Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Australian Beaufort step closer to first flight

Beaufort A9-141 coming together at Brisbane, Photo by John Parker

The Beaufort Restoration Group at Brisbane, Australia, made a significant step forward in early December, by assembling the major structural components into one unit. The forward and rear fuselage sections were mated with the centre wing section, and the project now looks a lot more like an aircraft. There is still much to do before the Beaufort (RAAF serial A9-141, registered VH-KTW) can leave the ground, but when it does, it will be the first of its type to fly for many decades. More details on the project can be found at http://www.beaufortrestoration.com.au.

The mated stern frame, rear fuselage and centre wing section, Photo by John Parker

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Bristol Freighter makes its last flight

Bristol Freighter C-GYQS has made its last flight, which also happened to be the last flight of a Bristol airliner. The Freighter left Prince George, on the last stage of its delivery flight from Terrace, BC, Canada to Wetaskiwin, Alberta, on 6th September at 1:30pm local, and arrived at its new home three hours later. As with the earlier stages, the Captain was Scott Swanson, co-pilot was Lori Skinner and engineer was Paul Hawkins.

Freighter C-GYQS on its last flight, taken by Richard de Boer

Not only was the aircraft the last airworthy Bristol Freighter, it was the last airworthy example of any Bristol airliner. It will now be put on display at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum. The choice of this museum was due to its relative close proximity to Terrace, making the delivery flight much easier than for other parts of Canada. The donation of the aircraft to a Canadian museum has resulted in a federal tax credit worth 300,000 USD to Hawkair.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Future assured for last airworthy Bristol Freighter

Although it has not flown since 1999, it is hoped that Bristol 170 Freighter C-GYQS will fly to its new home later this month. The Freighter has been in storage at Terrace, British Columbia, since its owners, Hawkair, ceased mine work in the remote locations of Western Canada. It has now been donated to the Reynolds-Alberta Museum, at Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada. In early August, the fuel tank bags were replaced, and maintenance was performed on the engine blower shafts. Both Bristol Hercules engines were started for the first time in 2 years without a hitch.

The starboard Bristol Hercules starting for the first time in 2 years
The starboard Bristol Hercules starting for the first time in 2 years - photo courtesy of Sean Keating

Update 27th Aug: The aircraft made a successful 38 minute test flight on 27th August. The Captain was Scott Swanson, co-pilot was Lori Skinner and
engineer was Paul Hawkins - one of the founders of Hawkair. Delivery to Wetaskiwin is planned for 31st August, depending on weather.

Update 29th Aug: The Bristol Freighter took off from Terrace at 10.30am Local time on 29th August, and after a low pass over the airfield, it left on delivery to Wetaskiwin. The Weather over the Rockies closed in, and after about 200 miles and two hours the crew landed at Fort St. James to await better weather.

Update 30th Aug: On Monday 30th August, Quebec Sierra left Fort St. James, but this time landed at Prince George, only 80 miles further on, due to weather. The aircraft can only fly under Visual Flight Rules, and the crew have found many of the valley to be 'blocked' by cloud. The Freighter will now have to wait for a week before another attempt is made to fly her to her new home.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Engine fitted to Duxford Brisfit

In early August, The Fighter Collections Bristol F2b Fighter (G-ACAA, "D8084") was noted with its engine installed. The aircraft has been grounded at Duxford since 2001, when a problem was found in a cylinder of its Rolls Royce Falcon Mark 3 engine. The fault was found to be chrome contamination, and the crankcase and cylinders have now been overhauled. The engineers at TFC are usually very busy, especially around 'Flying Legends' time in July, and it seems they have now found the time to reassemble the engine.

The Fighter is based on one of several original frames found in a barn at Weston-on-the-Green in the 1960's, and was rebuilt by Skysport Engineering, making its first post-restoration flight on 30th June 1998.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Bolingbroke nose acquired by Manx Aviation Museum

21st June 2004 saw the delivery of the forward fuselage of Bolingbroke 9041 to the Manx Aviation Museum at Ronaldsway on the Isle of Man. The complete aircraft had been part of a static restoration by the Nanton Lancaster Memorial, who have donated this section to the Museum. The wings and rear fuselage remain at Nanton.

The nose Bolingbroke 9041 shortly after delivery

Photographs show that the forward fuselage has been stripped to bare metal, and most fittings have been removed, however several original components were included in container. The museum is actively seeking authentic components, and hope to restore it using 85% original items. Once restored, it will become a memorial to the RAF and RCAF crews based on the island during World War 2.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Home found for Wangaratta Freighter

After months of uncertainty, Bristol 170 Frieghter VH-ADL has been assured a future by the Australian National Aviation Museum, at Moorabbin Airport, Melbourne, Australia. The Freighter had been put up for disposal in early 2003, following the closure of the Airworld Collection at Wangaratta in Victoria, Australia in 2002. It had been earmarked for preservation in the UK, but sadly the cost of transportation seems to have detered the acquisition. Instead, the pristine 170 was left semi-dismantled, and could have been sold for scrap. There are no Bristol 170's in the UK, or Europe for that matter, and it in unlikely that one in this condition will become available again, so this missed opertunity as disappointed many people in the county of its birth.

Update: July 2004 - VH-ADL has now been delivered to Moorabbin, and work to re-assemble the aircraft will start soon.