Saturday, December 07, 2002

Freighter movements

Not one but two Bristol 170 Freighters are scheduled to be moved soon. Former Argentine Air Force TC-330, part of the Museo Nacional de Aeronautica in Buenos Aires, is in the process of being dismantled for transportation to the museums new home at MorĂ³n Air Base. It has been with the museum at the Jorge Newbery Aeroparque since its withdrawal from service in 1967. It is the oldest surviving Bristol Freighter.

The other is VH-ADL, formerly of the Airworld Collection at Wangaratta in Victoria, Australia. The Collection closed its doors in February 2002, with the local council taking over the museum artifacts. The first tender block closed on October 25th, and a buyer was found for the Freighter. The identity of the new owner is not yet public knowledge, but it is expected that it will be transported to the United Kingdom for display. The Freighter is said to be in excellent condition, but it seems unlikely that it will ever return to the skies. For one thing, there are no Freighter propellers in existence that are not time expired, and it would be expensive to manufacture new ones.

Monday, September 02, 2002

One Beaufort - two noses

The Australian War Museum are restoring their Beaufort, serial A9-557, with the help of the Beaufort Restoration Group. Although the serial on the data plate of the RAF Museums Beaufort at Hendon, UK, would indicate that they had the nose from A9-557, this is only partly correct. During A9-557's service with the RAAF, its cockpit sustained serious damage from an electrical fire. The design of the Beaufort is such that sections are easily interchangeable, and at the time it was simpler to replace the forward fuselage with one from another aircraft. A9-557 continued flying with its new cockpit until a landing accident on January 20th 1945. The AWM now have all the sections from this aircraft. The original nose is presumed to have been dumped in Papa New Guinea, and this the section recovered from Papa New Guinea to Chino in the 1970's, and used in the RAF Museums Beaufort. The identity of the Beaufort that originally carried the AWM's cockpit is not currently known. The AWM have stated that they expect the restoration of the Beaufort to be complete by the end of 2002.
Update: New information indicates that the second forward fuselage for A9-557 came from A9-461, which crashed at Tadji, Papa New Guinea on 12th November 1944. The aircraft went on display in March 2003 - see later news item.

RAF Museum Beaufort - true identity revealed

Some information has recently come to light about the true identities of each section of the Beaufort on display at the RAF Museum, at Hendon, UK. The data plates of the Beaufort at RAF Museum Hendon have recently been examined, giving the following information:

Forward Fuselage (cockpit section) - serial FF559 dated 4-9-43 (from A9-557, but see other news item)
Rear Fuselage - serial RF557 dated 26-10-43 (from A9-559)
Stern Fuselage - (tail section) - serial SF478 dated 20-7-43 (from A9-478)
Centre Section - (wing root) - serial CR591 dated 14-9-43 (possibly from A9-593)

All of these sections were recovered from Papa New Guinea in the 1970's and transported to Chino, California. The aircraft was rebuilt from restored sections, with no internal fittings, painted in RAF markings and delivered to the RAF Museum in 1991.

Monday, June 10, 2002

Wrecks and Relics 18th edition

The latest edition of this essential guide to preserved, instructional and derelict airframes in the British Isles has brought to light a few changes to the survey: The Tremar Sycamore (XG544) is reported as sold in November 2000, moving to somewhere in Wales; The RAF Museums spare Sycamore (WV783) is under restoration at Rochester in Kent; and finally a Bristol F2B restoration in King's Lynn becomes substantial enough for an entry. Wrecks and Relics is published by Midland Publishing, at UKP 15.99

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

Bristol F2B Fighter replica N624 sold in NZ

Having spent the 2001 airshow season in New Zealand, replica Bristol Fighter N624 "J7624" has now been sold there. Its US registration was cancelled in Feb 2002, and ZK-JNU was registered 8th May to Peter Jackson, the New Zealand filmmaker and avid World War One aircraft collector. This immaculate replica was built by Ed Storo, who is now concentrating on building a replica Bristol Bulldog.
The Fighter will be based at Omaka, Blenheim, with the rest of Peter Jackson fleet of WW1 aircraft, who also owns an original Bristol Fighter frame, currently under rebuild at Omaka.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

DAP Beaufort A9-557 restoration

On 10th April the Beaufort Restoration Group at Brisbane received the rear fuselage of Beaufort A9-557 for cleaning and minor repairs. The work is being done for the Australian War Memorial at Canberra, and they are already working on the undercarriage. The Beaufort Restoration Group are also working on the cockpit of A9-501, and are restoring a complete Beaufort, A9-141, to airworthy condition. The BRG rely on donations, and offer a comprehensive membership package for 25AUD (10UKP).

Friday, January 04, 2002

Bristol 173 prototype XF785 on display after 40 years

The Bristol Type 173 has emerged from over 40 years in deep storage, latterly Cosford, to be loaned to the Bristol Aero Collection at Kemble. It made the journey to Kemble on the 3rd January, exactly 50 years from its first untethered flight at Filton. On hand to receive the helicopter was Charles 'Sox' Hosegood, who was the test pilot at the controls on its first flight. The first flight was an eventful one, as it was soon realised that the only direction in which the helicopter could be flown was backwards. The fault was rectified, and test flights resumed in August 1952.
The rare helicopter will be cleaned up ready for the museums opening on the Easter weekend.