RAMP RAMBLINGS……….By Keith Bradshaw. Photos Steve Jeal and Keith Bradshaw
Welcome to Ramp ramblings No.9, to kick off this month a few corrections and updates from previous editions.
Firstly our book shop man ,John, has asked me to say that not only does he have a great selection of books, models, pictures etc in stock but he also has a lock -up where he keeps the “special stuff”. No not that kind of “special stuff”, but a large selection of technical manuals, course notes, pilots notes and manuals covering many different aircraft and engines with a particularly good selection on Boeings. If you fancy delving into any of this contact John on email@example.com.
Last month I talked about the British aircraft industry and said that all the Airbus’s flying had their wings made here in the UK. Well I should have said all the European built Airbus’s as the A320 range has become so popular that Airbus have opened factories in China and the USA to cope with the demand. I doubt that we make the wings for those, unless anybody knows different !!
Finally you may remember the edition about the military connection to our aircraft here at Duxford. One thing I didn’t say is that Concorde was used as a target by the RAF. When British Airways were carrying out crew training or test flights along the North Sea the RAF Lightnings would practice their supersonic intercept skills using Concorde as a Russian bomber !
So what’s been happening since the last RR? Well the big big news, as you have hopefully read elsewhere, is that the Herald has its tailplane and fin back on the fuselage at last. Since they were removed back in 2009 its been looking a bit forlorn well the smile is certainly back on its face now ! After a big effort by all the volunteer groups the honour of actually installing the tail feathers fell to the Thursday boys who with the crane only being available for one day did a great job in bolting the major parts on in time. There is still much to do with the refitting of all the fillet and trim panels plus of course the wing /flaps/ailerons still need a large amount of work but she is looking goooood and even managed to be open to the public at the airshow back at the beginning of September.
The next major job on the agenda is the repaint of the Britannia cabin roof, to this end scaffolding has been erected.
The rest of plane is due to be repainted in the near future with help from Monarch who are supplying the paint. Also on the Brit, you may remember the aileron saga of a few months ago, well the refurbished unit is now back in its rightful place on the wing. Hopefully the elevators will follow suit soon as the refurbishing work on them is nearly finished as well.
We are always pleased to earn some money by renting our aeroplanes out to film companies and recently it was the turn of the 1-11 which spent the day as a prop during a photo shoot for a travel goods company.
In recent months we have had an influx of 21 new members and last summer with the French students we could say that the age of our members ranged 18-80+ I don’t think many other volunteer groups can say they appeal to such an age range. If you would like to come and join us send an email to the IWM co-ordinator Vicki Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org expressing your interest. She will send you an information pack about all the volunteer opportunities here at Duxford , not just with DAS. If you are interested she will then arrange a day for you to visit and be shown around the site in the morning and then meet with a representative of the group you wish to join in the afternoon. Takes a while but worth it in the end !
DAS and Newark Air Museum recently arranged exchange visits between their two collections and everybody involved had a great time seeing how others look after and restore their aeroplanes. The two pictures here show the highs and lows of being a DAS member, one day Glynn was painting the registration on the tail of the VC10 the next he was dressed like something from a horror movie for a spot of weed killing in our yard!!! The work here is nothing if not varied.
2016 saw our Avro York ,one of only two complete examples in the world, celebrate its 70th birthday having first flown from Yeadon (now Leeds airport) in January 1946. It was built for the RAF , carrying the registration MW232, and was used for general freight and trooping flights often to the Far East. When the Russians cut off Berlin our York was pressed into service on what was to be known as the Berlin Airlift. It was during operations here that it suffered an undercarriage collapse and after being repaired it spent most of the next few years in storage until in 1954 in was bought by Dan-Air. Now registered G-ANTK it was based at Blackbushe then Gatwick being used as a long range freighter. This including several MOD contracts to haul rocket parts to the test ranges in Woomera Australia. After ten years use Dan Air retired it to their Lasham Hants base where it was used as a bunk room for local Scout groups. In 1974 Dan Air engineers started to restore the now badly decaying York in their spare time. But with insufficent time or money to complete the job, Dan Air eventually donated ‘NTK to us in 1986 and twenty years later the restoration was complete. So there you are, a quick life story of this old lady and you still have a couple of months to come and visit and wish her Happy Birthday. No need to bring a present just drop something in the collection box to help keep her looking good for the next 70 years she will be most grateful !