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Topics - PaulH2015

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Engineering / Geoffrey Wellum
« on: July 20, 2018, 11:27:58 AM »
Died on Wednesday shortly before his 97th birthday.  As well as being one of the heroes of the Battle of Britain - the youngest pilot, and the defence of Malta, he had a great way with words.  My wife bought me his memoir First Light some years ago, I simply couldn't put it down, and have re-read it several times since.  His description of searching for a Bomber over the North Sea in almost zero visibility, and being guided by radar back to base at night at the very edge of radio range, and flying off a carrier at the very limit of what was possible are simply astonishing.  But by far the most evocative section for me is the description of his first flight in a Spitfire.  That was what started me looking into 2-seat Spitfires, before 'paying passengers' were accepted, which seemed an impossible dream.  But now it's a reality, and with good weather and serviceability, I should be getting mine next week.

Of the many obituaries online The Independant's is one of the better ones it includes sections of an interview he gave them when his book was published in 2002 -

Even if you have seen the BBC film of the same name (also on YouTube), I can't recommend the book highly enough.

Aviation Waffle / Wellesbourne and XM655
« on: July 02, 2018, 03:17:15 PM »
VTTS Newsletter 29th July:

On Monday this week Judge Richard Hayden Williams has ruled in favour of the airfield owners over the dispute associated with ending of current tenancies. In an effort to secure their futures at the site, businesses had applied to extend their leases at the airfield, but Monday’s ruling stated that new leases will not be issued

Vulcan XM655 is maintained by the 655 Maintenance and Preservation Group. The Airfield owns XM655. 655 MaPS are only custodians and thus are reluctant to comment given the current situation.

The landlord, Littler Investments, have stated that they wish to work with the current tenants to enable them to relocate before the three month deadline of 15th October this year.

What chance relocating XM655, I wonder!

Reports elsewhere of a court case planned for 1st May 2018, but nothing else I have found on an outcome.

Aviation Waffle / Bill Ramsey and XH558
« on: April 25, 2018, 04:51:50 PM »
Came across this brilliant interview and photos on the Mosquito site:

Apologies if it has been posted before.

Engineering / Irony?
« on: April 17, 2018, 04:40:45 PM »
Polaris-equipped submarines led to the demise of the V-Force as they can skulk about out of sight.  But in the recent attack on Syria HMS Astute was apparently unable to launch any missiles for fear of revealing its position and aircraft were used instead.

A brief glimpse in the opening minutes, flying overhead, in anti-flash white, with very large 'XH558' under each wing.  One comment elsewhere that it was a large RC model, although videos of that (those?) don't have the designation under the wings.

Aviation Waffle / Those were the days ...
« on: August 06, 2016, 09:19:33 AM »
Eighteen types on the ground or in the flypast plus another twelve not referenced, all in service in 1976 and all bar one British designed and built (E&OE).  Aircraft start at 2:30.

Aviation Waffle / Wellesbourne and XM655
« on: July 15, 2016, 04:30:27 PM »
Stratford-on-Avon Council have published details of modifications to their adopted core strategy document and the upshot for Wellesbourne is:

"Retain and support the enhancement of the established flying functions and aviation related
facilities at Wellesbourne Airfield. "

Book / Film / TV Reviews / Reunion of Giants
« on: March 16, 2016, 08:56:22 AM »
Just watched this (bought from VTTC), without doubt the finest aircraft DVD we have ever seen.  Straight into the video, no menu with free bits, scene selection or anything else, well over an hour of TV quality documentary.  Wonderful, and brought back many memories of that tour.

Aviation Waffle / Eric 'Winkle' Brown takes his last flight
« on: February 23, 2016, 03:50:39 PM »

The finest pilot the world ever saw.

XH558 Photo and Video Channel / Wellesbourne 11th October
« on: October 14, 2015, 08:38:49 AM »
With the crowd fence as close as it is to the runway and two low passes and a circuit we were as close to XH558 in the air as we have ever been.

On her first approach we heard someone nearby answer his phone with "She's here now" and then "I'm trying to film her and talk to you at the same time" which raised a chuckle round him.  Then he said "And the're all laughing at me!"

A couple of thousand or more on our side of the runway as well as many more clustered round XM655 and the roads on the other side.  All for 'just' 2 minutes - and what a glorious but sad two minutes.  I still can't get my head round the sheer number and variety of people who hold 558 in such awe. 

As Sean Maffet had warned the display was rather far away compared to the Cold War Tour last year due to post-Shoreham restrictions, but those of us at the top of the mound had an almost uninterrupted view albeit against a hazy late afternoon sun.  I decided to film the arrival but watch the display, and my daughter unbeknown to me had decided to film the departure (wielding two cameras), put together at
You could have heard a pin drop for the arrival, and for the departure almost everyone watched until XH558 had vanished into the distance.  The emotion was very obvious from those around us, and particularly in Sean Maffett's voice.  It was really nice that Sean received a spontaneous and prolonged ovation when he stepped out of the commentary box at the end.  He and Dr Robert Pleming were so approachable, chatting to people and signing memorabilia, it was an honour to add one more voice thanking Dr Pleming for all his hard work in giving us eight more years, and Sean for his commentaries.  That thanks is extended to the aircrew, the maintenance crew, and all the back-room girls and boys who have given so much pleasure to so many.  Finally Dr Pleming discussed how the VTTS model could be used to get other classic British aircraft back into the air.  He mentioned the Mosquito in particular, but said 'no chance' for Concorde or the Lightning.

Engineering / Fuel leak
« on: September 16, 2015, 08:48:03 AM »
Thanks for the newsletter info about last weekends happenings, as someone with two 40-year-old classic cars it's always interesting to hear techie stuff like this.

I had already been wondering just how the fuel indication system worked on the Vulcan.  I can't imagine a float as typically used on cars, especially with 14 tanks.  It is pressure?  Or volume used with the gauges having been programmed with the volume loaded?  Or something else?

XH558 Photo and Video Channel / Majestic!
« on: July 19, 2015, 03:55:35 PM »
A superb display on Saturday following a spectacular take-off!  An excellent day all round (apart from listening to the first 90 minutes of the displays on the radio ...)

(Why is what attachments this finally posts so random?)

XH558 Photo and Video Channel / Thank you, Vulcan to the Sky ...
« on: June 29, 2015, 09:12:20 AM »
... for a fantastic weekend of appearances.  We were at Wellesbourne so quite early in the flight and the pilot apologised for the limited display, but it was still great to see and hear.

Engineering / Weekends away
« on: June 28, 2015, 10:04:01 AM »
For events like Fairford where the Vulcan is there over several days, taking off and landing, does she stay overnight?  Or go back home?  If staying overnight how many of Taff and co have to be there for the pre-flight checks, fuelling and starting procedures?  Also do you have to take your own starting equipment with you, or is there suitable kit on site?

And a supplementary flight crew related rather than engineering.  Last weekend I noticed (but didn't get the opportunity to enquire) that Bill Ramsey and Martin Withers up front were wearing what looked like leg straps under their knees, but Phil Davies in the rear cockpit wasn't.  Are they something to do with ejection procedures?  Or just to stop things falling through holes in pockets onto the floor?


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