Batch No.2 Feedback: GRUMMAN GOOSE: a few comments of surprise that a Goose had been based at White Waltham and especially with the ATA. In fact, over the years there have been numerous seaplane/floatplanes (most with wheels!) based at the airfield and I’ll be covering them in the future.
JIM MUSTY: some amusing anecdotal stories about Jim filtered back to me but most comments were about his “Groundhugger” which I featured. WEST LONDON AERO CLUB: still no feedback on the 1946 WLAC motif which is disappointing because I thought people would be interested in the early days of the club especially as I had traced such a early photo……probably of their first aircraft. Of course, I’m open to being proved wrong.
~~ BATCH No.3 ~~
Once again, continuing with the ATA theme if only because recently the subject of a very unusual White Waltham aircraft came up in conversation at the bar, namely the 4-engined Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor. Most people associate the Condor with the Luftwaffe’s North Atlantic campaign against British & Allied shipping…..and certainly not with “downtown” White Waltham.
If interested in the truly fascinating full history of the Condor type and, in particular, the convoluted story of G-AGAY, then please read:
“Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor” available from WWW.EUROPEANAIRLINES.NO Author Rob J M Mulder
…………..The BELATED DEPARTURE FROM WHITE WALTHAM OF XA459 FAIREY GANNET ECM.6
XA459 built as an AS.4 at Fairey’s Stockport factory. First Flew at Ringway on 29th December 1956 and delivered to RNAS Anthorn (near Carlisle) on 15th January 1957. To RNAS Lee-on-Solent on 15th December 1959 for conversion to ECM.6 variant and issued to 831 NAS at RNAS Culdrose on 2nd May 1961. Also served with 831 NAS at RAF Watton and on HMS Ark Royal & HMS Eagle. Later used by the School of Aircraft Handling at RNAS Culdrose. Sold to South Wales Aircraft Museum at Cardiff in November 1978 (arrived 4th April 1979): later to Cirencester owner in November 1990 and by January 2002 to a Lambourne/Membury owner. Following purchase by the owner of White Waltham airfield, it arrived at there on 5th November 2006 (see photo above) for restoration and display. As most will know, Fairey Aviation Ltd used White Waltham in the 1950s & 1960s to Flight Test Gannets built at their Hayes, Middx., factory.
Unfortunately little happened to it preservation-wise and it gradually deteriorated….and as mentioned in “A Fairey Cometh! A Fairey Goeth! (Nostalgia Photos “Batch No.1” 10th Sept) it remained, wings folded, lying between two hangars on the South side of the airfield until sold in 2019. At least three organisations c 2018 had expressed interest in the aircraft but the successful bidder was The Solway Aviation Museum (SAM) at Carlisle Airport and I’m grateful to the Chairman, Dougie Kerr, for information on the somewhat protracted move to Cumbria. Others who contributed information and photographs were John Baker, David Hanchet and Mike Grace.
The aircraft itself was in a somewhat forlorn state when SAM members arrived in late 2019 in order
to survey in detail what move preparatory work had to be done (Answer: a lot!) prior to the move North. Those from SAM directly involved were:- Dougie Kerr Chairman; Mark Moore (Engineering Director); Steve Crawley (Engineering) plus Raymond Andrew, Mike and Ian from Lawsons Haulage of Cockermouth, Cumbria.
04Feb20 - XA459 moved from South to North side of White Waltham for ease of access to the A4 and Motorway. The weather was poor and the airfield very muddy. Many white posts knocked down e.g. passing the WLAC Clubhouse.
10Feb20 - Early departure and stopped at Southwaite Services on the M6 for overnight stay. However, there was no police escort available on the 11th due to the severe flooding in the North of England.
12Feb20 - Finally departed at 0930hrs arriving later that day at Carlisle Airport.
18-19Feb20 - Museum members returned to White Waltham to repair & replace damaged white posts.
As Batch No.3 was being finalised the CoronaVirus hit the UK very hard and as we all know many of us are “housebound” tfn although the real stalwarts in the NHS and other Essential Services (like the Bin Men) are still at work in very difficult circumstances. They deserve our sincere “thanks”. For the sake of recording it for posterity I thought it relevant to mention it here.
One of the ramifications of it all is that airlines such as BRITISH AIRWAYS and EASYJET etc have had to lay up their fleets until better times,….whenever that is.
It also means, alas, that the CLEWSAIR pedal plane fleet is also “out of service” for the foreseeable future. Hence the formal notification from Mike Clews which follows:-
“Keep Safe” all of you.
Douglas A Rough
3rd April 2020
Batch No.4 scheduled for July 2020