Sunday, September 25, 2005

Oakey Boxkite undergoes refurbishment

The Museum of Australian Army Flying at Oakey, QLD, has recently moved its Boxkite replica to Toowoomba for refurbishment. The aircraft was dismantled and transported to the Aerotec Queensland Pty. facility for a complete overhaul, including re-finishing the wood, and stripping and repainting the metal parts. When complete it will be returned to Oakey and reassembled, but not before the museums new exhibition hall is complete.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Kemble Britannia in period livery

Britannia XM496 has been painted in the RAF Transport Command livery that it carried during its military career. The port side was painted in June 2005, and unveiled at the Kemble Air Day later that month. The starboard side is due to be completed by the end of the year. The aircraft has also received a makeover inside, and is now fitted with a ten rows of period RAF seats, as well as new display boards.

Britannia XM496, shortly before it was towed to the Kemble Air Day arena.

The Britannia Aircraft Preservation Trust has now passed support for XM496 to the Bristol Britannia XM496 Preservation Society, who will continue to maintain the aircraft. The intention is still to bring the aircraft up to a state where it can taxi under its own steam, and will require a change of the number 2 engine.

Friday, April 01, 2005

New colours for New Zealand Brisfit

The New Zealand based Bristol F2B Fighter replica, ZK-JNU, has recently emerged in a new colour scheme. It took part in the 2005 Classic Fighters air show over the Easter weekend at Omaka, one of New Zealands major air displays. It has been repainted in the colours of No. 22 Squadron Royal Flying Corps, and marked with serial B1112 and coded F. 22 Squadron flew F2B's from August 1917 on the Western Front.

Bristol Fighter Replica B1112 at the Classic Fighters Show, Omaka. Courtesy of 'Turbo_NZ'.

Prior to the show, the Brisfit took part in a filmed re-enactment of a race between a Bristol Fighter and T.E.Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia") on a Brough Superior motorbike. The 14 mile race was written about in one of Lawrences own books, but had never before been re-created. The film was shown on large screens while the Fighter and Brough were performing at the show.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

New Beaufort project at Moorabbin

The Australian Aircraft Restoration Group, who run the Australian National Aviation Museum at Moorabbin, in Melbourne, Australia, have announced that they are about to start on a Bristol Beaufort restoration project. The Australian-built Beaufort will be built to static condition, and will go on display at the museum, which also has examples of the Bristol Beaufighter, Bristol Sycamore and Bristol Freighter.

The project is based on major components and parts from two Beauforts - A9-501 and A9-230. A9-501 was displayed at RAAF Gove for many years, but it was substantially damaged when an attempt to cut the wings off with an oxy-torch caused residual fuel in the tanks to explode. The forward fuselage was later restored by the Beaufort Restoration Group for the RAAF Gove museum. Although the museum website refers to A9-320, this is thought to actually be A9-230. A9-320 was converted to a Mk.IX Beaufort during WW2, reserialled A9-742, and subsequently scrapped, whereas the cockpit of A9-230 was acquired by The Beaufort Restoration Group from Mildura War Birds in 1985.

A9-501 being recovered in 1999 (courtesy of the Beaufort Restoration Group website)

The project also hopes to acquire the cockpit of A9-150, which has been restored by the Beaufort Restoration Group in Brisbane.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Progress at Duxford

The restoration of Blenheim G-BPIV following it accident in 2003, continues. In the latter half of 2004, the forward fuselage section was detached, and it now sits in front of the rear fuselage section. The centre wing section is currently being restored in Building 66, behind the main hangars. The teams unrestored Mark I Blenheim nose has been placed beside the Blenheim, and it has been suggested that the aircraft will fly with this nose fitted instead of the the Mark IV nose. The Mk.I nose had been converted into a car after World War 2, and was placed in on an Austin 7 chassis. It still requires a lot of attention, but the present restoration work gives an oppertune moment to fit it. The appearance of a Mark I Blenheim in the skies will be a very rare sight, as there are no airworthy or static Mk.I's anywhere in the world.

Blenheim G-BPIV at Duxford in October, with the Mk.I nose to the right, photo taken by Martin Claydon

Also at Duxford, The Fighter Collection have fitted their Bristol F2b Fighter (G-ACAA, "D-8084") with its Rolls Royce Falcon II engine, and it will hopefully fly again soon. Another Bristol Fighter has turned up at Duxford - this is G-AANM "D-7889", which belongs to the Historic Aircraft Collection. It is currently being stored here, but there are plans to get it in the air in 2005 for the first time.