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News Archive 6

Ray Hanna
Royal Air Force Museum Cosford
Former members of 42 Squadron sought
Spitfire IX TA805
Buccaneer gains CAA approval
208 Sqn Hawk 2006 Display Aircraft
The Fighter Collection
Duxford's Hangar 1 (Airspace) Update (Feb 2006)
Newark Air Museum - Enthusiast Days
RAF Displays 2006
B-17 'Sally B'
Model Collectors Fairs
Families Days & Anniversary Events 2006
Sea Hurricane XIIA
Seafire Mk.XVII
Duxford's Hangar 1 (Airspace) Update (July 2006)
RAF Harrier GR9 crash
End of the last Canberra Squadron
T-33 crash
Ormonde Aircraft Ltd aid BBMF Hurricane reconfiguration
Tornado GR4 crash
Duxford's Airspace Update (October 2006)
Vulcan XH558 Funding

Duxford's Hangar 1 (Airspace)

The construction of 'Airspace' (Hangar 1) at Duxford started on 17th January 2005. It is due to be finished at the end of March 2006 which will include the fit out of the offices, classrooms and corporate areas, aircraft suspension, and exhibition fit out. The work will continue until the formal opening of 'Airspace' in spring 2007.

This exciting project has been allocated £9 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund and £995,000 by the East of England Development Agency. The overall cost of 'Airspace' is in the region of £27.9 million and will have a 10,000 square metre exhibition featuring 30 classic British and Commonwealth aircraft. BAE Systems has formed a partnership with the Imperial War Museum in the development of 'Airspace', providing the company with a focal point for maintaining and promoting its heritage at Duxford. Many other companies, organisations, and individuals have also supported 'Airspace'. Funding is still required for the superb learning facilities within 'Airspace' and for the exhibition hall and galleries that will place the exhibits in their historical and cultural context.

'Airspace' will tell the story of British aviation from the early pioneers to the future. You will find out how an aeroplane flys, how they are made and used. You will get to know aircraft designers, test pilots, passengers, ground crew, fighter pilots, and factory workers from the past to the present. The displays will include video and sound displays, hands-on displays, items to handle, computers, words and pictures, and historical objects.

Hangar 1 (Airspace)
construction. (July 2005)

Update (October 2005)

The framework for the Airspace building is now complete and the external cladding on the roof and elevations are being installed. Once the structure is sufficiently waterproof, work will begin on plumbing, lifts, the balustrade and the mechanical and electical plant and equipment. The staircases and lift shafts have been installed together with the mezzanine level on both sides of the building. The east and west mezzanines are connected by the Skybridge, across the northern end of the building, which is also in place. Room sizes have been marked out ready for partitioning work to start later in the build programme. The new hangar doors will be built on site and installed over the autumn. It is hoped that some aircraft will be stored inside the building over the winter.

Airspace will cover an area of almost 3 acres and will be one of the largest spaces devoted to the interpretation of aviation heritage in the world. Click on the photos below to see the Airspace aircraft layout.

Hangar 1 (Airspace) Aircraft layout

Hangar 1 (Airspace) Aircraft layout

What's on at Duxford 2006

2006 Airshows:
Sunday 21st May - AirSpace Air Show
Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th July - Flying Legends Air Show
Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd September - Spitfire Anniversary Air Show
Sunday 8th October - Autumn Air Show

The Imperial War Museum Duxford is delighted to announce that visitor numbers for the 2005 calendar year were up by over 4% on the previous record-breaking year. Duxford welcomed its 10 millionth visitor in August, and a record crowd to the Autumn Air Show in October, leading to a total of 462,972 visitors to the Museum in 2005.

Duxford is Europe's premier aviation museum and is home to over 200 aircraft and one of the country's finest collections of tanks and military vehicles, as well as naval exhibits and is one of the few attractions in the region to be open all year round.

Imperial War Museum

Make a donation to 'Airspace'

Update (February 2006)

On the 12th December 2005 Duxford's Concorde was moved into Airspace and consequently will not be accesible to the public for the next few months while essential maintenance work is undertaken as well as protecting this valuable exhibit from the winter weather.

Other aircraft placed in Airspace include the Buccaneer, Javelin, Harrier, Hunter, Jaguar, CF-100, Lightning, Tornado, Canberra, MiG-21, Gannet, Sea Vixen, Phantom, and the Vulcan. Airspace is not currently open to visitors but it is hoped that access may be possible from early Summer 2006.

The Imperial War MuseumDuxford unveiled its newly restored British Aircraft Corporation TSR-2 on Friday 16th December 2005 following an extensive restoration programme.

Duxford's first air display of the season will be the Airspace Air Show on Sunday 21st May 2006 and will provide a showcase of the aircraft types that will feature in Duxford's dramatic new Airspace exhibition. Scheduled for the flying display are the Lancaster, Tornado GR4, Sea Hawk, Anson, and Spitfire.

