups and spins were definite no-go areas. Although the Voodoo was theoretically able to glide at 250kt for 30 miles from 20,000ft, the author was not aware of any successful flameout landings. Much attention was paid to the dangers of pitch-up, and how it might be avoided. The ‘Dash-1’ (pilot’s notes) noted, for instance, that the stick-pusher should be engaged on the climb as an added precaution against pitch-up. Should one occur, the recommended recovery procedure (simplified and abbreviated here) called for an immediate reduction in back pressure on the stick and/or angle of attack. If it developed, full nose-down stabiliser must be applied at once, with the rudder and ailerons neutral, and the brake parachute deployed at the peak of the pitch (usually about 150kt). At the first sign of negative g, the stick should be returned to neutral and all further control movements carried out very gently, with no attempt to pull out of the ensuing dive until reaching 350kt. If a full pitch-up developed below 15,000ft, or control could not achieved by that height, the aircraft should be abandoned. After take-off, with undercarriage and flaps retracted, the acceleration and climb angle in afterburner were most 83


‘get the wheels in the well’ by 250kt, after which the nose gear would have been left hanging. In flight, the hydraulicallypowered controls were positive and responsive, with the single-piece horizontal stabiliser very effective at subsonic and supersonic speeds, while giving a stable ride at the low levels and high speeds at which the recce aircraft would normally operate. Care had to be taken to avoid over-control, which might result in excessive g-loading. Again,

McDonnell F-101 Voodoo impressive, albeit with very high fuel consumption until the ’burners were cancelled and the climb continued in military power. The aircraft was extremely pleasant to fly and general handling produced no surprises, but vertical manoeuvres needed a great deal of sky, and the standard circuit to land was far larger than the author had been used to in the poorer weather often encountered in Europe. The aircraft was steady on final approach, with the speed depending on its configuration and weight, but a lightweight, ‘clean’ Voodoo could sit comfortably on finals at 170kt and touch down at 160kt, with a very short ground roll to follow after deploying the brake parachute. By mid-1959, RF-101s were joining the USAF’s Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), specifically the 15th TRS at Kadena, Okinawa, and the 45th TRS at Misawa. As in Europe, they replaced RF-84Fs, giving battle managers in both theatres much-improved photographic and visual reconnaissance, faster and over longer ranges than before, albeit predominantly by day. Unlike the RAF’s fighter reconnaissance fast jets, which were armed with guns, the RF-101s were unarmed. True, some were equipped to deliver a nuclear weapon, and selected

ABOVE: Under instruction — the author, puffing on his pipe, and Lt Grubb plan an RF-101 sortie at Shaw AFB. NIGEL WALPOLE COLLECTION

pilots trained to do so, but for the majority bringing back information was their only purpose. As with the nuclear-

armed F-101s, low level and high speed were then pre-requisites to survival in hostile airspace, so pilot navigation and map-

ABOVE: A demonstration of how cameras were unloaded from an RF-101 post-mission, with a mobile photographic lab ready to receive the film. USAF


reading were de rigueur for the Voodoo recce pilots, who would also make the best use of terrain-masking to evade the radars and known gun-defended areas, and to stay below cloud. Training concentrated on a variety of targets, of likely interest to those on the ground who would be running the air and land battles. These might include movement on specific routes, airfields and helicopter forward operating locations, radar units, gun and missile sites, bridge-building and status thereof, and troop concentrations. Good airborne photography could render definitive detail, provided the cameras used were delivered to a base with the necessary photo processing facilities — this could not always be guaranteed in war. There could be additional delays in getting the photographs interpreted and then in communicating the information they revealed to the ‘customer’, an accumulation of such delays perhaps being crucial in a fast-moving battle. The alternative, visual reports transmitted by the pilot direct to a receiving unit, ideally sited near the front line, and then retransmitted rearwards, could provide the requester with near-real-time information. Of course, a verbal in-flight report is unlikely to be as comprehensive or as accurate in its detail as that derived from a photograph, but it might suffice, and be in time to save the day. The RF-101 pilots and their aircraft were all capable of fulfilling these tasks and trained accordingly, but they did not have the manoeuvrability enjoyed by other, smaller fast jets such as the Swift, Hunter, Fiat G91 et al, which enabled the latter to weave rapidly around high ground and into the valleys of, say, the target-rich Harz mountains and the Sauerland, where NATO trained. This, together with the Voodoo’s camera fit, which in the author’s time lacked the very low-level/ high-speed capabilities of the RAF’s F-95 strip aperture camera or the French equivalent, placed the RF-101 at a disadvantage when taking part in NATO recce competitions. However, a winning formula was found late in the type’s European life, and when the RF-101s were put to the real test, firstly over Cuba and then in the very hostile skies over south-east Asia (SEA), they were not found wanting. AEROPLANE AUGUST 2015

DATABASE McDonnell F-101 Voodoo

Voodoo warriors America, and the RF-101 force, just avoided armed conflict over Cuba — they would not be so fortunate in South-east Asia


n October 1962, the crisis arising from the deployment of Soviet surface-tosurface missiles in Cuba brought all NATO’s operational air units to very high states of readiness. The 81st TFW pilots at the ‘twin bases’ in Suffolk were put on immediate readiness, and all available aircraft bombed-up with their war weapons, while the 78th TFS, on weapons training at Wheelus AB in Libya, hastened back to Woodbridge, non-stop without AAR, dropping their empty 450-gallon drop tanks to afford extra range. This could have been the ‘real thing’, and it is hard to imagine what the pilots were thinking as they sat contemplating the possibility of a one-way trip and Armageddon. But the 81st TFW was a part — a small but significant part — of NATO’s deterrent force, and deterrence worked. Likewise, all the RF-101 pilots stood-to, with their preplanned missions at the ready, but only the Voodoos of the 363rd TRW were used in earnest AEROPLANE AUGUST 2015

over Cuba. The photographs they produced for scrutiny at the highest level of command proved indispensible in the dangerous game of brinkmanship which followed, but which ended peacefully, the men of the 363rd earning an Outstanding Unit Award from President Kennedy. Then came the disastrous war between North and South Vietnam, which would involve most Voodoo pilots and RF-101s.

Initially, these would come largely from the two PACAF squadrons, the 45th TRS and the 15th TRS, but others would follow. In fact, four RF-101s from TAC had operated in SEA in 1960, photographing targets in Thailand while on exercise in the Philippines. They would be followed by random visits to South Vietnam by TAC and PACAF RF-101s, but it was in October 1961, when four Voodoos from the 15th TRS

BELOW: A famous image whereby an RF-101C engaged in post-strike reconnaissance of a wrecked road bridge at My˜ Ðu´c, Hanoi, during 1965 captured its own shadow on the water. USAF

deployed to Tan Son Nhut, Saigon, for Exercise ‘Pipe Stem’, that reconnaissance missions in SEA began in earnest and escalated rapidly thereafter. Flights over the Plain of Jars, northern Laos, and the border between North and South Vietnam started to reveal worrying military activity. It was decided, with the full permission of the Thai government, to follow ‘Pipe Stem’ with an additional detachment to Thailand. Four RF-101s from the 45th TRS flew to Don Muang Airport, Bangkok, for Task Force ‘Able Mable’ to begin operations on 8 November 1961. 85


ABOVE: Kathy’s Clown was the name given to RF-101C 56-0176 from the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. USAF

McDonnell F-101 Voodoo It was soon clear that the RF-101s were in for the long haul in SEA, but repeated requests for more aircraft fell on deaf ears until April 1963, when PACAF was ordered to provide the Task Force with two further RF-101s. Equally clear was the need for more night assets, and in that year attempts were made — ultimately with only “acceptable” results — to furnish some Voodoos with a limited night capability, in Project ‘Toy Tiger’. As the Voodoo force in SEA grew, so did the need for more ramp space and an airfield closer to the action. Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, northern Thailand, was brought up to the minimum standard necessary and activated when the first four RF-101s of the 15th TRS ‘Green Pythons’ arrived on 1 April 1965. With the war turning in favour of the enemy, the plan was for the 15th to maintain six aircraft at

