Sunday, June 9, 2013

Classic Aircraft 08/2013

IT WAS ANNOUNCED at the end of June that the Airbase facility, which currently accommodates the Air Atlantique Classic Flight and the Classic Aircraft Trust's aircraft at Coventry Airport, is to close down later this year. At the same time came news that the Classic Aircraft Trust, an independent charitable trust, is to appear under a new trading name, the Classic Air Force, at Newquay Cornwall Airport, the former RAF St Mawgan. This all followed confirmation that Sir Peter Rigby, whose Patriot Aviation Group took over Coventry Airport in April 2010, and Rugby-based Roxhill Developments intend to make a significant investment (reported at some £250 million) in a new technology park covering more than 65 acres on the north side of the airfield. This would, amongst other things, spell the end of the hangars that currently house Airbase, and which have been home to Air Atlantique since the 1980s. The planning stage of the development is being supported by the local council, and, with the lease on the hangars in this area being bought out by the consortium behind the plans, it is possible that they could be demolished by the end of the year.

Classic Aircraft 07/2013

A SALVAGE TEAM has successfully raised a Heinkel He115B seaplane from the depths of the Hafrsfjord near Stavanger, Norway. The Heinkel, Werknummer 2398, is in remarkable condition with minimal structural damage and little apparent corrosion despite being immersed in salt water for 70 years. The two floats along with their struts and one engine are missing, removed by German forces during WW2, but otherwise the aircraft is virtually complete. Only one other He I 15 is currently known to survive in preservation, an He I I5A-2 believed to be Werknummer 3043 and currently in storage as a badly damaged, incomplete wreck in France. Ironically, 3043 is one of eight He 115s which served with the Norwegian military during the war. Werknummer 2398 joined the Luftwaffe in June 1940 marked as BH+AM. It began its military career flying air-launched torpedo trials at Travemünde in Germany. The Heinkel then served as a multi-engine seaplane trainer with Flugzeugführerschule C 17 at Pütnitz between August 1941 and '42.

Classic Aircraft 06/2013

The First FLIGHT of the Flying Heritage Collection's Mitsubishi A6M3-22 Zero N3852 took place in late March. This example of the wartime Japanese fighter is unusual in that it is a two-seat conversion, having a second cockpit behind the traditional one and a correspondingly extended canopy. It is largely of new-build construction, but based upon the remains of three battered hulks recovered from Indonesia's Babo Islands by Bruce Fenstermaker in 1991. While the restoration has tried to stay as authentic as possible, Nakajima Sakae engines are unavailable, so the restoration team chose an effective, more readily available equivalent to power the aircraft, the Pratt & Whitney R-1830. Several previous owners have been involved in the Zero's rebuild. Alan Preston sent the airframe to Russia for reconstruction in 1994. During 1997 the structural work was largely complete. Paul Allen, FHC's benefactor, bought the Zero in 1998, storing it for some years at his facility in Arlington, Wshington.

Classic Aircraft 05/2013

Bournemouth International Airport has had its moments of fame and glory, some of them unscripted. It was here, on I I February 2006, at the end of the longest ever nonstop flight, that Steve Fossett landed the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer rather precipitately when a generator failure prevented him from reaching Kent International (Manston). Had the worlds press linked the site to the name of Hum Airport they would have discovered another record. It was there that an American Export Airlines DC-4 landed on 24 October 1945 at the end of the first ever regular scheduled landplane trans-Atlantic flight, a journey of 14hr 5min. Steve Fossett was aloft, alone, for 76hr 45min hours, but both achievements serve to place Bournemouth Airport in a distinguished niche in aviation history. The Bournemouth area has had close links with aviation since the early days of flying, but it took years to create the airfield that later became today's airport. Only in August 1941 was RAF Hum able to take its first aircraft, but, in parallel, long before the war ended, Hum became one of Britain's principal long-haul airports.