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Canberra to the skies, Geoffrey de Havilland Story DVD, HAA SYMPOSIUM, Aviation Poetry evening 3rd N

Hello Joystickers,

Some Topics and an event this weekend.

On SATURDAY we will be supporting AEROBILITY at Blackbushe Airport.

Many ATCO's have arranged this "Big Pull" event where a Harvard is rope hauled along the taxyway by various groups competing to be the fastest pullers!

We of course will be conserving our energy for monitoring Pedal Plane pushing and Tomahawk flying instructing!

This is part of the Blackbushe Air Day, see you there!

Sack loads of runners


Click images to see webpage and video

Canberra WK163 arrives at Doncaster – watch the video of how it happened

By Friday lunchtime the GJD team were making final adjustments to the port wing, enabling the final connection bolts to be secured in position – the final part of a near 3 week process. Picture: Sam Scrimshaw.

Late on Friday afternoon, Canberra WK163 was finally put under cover for the first time in many years, after the superb work of GJD AeroTech and our own engineering team in facilitating the careful disassembly, transport and reassembly to bring here to Hangar 3 in Doncaster.

Our video maestro Neil Draper was on hand to record not only still images, but to position video cameras at both locations over the period of the work to enable us to bring you this quite stunning time lapse video of the complete move.

It really does give an insight to the huge skill sets that went into this move and the logistics involved.

Do please share with all your family and any friends who you think will be interested.

Memories from RAE Bedford

When I left the RAF as an aircraft engineer many years ago, I joined the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Bedford. Only a few months after I arrived, RAE Pershore closed under one of the Defence Reviews.

The first aircraft to be transferred to Bedford was WK163 and as I had a number of years working on Canberra aircraft in the RAF, I immediately volunteered to work on it.

Over the next few weeks several other Canberras arrived, mostly all were hybrids i.e. they were each made up from a number of different Mks.

So for the next 17 years I spent many happy hours servicing a variety of Canberras.

WK163 along with all the other aircraft were used as platforms testing a varied number of research projects. WK163 was used in the research and development of FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared Radar) and SLIR (Sideways Looking Infrared Radar) which eventually were fitted to the Tornado. It had a highly Modified bomb bay and nose to take the equipment and recording devices. Its colour scheme was the famous raspberry ripple. (Image courtesy of Mick Steers.)


Jess Myers

WK163 was taken out of public ownership by 1994, and spent the rest of that decade in private hands, spending some time on the display circuit before moving to her most recent owners in 2000. After a bird strike and the loss of one engine in 2007, she has remained grounded ever since. Purchasing the aircraft in May this year, the Vulcan to the Sky Trust recognises the valuable contribution WK163 made to British aviation.

Another rare image from 1957 as Mike Randrup and Walter Shirley prepare WK163 for the World Altitude Record attempt. Courtesy of Napier Power Heritage Trust.

English Electric Canberra WK163 is one of Britain’s most important jet-age aircraft. She spent most of her life playing a central role in the development of advanced propulsion technologies, followed by a period with the Royal Radar Establishment, at the heart of British scientific and engineering innovation.

In 1957, she shot into the headlines around the world when a prototype Napier Double Scorpion rocket motor fired her to 70,310ft and a new world altitude record.

“This one aircraft embodies so much that is remarkable about British courage and innovation in the Jet Age; qualities that she can continue to inspire in us all,” states chief executive of Vulcan to the Sky Trust, Dr. Robert Pleming.“The Trust has purchased this important aircraft and plans to restore and fly her for the British public, as we did with Vulcan XH558, with an education programme around her to inspire new generations of engineers and aviators.”

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