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Nostalgia Photographs - Batch No 2

December 9, 2019

Batch No.1 Feedback:     GRUMMAN AVENGER   The aircraft in the background is a Grumman Hellcat one of a number of British & American types involved in developing the very “hush hush” (at the time) Malcolm Perspex cockpit hood of which more about at a later date.  AVRO ANSON G-ANWW The aircraft crashed on 8th July 1958 at Maidenhead Thicket near the junction of the old A423 and Pinkneys Lane.  The pilot, Jimmy Hazard, (unfortunate surname) sustained serious injuries including a fractured skull; broken pelvis; broken legs and a broken arm.  He made a full recovery and went on to fly Viscounts for British Eagle. WEST LONDON AERO CLUB motif:  when did the WLAC 1946 logo change from……………

Batch No.1 Feedback:     GRUMMAN AVENGER   The aircraft in the background is a Grumman Hellcat one of a number of British & American types involved in developing the very “hush hush” (at the time) Malcolm Perspex cockpit hood of which more about at a later date.  AVRO ANSON G-ANWW The aircraft crashed on 8th July 1958 at Maidenhead Thicket near the junction of the old A423 and Pinkneys Lane.  The pilot, Jimmy Hazard, (unfortunate surname) sustained serious injuries including a fractured skull; broken pelvis; broken legs and a broken arm.  He made a full recovery and went on to fly Viscounts for British Eagle. WEST LONDON AERO CLUB motif:  when did the WLAC 1946 logo change from……………

at White Waltham with HQ Flight.  It was MV993 a Grumman G-21A Goose amphibian (formerly owned by Lord Beaverbrook as G-AFKJ) and used to transport ATA Ferry Pilots with “ Flying Boat Ratings” (eg Short Sunderlands and Catalinas) to flying boat bases throughout the UK e.g. Oban in the Western Isles and Sullom Voe in the Shetland Islands or to manufacturers like Blackburn’s at Dumbarton near Glasgow to collect new-build Sunderlands to ferry them to Squadrons or Maintenance Units like Wig Bay near Stranraer or Pembroke Dock in West Wales.

 

Mention having been made of the Consolidated Catalina/Canso:  this type also visited White Waltham in 2011 and out of the goodness of my heart I bought the late Jim Musty a Raffle Ticket.   Needless to say the b.gg.r  won and I “cussed” him under my breath during his flight.   He did buy me an ice cream…. Grrr!

Staying on a flying boat/seaplane theme:  VH-OMS, a beautifully sleek Russian-built Chaika L-65 SeaBear seaplane, arrived at White Waltham en-route to Melbourne, Australia.   It was being flown by Michael Smith to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the first flight to Australia by Ross & Keith Smith in 1919.   It arrived at White Waltham on 17th November 2019 and departed there on the 19th for Lyon, France.  By 6th December it was in Surabaya on the Indonesian island of Java and due to arrive in Darwin on 10th December.   According to Mike Grace it has the wings & engines of an L-45 and the longer body of an L-72.

Although reportedly a rather tetchy character, Henri Mignet and his HM.14 Flying Flea/Pou-du-Ciel type designs seem to be having a bit of a reincarnation and influencing light aircraft aerodynamics and engine developments.   As I’m sure all of you know his legendry Flying Flea was all the rage with UK amateur aeroplane constructors in the 1930s.   The first one flew on 19th September 1933 and goodness knows how many were built; half-built or involved in nasty prangs.  

A more local White Waltham character with a modicum of tetchiness was Jim “Mr Grumpy/Bah! Humbug” Musty.   He was a very good friend of mine and my family and it is timely to remember that he died 6 years ago on 15th December 2013.  Sobering isn’t it?

 

As everybody knows, Jim was well into aircraft reconstruction and restoration and in addition to building a Turbulent (G-BFXG) he also restored in 2006 a Pou-du-Ciel….Yep! a 1935 Flying Flea…. supposedly for static display by the LAA at their potential new HQ at Turweston.  However, for various reasons it ended up on display with the Real Aeroplane Company at Breighton….where it is now.

 

In the last few days I came across the above photo and realised how similar it was to the RH photo and its relevance to Jim’s “The Fleeing Fly”.  Jim wanted to try out the Scott Squirrel engine and prop.  So he “adapted” his Austin 7 to accommodate his ideas,   It made one helluva racket and his new neighbour looked over the fence and saw this weird creation with Jim plus flying helmet and goggles.  The panic-stricken neighbour gulped then vanished ne’er to be seen again.  The finished Pou-du-Ciel is illustrated below.

To finish off Batch No.2, we adopt a helicopter theme.   On the North side of White Waltham aerodrome there used to be a very large hangar used for Fairey Rotodyne flight testing and development.  With the Government withdrawal of enthusiasm for the Rotodyne, the hangar in the late 1950s & 1960s+ was used for pre-delivery flight testing of Westland Scout AH.1s for the British Army and Westland Wasp HAS.1 anti-submarine helicopters for the small-size ships of the Royal Navy.    This came about with the merger of Fairey & Westland Helicopters Ltd in 1960, The Scouts & Wasps were constructed in the old Fairey factory in Hayes. Middx. and transported by road to White Waltham for final fitting out and delivery.

The above photograph taken in 1963 shows at least 16 Scout AH.1s (incl. XP891) and one Wasp HAS.1.  Towards the end of Scout & Wasp production the helicopters were taken direct to Westland’s at Yeovil.

The big flight test hangar at White Waltham was demolished when (?) late 1980s (?).

 

This concludes Batch No.2 and hopefully you’ve found them of interest.   If you can update, correct or expand on any aspect please contact me by ‘E’ at:-

 

                                   douglasrough@btopenworld.com

 

Aye,

 

Douglas A  Rough

 

8th December 2019

 

Batch No.3 scheduled for February 2020

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© Mike Ashfield for the Joystick Club

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