Update (July 2006)

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) have agreed to grant a further £1.5m and the East of England Development Agency another £1m towards the Airspace fundraising target. Also a further pledge for £500k and a grant for £250k from the Wolfson Foundation. The funding target has now been reduced to £2m and Airspace is expected to be finished on time, on budget, and to specification.

Airspace is now in the final stages of constuction works. The exhibition and public areas, teaching rooms, offices, and corporate suite have been plastered, painted, doors hung, and ceiling tiles placed. The feature staircases now have banisters and some 660 metres of balustrade have been erected around the first floor mezzanine gallery. The additional visitor car and coach parking have received the final top surface and the landscaping is complete with 78 trees. Grass on the verges have been reseeded and 774 hedging plants have been planted.

As soon as the building works are complete, the next phase will be the exhibition fit out on the west mezzanine. The complex job of suspending and placing aircraft within the main exhibition hall will then commence. It is hoped that visitors will get limited access into Airspace later this summer.

The Imperial War Museum (IWM) has unveiled the Miles Magister, Airspeed Oxford, and de Havilland Tiger Moth to take their place in Airspace. These restorations are the culmination of over 10 years hard work.

The Imperial War Museum have announced that an Airspace Supportes Day will take place on Saturday 25th November 2006. All Airspace supporters who have contributed £125 and over will be invited and admission will be free if you wear your distinctive Airspace badge.

You can send a donation to Airspace by visiting the official website at

Update (October 2006)

Eighteen months after construction began, Laing O'Rourke officially handed over the Airspace building to Imperial War Museum Duxford in early July 2006. The contractor remained until the end of August carring out residual snagging works.

A series of contracts, under the control of the Museum including the accommodation and exhibition fit will take place over the coming months. This includes the staircases and painting the skybridge across the northern end of the building, the fit out of the classrooms, corporate suite and auditorium and installation of the building signage. Once completed, loose furniture will be installed in each of the rooms.

The aircraft installation programme has now been completed and this impressive building will be progressively opened up to visitors over the coming months. It is anticipated that Duxford's Education Department will be able to move into their new teaching rooms on the east side of the building by January 2007 and that the corporate suite will be available for hire from july 2007.

What's on at Duxford 2007

2007 Airshows:
Sunday 20th May - May Air Show
Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th July - Flying Legends Air Show
Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th September - Duxford 2007 Air Show (not 1st & 2nd as previously stated)
Sunday 14th October - Autumn Air Show

Imperial War Museum

Make a donation to 'Airspace'

Ray Hanna

Ray Hanna, one of the finest display pilots, died on 2nd December 2005. Ray was well known for his spectacular displays in Spitfire MH434 and will be greatly missed.

From the 'Old Flying Machine Company' Website:

Ray Hanna

28 August 1928 - 2 December 2005

It was with great sadness that we announce the death of Ray Hanna.

Ray, who was 77 years, joined the Royal Air Force in 1949 having learned to fly in New Zealand in 1947/48. Following training on the Prentice, Harvard and Meteor he was fortunate enough to fly such piston types as the Tempest V, Sea Fury, Balliol and Beaufighter.

His first operational posting was to 79 Squadron, 2ATAF flying FR9 Meteors. In the fifties, he flew nearly all the early British jets including Vampires, Venoms, Attackers, Sea Hawks, Swifts and Javelins.

Ray first led a team of four Hunters in 1957, in 1963/64 was a member of the College of Air Warfare Meteor Team and was selected for the newly-formed Red Arrows as No 3 in 1965. To the best of my knowledge, he remains the longest serving Leader in the history of the team.

Ray's leadership is widely regarded as making the Arrows the world-renowned aerobatics team they ultimately became and, in recognition of his contribution, he was received a bar to the AFC he had previously been awarded for several feats of airmanship.

Ray retired from the RAF in 1971 for a new career in civil aviation, initially on the Boeing 707 with Lloyd International Airways followed by seven years with Cathay Pacific, again with the 707, and for two years the Lockheed L-1011 Tri-Star. In 1979 he was asked to head a private diplomatic 707 company with world-wide operations.

With his son Mark, who was so tragically killed flying an Me109 six years ago, he built up a vintage warbird collection at Duxford which ultimately became the renowned 'Old Flying Machine Company.' In addition to achieving acclaim on the display circuit, the OFMC has numerous movie credits.

Old Flying Machine Company (OFMC)

BBC News - Red Arrows Tribute

RAF Displays 2006

The RAF Displays in 2006 will include a single seat Typhoon F2 of 29(R) Sqn rather than the 2-seat Typhoon T1 which was displayed in 2005. It will be flown once again by Sqn Ldr Matt Elliott. There will not be a display by the solo Tornado F3 in 2006 and like last year there will be no Nimrod MR2 because of overseas commitments and the gradual run-down of the MR2 in preparation for the new Nimrod MRA4. The Jaguar GR3 saw its last display in the 2005 season but there will be displays from the Tornado GR4, Harrier GR7(A), Hawk T1 (4 FTS), and Hawk T1 (100 Sqn).

