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In Reach

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Changes at Biggin

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Thu, March 15, 2018 18:40:52

Biggin Hill airport has announced this week that it will not be renewing the lease for the three flying schools based there meaning that pilot training from scratch will cease in six months time. A spokesman said

"Modern TCAS systems do not allow the close interaction of business jets and light aircraft. Our airport Safety Management System has highlighted an issue with interactions between light aircraft and business jets. We have tried various measures to mitigate this issue, but in the end we have reluctantly concluded that only a significant reduction in light aircraft movements will serve to properly address this issue."

I wonder if this might have an affect on other outfits in the future:

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North Creake Memorial Project

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Sat, March 10, 2018 00:17:39

Nigel Morter and Claire Nugent, who have restored the old North Creake control tower in to a B&B, are behind plans to erect a proper memorial at the airfield by 2020, the 75th anniversary of its closure. Land has been set aside and fund raising is underway with the memorial, in the form of a Short Stirling, is likely to be created by Andy Knighton who is responsible for an impressive Lancaster sculpture at East Kirkby. Hope this comes to fruition. More if you click the pic.

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Fiesler Storch

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Fri, March 09, 2018 23:58:32

An ungainly little critter, as it is in real life, here is a Storch that has just rolled off my production line.

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USS Lexington discovered

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Tue, March 06, 2018 22:37:41

Some 76 years after being scuttled due to serious damage in the Battle of the Coral Sea the American aircraft carrier Lexington has been located two miles below the sea about 500 miles north east of Australia. Battle damage aside the ship is in remarkably good condition, including Devastator and Wildcat aircraft that are still on board. However we should also remember the 200 or so lives lost in her final battle.

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Vera to George

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Tue, March 06, 2018 00:10:27

In order to commemorate this year's 75th anniversary of Operation Chastise aka the Dambusters raid, the CWH Lancaster is going to be marked up as Guy Gibson's G-George on one side for the 2018 season. Its first appearance will be at the Smithsonian in April.

Here she is attracting the crowds back in 2012.

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Retrotec to build Mosquito

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Mon, March 05, 2018 17:44:37
It has been confirmed that Guy Black's Retrotec have been contracted to build 'The Peoples Mosquito' in the UK. Another step forward I guess but, as mentioned recently, TPM still have to come up with the funds so probably not much has changed.

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Display ban lifted - partly

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Sun, March 04, 2018 22:34:00
Following the post Shoreham ban the CAA have announced that ex-military jets can resume aerobatic displays at air shows - unless they have swept wings. I assume that the potential speed difference is the issue rather than any perceived problem with swept wings themselves but it still seems a little strange. Still it is a step forward and safety remains paramount.

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Frankie goes to ...... Turkey!

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Fri, March 02, 2018 00:08:00

I've been a bit slow sorting these out since, following her sale by OFMC, Ferocious Frankie departed D/X over a month ago. Anyway, better late than never so here's a few of my captures of Frankie over the years. Hope to catch her again in the future.

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AviationPosted by Peter Smith Wed, February 28, 2018 23:40:02

Ludham, in Norfolk, was a further satellite field to Coltishall. It opened in 1941 and was home to several fighter squadrons operating mainly Spitfires of differing marks before closing in 1946. The airfield is still active in a small way using part of one of the original runways with a new hangar at one end. A few buildings also remain, notably the control tower and since it is accessible I went for a look.

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B-24 Pappy's Chillun

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Tue, February 27, 2018 23:58:00

Pappy's Chillun was a Liberator flying out of Shipdham, which I visited a couple of months ago. On 21st April 1944 the aircraft suffered a structural failure that resulted in a crash at Taverham, Norfolk that took the lives of 8 of the 10 crew. The crash site is now part of the Taverham Mills nature reserve where a memorial has been erected. We paid our respects last week.

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AviationPosted by Peter Smith Mon, February 26, 2018 23:49:18

Matlaske was a satellite field to RAF Coltishall and was home to a number of types during its active life including Hurricanes, Spitfires, Typhoons, Lysanders, Whirlwinds, Thunderbolts, P-39s and more. The airfield only ever had grass runways and most buildings were demolished around 40 years ago. There is now little to see except for a memorial stone and a section of perimeter track that used to run to a T2 hangar.

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B-17E 'Lucky Strike'

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Sun, February 25, 2018 23:05:02

Returning from a raid on Kiel submarine pens on 5th January 1944 B17E 29923 suffered a loss of fuel which, together with icing problems, resulted in the aircraft crashing at Cawston, Norfolk, with the loss of the bombardier and ball turret gunner. The pilot, Rowland Evans, lost his life with a different crew the following month.

In 1996 the original flight engineer, John Sasson, unveiled a memorial plaque outside of the church close to the crash site.

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AviationPosted by Peter Smith Sat, February 24, 2018 23:36:32

Swannington in Norfolk only had a short service life, opening in April 1944 as part of 100 group using Mosquitos. At the end of WWII it became a maintenance unit before being sold off in 1957. Quite a lot survives today including the control tower, sections of runway and the peri track right next to St Peters Church.

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New Old Stock

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Sat, February 24, 2018 22:58:00

Can't be many of these lying around! Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre has acquired an original merlin 25 for Just Jane. The engine should arrive from Switzerland next week and has never been run and is still in its original grey paint. Effectively it is a brand new engine and brings the total serviceable units held by the centre to 10.

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B-24J Shazam

AviationPosted by Peter Smith Fri, February 23, 2018 19:15:08

B24 42-51343 'Shazam' under the control of Lt Dale Williams took off from Hethel on 7 March 1945 heading for Soest Marshalling Yards but, sadly, crashed soon after with the loss of all 10 crew. They crashed shortly after take off in cloudy weather with heavy icing. Because no one survived the crash and the weather clouded the crash from the view of other aircraft and civilians on the ground, the exact cause of the crash was never determined. Three witnesses on the ground saw the aircraft moments before it hit the ground. All said that the aircraft was on fire when it broke through the low clouds and that the plane appeared to level off before the right wing broke off the aircraft and the fuselage crashed into the ground and exploded.

There is a small memorial at St Edmunds Church, Costessey

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