Udorn, with limited authority to carry out heavily-constrained operations over North Vietnam, and the 45th to provide up to 12 at Tan Son Nhut, for employment predominantly over South Vietnam. Although conveniently close to North Vietnam, the facilities at Udorn were far from ideal, but the Voodoos and their pilots coped, as did the latter with inaccurate maps, unreliable weather forecasts and few or no navigation aids. According to Capt Burt Waltz, “It was all dead-reckoning and time/ distance navigation” — back to basics! Moreover, the targets were hard to find, given the highly mobile enemy, their very clever camouflage and the heavy forestation. Also, the Voodoo pilots were now being shot at by increasingly deadly AAA, and later had to face additional threats from surface-to-air

missiles and MiG fighters. During their early days, they operated without on-board or external electronic countermeasures. In April 1965, some of the Voodoos began using QRC-160 ECM pods, albeit of dubious effectiveness. Numerous camera permutations and tactics were trialled, as battle managers called for ever greater areas of forest and scrub to be photographed, often at levels which exposed the pilots to new radars, AAA, SAM and MiG fighters. This dangerous game produced a huge number of photographs, often swamping the photo interpreters. With the inherent delays compounded by lengthy debates at several levels of battle management, such evidence as they might have revealed was often received by the front-line operators too late to be of use. So it was, although to a lesser extent, with visual

sighting/reporting by the pilots; even if they were able to pin-point fleeting glimpses of a potential target, this could prove of little value with an elusive enemy always on the move, given the tortuous decisionmaking procedures. None of this, however, was the fault of the aircraft or its pilots, who were now beginning to take losses. First to succumb to the guns in November 1964 was Burt Waltz, who was injured but evaded capture in Laos, to be rescued by an increasingly efficient USAF helicopter service. The following year 10 aircraft were lost, all to gunfire, but two managed to limp home, only to be destroyed on landing; six pilots died, two at the hands of their captives, while three became POWs and one was rescued. 1966 was the worst year for the Voodoo warriors, with 14 losses, two perhaps to SAM but the remainder to AAA, with three pilots rescued, five killed and six becoming POWs. In 1967, nine Voodoos were lost, one in a pitch-up, two to MiGs, two to SAM, one in a mid-air collision and three to AAA; only two pilots were killed and one became a POW, but the remainder were rescued. In 1968, the Viet Cong destroyed an RF-101 on the ground with a mortar bomb at Tan Son Nhut, and two others were downed by AAA. Uncertainty remains over the loss of a further six Voodoos during the conflict, bringing the total to 41: of those, 30 occurred over North Vietnam, with 12 pilots losing their lives and 10 suffering the dreadful cruelty and deprivations as POWs in the ‘Hanoi Hilton’. The above summary was compiled by a

ABOVE: An RF-101C low over South Vietnam in May 1967. USAF BELOW: The drag ’chute of a 20th TRS RF-101C is streamed on landing at Udorn RTAFB in 1967. USAF



DATABASE McDo Mc McDonnell Donnel FF-101 -1 101 01 Vo Voodoo V oodoo BELOW: RF-101C Voodoo 56-0176 Little Miss Beth Ann 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, USAF CHRIS SANDHAM-BAILEY

ABOVE: As an RF-101C is prepared for a mission over south-east Asia, a C-123 Provider departs. USAF

paid dearly for the millions of photos it produced during that difficult war, but the price could have been much higher had it not been for the structural strength and resilience of the aircraft. All the USAF pilots otherwise engaged in the conflict revered the Voodoo warriors, who flew ‘alone, unarmed and un-afraid’.

The legendary Col Robin Olds, commander of the ‘Wolf Pack’ at Ubon, Thailand, ordered that no recce pilot was ever to buy a drink in his bar. True to their American culture, the pilots flew with great courage and determination, always looking for innovative ways of getting the best out of an aircraft that

offered so much. Likewise, the ‘Voodoo Medicine Men’ were justifiably proud of their charges, and their own skills. SMSgt Edgar Mays, who had worked on several variants from the start, at Eglin, Shaw and later in SEA, warned: “If you wanted a fist fight, just call the Voodoo a pig — and you got one!”


The flight line and rear-echelon maintenance crews liked the Voodoo. True, certain components were difficult to access, some requiring the removal of the huge 450-gallon drop tanks and the engines; there were also habitual offenders, such as spurious warnings from the fire detection loops (engine fires were very rare), and the tyres had to be changed with monotonous frequency, but many tasks were relatively easy. One crew chief boasted that all he really needed to service the Voodoo when on deployment was a standard 6in screwdriver, a 6in crescent (spanner) wrench and a high-pressure air chuck, whereas other fast jets needed a whole toolbox. The J57 engines gave little trouble, known to be able to digest foreign objects without the pilots knowing. Capt Jerry Miller, for instance, only discovered that one of his engines had swallowed a .50calibre round over North Vietnam during the post-flight inspection. As with all good groundcrew, Voodoo crew chiefs were masters of improvisation. During one period of intensive operations in SEA, when 17 RF-101s of the 15th TRS required major battle damage repairs, the maintenance men at Udorn managed to patch up 14 and return them quickly to war, and make temporary repairs to two others for a single trip back to the States, leaving only one to be written off.


ABOVE: Many Voodoos returned to base in south-east Asia with damage. RF-101C 56-0168 was repaired. NIGEL WALPOLE COLLECTION 87


group of Voodoo pilots in the relatively lati ly smallll RF-101 community, it allll off wh whom had completed the statuary 100 ‘high-risk’ missions in SEA. Of course the RF-101 force suffered many other accidents in its necessarily realistic operational training for war, in the US, Europe and the Pacific, these attributed to natural hazards, weather, technical factors and pilot error. The tough Pratt & Whitney engines gave little trouble, and the dual hydraulic systems generally served well, but there were random problems with the undercarriage, which led to some spectacular mishaps. Overall, however, the accident rate was probably no more, indeed perhaps less, than that of other ‘Century Series’ jets at that time, and in the Voodoo’s case there was a common thread throughout: the aircraft’s resilience to battle damage and great structural strength, all helping to save many pilots’ lives. The ageing RF-101s were finally taken out of service on 12 November 1970 after a job well done, many bound for a new life with the ANG. The Voodoo warriors loved their aircraft and, to a man, they had great respect for the ‘long bird’ which served them so well. Of course, the RF-101 force in SEA

McDonnell F-101 Voodoo

Learning to love the

Voodoo A pilot’s recollections of converting to the RCAF’s CF-101


he impressive Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow was rolled out and unveiled to the Canadian public on 4 October 1957. My navigator and I were recent arrivals as an all-weather interceptor crew on 428 ‘Ghost’ Squadron at RCAF Station Uplands, Ottawa, Ontario flying the twin-engine CF-100 Canuck. We loved the CF-100 but we lusted after the CF-105 — it was magnificent. Not only that, but 428 was rumoured to be the first squadron scheduled to re-equip with the Arrow. Life was good. Our hopes and dreams were shattered on Friday 20 February 1959 when production of the Arrow was shut down by the government — it became known as ‘Black Friday’. The staff at Avro were suddenly out of work and all traces of the CF-105 were to be destroyed. Who was responsible for the decision to kill the Arrow and the wanton destruction of all traces of the aircraft — the Prime Minister,

John G. Diefenbaker? The RCAF Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hugh Campbell? Who? The debate continues to this day with no definitive answer. However, these decisions were out of our hands and so we continued to fly the CF-100 with no replacement in sight, nor contemplated. In 1959 my navigator was posted to RCAF Station Cold Lake, Alberta as an instructor on the CF-100 with 3 All-Weather (Fighter) Operational Training Unit after two years on 428 Squadron. I followed him to 3 AW(F) OTU one year later. Our CF-100 instructor tours were cut short when 3 AW(F) OTU moved to RCAF Station Bagotville, Québec in late August 1961. Some CF-100 navigator instructors were posted to other stations, and six pilot instructors were left behind at Cold Lake. I was one of the latter. We weren’t told why or what was to become of us. We flew the T-33 Silver Star for the Radar Support Flight — it

was not exciting flying, and certainly did not compare to flying the CF-100, but there was lots of it. Life was still good. Meanwhile, the government announced that the RCAF would replace its aging CF-100s with 66 ‘gently-used’ ex-USAF F-101 Voodoos. This was somewhat baffling news since the Canadian government had really been selling the precept, since the cancellation of the Arrow, that we had entered the age of the missile and the days of the manned interceptor were over. This ‘purchase’ was welcome news for the Americans since they really wanted the RCAF to fly a newer interceptor aircraft, just not the competing CF-105. No money was actually changing hands as Canada had agreed to take over the operation of the Pinetree Line in northern Canada and to operate two Bomarc missile squadrons in the east of the country. The CF-101 would equip five RCAF squadrons in Canada and


nine CF-100 squadrons were to disband. The four CF-100 units in Europe would also see their equipment being replaced by the new CF-104 Starfighter. The RCAF enthusiastically plunged into its new role with the Voodoos. The chosen cadre of ex-CF-100 pilots and navigators were quickly trained in the USA under the watchful eye of the USAF. They then returned to Canada as the embryonic 425 Squadron, took up residence at RCAF Station Namao, Edmonton, Alberta, and trained the pilots and navigators for four of the new CF-101 squadrons — 409 at Comox, British Columbia; 410 at Uplands, Ontario; 414 at North Bay, Ontario; and 416 at Chatham, New Brunswick. RCAF Station Cold Lake was only 120nm north-east of Namao. The Voodoo pilots-intraining lost no opportunity to make an approach at Cold Lake, light the afterburners with a resounding boom, scorch across

BELOW: ‘Turbo’ Tarling gets airborne in CF-101B 101014 of Bagotville-based 416 Squadron. VIA ‘TURBO’ TARLING