Display Dates/Venues for the Tornado GR4, Hawk T1 (208 Sqn), Tucano T1, and Merlin HC3 can be seen here.

Red Arrows Dates/Venues can be seen here.

BBMF Dates/Venues can be seen here.

Royal Air Force

Visit the new Merlin on-line shop here.

Royal Air Force Museum Cosford

The Royal Air Force Museum is proud to announce its largest ever development project, which will take place at the Cosford site. The exciting new National Cold War Exhibition Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, is taking shape. The unique display, will tell the story of the era, from the national, international, social/political as well as cultural perspectives. A major focus will be on education, with links to the National Curriculum. Modern education facilities for all ages are also incorporated into the design.

The new building will take the form of two massive exhibition triangles divided by a central walkway representing a world divided by ideology. The multi-national dimension will be represented by the inclusion of both Warsaw Pact and NATO aircraft, as well as exhibits from the three services. The striking structure will also provide the unique opportunity to feature all three of Britain 's V-bombers, the Valiant, Vulcan and Victor together, as well as aircraft that were involved in other key events such as the Berlin airlift.

This innovative scheme will greatly benefit the rural tourism economy of the West Midlands and bring many thousands of new visitors to the area from outside of the Region and abroad. New jobs will be created and the preservation of many important historic aircraft will be assured.

Construction of the new building has already begun. This £12 million project has been funded jointly by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Advantage West Midlands, The European Regional Development Fund, The Ministry of Defence, Bridgenorth District Council and the Museum's own fund raising initiatives.

However, although the major funds required for the project are secure, the Museum is still seeking a further £1.5 million which will allow the remainder of the Cosford Museum to be brought up to the modern standards of the new exhibition to enhance the project.

Royal Air Force Museum Cosford Website

Donations to the Museum

Former members of 42 Squadron sought

In April 2006 42 [R] Squadron is hosting a special anniversary reunion weekend at its current base at RAF Kinloss, Moray, Scotland and the squadron is seeking people who served with them.

The three-day event runs from April 7 to 9, 2006 and it will mark the 90th Anniversary of the squadron's formation, which occurred on April 1st, 1916 at Filton near Bristol. With an illustrious history spanning both World Wars, in more recent times 42 Squadron is perhaps best most noted for its post – Second World War maritime operations using both Avro Shackleton and HSA Nimrod aircraft, with operations taking place around the world over five decades.

During its time in the UK 42 Squadron's main operating locations have been at RAF St Mawgan, Cornwall and RAF Kinloss, Moray, whilst significant overseas deployments have included Majunga, Madagascar participating in Beira Patrols during the 1960s; Ascension Island during operations in 1982 to help recover the Falkland Islands; and in 1991 from Oman and Cyprus as part of 'Operation Granby' during the first Gulf War.

So far fifty [50] former squadron members have expressed an interest in participating at the anniversary reunion in April 2006, but as event organiser Sqn Ldr Ian Muir explains 42 [R] Squadron is keen to contact even more people. "We are looking to attract as many former squadron members as possible to our 90th Anniversary Reunion", commented Sqn Ldr Muir, he continued. "The event is open to all former 42 Squadron members of all ranks, from all trades and from all squadron eras." Sqn Ldr Muir concluded, "I would urge anyone interested in participating in this important Anniversary Reunion to contact me as soon as possible so that I can supply further participation details".

Details of the 42 Squadron 90th Anniversary Reunion can be obtained by contacting:
Sqn Ldr Ian Muir, 42(R) STU, RAF Kinloss, Forres, Moray, IV36 3UH.
Telephone: [01309] 672161 Ext - 7722

Click to enlarge

42 Squadron plate as worn on Avro Shackleton Mk.3 Phase 3 WR977 at the Newark Air Museum. [Credit: Howard Heeley – Down To Earth Promotions]
Click to enlarge

Avro Shackleton Mk.3 WR977 pictured on active service at Majunga, Madagascar in 1967, flying "Beira Patrols" as part of Operation MIZAR. [Credit: Newark Air Museum Archive]
Click to enlarge

Nimrod from the Kinloss Wing pictured at Waddington Air Display 2005, crewed by 42[R] Sqn members. [Credit: Howard Heeley – Down To Earth Promotions]

