rob237

Avro Vulcan prototype

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Whilst recently driving past the Newark Air Museum at Winthorpe, and seeing their Avro Vulcan on display there, I was reminded of the time in the 1950’s that the prototype Vulcan VX770 was an almost daily sight in the Nottingham skies, until the spectacle was ended in such tragic circumstances.

It flew from the Rolls-Royce plant at the site of the former RAF Hucknall airfield on Watnall Road and was used as a flying test-bed for their new Conway engine, which became a precursor to the Concorde power plant.

From the vantage point of my desk in the NCB’s Bestwood Colliery offices it was sometimes an alarming experience to watch the giant white bomber, seemingly, almost clip the nearby village Clock Tower upon its descent to the Hucknall runway. It’s ‘touch and go’ takeoffs from the airfield could often be heard as far away as Sherwood and Woodthorpe!

Certain reservations were sometimes expressed that, due to the experimental nature of the flights, why it was permitted to regularly over-fly densely populated areas of a large City on its low anti-clockwise circuits?

These doubts came home to roost when, in September 1958, it disintegrated in mid-air – due to metal fatigue imposed by the four ultra powerful Conway’s – whilst approaching RAF Syerston, between Bingham and Newark, to do display passes at their annual Air Show.

The onboard Rolls-Royce civilian crew were all killed, as were several Air Cadets on the ground. The unfortunate young lads were acting as stewards at the show and were taking a break in an airfield Portakabin, which was totally destroyed by the falling Vulcan debris.

Anyone else have any memories of this episode from the late 50’s?

Cheers

Robt P.

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Hi Rob..

The last time I ever saw the Vulcan was during the early seventies whilst on my way to the east coast, it was either taking off or landing at RAF Cranwell.. a very imposing sight!

and whilst we mention aircraft...

during the early sixties I was a member of 138 sq ATC and I recall our hq at Trent Lane being home at the time to a dismantled jet Vampire, the history of which, and how it got there I have no idea.. the hq has now been long gone and the Vampire probably sold for scrap, but a few years ago I recall Anchor Surplus at Ripley having a Vampire on display . I wonder, could this be one and the same?

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Hi Rob..

and whilst we mention aircraft...

during the early sixties I was a member of 138 sq ATC and  I recall our hq at Trent Lane being home at the time to a dismantled jet Vampire, the history of which, and how it got there I have no idea.. the hq has now been long gone and the Vampire probably sold for scrap, but a few years ago I recall Anchor Surplus at Ripley having a Vampire on display  . I wonder, could this be one and the same?

Link to an Anchor Supplies Vampire here:

http://www.anchorsupplies.com/rippic8.htm

Although no indication of their acquisition source!

Their final paragraph on the page seems to infer that they have had several....

Cheers

Robt P.

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It certainly seems like there are a plethora of the beasties..

I wonder what kind of price they were asking for those? one would look very nice on my back garden!

it also begs the question of why there is so much surplus? .. is it just obsolete equipment? .. or is it maybe the wobbly pen syndrome?

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I remember the Spitfire that the test pilot at RR Hucknall used to take for a spin. Being next door at the NCB Hucknall number 1 pit training centre, we used to watch him when ever we were outside! That was in the early 60's.

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I remember the Spitfire that the test pilot at RR Hucknall used to take for a spin. Being next door at the NCB Hucknall number 1 pit training centre, we used to watch him when ever we were outside! That was in the early 60's.

That would be Squadron-Leader Jeffrey Quill, an ex RAF Battle of Britain pilot.

He lived for some years on Papplewick Lane.

His R-R test pilot predecessor - whose name escapes me - had died in the aforementioned Syerston Vulcan disaster.

Cheers

Robt P.

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there's often an unannounced Spitfire fly around over our place here in Ilkeston during the summertime, always a splendid sight to see.. and last year we had the Lancaster fly over on it's way to Stanley Common on a memorial mission..

it came by our house very low, and the pilot and turret gunner were visible.. by the time I'd gone indoors to get the camera it had gained height and was returning home.

at least I got SOME shots.

post-13-1135719151_thumb.jpg

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"..there's often an unannounced Spitfire fly around over our place here in Ilkeston during the summertime, always a splendid sight to see.."

A Spitfire that quite often turns up locally - usually midweek - is flown by Carolyn Grace whilst doing her practice/currency flights from Duxford, Cambs.

She flies the plane in memory of her late husband, who was responsible for its restoration to flying condition.

Her interesting website is at:

http://www.ml407.co.uk/

Cheers

Robt P.

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Yes, it could indeed be Carolyn.. I recall a program about her on the tv a couple of years ago recounting the history of the aircraft and herself.. it shown her in the process of flying the two seater whilst training a couple of young pilots.. they were in competition with each other as to who flew the Spitfire the best, the outcome of which, was a wide beaming smile from one, in direct contrast to a mere smile from the other.

Let's hope the new year brings more sightings, especially of the trio Spitfire, Lancaster, and Hurricane.. on checking out the B.O.B memorial flight they have nothing planned as yet..