DATABASE McDonnell F-101 Voodoo


ABOVE: 425 Squadron CF-101Bs 17482 and 17447 in November 1968. ADRIAN M. BALCH COLLECTION


Number built


F-101A F-101C RF-101A RF-101C F-101B CF-101B

77 47 35 166 479 112

29 converted to RF-101G 32 converted to RF-101H 8 transferred to China

CF-101F RF-101B

20 23

RF-101G RF-101H

29 32

132 transferred to RCAF Transferred from USAF, 22 transferred back to USAF/Air National Guard Transferred from USAF Transferred from CAF, to Air National Guard 29 ex-F-101As, to Air National Guard 32 ex-F-101Cs, to Air National Guard

ABOVE: 11 July 1962: Flt Lt ‘Turbo’ Tarling and Fg Off Bob Burnie at Bagotville in CF-101B 17443. VIA ‘TURBO’ TARLING

as an afterthought for pilot morale), and incredible performance. The OFTT training paid off, however, and after only two dual flights we went solo with a staff navigator. Training progressed quickly after that and the six-week course was compressed into three weeks. We assumed this was because the instructors found us to be superior students but it was probably because

Course 6 was smaller, Voodoo serviceability was outstanding, the weather was good, and the instructors were anxious to leave Namao and get to their new base at Bagotville. Regardless, with just under 30 hours on the CF-101, and accompanied by Fg Off Bob Burnie, I ferried Voodoo 17443 on 10 July 1962 to Ottawa, Ontario with stops at Red River and K. I. Sawyer AFB in the USA,

and on 11 July to Bagotville. We quickly set up as 425 ‘Alouette’ Squadron — life was really good. The next three years passed much too quickly but I thoroughly enjoyed flying the Voodoo. I have many pleasant memories, but one that stands out was my annual instrument ride with the Command Instrument Check Pilot, Flt Lt Steve Dzamka, on 17 January 1963. As one of the squadron instrument check pilots I had to renew my instrument rating with the CICP, and Flt Lt Dzamka would accept nothing but the best performance by a squadron ICP. Everything was going well, I was on approach to the USAF’s Loring AFB, Maine and expecting further clearance for my return to Bagotville. With none forthcoming I was starting to panic, especially when the controller finally intoned, “Stand by”. I’m not sure exactly how you “stand by” when shooting an approach in a Voodoo. In inspiration, or maybe desperation, I asked for, and received, clearance to climb outside airways to altitude in an impossibly-small area of airspace. I called for afterburners — the dual-control CF-101F rear cockpit had a squashed pilot’s instrument panel on the left-hand side and limited access to ancillaries, the afterburners being one of them — and shot up to altitude in the impossiblysmall airspace, before calling the Canadian air traffic controller for “further clearance”. Flt Lt Dzamka must have been suitably impressed because he renewed my instrument rating and certified me as a squadron instrument check pilot. Me? I was impressed with the performance of the CF-101 Voodoo — it was a winner. 89


the airfield, and rapidly disappear from sight in a breathtaking steep climb. It was very impressive and we were envious. Then, with no advance warning whatsoever, we received a posting message in early April 1962. Five of the six ex-CF-100 instructors that had been left behind at Cold Lake were to be trained on the CF-101, while the remaining pilot was going on an exchange posting with an RAF Javelin squadron. We were ecstatic — all fears of being posted to a ground tour on the Pinetree Line instantly disappeared! Referring to my RCAF logbook, it shows that we attended the CF-101 Field Technical Training Unit (FTTU) at RCAF Station Uplands from 30 April to 4 May 1962. We were shown the aircraft’s many systems but, most impressive of all, they promised that we would have heat in the Voodoo by simply twisting the heat rheostat. They were right. The CF-100 had a perpetual heat problem that took many years to diagnose, then finally fix. I remember many a winter night flying at 40,000ft in a CF-100, on autopilot, sitting on my hands to keep them warm, stomping my mukluk-clad feet on the cockpit floor to maintain circulation, then wiping the frost off the instruments before commencing our descent. We then went to Bagotville from 7 May to 6 June 1962 for CF-100 refresher flying. While we didn’t see the need for this, it was a good opportunity to get used to flying with our new navigators — in my case, Fg Off Pat Clancy. Again my logbook shows Pat and I receiving 12 hours of training in the CF-101 Operational Flight and Tactics Trainer (OFTT) from 28 May to 2 June. The CF-101 OFTT, later called the Canadian OFTT or COFTT, was a much better ‘simulator’ trainer than the CF-100 COFTT, and we welcomed the chance to learn about the various Voodoo systems and tactics before training on the real thing. On 11 June 1962 we had our first Voodoo ‘famil flight’ at Namao with our assigned instructor, during which the instructors impressed us with their derring-do in the dualcontrol CF-101F. There was much to be impressed about — the Voodoo had a wide-stance undercarriage, afterburners, a drag ’chute, tiny wings (it was rumoured that they were added

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Battle of Britain Ball and Airshow Headcorn, Kent • Saturday 11 July A new event for this Battle of Britain anniversary year, this commemorative occasion at charming Headcorn promises much. The airfield will open at midday; the flying display, featuring suitable period aircraft, takes place in “late afternoon and early evening”, and a 1940s-themed ball (admission for which is separate) will be held thereafter. Battle of Britain veterans are due to be guests of honour. Participating in the display are four Hurricanes (two from the BBMF, plus those owned by Peter Vacher and Peter Teichman), four Spitfires (two

from the BBMF, Aero Legends’ TD314 and the Aircraft Restoration Company’s PV202), the Buchóns from the ARC and Spitfire Ltd, Peter Holloway’s Storch, three Tiger Moths, Thruxton Jackaroo, two Harvards and a rarely-seen PT-19 Cornell. • Tickets (on the gate): Daytime event — adults £15, children (7-15) and senior citizens £8, under-6s free, family ticket (two adults and all children) £40; evening ball — £75 • Website:

RNAS Yeovilton Air Day

RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset • Saturday 11 July This year’s Air Day celebrates 75 years of RNAS Yeovilton, with an appropriate range of aircraft in the air and on the ground. Hopefully the Royal Navy Historic Flight will have Swordfish W5856 ready to fly; sadly, its Sea Fury FB11 will be on static display only, alongside such fine former Fleet Air Arm assets as a Phantom FG1 and two Sea Harrier FA2s. Kennet Aviation’s Seafire XVII, BAE Systems’ Avro XIX, Midair’s Canberra PR9 and Hunter T7, and the Fly Navy Heritage Trust’s Sea Vixen continue the theme in the air. Even if no flying Sea Fury is attending, the type’s old Korean War adversary, the MiG-15, will be on hand

thanks to the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron’s SB Lim-2, giving its first UK display. The show has attracted a very strong overseas military contingent, the French Aéronavale’s role demo of two Rafales and two veteran Super Etendards (the latter due for retirement next year) being the star. Two USAF A-10C Thunderbolt IIs on deployment to Germany will be in the static park. • Tickets: Adults £25, children (5-15) £12 • Website: news-and-latest-activity/features/ yeovilton-air-day-2015

Flying Legends Air Show IWM Duxford, Cambridgeshire • Saturday 11-Sunday 12 July The Fighter Collection’s annual warbird spectacular will, if all goes to plan, be an especially outstanding affair in 2015. As reported in recent issues, it will see the UK debut of TFC’s P-36C — joining the operator’s three other Curtiss Hawk variants, the Hawk 75, P-40C and P-40F, plus the P-40N of France’s Flying Warbirds — and the first public flying display of Air Leasing-operated Seafire III PP972. Hawker aircraft are due to be well-represented, a gathering of biplanes comprising the Historic Aircraft Collection’s Fury, TFC’s Nimrod I and HAC’s Nimrod II, while the latest ‘product’ of Hawker Restorations, Hurricane I P3717, should also be on hand. The assembly of Spitfires includes SL633 from


the Seattle-based Heritage Flight Foundation, starting its UK tour. As ever, mainland European operators are providing aircraft in strength. The Flugmuseum Messerschmitt’s Bf 109G-4 ‘Red 7’ from Manching makes its long-awaited Legends debut, while Corsairs from the Flying Bulls and MeierMotors join TFC’s example. The above details only a small selection of the participants; for details of the full listing, visit the show website.

NEWS IN BRIEF • Following the success of its ‘Airbase Gets Airborne’ season-opening event at Coventry Airport in early May, the Classic Air Force is staging another small display there on 4 July. The Baginton Air Pageant will feature a King’s Cup tribute involving Gemini, Proctor, Autocrat and Chipmunk — a sweepstake will be held, with a chance to fly in the winning aircraft if you pick the winner. Other display items are Meteor T7, Venom, Jet Provost T3, Pembroke and Ben Cox’s Hornet Moth. • It is hoped that four different Sopwith designs will at least be on the flightline at the Shuttleworth Collection’s Military Pageant on 5 July: Pup, newly-completed Camel, P & A Wood’s Dove replica, and the World War One Aviation Heritage Trust’s Snipe reproduction, which was en route from New Zealand when these words were written. Also booked are items including the Blenheim and Vulcan. Meanwhile, the plan is for all four of the UK’s airworthy Miles Magisters to come together for the first time at the Best of British Evening Airshow on 18 July. The examples owned by Shuttleworth and Peter Holloway will be accompanied by the Real Aeroplane Company’s ‘Maggie’, and the ex-Strathallan Collection machine now registered to Francesco Baldanza.