Key dates and aircraft types in the history of 42 Squadron:
April 1, 1916 - Number 42 Squadron formed at Filton o from a nucleus provided by No 19 Squadron, moving to France in August with BE2s for reconnaissance duties over the Western Front.
April 1917 - The Squadron re-equipped with RE8s and moved to northern Italy to cover the Austro-Italian Front.
March 1918 – returned to France.
February 1919 – The unit returned to the UK and disbanded at Netheravon on June 26.
December 14, 1936 - Reformed at Donibristle with Vildebeests becoming one of only two torpedo strike units in the UK.
April 1940 - Exchanged Vildebeests for Beauforts at Bircham Newton and specialised in anti-shipping and mine laying along the coasts of northern Europe.
June 1942 - Left for the Far East but delayed in the Middle East for operations there until December, when it finally arrived in Ceylon. Later converted to Blenheims, which were used for bombing missions over Burma from March 1943.
October 1943 - Re-equipped with Hurricanes for ground attack duties.
July 1945 - Changed to Thunderbolts and the Squadron disbanded at Meiktala, Burma on December 30, 1945.
October 1946 - Reformed as part of Coastal Command's Strike Wing with Beaufighters at Thorney Island, but disbanded on October 15, 1947.
June 28, 1952 – The Squadron reformed at St Eval in Cornwall equipped with Shackleton MR1s for maritime reconnaissance duties.
April 1954 – Updated to Shackleton MR.2s
December 1965 – Updated to Shackleton MR.3s
April 1971 – Nimrods replaced the Shackletons.
April 1982 – 42 Squadron despatched two aircraft to Ascension Island as part of the first phase of Operation 'Corporate' - the recovery of the Falkland Islands.
October 1990 - 42 Squadron provided crews as part of the Nimrod detachment in Oman involved in Operation 'Granby'.
January 1991 – 42 Squadron set up a major detachment in Cyprus to provide additional further support to the Allied forces.
October 1, 1992 – 42 Squadron disbanded as a front-line unit on and the squadron-plate was then assigned to the Nimrod OCU, formerly No 236 OCU, at Kinloss in Scotland, where it now resides as 42 [Reserve] Squadron.

42 Squadron Battle Honours
Honours marked with an asterisk, are emblazoned on the Squadron Standard.
North West Frontier 1916-1918*
Afghanistan 1919-1920
Mahoud 1919-1920
Waziristan 1919-1925
North West Frontier 1939
Iraq 1941*
Syria 1941
Egypt and Libya 1941-1942*
Burma 1941-1942*
North Burma 1943-1944*
Arakan 1943-1944*
Manipur 1944*
Burma 1944-1945*
Gulf 1991

Spitfire IX TA805

A newly restored Spitfire Mk.IX took to the skies at Duxford on 7th December 2005.

Built at Castle Bromwich she briefly served with 184 Sqn & then 234 Sqn at RAF Bentwaters in 1945 before being transferred to the South African Air Force in 1949. She then ended up in the SAAF Museum in 1981. Then to Steve Atkins, Oxford, UK from1989 to 1995. The Remains of the aircraft were sent to Isle-of-wight as a restoration project in 1995. To Peter R. Monk & Mike Simpson, Maidstone from 1996 to 2002. Restored to airworthy condition by Airframe Assemblies, Sandown, UK and then moved to Aircraft Restoration Company, Duxford to complete the restoration. Spitfire Mk.IX (G-PMNF) now wears the markings of 234 Squadron worn when she was at RAF Bentwaters in 1945.

Aircraft Restoration Company

Airframe Assemblies

Airworthy Spitfire listing

Buccaneer gains CAA approval

Hawker Hunter Aviation (HHA), based at RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire, is the largest operator of former military jet aircraft in Europe. Their fleet includes 12 Hawker Hunters, a Buccaneer S2B and an SU22.

On the 9th December, 2005, HHA gained CAA approval to operate their Buccaneer (G-HHAA/XX885) on the UK Civil Register. This is the culmination of almost five years worth of effort and in excess of 3250 commercially paid man hours of design verification work, excluding all the actual engineering work on the airframe itself! As such it will be the first Complex category aircraft to fly in UK airspace and is a testament to the excellence of the HHA engineering and operational team. Major overhaul work and lifed component replacement on the aircraft will commence shortly, with a first flight currently envisaged for 2006.

Hawker Hunter Aviation

Hawker Hunter Aviation - Buccaneer (G-HHAA/XX885) photo & news.

208 Sqn Hawk 2006 Display Aircraft

The 208 Sqn Hawk T1 Display aircraft is based at No 4 Flying Training School at RAF Valley. This year's paint scheme can be seen here and celebrates 85 years of No.4 Flying Training School. This year's display pilot is Flying Officer Martin Pert and is believed to be the youngest pilot to ever display the aircraft. The 208 Sqn Hawk Display Team Manager is Flt Lt Rees. Amongst a multitude of other duties, he co-ordinates the Display diary. The Hawk Display aircraft is supported by an Engineering Support team at RAF Valley. Employed by Babcock Defence Services, these dedicated professionals form the backbone of the Team without whom the display season would be simply impossible.

