Sunday, June 10, 2007

Restoration of Finnish Blenheim starts

Restoration work on Blenheim Mk.IV BL-200, the sole surviving 'true' Bristol Blenheim, has started in Finland. The aircraft has been in storage at Tikkakoski in Finland, but spent many decades on display at the main gate there and in other museums. Work started on 18th May 2007, with a paint strip and preparation work. On completion, the aircraft will be housed in a dedicated building at Keski-Suomen Ilmailumuseo (Aviation Museum of Central Finland).

55 Blenheim Mk.Is and IVs were assembled in Finland by Valtion Lentokonetehdas at Tampere, using many components from Yugoslavia. BL-200 was built in 1944, and flew on in peace time doing survey work. It was withdrawn in 1956, making it one of the last 'true' Blenheims to fly. Several present-day aircraft have been painted up or structurally modified to become Blenheims, but these are infact Canadian-built Fairchild Bolingbrokes, a licence built Blenheim with a few home-grown differences.

Blenheim BL-200 under restoration -

The restoration project has its own internet Blog to show progress. It is in Finnish, but still worth a look even if you don't know the language! -

Pima Bolingbroke unveiled

The Pima Air and Space Museum near Tucson, Arizona has unveiled is newly restored Bolingbroke. The aircraft, formerly stored in a compound at Chino, California, has been rebuilt and painted up as a Blenheim Mark IV, in a 1941-era desert camouflage. The Bolingbroke was one of three acquired by David Tallichet around 1973, and moved from Canada to California. For many years it was stored fully assembled in the MARC compound at Chino, stripped of paint. In 2004 the Pima Museum made a deal to acquire a number of unrestored airframes from David Tallichet, including a rare A-20 Havoc.

The Bolingbroke was rolled out on 15th May 2007 in North Africa Western Desert camouflage. It represents an RAF Bristol Blenheim Mark IV, serial Z9592, although structurally the aircraft is still a Canadian-built Bolingbroke. It is thought that this aircraft was originally RCAF 10076.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Repaint for Cosford Brit

Following the completion of the Cold War building at Cosford, work is now starting on other exhibits. Scaffolding has been erected around Britannia G-AOVF, which was repainted in BOAC colours shortly after its arrival in 1984. It will be repainted in Royal Air Force colours, even though this aircraft never actually saw service with the RAF. Hopefully the work will restore some of the corrosion on the aircraft, which has been outside for 23 years. Unfortunately the Brit was not selected to go indoors during the recent reshuffle, and the restoration work will hopefully ensure her survival for a few more years.