Aviation Paintings of the Year

Some 453 original new works by 150 artists will be on show in the Mall Galleries, central London, for ‘Aviation Paintings of the Year’, the Guild of Aviation Artists’ 45th Annual Summer Exhibition. Public opening days are 21-26 July inclusive — 10.00-17.00hrs on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10.00-20.00hrs on Thursday, and 10.00-12.30hrs on Sunday. Admission is free. Informal painting demonstrations by Guild members take place daily, and GAvA chairman Graham Cooke’s walkabout commentaries take place on Thursday at 12.00 and 18.00hrs. Shown here is one of the works on display, ‘Bellissima’ by Anthony Cowland, depicting a Macchi MC72.

• Tickets (on the gate): Adults £34.50, senior citizens (60 and over) £27, children (5-15) and disabled people £18.15, under-5s free • Website: 91


Royal International Air Tattoo

RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire • Friday 17-Sunday 19 July The Battle of Britain 75th anniversary is a major feature of RIAT 2015. In the air will be flown a mass formation of suitable types, those confirmed at the time of writing comprising the Blenheim, five Hurricanes, 11 Spitfires (including the Seafire XVII), Buchón and Bf 109G-4. The ‘Synchro 75’ duo of BBMF Spitfire and RAF Typhoon will have another showing, and the six BBMF fighters present are due to fly with the Red Arrows. 1940-vintage types aside, the only historic item in the flying programme will



03-05 Dunkeswell, Devon: LAA Devon Strut Regional Fly-in 04 Boxted, Essex: Boxted Fly-in 04 Coventry Airport, Warks: Baginton Air Pageant 04-05 Northrepps, Norfolk: Independence (American Aircraft) Fly-in 05 City Airport (Barton), Eccles, Greater Manchester: Manchester Airshow 05 Fenland, Lincs: Vintage Wings and Wheels Day 05 Old Warden, Beds: Shuttleworth Collection Military Pageant with WW1 Commemoration Airshow 11 Headcorn, Kent: Battle of Britain Ball and Airshow 11 Shobdon, Herefordshire: US Classics Fly-in 11 RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset: RNAS Yeovilton Air Day 11-12 IWM Duxford, Cambs: Flying Legends Air Show 11-12 Heveningham Hall, Suffolk: Country Fair with Wings and Wheels 11-12 Swansea Bay, Swansea: Wales National Air Show 12 Capel-le-Ferne, Kent: Battle of Britain Memorial Day 12 North Weald, Essex: 2015 Community Day — Salute to the Few 12 Popham, Hants: French Aircraft Fly-in 17-19 RAF Fairford, Glos: The Royal International Air Tattoo 18 Bexhill seafront, E Sussex: Bexhill Roaring ’20s 18 Northrepps, Norfolk: Airfield Open Day 18 Old Warden, Beds: Shuttleworth Collection Best of British Evening Airshow 18-19 Breighton, N Yorks: Second International Bücker Fest 18-19 North Coates, Lincs: Wings & Wheels 19 Hardwick, Norfolk: Hardwick Warbirds Open Day 22-26 Folkestone racecourse, Kent: War and Peace Revival 24-26 Sunderland seafront, Tyne & Wear: Sunderland International Airshow


be Vulcan XH558, making its Air Tattoo farewell, but this year sees RIAT enjoying its strongest modern military line-up for some time. A three-ship of Tornados, one each from the RAF, German Air Force and Italian Air Force, salutes the 35th anniversary of the establishment at Cottesmore of the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment; other especially notable acts include the UK debuts of the Hellenic Air Force’s ‘Zeus’ F-16C solo demo and the French Air Force Ramex Delta Mirage 2000N role demo duo, the return

25 National Museum of Flight, East Fortune, E Lothian: Airshow 2015 25-26 Northrepps, Norfolk: Taildragger Time 25-26 Popham, Hants: LAA Andover Strut Fly-in 25-26 Sywell, Northants: Flylight 20th Anniversary Fly-in and National Microlight Championships 30 RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall: RNAS Culdrose Air Day 31-02 Aug Oulton Park, Cheshire: CarFest North


06 RAF Cranwell, Lincs: RAeS Branch Event — Sir Barnes Wallis 10 Community Centre, Lyndhurst, Hants: New Forest Aviation Group talk — Air-to-Air Refuelling in the South Atlantic War 14 Kents Hill Community Centre, Milton Keynes, Bucks: Milton Keynes Aviation Society Lecture — A View from the Ground 20-26 The Mall Galleries, London: Aviation Paintings of the Year 2015 — The Guild of Aviation Artists’ Summer Exhibition NOTE: Public days 21-26 July 21 Magdalen Centre, Oxford Science Park, Oxford: RAeS Branch Event — Tales from a Bush Pilot 28 RAF Museum Hendon, Greater London: Access the Avro Vulcan 30 Fleet Air Arm Museum, RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset: Fleet Air Arm Museum Society of Friends Monthly Talk — History of the Welsh Spitfire Museum


04 F 7 Såtenäs, Sweden: Swedish Air Force Airshow 04-05 Altenburg-Nobitz, Germany: Großflugtage 04-05 Budapest, Hungary: Red Bull Air Race 04-05 Coburg, Germany: Airshow Coburg 04-05 Koksijde AB, Belgium: Fly-in Koksijde 04-05 Lille-Bondues, France: Festival de l’Air 05 Cuatro Vientos, Spain: Fundación

after 30 years’ absence of an aerobatic German Army MBB Bo 105 helicopter, a USAF CV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor, and a Polish Air Force MiG-29. Among the static stars are a Polish Air Force Su-22 and Polish Navy Mi-14. Further aircraft remained to be added after we went to press. Note that admission is by advance ticket only, and that the Friday sees a shorter flying display than Saturday and Sunday. • Tickets (advance only): single-day tickets Friday £36, Saturday and Sunday £46; multi-day tickets £67 for Friday and Saturday or Friday and Sunday, £77 for Saturday and Sunday, £103 for all three days; under-16s free • Website:

Infante de Orleans Flight Demonstration Day 05 Sarlat-Domme, France: Fête de l’Air 05 Valence, France: Free Flight World Masters 14 Paris, France: Bastille Day Flypast 14 Aéroport Charles Nungesser, Valenciennes, France: Meeting Aérien 15-22 Härjedalen, Sweden: Classic Aircraft Meeting 16-19 Wolfgangsee, St Wolfgang, Austria: Scalaria Air Challenge 17-18 Falkenberg, Sweden: Wheels & Wings 18 Shannon Airport, Republic of Ireland: Shannon Air Display 18-19 Bensheim, Germany: Flugtag 2015 18-19 Jämijärvi, Finland: Jämi Fly-in and Airshow 19 Bray seafront, Republic of Ireland: Bray Air Spectacular 19 Couhé-Verac, France: Meeting Aérien 25 Härjedalen, Sweden: Airshow 26 Foynes, Republic of Ireland: Foynes Airshow


01-05 W. K. Kellogg Airport, Battle Creek, MI: Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival 03 Dubuque, IA: Dubuque Jaycees Fireworks and Air Show Spectacular 03-05 Wasaga Beach, ON: Wings over Wasaga 04 Cedar Creek Lake, Texas: Thunder over Cedar Creek Lake 04 Mansfield Lahm Airport, OH: Mansfield Airport Day 04 Ruston Way waterfront, Tacoma, WA: Tacoma Freedom Fair Airshow 04-05 Chippewa Valley Regional Airport, Eau Claire, WI: Chippewa Valley Airshow 04-05 West Grand Traverse Bay, Traverse City, MI: National Cherry Festival Air Show 05 Tacoma Narrows Airport, Tacoma, WA: Tacoma Freedom Fair Wings and Wheels 10-11 Nevada County Airport, Grass Valley, CA: Nevada County AirFest 10-12 Geneseo Airport, NY: Geneseo Airshow 11 Pensacola Beach, FL: Pensacola Beach Air Show