Display Venues for the 208 Sqn Hawk Display Aircraft in 2006:

13 May - Northwest 200 - Coleraine
20 & 21 May - Rochefort France - French AF Meeting de l'Air
27 May - Beaumaris, Anglesey - Beaumaris Show
28 & 29 May - Southend Seafront, Essex - Southend Airshow

3 & 4 Jun - Biggin Hill, Kent - Biggin Hill International Air Fair
5 Jun - Mac 1 Airshow + Expo, Dublin , Ireland
10 Jun - RAF Honington, Suffolk - Families & Friends Day
11 Jun - RAF Cosford, Shropshire - RAF Cosford Airshow
24 & 25 Jun - Sywell, Northants - Music in the Air
30 Jun - RAF Church Fenton, N Yorks - Families & Friends Day

1 & 2 July - RAF Waddington, Lincs - International Airshow
6 July - RAF Wittering - Families Day
8 July - Blackpool Show
8 July - Kidwelly Carnival & Show
13 July - RAF Cranwell, Lincs - Families Day
15 & 16 July - RAF Fairford, Glos - Royal International Air Tattoo
21 July - Shrivenham - Cranfield University Graduation
21 July - Llanidloes. Powys - Llanidloes Air Day
27 & 28 July - Lowestoft, Suffolk - Lowestoft Seafront Air Festival
27 July - RAF Marham, Norfolk - Families & Friends Day
29 July - East Fortune, East Lothian - Museum of Flight

12 Aug - Morebattle Games - Jedburgh
15 Aug - RAF Lyneham Families Day
17 Aug - Caernarfon, Gwynedd - Caernarfon Airport Airshow
19 & 20 Aug - Elvington, N Yorks - The Yorkshire Airshow
20 Aug - Rougham, Suffolk - Rougham Air Display
27 Aug - Dunsfold, Surrey - Wings and Wheels 2006

2 & 3 Sep - Portrush, Coleraine, NI - Air Spectacular
2 & 3 Sep - Southport Seafront, Lancs - Airshow & Military Show
9 Sep - RAF Leuchars, Fife - RAF Leuchars Airshow 2006
14 Sep - RAF Henlow Battle of Britain Ceremony
24 Sep - Cholet, France: International Air Show

These dates are subject to alteration - Families Days are not open to the general public.

208 Sqn Hawk Display Aircraft website

The Fighter Collection

Below is a news release taken from 'The Fighter Collection' based at Duxford:

The Collection is about to be enriched by a flying Gladiator, a Cr42 and further graced by a very rare P47G razorback and a unique Pearl Harbour survivor P40B. A TF51 Mustang will also arrive during the year, as well as a Spitfire 18. To make economic and physical room for the new aircraft, the Hurricane has been traded, the Jungmeister sold and it is quite possible that the P47D and Beaufighter will move to new owners later in the year.

As a note of some considerable regret on his part, the spectacular and important restoration work on the Beaufighter could not be enjoyed in flight by Stephen Grey, due to European JAR regulations which inhibit the flight of heavyweight multi-engined aircraft by pilots of "free bus pass age" who have been obliged to surrender their professional licences by virtue of their age and past medical treatment, regardless of it's success. Stephen hopes for a Beau home which will be able to accelerate the pace of restoration, so that everyone can, as early as possible, see this amazing aircraft in action. Meanwhile, TFC is continuing to finish the outstanding restoration work on this very important & historical plane.

On 23/2/06 the Fiat CR42 arrives at Duxford, is unloaded and taken into the workshop to start the next stage of assembly. More details & photos on The Fighter Collection website (see link below).

The Fighter Collection website

Newark Air Museum - Enthusiast Days

Two new dates that have recently been fixed, Tuesday 14th March & Saturday March 25th 2006 and additional dates will be confirmed for later in the year.

On each day participants are greeted with a welcome snack before being taken in small escorted groups onto various museum aircraft including: Hastings, Shackleton, Varsity, Vulcan, Canberra & Phantom Simulator.

A special part of the each day is a behind the scenes tour to see "missing airframes" i.e. those undergoing restoration or that are in long-term storage around the site. After the tour, participants are free to wander around the extensive museum site at their leisure. Each Enthusiast Day is limited to just 12 participants,

Cost £15 per person and pre-booking is essential. Spaces will be allocated on a first come first served basis, depending on the date on which booking forms are received. Possible participants can obtain further details and a Booking Form by sending a large SAE, emailing or telephoning 01636 707170.

Newark Air Museum Website

B-17 'Sally B'

Sally B is the only airworthy B-17 Flying Fortress (G-BEDF) in the UK and appears regulary at UK Airshows, memorial flypasts and commemorative events. She is based at the Imperial War Museum (IWM) at Duxford in Cambridgeshire and relies heavily on charitable donations, sales of souvenirs, and the loyal support of her working team of volunteers and 6,500 Sally B Supporters Club Members, the largest club of its kind in the world.

