Monday, April 17, 2006

Bristol Freighter set for homecoming

In September 2004, this website reported on the last ever flight of a Bristol Freighter, when C-GYQS was delivered from Terrace, British Columbia, to Wetaskiwin, BC. It had been donated by Hawkair to the Reynolds-Alberta Museum, and its flight marked not only the last flight of a Freighter, but the last of any surviving UK-built Bristol aircraft. It now appears that this may not be its final flight, as it has been secured by Graham Kilsby, who wants to fly it from the West of Canada back to its birthplace in Bristol.

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

The aircraft was put up for auction, as Hawkair has gone into administration, and the freighter is still deemed as an asset. Preparations are now being made to bring the aircraft back to life, and prepare it for a 50-hour flight across the Atlantic. In order to achieve this, a fund has been set up to raise the £75,000 costs involved. There are no Freighters in Europe, and infact it is probably the only commercially successful British aircraft where there is no example preserved in the UK or Europe. Anyone wishing to donate to the fund should call +44 (0)117 962 1105 in the UK. Progress on this project will appear on this website when available.

Bristol Aero Collection prepares for Bolingbroke

The Bristol Aero Collection is preparing to receive a Bolingbroke from the USA later this year. The aircraft, RCAF 9048, has been stored in Southern California for over 30 years, mostly with the Military Aircraft Restoration Corporation at Chino. It is unrestored, and a restoration to display condition will commence once it arrives in the UK. 9048 has been donated to the BAC by Graham Kilsby, who runs the Bristol Heritage Collection in Tennessee, and started the Bristol Aero Collection in 1988. The aircraft is unusual in that unlike most surviving Bolingbrokes, it was not built as a trainer, and has a combat history patroling for both U-Boats on the East Coast and Japanese submarines on the West Coast of Canada and in Alaska. It is expected that it will be painted in the colours of 8 (BR) Squadron RCAF, with which it served from November 1941 to August 1943.