Friday, January 13, 2006

Shuttleworth M1C to return to the air in 2006

Following its mid-air engine failure in 2002, the Shuttleworth Trusts Bristol M1C has been repaired and should be flying again in the Spring. The monoplanes Le Rhone rotary engine had thrown a con-rod, severely damaging the engine, but this has now been rebuilt. It was ground tested during the summer months, but excessive vibration was apparent. This was tracked down to unbalanced cylinders, which have now been re-balanced. Engine runs were performed during the Autumn Air Show on 2nd October 2005, but other minor problems prevented a take off.

Rockcliffe Beaufighter goes under cover

In November 2005, the Canadian Aviation Museum at Rockcliffe, Ottowa, completed their new storage hangar, and the entire collection including the Beaufighter is now under cover. The aircraft had been stored outside since its arrival in 1969, although its dilapidated appearance had more to do with the state it arrived in than the Canadian weather. Contoversy surrounded the Beaufighter when it was acquired, as the museum were expecting a restored aircraft in exchange for the Bristol Bolingbroke sent to the RAF Museum. Now that the aircraft is inside, it is hoped that restoration work will start soon.

Home needed for Britannia

Over the winter months the Bristol Aero Collection at Kemble has been moving from its home of 10 years to another hangar on the Kemble airfield. This has resulted in a reduction in floor space, and the collection has been rationalised. Bristol Britannia G-ANCF has been excluded from the move, as the dismantled fuselage takes up a lot of space. The airliner has been on loan from the Britannia Aircraft Preservation Trust, and will be returned. This unfortunately leaves the Britannia without a home, and the BAPT are actively seeking a new location to store or display the aircraft.

'Charlie Fox' was dismantled at Manston in the late 1980's, and it was soon earmarked for the Bristol Aero Collection. The intention was to not reassemble the aircraft until a permanent museum was built at Filton. The front and rear fuselage sections had resided at the back of the BAC hangar. The nose of Britannia G-ALRX will be moved to the new hangar, and the complete Britannia, XM496, will remain where it is under the care of the Bristol Britannia XM496 Preservation Society.