The Sally B Website contains more information on this famous WW2 Bomber and also details on how you can make a donation, get your name on Sally B, join the Sally B's Supporters Club, or visit the B-17 on-line shop.

Below is a provisional list of Display Dates/Venues where you can see 'Sally B' display in 2006:

Sally B Website

Model Collectors Fairs

23rd April 2006 - 11am Gatwick Airline & Model collectors Fair K2 Leisure centre Pease pottage Hill Crawley 01403 252628 email

13th May 2006 - 11am - Heathrow Airline & Model collectors Fair Feltham Community college, browells lane Feltham UK 01372 725063 email

19-23rd July - War & Peace show. (including model collectors display & traders) Hop Farm Paddock wood Kent 01304 813128 "

6th August 2006 - Woodchurch Airshow. Woodchurch kent Includes model dealers.

20th August 2006 - Redhill Aerodrome , Redhill, Surrey (J.7 M25). Full airshow and model traders. Also renactors and 1940s military vehicles welcome (FOC in uniform) 01737 822200

Saturday 30th September 2006 - 11am - Shoreham Aeromart @ Shoreham airfield, Sussex UK. 01424 734030 Model traders in attendance

Families Days & Anniversary Events 2006

14th May - RAF Waddington 51 Sqn 90th Anniversary
20th May - RAF Aldergrove Families Day
20th May - RAF Coningsby Families Day
25th May - RAF Shawbury 60® Sqn 90th Anniversary
27th May - RAF Cranwell 55® Sqn 90th Anniversary

09th June – RAF Northolt Families Day
10th June – Filton, Bristol Rolls Royce/Airbus Families Day
10th June – Hawarden, Cheshire Airbus Families Day
10th June – RAF Honington Friends & Families Day
22nd June – RAF St Athan UWAS Families Day
24th June – RAF Kinloss Friends & Families Day
24th June – RAF Leuchars 56® Sqn Friends & Families Day
24th June – RAF Brize Norton Families Day
30th June – RAF Church Fenton Friends & Families Day

06th July – RAF Wittering 90th Anniversary Families Day
09th July – RAF Cranwell EMUAS Families Day
13th July – RAF Cranwell Families Day & CFSA Reunion
27th July – RAF Odiham Families Day
27th July – RAF Marham Families Day
27th July – RAF Henlow Families Day
28th July – RAF Wyton Families Day
28th July – RAF Shawbury Families Day
29th July – RAF Leuchars 43 Sqn Families Day

04th August – RAF Linton-on-Ouse Families Day
15st August – RAF Lyneham Families Day
19th August – Samlesbury BAe Systems Families Day
31st August – RAF Mawgan Families Day

01st September – RAF Cottesmore Families Day
01st September – Netheravon AAC Families Day
02nd September – Warton BAe Systems Families Day
10th September – Brough BAe Systems Families Day

Please note that these events are not open to the general public.

Sea Hurricane XIIA

Hawker Sea Hurricane XIIA BW881/G-KAMM had it's first post-restoration flight on 15th March 2006 at Wattisham after being restored by Hawker Restorations, Milden, Suffolk.. This Sea Hurricane was originally built in Canada and it's service life was entirely with the RCAF. BW881 will depart for the USA where it will go to the Flying Heritage Collection based at Arlington airfield near Seattle.

Hawker Restorations

Flying Heritage Collection

Seafire Mk.XVII

A Seafire Mk.XVII (SX336/G-KASX) took to the skies above North Weald on the 3rd May 2006 after a long term restoration project. This is the only airworthy Seafire on the UK register and the only other airworthy Seafire in the world is Jim Smith's FR.47 VP441 based in the USA. SX336 was rescued from a scrapyard in 1973 and all that remained was the fuselage.

The Seafire is now painted in a Fleet Air Arm colour scheme which was applied at Turweston Airfield on 7th February 2006. Hopefully SX336 will be seen at various events in the UK in 2006 with a debut display at Shuttleworth (Old Warden) Military Pageant Air Display on the 4th June 2006 and also Flying Legends, Duxford on 8th-9th July 2006 & Yeovilton International Air Day on the 8th July 2006.

Seafire seafire

Airworthy Spitfire page

8th Abingdon Air & Country Show

After the success of the 2006 Event, the show will take place next year on May 6th 2007 at Abingdon airfield,Oxon using the same tried and tested format of previous years. Note that next year's event will be named 'Abingdon Air & Country Show '. Proceeds from the 2007 event will go to the Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance. Sponsorship is currently being sought and the organisers can be reached via the website at

Photos from Abingdon Fayre 2006

RAF Harrier GR9 crash

A Harrier GR9 crashed near Kidlington, Oxfordshire at approximately 1700hrs, on 13th July 2006. The pilot ejected safely. The latest Harrier version was on its way to the Royal International Air Tattoo for static display, after taking off from RAF Cottesmore. The pilot has been taken to an Oxford hospital by a local police helicopter.