SO, there's hope yet of an Ilkeston flyover!

http://www.raf.mod.uk/bbmf/bbmfhome.html

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Is there anything more stirring than the sound of the Merlin engine? If I hear it I'm straight into the garden to catch a sight of the Lancaster/Spitfire in question.

Chocks away,

Bamber

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I can remember as a small child my father taking me to an air display at Syston, it was here the vulcan crashed - it's one of those things you can always remember!

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I can remember as a small child my father taking me to an air display at Syston, it was here the vulcan crashed - it's one of those things you can always remember!

To those with an interest in the Mighty Vulcan, this link is full of other links to numerous Vulcan sites:

http://www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk/vu...references.html

Below is a picture of the ill-fated VX770 landing at Farnborough, 1953.

Cheers

Robt P.

post-13-1137329366.jpg

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I remember the Vulcan coming over our house all the time, as a kid. I lived on Amesbury Circus, obviously in the flight path of this plane and many others. I also remembering it crashing, and going out with my dad and eldest brother to look at the site. Brother worked for Rolls Royce, Hucknall for almost 40 years before taking early retirement, so he and my dad went to every airshow going, me too most of the time. We often went to the American airbases for their shows. Brother has written books, articles for magazines, and often gives talks, all on Rolls Royce, its planes and engines. He did a 6 yr apprenticeship as a coppersmith there in his youth. I remember hearing the test beds from our house.

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my dad used to tell me about when they used to test the engens untill they fall to bits and my dad said you could here that in calverton. that may be a lie ( he dose tell storys )

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You do your Dad a disservice....

Calverton and points beyond, I'd suggest.

Eventually, after much complaint and even editorials in the Hucknall Dispatch, RR revealed when the tests would take place - it could be most alarming on 'start up'.

Also enabled local housewives to hang out the washing without the chance of it being tainted with airborne kerosene!

BTW, the last flying Vulcan which was sold by the RAF in 1993 - and hasn't flown since - will, partly due to a £2m lottery grant for major rebuiding, be flying again in July/August from Bruntingthorpe, Leics.

Cheers

Robt P.

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Did your mum ever pass the comment that if you could hear the trains going by at Aspley then it was not going to rain, or was that something to do with RR and their test beds?

Could be something to do with the fact I had a very strange Mum, I suppose...

Ann

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Rob,

Just heard today the Vulcan will have a 1/2 hour test flight at Bruntingthorpe towards the end of Feb 07, She will also head the red arrows above the Mall and over Buck house sometime in June to celebrate 25 years since Falklands conflict. Then a full blown flying display at Waddington this year, According to info recieved from reliable source

Cheers

Roger

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Yes, I've also heard the same....

Apparently Sq Ldr Dave Thomas, the long time time Vulcan display pilot, will again be in the pilot's seat.

Also, Sq Ldr Martin Withers - who flew a Vulcan (now RAF Waddington's

'gate guardian) on the famous 18 hour round flight to bomb the runway at Port Stanley is also on the pilot rota....

Read all about it;

http://www.tvoc.co.uk/default.asp

Cheers

Robt P.

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Hi Rob,

I live about 5 miles from Waddington airfield, so see their Vulcan most weekends, but can't wait to see one flying again. On airshow days the planes usually stack up over my place so I get a good view anyway. but this year I will secure all windows and roof tiles just in case Vulcan does a few circuits overhead, Can't wait.

Cheers

Roger

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I lived in Arnold until 1957 and remember Spitfires flying over - but also sonic booms from aircraft breaking the sound barrier. I assume it was due to the proximity of Hucknall and RR doing jet engine development work.

The only other flying Lancaster is owned by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ontario. I have seen it fly twice - and it is amazing. The sound of four Merlin engines makes your hair stand on-end. We often see Spitfires and Mustangs here as they fly into the museum at one of the Detroit airports. There are now a lot of Spits flying in the states - amazing airplanes!

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Was the Merlin a Rolls Royce engine?

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....but also sonic booms from aircraft breaking the sound barrier.  I assume it was due to the proximity of Hucknall and RR doing jet engine development work.....

Sorry..........can't understand that..

Sonic booms were never permitted over populated areas of the UK!

RR Hucknall work was either static or very sub-sonic in the Vulcan flying test bed...

Cheers

Robt P.

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Ayup Mick

Yes the merlin certainly was by Rolls Royce, I think there were about 20 marks of the type and good examples can be seen at RAF Conningsby Lincolnshire in their Spitfires, Hurricanes and the Lancaster, The place is well worth the three quid entry fee, and a tour guide thrown in

Rog

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I visited the Head office of Rolls Royce the other Day.

They have a fantastic Stained glass window Showing a Spitfire pilot and an Airscrew, above a Wartime RR factory.

Picture on the Web?

Perhaps.

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.......and an Airscrew......

'Mile High Club'? smile2

Cheers

Robt P.

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