11 Qualicum Beach Airport, BC: Qualicum Beach Airport Day and Air Show 11 Truckee Tahoe Airport, Truckee, CA: AirFair and Family Festival 11-12 Flying Cloud Airport, Eden Prairie, MN: AirExpo 2015 11-12 Marquette Park, Gary, IN: Gary Air Show 11-12 Auto Clearing Motor Speedway, Saskatoon, SK: Canada Remembers Our Heroes ‘Tribute to Veterans’ Air Show 11-12 Lost Nation Airport, Willoughby, OH: Gathering of Eagles XIX Air Show 16-19 Kinsman Beach, Red Lake, ON: Norseman Festival 17-19 Hillsboro Airport, Hillsboro, OR: Oregon International Air Show 18 Ingalls Field, Hot Springs, VA: Wings and Wheels 18-19 Niagara Falls ARS, NY: Thunder of Niagara Air Show 20-26 Wittman Regional Airport, Oshkosh, WI: EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 22 Rocky Mountain House Airport, Rocky Mountain House, AB: Rocky Mountain House Airshow 24-25 Lethbridge Airport, AB: Lethbridge International Air Show 24-26 Columbia River, Kennewick, WA: Tri-Cities Water Follies Over the River Air Show 25 Boundary Bay Airport, Delta, BC: Boundary Bay Airshow ’15 25 Paine Field/Snohomish County Airport, Everett, WA: Flying Heritage Collection Skyfair 25-26 Hector International Airport, Fargo, ND: Fargo Airsho 25-26 Municipal Airport, Mason City, IA: Fly Iowa 2015 25-26 Milwaukee lakefront, WI: Milwaukee Air and Water Show 31-02 Aug Genesee Park, Seattle, WA: Boeing Seafair Air Show


09-12 José María Córdova International Airport, Rionegro, Colombia: F-AIR Colombia 2015 19 Chitose AB, Japan: Japanese Air Self-Defense Force Open Day


N EW ! SPECIAL The Post-Operation Desert Storm years were bleak ones for the US Navy’s fighter community. However, just when it looked like the F-14’s ocean-going days were numbered, a reprieve came. Thanks to the aircraft’s awesome load-carrying capacity, legendary long range and the advent of a bolton targeting sensor pod for precision bombing, the Tomcat evolved into the ‘Bombcat’. With first-hand accounts from the crews involved, as well as in-action photographs from both private and official sources. This 100page special magazine from the team behind AirForces Monthly magazine covers all of the major ‘Bombcat’ milestones. INCLUDING: Combat debut over the Balkans during Operation Allied Force in September 1995 Attacks on al-Qaeda and Taliban forces during Operation Enduring Freedom from 2001 to 2004 Final Tomcat combat cruise to Operation Iraqi Freedom, with an account of very last bombdrop mission flown by the F-14 in US Navy service AND MUCH MORE!

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Reviewed by John Dunnell

ABOVE: Sally B leads Mustangs, P-40F and Wildcat in the first wave of Duxford’s VE Day salute formation. JOHN DUNNELL

When IWM Duxford set out to commemorate the end of World War Two in Europe, it did so in style. Rather than simply featuring wartime types, we witnessed a series of displays illustrating the run-up to hostilities and key aspects of the aerial campaign leading to victory, with contemporary items such as the superb RAF Typhoon and the Army Air Corps’ new Apache duo being used as celebratory interludes. The approach worked wonders. The ‘Road to the Second World War’ section opened with a First World War trio featuring Rob Gauld-Galliers’ Nieuport 17 replica, the Shuttleworth Bristol F2B, and a BE2e from the WW1 Aviation Heritage Trust. As far as possible, the intention was to connect the machines displaying to Duxford’s own history, so the pairing of BE and ‘Brisfit’ was highly apposite, reflecting the airfield’s early RAF days as a post-WW1 training base. There were no local links in the first part of the inter-war segment, but plenty of noise and colour. A foursome of immaculate 1920s and ’30s American machines comprised The Fighter Collection’s Beech D17S, a pair of Spartan Executives courtesy of owner Nigel 94

Pickard and the splendid Travel Air Type R ‘Mystery Ship’ replica commissioned by Richard Seeley. Not seen before at this venue, the ‘Mystery Ship’s’ solo, piloted by Jez Cooke, showed something of the performance that enabled the more powerful original to beat military fighters for victory in the 1929 Thompson Cup race. In depicting the inter-war RAF, the show enjoyed one of its great highlights. Shuttleworth’s Gladiator, flown by Paul Stone, accompanied the Historic Aircraft Collection’s unique Hawker Fury in the hands of Charlie Brown, giving its long-awaited first public display. Watching on Saturday were the sons of Plt Off (later ACM Sir) Frederick Rosier, who flew this very aircraft, K5674, in service with No 43 Squadron. The eldest, David, brought his late father’s logbook, in which K5674 is described as “perfect”. In spite of gathering war clouds, summers at Tangmere in the late 1930s saw flying begin at 07.00hrs to allow a mid-day finish followed by sailing, swimming, golf or just lazing on the nearby beaches. Dressed in a period white flying suit, Charlie Brown conjured up the spirit of those days, starting a

powerful display with three consecutive loops — simply wonderful. The programme moved on to the Second World War, opening with ‘On the Defensive’. HAC’s Hurricane, now painted as ‘P3700’ of No 303 (Polish) Squadron, preceded a trio from the Aircraft Restoration Company that few would have believed possible even a few years ago — two Spitfire Ias accompanying a Blenheim IF. Their tight, superbly-flown formation passes constituted the first post-restoration display by the re-configured Blenheim, with John Romain at the controls. It is surely destined to be a star attraction at Duxford and elsewhere. It was a significant weekend, too, for Spitfires N3200 and P9374, which had force-landed on French beaches almost exactly 75 years earlier. Three other sections were entitled ‘With the Armies and Navies’. These took in the Plane Sailing Catalina, the BBMF Dakota and a pairing of the Classic Aircraft Trust’s Anson with David and Mark Miller’s Dragon Rapide. Especially memorable was a set-piece involving Mark Davy’s Yak-3, the mount for another storming routine by Richard Grace, AEROPLANE AUGUST 2015

ABOVE: Gladiator and Fury together for the first time in years. JOHN DUNNELL

and Peter Holloway’s Storch representing air activity over Berlin in the final days of resistance to Soviet forces. The Storch — demonstrated superbly by its owner on one day and Jean Munn on the other — was then joined by Jeanne Frazer’s Piper L-4 and the Millers’ Auster Autocrat to depict Allied artillery spotters. The show’s final sequence, at least on Saturday, began with a VJ Day salute as a reminder that the war went on after victory in Europe. This featured the Corsair, Wildcat and P-40F Warhawk provided by TFC. The VE Day tribute was tremendous, with B-17G Sally B leading a large formation for the first time in many years. It also served to honour Sally B itself, 70 years old this year and 40 years since the Flying Fortress arrived at Duxford. On this occasion Sally B, flown by Peter Kuypers and Roger Mills, headed a close fighter formation of three Mustangs, the Wildcat and Warhawk, followed by a heavy section comprising the Catalina, Aces High’s

ABOVE: The marvellous sight and sound of the Blenheim and two Spitfire Ias. BEN DUNNELL

C-47A Skytrain and Bristol Airways’ Beech 18. After two passes the various elements separated, some landing while the Mustangs performed an excellent tailchase. Pete Kynsey led in TFC’s TF-51D Miss Velma, with Steve Jones in the Old Flying Machine Company’s P-51D Ferocious Frankie at the back, and in-between the ‘shark-mouth’ RAF-marked example operated by the Norwegian Spitfire Foundation, in which Lars Ness stuck to ‘PK’ like glue during Saturday’s display. After these had also landed, Sally B was left to carry out its solo routine, bringing some emotional moments. ‘We’ll Meet Again’ was played as accompaniment, just as it was during the Great


Reviewed by Frank B. Mormillo

The 2015 Planes of Fame Air Show at Chino Airport in southern California saw several new twists. This annual event has usually managed to come up with innovations, but this time around was particularly special. During the past few years, there were periods of time on the Friday afternoon prior

to the main show weekend when the airspace was restricted for practice flying, in effect giving spectators three days of viewing opportunities. However, this year the volunteer organisers took things a step further by following up the Friday afternoon rehearsal sessions with a genuine Twilight

ABOVE: One of the P-36’s flying appearances at Chino saw it in formation with Planes of Fame’s AT-12, P-38 and P-47. FRANK B. MORMILLO