M.O.D. website

BBC website

End of the last Canberra Squadron

The closure of the last Canberra Squadron, No.39 (PRU), was marked by a parade and flypast at RAF Marham on 28th July 2006. This marks the end of operational service of this venerable aircraft which first flew in 1949.

1. The Canberra first entered operational service in 1951 with 101 Squadron at RAF Binbrook in the high-level bomber role. The PR9, flown by No 39 (1 PRU) Squadron, was introduced into service between 1958–61 to conduct photographic reconnaissance.

2. The aircraft was built under licence by Short Brothers, Belfast and in total, 23 standard PR9s were built between 1958 and 1962. The first operational sortie by a PR9 was flown by an aircraft from No 58 Squadron in April 1960.

3. Number 39 Squadron was formed at Hounslow on April 15th 1916 , in the midst of public outcry about German Zeppelin raids on London . After little initial success, Lt W Leefe Robinson succeeded in downing an airship during the night of 3 September, and was awarded the VC - the Royal Flying Corp's first such award.

4. The PR9's role is conducting photographic reconnaissance Over the last 12 years the aircraft has been active in support of operations all over the world, including Bosnia , Kosovo , Iraq , Afghanistan , Rwanda and the Horn of Africa. Additionally the aircraft has been used in a survey role over Kenya , Zimbabwe , Germany , Denmark , Norway and the United Kingdom .

5. The Squadron Standard will be laid up on 30 July 2006 in St Clement Danes Church on the Strand .

R.A.F. website

BBC website

Canberra article

T-33 crash

A T-33 (Canadair CT-133 Silver Star 3) (G-TBRD) owned by 'Golden Apple Trust', and operated by the 'Aircraft Restoration Company' based at Duxford crashed shortly after take-off from Duxford on Wednesday 6th September 2006 at 14.23hrs. The two-seat jet trainer containing the pilot and an engineer came down in a field to the west of Duxford. The pilot was taken by air ambulance to hospital and the engineer was assessed by the ambulance service. Both men were said to be 'fine' by a museum spokeman.

Witnesses have said that the aircraft clipped a tree after take-off and somersaulted into the ground before going on fire. There will be a full investigation into the cause of the accident. The Museum will also carry out an internal review to ensure that all aspects of its safety procedures were fully implemented.

T-33 at Duxford Airshow on 3.9.06

Imperial War Museum, Duxford website

BBC website

AAIB Report

Vulcan XH558 Funding

From the Register:
Next year's planned fly past over London to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Falklands war now looks likely to feature a Vulcan bomber after a multi-millionaire intervened with his cheque book to save a restoration project dedicated to getting an example airborne, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Sir Jack Hayward - owner of Wolverhampton Wanderers football club - stumped up a cool £500,000 for the Vulcan To The Sky trust just as the £6m, seven-year project faced crash-and-burn.

To celebrate the timely cash injection from the property developer known as "Union Jack", model XH558 was rolled out of its hanger at Bruntingthorpe, near Leicester, last week. Former Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Knight, chairman of the Vulcan To The Sky trust and a former Vulcan pilot, said: "We can now look forward to getting this magnificent aeroplane back into the air at last."

From the Vulcan to the Sky website:
The Vulcan to the Sky Trust (VTST) is delighted to announce that after months of searching, funding has been found that will allow completion of the restoration of Avro Vulcan XH558. This means that the striking delta-wing aircraft, the enduring icon of the Cold War that dominates the history of the late 20th century, may now be able to take its place at the centre of the commemoration ceremony that will mark the 25th anniversary of the Falklands conflict in June next year.

The news that the project can be completed will not only excite the many thousands of Britons who have fond memories of the Vulcan, but will come as a great relief to the team of 30 engineers who have worked tirelessly for the past eighteen months to get the Vulcan back on its own three feet, only to be told earlier in August that if £1.2 million was not raised by the end of the month the project would have to be scrapped. Celebrations of the successful capture of the necessary funds will take place tomorrow at Bruntingthorpe Airfield in Leicester, when the formal announcement of the funding will be made, and XH558 will leave its hangar for the first time since the project began. The Vulcan's undercarriage was only refitted in the past week, and bringing the imposing aircraft back out into the daylight promises to be a momentous occasion, as Sir Michael Knight, Chairman of the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, explains:

"The Vulcan to the Sky Trust would like to thank anyone who helped ensure that the Vulcan will fly again, with hundreds of thousands of pounds being donated or pledged That these pledges and donations are for the most part made up of thousands of individual amounts in the £10 to 100 range is testament to the strength of the public's desire to see the Vulcan fly again. That said, I am absolutely delighted to announce today that the project has just received a truly magnanimous donation of £500,000 The team at Bruntingthorpe – and, indeed, the British aviation community – are greatly in his debt.

That splendid news will, I hope, be an encouragement to all who are enthused by this inspiring project – and, indeed, to all of us on the VTST team – to continue our fund-raising efforts for some time yet, if XH558 is to be capable of accepting a pressing invitation to lead the flypast over London to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the South Atlantic conflict in June next year.

Vulcan XH558:

It is hoped that XH558 will be airbourne for a 20 minute handling flight from Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire at the end of April 2007. The Vulcan's first public appearance should be over London on the 17th June 2007 for the 25th anniversary of the South Atlantic conflict and air show appearances may take place at Waddington air show and the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in 2007 if all goes well. XH558 may also appear at a couple of other events before the end of the season. In 2008 there should be a full flying programme of up to 40 hours with displays and flypasts around the UK.

Vulcan to the sky website

The Register

Ormonde Aircraft Ltd aid BBMF Hurricane reconfiguration

During the last week of September a small team of engineers from Ormonde Aircraft Ltd travelled to RAF Coningsby, Lincs to deliver the latest set of engine exhaust stubs for aircraft on the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight [BBMF]. Led by company owner Alan Purdy, the team travelled from their facility at Tollerton, Notts with a full set of flame damper style of exhaust stubs for installation on the BBMF's Hurricane II, PZ865 'Night Reaper'.

Ormonde Aircraft engineers had fabricated the set of hand formed flame damper exhaust stubs [originally developed for day and night fighter operations] to the exacting standards specified by the BBMF. The exhaust stubs have been carefully formed using original patterns to ensure the correct shape and performance are maintained and they are a common design for both Hurricanes and Spitfires with the same part number.

Once installed on PZ865 the exhaust stubs were subjected to both ground running and flight trials to ensure emissions / recorded cockpit gas levels were within specification and permitted operational levels. Now fitted the exhaust stubs have also allowed Hurricane II, PZ865 to be returned to its original configuration when manufactured at Langley, Bucks in the summer of 1944.

Squadron Leader Al Pinner, OC BBMF took PZ865 up for a test flight with her new cans fitted and after he made the following comments, "She looks and sounds fantastic. It is great that she looks authentic again and the cockpit noise is down to a much more comfortable level - a delight to fly."

Other projects recently undertaken by Ormonde Aircraft Ltd for the BBMF includes: fuel tank overhauls; oil tank repairs; fabrication of exhaust stubs for Lancaster I PA474 and Spitfire XVI TE311.

"We are very proud that our company has been selected to do work for the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, especially on a project that has helped the Hurricane to be returned to its original configuration as built back in 1944." commented Ormonde Aircraft's Alan Purdy. He concluded, "Projects like this are part of the reason why we are also currently looking to recruit more experienced aircraft sheet metal workers to the company."

Click for larger image
Hurricane PZ865 with Squadron Leader
Al Pinner, OC BBMF at the controls returns
after her test flight with the new 'cans' fitted.
[Credit – Ormonde Aircraft Ltd]
Click for larger image
Engineers from Ormonde Aircraft watch
the new exhaust stubs being fitted
to BBMF Hurricane PZ865.
[Credit - Howard Heeley - Down To Earth Promotions]
Click for larger image
New exhaust stubs fitted to BBMF
Hurricane PZ865.
[Credit - Howard Heeley - Down To Earth Promotions]
Click for larger image
New exhaust stubs fitted to BBMF
Hurricane PZ865.
[Credit - Howard Heeley - Down To Earth Promotions]

In addition to full scale aircraft rebuild / restoration projects Ormonde Aircraft Limited have extensive experience in parts fabrication and airframe structural work, including: Fuel/oil tanks; Spinners; Canopy refurbishment; Wing spars; Exhaust stubs; Ailerons; Elevators; Cowling fasteners and assorted machined parts.

Ormonde Aircraft Limited have worked on and produced parts for the following aircraft types: Auster Aiglet; Chipmunk; Gladiator; Hurricane; Lancaster; Seafire; Spitfires.

Tornado GR4 crash

A Tornado GR4 from RAF Marham crashed at 1100 BST on Tuesday 24th October 2006 at the Holbeach Range in The Wash. Both crew safely ejected and were picked up from the sea by Sea King helicopters from the Wattisham Army Base and RAF Leconfield. They were then taken to a hospital in King's Lynn with spinal injuries which were not thought to be life threatening.

Air Commodore Greg Bagwell, from RAF Marham, said: "I've spoken to the crew and they're fine. "We've already set up an inquiry that will go through the full process to establish the reasons and causes of the crash and we will act upon that."

Holbeach Range is north of Holbeach and is used as a bombing range by Tornados, Harriers and Jaguar aircraft.

Cause of crash is possibly due to multiple bird strikes.

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