Warbirds Air Displays staged during the 1980s and ’90s by Elly Sallingboe and her team. This event showed just what can be achieved by an experienced and ambitious organising team, able to call on a wide variety of aircraft types and integrate them into a coherent display. This was especially the case on Saturday, Sunday’s sequence being different owing to display commitments elsewhere and the need to conclude with the Red Arrows. Duxford is the perfect venue at which to tell historical stories through flying displays, an approach that bodes very well for the Battle of Britain Anniversary Air Show on 19-20 September — advance tickets only, by the way! Air Show. It started off with ‘Golden Age of Aviation’ fly-overs, followed by Planes of Fame’s F-86F Sabre and MiG-15 in a simulated air combat display. Greg Colyer then showed off his new T-33 Shooting Star Ace Maker II in a dynamic aerobatic display (Greg now bases his older Ace Maker T-33 on the East Coast for events in that part of the country), before Maj John ‘Taboo’ Cummings took to the sky in the what is believed to have been the F-22A Raptor’s first twilight show. Dennis Sanders performed an aerobatic display in the Sanders Aeronautics Sea Fury T20, and Capt Denis ‘Cheech’ Beaulieu brought the show to a close with his Royal Canadian Air Force CF-188, which was appearing at Chino for the first time. This was Beaulieu’s first public performance too. The Hornet was intentionally held on the ground until sunset, and then took off with the glow of its afterburners trailing behind. At the conclusion of the display, the jet landed with arrestor hook extended to create a shower of sparks in its wake. As for the weekend show itself, this presented an opportunity for the public debut of The Fighter Collection’s gleaming natural metal Curtiss P-36C, recently rolled out of Matt Nightingale’s California Aerofab restoration shop. Before this happy surprise for warbird enthusiasts was shipped off to its new home at Duxford, thanks to the generosity of TFC founder Stephen Grey it ‘first-footed’ at Chino. 95



Reviewed by David Halford

ABOVE: The Casques de Cuir’s Bristol F2B and the Memorial Flight’s Fokker D.VII made a magnificent pairing. DR ANDREAS ZEITLER

Regular visitors to the annual Meeting Aérien at La Ferté Alais on the Pentecôte weekend last year were lucky to have escaped the frightening hailstorm that swept through the Paris region barely 24 hours after the end of the event. It left in its wake a swathe of damage to buildings and aeroplanes on the historic Aérodrome de Cerny. Hailstones the size of golf balls shredded buildings and stored aircraft alike, leaving a massive clear-up and restoration task. The Amicale Jean-Baptiste Salis (AJBS) and the other vintage aviation groups based there immediately issued an appeal for financial help from the public and industry, while insurance assessors totted up the cost of the damage. The AJBS alone had around 10 aircraft affected, but only two, the Blériot XI-2 Pégoud and the N3N, are still being restored. The Salis family’s Casques de Cuir collection 96

not only suffered damaged airframes, but is still dealing with the consequences of the leaking museum roof. Work on the interior and the electrics will take up to the end of 2015. Attendees this May were surprised to see how the site had recovered, with buildings newly re-roofed and modernised, and two more robust-looking hangars alongside one that had been built before the 2014 show. It was a true ‘phoenix moment’ for the occupants of this famous place, but one that they would have preferred never to face. Now in its 43rd iteration, the show mixes modern military and civil with a rich palette of classic and vintage aircraft, many but by no means all of which are based at La Ferté. The weekend’s public days, this year 23-24 May, are presided over by commentator Bernard Chabbert, whose fluent day-long

performances are as familiar as a pair of well-loved ‘pantoufles’ (slippers) that one slips into and out of at will. The airfield is home to a wide variety of unique Morane-Saulnier aircraft, many classed as flying ‘monuments historiques’, that usually form a key component of the air displays, but which this year — with the exception of the MS138 — were barely represented (and nor were the Blériots, either). There were compensations, however, and not just those being paid out by insurance companies. For the first time in years the newly-restored Caudron G.III replica, the symbol of the AJBS, flew. Saturday morning saw it on an early sortie with AJBS’s Morane H off one wing, and Replic’Air’s Morane G the other. The latter displayed as a pair with the Caudron, before the G.III peeled off to join other battling Great War replicas AEROPLANE AUGUST 2015

‘above the trenches’. Among these was the AJBS’ Albatros C.II, this Tiger Moth-based machine having returned to flight last year. The Bristol F2B Fighter created by The Vintage Aviator Ltd for the Casques de Cuir, and flown by Baptiste Salis (with his father Jean as the necessary ballast behind), was given its first public outing. It displayed with the Memorial Flight’s Fokker D.VII flown by Edmond Salis, making a handsome pairing, and a memorable family occasion. The Aéronavale has been a loyal friend of the show for years, and despite the disappointment of no Super Étendards flying this year and the imminent retirement of that type at some point in 2016, the privatelyowned Breguet Br1050 Alizé — retired in 2000 — was a very welcome addition. This Nîmes-Garons-based anti-submarine aircraft has been flying again since May 2013 with the Association Alizé Marine and, in the hands of Jean Viard, was paired with Armor Aéro Passion’s compact MS760 Paris, after a four-ship formation of the two historics with modern Rafale Ms had made two passes before separating.

Given that this year is not only the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain but also of the Battle of France, it would have been fascinating to have found out more about the French side of that brief conflict. Instead we were given the usual commentary based around The Fighter Collection’s Hawk 75, flown by Patrice Marchasson. The ‘Battaglia d’Inghilterra/Kanalkampf/ Bataille d’Angleterre’ — call the Battle of Britain what you wish — was suitably marked by a three-ship Gladiator/Hurricane/Spitfire formation and individual solos, led by Nick Grey in TFC’s Gladiator II, the first time the French public will have seen one since 1940. The Hurricane IIa (P3351), a Battle of France veteran, put on a fine display, but will not feature at Flying Legends this year. Returning to Dijon-Darois on Sunday after the end of the show, the aircraft, owned and piloted by Jan Friso Roozen, nosed over on landing. This will require significant damage repair, though Roozen survived unscathed. An unexpected visitor slipped unannounced into the airfield on Friday and out on Sunday, before the displays began.

Unbeknownst to most, David Beale’s Mew Gull replica G-HEKL was the first Mew Gull in France since G-AEXF had been flown back from Lyon to Blackbushe in 1950 by Hugh Scrope, having been sold by Alex Henshaw to Victor Vermorel in 1939 and spent the war hidden in various barns. There were several returnees this year, one of them the very rare (and most welcome) Securité Civile Bombardier 415 and Conair Turbo Firecat fire-bombing pair, accompanied by an EC145 helicopter. A favourite aircraft from Meetings past was Bernard Chabbert’s own Lockheed 12 Electra Junior. Grounded for some years after an undercarriage collapse, it has re-emerged in the colours of the Lockheed 10E of Amelia Earhart. It was displayed by Chabbert’s son Antoine, an airline pilot, with Catherine Maunoury, twice female world aerobatic champion and current director of Le Bourget’s Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace, in the right-hand seat. The Swiss are also regulars at La Ferté. An immaculately turned-out and polished natural metal DC-3C, with a pair of Beech 18s ð

ABOVE: Aéronavale veterans — Breguet Alizé and Morane-Saulnier Paris. DAVID HALFORD TOP RIGHT: Nick Grey was on fine form in TFC’s stunning Gladiator II. DR ANDREAS ZEITLER MIDDLE RIGHT: Albatros C.II and SE5a replicas do battle once again. DAVID HALFORD BELOW RIGHT: David Beale arrives in his replica Mew Gull G-HEKL — a surprise. DAVID HALFORD BELOW: The AJBS’s Caudron G.III and Replic’Air’s Morane G team up. DR ANDREAS ZEITLER



ABOVE: A tight finals turn by Bernard Chabbert’s Lockheed 12. DAVID HALFORD

accompanying it, as in 2014, gave a wellbalanced, elegant showing, while a Ju-Air Ju 52/3m — grounded on the Saturday evening with engine problems — joined the AJBS CASA 352, Pilatus P2 and Storch in a wartime Axis display, the ‘Tante Ju’ duo circling, converging and separating as if in a stately ‘allemande’ dance. The juxtaposition of old and new is a local favourite. A seven-Stearman formation provided a counterpoint to a Europe Airpost Boeing 737-3H6(SF) flown by Philippe Lonnoy, the carrier’s director of flight operations, specially painted with ‘Europe Airpost ♥ La Ferté’. Duxford, eat your heart out! The appearance of the Cercle de Chasse de Nangis’ Vampire FB6, followed closely by the twosome of Christophe Jacquard’s Sea Fury FB11 (with Patrice Marchasson at the helm) and Amici dell’Hunter’s Hunter T68 (flown by Eric Hauert) gave Chabbert another chance for a riff on the singularity of British aircraft design. The fact that the British scene has so successfully kept many classics flying is a source of envy and, above all, admiration amongst the French warbird community,

ABOVE: The Sécurité Civile fire-bombing duo of Turbo Firecat and Bombardier 415. DAVID HALFORD

who profoundly regret the lack of any flying Mystère IV, Vautour and so on, let alone any French propeller-driven fighters from the war years still based in France. However, amongst the treasures that have survived are several Dassault Flamants, the Amicale des Avions Anciens d’Albert contributing an MD311 bombing and navigation trainer and a liaison and transport MD312. Though one would hardly know it, the second aircraft’s pilot Pierre Rodde had only recently started to fly with the team. For some the best was kept to last, though the Armée de l’Air’s dazzling green tigerpainted Rafale C display by Cne Benoit ‘Tao’ Planche was another strong contender. The Vietnam War re-creation with three AD-4N

ABOVE: France’s three airworthy Skyraiders. In the foreground is the AJBS’s F-AZDP; behind are Christophe Brunelière’s F-AZHK and F-AZFN of France’s Flying Warbirds. DAVID HALFORD


Skyraiders (thanks to the AJBS example, damaged at Duxford four years ago, finally being re-winged) opened with the Bronco from the Musée Européen de l’Aviation de Chasse at Montélimar and France Copter’s locally-based Bell 206 emerging through a wall of black smoke generated by the enthusiastic pyrotechnicians. The Skyraiders then swooped in from the east, the AJBS machine, with Christoph Bailly at the controls, being accompanied by Christophe Brunelière in his own aircraft, and Bernard Vurpillot in that from France’s Flying Warbirds. However, for the author, the greatest treat of the weekend was on Saturday evening, after the Patrouille de France had finished. The appearances of Memorial Flight aircraft are always weather-dependent, but those spectators who had not already drifted away were treated to a display by the Sopwith 1½ Strutter. Any flight by Baptiste Salis is a model of expert handling, and though it looks rather an ugly duckling, the Strutter purred through the sky, its striking colour scheme caught to perfection in the evening light. That was the real ‘esprit’ of the Meeting, and one that will stay in the mind when all else has faded.

ABOVE: The Memorial Flight’s Strutter struts its stuff. DAVID HALFORD



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12/06/2015 11:07


Book of the Month

Fifty Years of Flying Fun by Rod Dean published by Grub Street

he many talented le ed pilots il wh Of the who have been part of the warbird display scene, relatively few have committed a memoir to paper. Now Rod Dean has done so, but, of course, his career has been about far more than historic aircraft and display flying. The richness of his experiences shines through

RAF Chinook Owners’ Workshop Manual

by Chris McNab published by Haynes (

The Haynes ‘Workshop Manual’ format has worked outstandingly as an original treatment of aviation subjects, and this volume on Boeing’s versatile twin-rotor Chinook is no exception. It provides a good, detailed and well-written insight into the helicopter, its design and systems, and its operational use by the RAF in numerous variants and several conflicts. First-hand accounts of recent Chinook operations are well-chosen and valuable — the reader is left in no doubt as to the type’s importance for the whole of the British military. My only criticism — a small but significant one — concerns the incorrect usage of RAF Chinook designations. Throughout the text (and on the cover) these are presented as ‘Chinook HC-1’, ‘HC-2’ and so forth, presumably out of confusion with the US CH-47 designation. HC1, HC.1 or HC Mk1 would all be fine, but the UK services have never used hyphens in the presentation of mark numbers. Still, let this not detract too much from another fine Haynes Manual. Ben Dunnell ISBN 978-0-85733-401-5; 11in x 8.5in hardback; 156 pages, illustrated; £22.99


when reading ‘Fifty Years of Flying Fun’, as does the great enjoyment Rod has always derived from aviation. There are some lovely stories in here — take, for example, the tale of how he wrote as a teenager to various air forces who were then retiring their classic pistonengined aircraft. As recorded in a Daily Mail cutting, the Israelis responded, saying he could have a Mosquito FB6 if he was able to arrange a ferry pilot to fly it. A shame it didn’t happen! The reader will find much more in a similarly adventurous vein. Rod’s 21 years in the RAF, largely on Hunters and Jaguars (and including an exchange tour with the Sultan of Oman’s Air Force), took in some memorable escapades; the recollections of long-distance Hunter ferry flights in particular are enjoyable and well-told. So are his post-air force memories of flying for some wellknown names on the warbird circuit: the Hannas, Doug Arnold, Spencer Flack and others. Some are funny — witness the passage about displaying Spitfire MH434 at the Hahnweide

show near Stuttgart in 1993, when he and Brian Smith in the Buchón suddenly found a Jungmeister aerobating beneath them — but others more serious. Rod does not shy away from discussing the awful tragedy of Martin Sargeant’s Spitfire accident at Rouen in 2001, which he witnessed at close quarters. While the reviewer should declare an interest, as Rod is a friend, ‘Fifty Years of Flying Fun’ definitely comes recommended. A shame, perhaps, that the paper quality isn’t higher — some of the black-and-white images used within the text deserve better — but this is a minor gripe about a book I enjoyed greatly, and which offers something different compared with the pilot memoir norm. Ben Dunnell

The Battle of Britain

ISBN 978-1-4728-0872-1; 9.75in x 8in softback; 200 pages, illustrated; £9.99

by Kate Moore published by Osprey Publishing (

This landscape-format book is a softback re-print of a 2010 volume and was written in partnership with the Imperial War Museums. The author had finished a thesis on the Battle after completing a master’s degree at Oxford University, and it is presented here to mark the 75th anniversary. Although there have been many books on this subject, this is an interesting approach from the late 1930s using coloured posters relating to Lufthansa, Sir Alan Cobham, joining the WAAF and so forth, with some early photographs and portraits of Allied and German leaders, personal anecdotes, logbook extracts and more. There are plenty of good illustrations, while appendices give Fighter Command’s strength in 1940, weekly aircraft output (Beaufighters, Defiants, Hurricanes and Spitfires), Fighter Command losses and orders of battle, Luftwaffe losses, single-engined fighter strengths and aircraft and crew losses in August 1940. While the size of typeface is just about acceptable, it drops quite a lot when quotes are used and goes down even further for captions. A larger typeface using a few more pages would have been preferable, but with 200 pages at less than a tenner this is a bargain, a good account of this period and worth consideration. Mike Hooks

Reviews Rating ★★★★★










Enough said

ISBN 978-1-909808-27-0; 9.5in x 6.5in hardback; 220 pages, illustrated; £20

★★★★ ★★★★★

The Second World War in the Air in Photographs: 1945 by L. Archard published by Amberley Publishing (

There isn’t a great deal to say about this book, really. The title explains the concept; the author provides a short (five-page) introduction, outlining a few of the key wartime aviation events of 1945; and then the rest of the volume, which runs through the year month by month, comprises a selection of photos with fairly brief captions. Most are in black and white, but there is a small colour section. Reproduction of the colour images, largely from the US Library of Congress archives, is excellent; that of the black-and-whites largely rates no better than poor. For someone with little knowledge of wartime aviation, this might, to some extent, act as a basic primer on the period; for anyone else, such as the knowledgeable Aeroplane reader, it is unlikely to satisfy. Ben Dunnell ISBN 978-1-4456-2255-2; 9.25in x 6.5in softback; 160 pages, illustrated; £15.99

★★★★★ 101


CLASSIC YEARS The IWM Duxford-based pleasure flying operator celebrates its quarter-century WORDS: DENIS J. CALVERT

BELOW: Dragon Rapide G-AKIF is one of the two operated by Classic Wings. Seen in flight on 3 June, the pilot is Glen Fricker, son of the legendary John Fricker, for many years a regular columnist in Aeroplane. DENIS J. CALVERT


lassic Wings has for many years used the slogan ‘Home of the taildragger’. This seems an eminently fair assertion, given that all its fleet of Dragon Rapides, Tiger Moths and Harvards are gloriously tailwheel-equipped and the fact that it has been operating passenger flights and tailwheel training flights out of IWM Duxford for the past 25 years. The validity of the claim can be demonstrated. Type ‘home of the taildragger’ into your choice of internet search engine and the first result returned may well be Cirrus Aviation Ltd, which operates the Duxford flights under its trading name Classic Wings. Another result, it has to be

said, will be Tail Dragger, the legendary Chicago blues singer. Great though his act may be, his relevance to the general aviation scene is less clear-cut. Classic Wings has always been very pro-active and has become very much a part of the day-to-day scene at Duxford. Sightseeing flights at 1,500ft over London or over the cities of Cambridge and Ely are regularly scheduled, and in total some 7,500 passengers were carried in 2014. Meanwhile, other UK-based pleasure flying outfits have launched — many with a blast of publicity — operated for a season or two and then disappeared from whence they came. Three years ago, Classic Wings started offering Rapide flights ‘wing-to-

wing with a Spitfire’, taking advantage of the fact that the Old Flying Machine Company is also Duxford-based and the owner of Spitfire IX MH434. Recent Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulation changes have allowed Classic Wings to offer passenger flights in the back of a two-seat Spitfire, something that would previously have been considered an impossible dream. Suddenly, Classic Wings had two offerings that were completely different and, in their own way, headlinegrabbing. At an event at Duxford on 3 June, a number of guests came to celebrate Classic Wings’ 25 years and to experience a Rapide flight alongside MH434. As well as demonstrating

that such a flight was every bit as exhilarating as might have been imagined, it gave Aeroplane the chance to talk with Trevor Butcher, Classic Wings’ MD and very much the man behind the operation. Mainstays of the fleet are the Dragon Rapides and Tiger Moths, the first of which were obtained in 1990 and 1991 respectively. The award of a CAA Air Operator Certificate (AOC) allowed the pleasure flying to commence at Duxford in 1990. The attraction of the ‘art deco airliner’ Rapide, the reputation of IWM Duxford and the airfield’s historic RAF connections came together to produce an attractive offering, which continues to sell well.

The company was quick off the mark to introduce gift vouchers for flights, offering these from 1992. Today, a large part of its business is pre-purchased, pre-scheduled flights. In 1994, it received authorisation to offer Rapide trips over central London and Cambridge. The fleet has now expanded to two Rapides, four Tiger Moths and two Harvards; the Rapides and Tiger Moths are owned by Cirrus Aviation, while the Harvards are leased in but operated under the company’s licence. Pilot of Spitfire MH434 on 3 June was Stuart Goldspink, who has already flown a number of ‘wing-to-wing’ flights this year. The Spitfire flies with the Rapide at between 80 and 100mph. This is fairly comfortable for both pilots, with the Spitfire changing sides at intervals to give passengers in the Rapide a good, close-up view and staying on the outside of formation turns. Stuart says: “I tend to go forwards and backwards on station, as otherwise the people in the front of the Rapide would constantly have to look over their shoulders to see the Spitfire in normal echelon, so I end up taking the lead for a while. That way, everyone gets a good view.” On given dates, six ‘wing-to-wing’ sorties are scheduled in a day, making


use of both Rapides to offer a total of 48 — six times eight — passenger seats. One Rapide takes off first, followed by the Spitfire, which then joins the DH89A in close (and when I say close…) formation in the Duxford area. After about 10 minutes of air-toair, the Spitfire moves to the second Rapide to repeat the exercise, while the first goes off for further local-area flying. The Rapide flight thus lasts approximately 30 minutes and the Spitfire will spend around 35 minutes in the air. The whole routine is then repeated twice more during the course of the day. Such an operation requires that the pilots are well-versed in flying together and confident in each other’s

abilities. Regular pilots of MH434 are Stu Goldspink, Paul Bonhomme, Nigel Lamb, Lee Proudfoot and Brian Smith, “guys we’ve known and worked with for years”, as Trevor Butcher noted. Classic Wings’ Rapide flying is covered by Cirrus Aviation’s AOC. To permit passenger flying in the back seat of a Spitfire required a change of regulations by the CAA, this happening late in 2014. Classic Wings received approval this January to allow the starting of these operations in April 2015, most appropriately in the company’s 25th anniversary year. Trevor Butcher says: “We, in joint partnership with Challenges Aviation Ltd, were the second operators to

ABOVE: The view from on board the Rapide as Spitfire MH434 gets in close. DENIS J. CALVERT ABOVE LEFT: Classic Wings founder and MD Trevor Butcher. DENIS J. CALVERT

BELOW: A look back to the 1990s — Rapide G-AIYR in its old colours flies in close formation with G-AKIF. BEN DUNNELL

ð 103



ABOVE: A busy day at Duxford. Spitfire MH434 stands ready for a ‘Wing-toWing’ flight, Rapide HG691/G-AIYR taxies back, and Tiger Moth DE974/G-ANZZ gets ready to depart as DF112/G-ANRM awaits its next sortie. BEN DUNNELL

obtain the SSAC [Safety Standards Acknowledgement and Consent]. Selected operators can apply to the CAA for Permit to Fly aircraft. Not just the Spitfire; there are other two-seat vintage aircraft that cannot be on a public transport C of A. This is something the CAA agreed to after many years, but they are rightly very cautious about it, and there is a complete safety briefing and demonstration procedure to explain fully to the passenger the risks and all the safety procedures required for the

Griffith. Classic Wings schedules six days of Spitfire passenger flying per month, normally on two consecutive weekends from Friday to Sunday. Trevor Butcher: “We’ve found it best to run six flights in a day. We’re a bit limited because the museum opens at 10.00hrs and closes at 18.00, and we want to make it comfortable to get that number of flights in, given that the briefing that we put the guys through will take an hour to an hour-and-a-half before they can fly. Sometimes we can bring the first

‘There are other warbirds and other vintage aircraft that we’re looking at, but it would have to be economically viable’ Spitfire, followed by a series of consent forms for them to sign. It’s a matter of explaining the risks and confirming their consent before taking the flight.” The two-seat Spitfire used at Duxford is IXT MJ627 from the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar, usual pilots being Richard Verrall or Dan


group of three in earlier, so we can start the briefings at 09.30 and they’re ready to fly around 10.30”. Then they are fitted with flying overalls, boots, helmet and parachute for what they may well remember as the flight of their lives in the skies over Cambridgeshire.

Classic Wings impresses with its attitude. As Trevor Butcher notes, there is no ‘pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap’ philosophy, and what has been achieved has been made possible by a step-by-step approach and by teamwork. Clearly, when providing flights to the public in 70-yearold aeroplanes, reliability is allimportant if customers are not to be disappointed. In this, the company has the advantage of in-house expertise, with Cirrus Engineering providing base maintenance at Clacton and line maintenance at Duxford, and having that all-important experience with wood and fabric aircraft and Gipsy engines.

I asked Trevor what plans Classic Wings has for the future and, indeed, how it might top the achievement of being able to offer passenger flying in a Spitfire. He replied: “There are other warbirds and other vintage aircraft that we’re looking at to add to the SSAC. But it would have to be economically viable, because it’s quite a procedure to


ABOVE: Stu Goldspink at the controls of the OFMC’s famous Spitfire MH434, with Rapide G-AKIF formating off to port. DENIS J. CALVERT

put another aircraft on the approval. So, possibly the Mustang.” With the aircraft fleet already in place, the company can offer allthrough pilot training. A ‘taster’ course as advertised in the Classic Wings brochure offers ground school and flying in three ex-RAF types — a Tiger Moth, a Harvard or a Chipmunk (to which Classic Wings has access) — and then into the two-seat Spitfire. Custombuilt courses to take a PPL-holder

through all the stages of training before piloting the two-seat Spitfire are also under way. Trevor Butcher says: “Nobody has completed this course yet, but ideally it would include enough hours to satisfy us on the Tiger Moth, then on to the Harvard which is tailwheel but a heavier aircraft, and on to the Spitfire. But only when they’ve satisfied the instructors — that would be Richard or Dan. And, yes, it is costly.”

As to other possible aircraft types that might be taken on for pleasure flying, Classic Wings is being cautious. Having had experience of operating a DC-3 from Air Atlantique, the type proved too large: “Even on airshow days, we found it was taking a long time to fill 26 seats”. The DH Dove, the Beech 18 and even the Britten-Norman Islander have all been looked at, and the sums done. But do any of them have the Rapide’s appeal as well as offering its relatively low maintenance costs? As Trevor Butcher remarked, “The Rapide’s a simple aeroplane, ideal for the type of flying we do. And it perfectly signifies that pre-war period.”

ABOVE: One of Classic Wings’ first Spitfire passenger flights about to line up, using the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar’s IXT MJ627. The pilot here is Richard Verrall. BEN DUNNELL

ABOVE MIDDLE: The three Tiger Moths launch into the early evening skies. JOHN DUNNELL BELOW: Harvard IVM G-BUKY on finals. BEN DUNNELL

In next month’s

The September 2015 issue of Aeroplane goes on sale in the UK on 31 July.


change. All contents subject to change

Salute to ‘The Few’ Battle of Britain 75th anniversary tribute including…



• The training • The combats • The technology • The veterans • The warbirds

Armstrong Whitworth Argosy ‘Whistling Wheelbarrow’ in detail



EDITOR Ben Dunnell E-mail: [email protected] NEWS EDITOR Tony Harmsworth E-mail: [email protected] EDITORIAL ASSISTANCE Mike Hooks COLUMNISTS/CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS James Kightly, Steve Slater Ian Bott, Chris Sandham-Bailey DESIGN Sean Phillips A.T. Graphics Ltd, Peterborough


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• Magnificent Morane restoration • B-N Islander at 50



Salute W E


Battle of Britain

RAF Salute Battle of Britain 75 is an officially endorsed Royal Air Force souvenir publication commemorating the RAF’s role in one of history’s greatest air battles. Written and edited by expert contributors, this exciting 100-page special magazine provides an insightful overview of the RAF’s pivotal role before, during and immediately subsequent to the Battle. HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

BATTLE JOINED The Battle of Britain period described and analysed 75 years on THE COMMANDERS A heady leadership mix of brilliance and animosity drove RAF Fighter Command through its finest hour



9 9 . 5 £

SYNCHRO DISPLAY 75 Salute talks to the pilots behind the spectacular 75th anniversary Typhoon/ Spitfire synchro display BATTLE OF BRITAIN SURVIVOR Behind the scenes with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s veteran Spitfire Mk II

PLUS No. 1 (Fighter) Squadron – defending the UK then and now, Aerospace Battle Management 1940/2015, Fighter Stations Old and New and much more! AVAILABLE NOW from and all other leading newsagents ALTERNATIVELY, ORDER DIRECT




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Aeroplane Monthly 2015-08

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