Tuesday 8 June 2021

Bunch of Five


Thursday 22 May 2014

Usk - Sunday 18th May 2014 - Astir gliders

The airfield at Usk is a couple of miles to the north east of the town of Usk, Monmouthshire in south Wales.

The South Wales Gliding Club is based here with a number of two seat trainers plus some K8 single seaters too.

As with many gliding airfields a lot of the based gliders reside in metal glider trailers.

A quick stop mid morning on a beautiful early summers day found the club busy preparing for a days flying. In addition a pair of single seat Astir gliders were being prepared for flight beside the row of glider trailers.

G-DEOD is a Grob G102 Astir CS77 built in 1977 with c/n 1614. The Astir was a very succesful Club Standard glider with over 1,200 examples being built by Grob in Germany of which approx 250 were of the CS77 version. This example was originally registered on the BGA register as "BGA 2859" before becoming "G-DEOD" in June 2008.

G-DDKX is a Grob G102 Astir CS built in 1976 with c/n 1331 - the original production version of the G102, over 500 of this version were built.  This Astir wears the competition code "353" on the tail.

Even after nearly 40 years there are currently 115 examples of the Grob G102 Astir series gliders on the UK CAA aircraft register. 

Click here for a web link to the South Wales Gliding Club


Saturday 31 August 2013

Bickmarsh - 29th August 2013

Bickmarsh airfield is located just south of Bidford-on-Avon in Warickshire - I had only been here once before and that was back in 2002.

Brand new and still under final construction was Vans RV-8 G-XRVB - the owner was working on his aircraft and told me that he hoped to make the first flight within the next month or two - he's been working on this project for 9 years. There are currently 59 examples of the RV-8 registered in the UK.

Long term resident is Piper Pa-25-235 Pawnee G-BVYP - this is operated by the Bidford Gliding Club. This Pawnee was built in 1965 but didn't arrive in the UK until 1995 - since then it's always been based at Bickmarsh tugging gliders. By the end of 2012 this aircraft had flown over 4800 flight hours.

Older than the Pawnee is Luscombe 8E Silvaire Deluxe G-LUST - this example was built in 1947 ( 66 years ago ) . This classic aircraft came to the UK in 1989 from the USA and had previously flown as N2065B. The Luscombe 8 series is very popular here with 72 examples currently registered in the UK.

G-ATOI is an example of an early Piper Pa-28-140 Cherokee dating from 1966. It was imported new by CSE Aircraft Sales at Oxford-Kidlington and since then has operated with more than ten owners and has clocked up over 8100 flight hours. With over 140 Piper Pa-28-140 Cherokee currently on the UK register this example is perhaps the 5th oldest.


Sywell - LAA Rally - Friday 30th August 2013

I managed to attend the first day of this years LAA Rally at Sywell held over 30.8 - 1.9.  The weather was good with a strong breeze.

Lots of aircraft flew in and many pilots set up their overnight tents alongside their aircraft.

Arriving just for Friday was the excellent Travel Air Type R "Mystery Ship" replica G-TATR. This aircraft was built by Aero Antiques and arrived from Boscombe Down mid morning. Travel Air originally built 5 Type R air racers in the USA in the late 1920s. This replica is powered by a Lycoming R-680 engine. Not an easy aircraft for the pilot to taxy!

Link to more info about the Travel Air Type R

Another great aircraft at Sywell was the French built mini Mosquito F-PMOZ - the aircraft is a 3/4 scale replica and first flew in April 2011 after a 17 year build period by RRAA. The aircraft looks and sounds very good and is a fantastic example of a homebuilt project. F-PMOZ arrived in the UK for the first time in mid August at Humberside airport before departing on to RAF Cranwell. This Mosquito is painted to represent Mosquito FB VI PZ460 of 143 sqd coded "NE-K". This aircraft operated with the Banff Strike Wing in Scotland. PZ460 was lost in action on 15th January 1945 during an attack on shipping off the coast of Norway killing the French pilot Wing Commander Max Guedj and navigator Flight Lieutenant J F Langley. This replica is an excellent memorial to those men.

Link to official F-PMOZ website

Link to discussion and video about Mosquito replica F-PMOZ

Another interesting replica at the LAA Rally was the Bonsall Mustang replica G-BDWM. This aircraft was built in the late 1980s and was painted in a green and brown camo to represent RAF Mustang serial FB226 coded "MT-A". The aircraft appeared at the PFA Rally at Wroughton in July 1991. In March 1992 it suffered a loss of engine power shortly after take of from Netherthorpe airfield and made and emergency landing in a nearby field and nosed over. The aircraft was repainted in 2010 into a silver USAAF P-51 colour scheme with side code "LH-I"  - by 2011 the serial 414673 had been applied to the tail too.

Bonsall Mustang replica G-BDWM is now named "Rosie" although in 2011 it was named "Galloping Ghost". The CAA website shows the aircraft had flown 70 flight hours by 12.10.

Posing as a USMC with rockets this O-1E Bird Dog ( Cessna model 305 ) is registered as N134TT. This example was built in 1957 with Cessna construction number 24541 and delivered new directly to the French Army operating in Algeria. The aircraft was used for observation, liaison, and forward air control. By the mid 1980s the French had withdrawn this type from service ( some of the last French Army Bird Dogs operated from Baden-Baden in West Germany ) and this aircraft was sold onto the civil market as F-GFVE.  In 2004 it was registered as N134TT based in the UK.

Photo link to F-GFVE in 1990 in basic original French Army olive colours

Photo link to F-GFVE in 2003 in white/red USMC warbird scheme in the UK

Another former French military aircraft was Nord 3202B G-BIZK still painted in its former French Air Force colours as serial number 78. This tandem trainer was built in 1962 and came onto the UK civil aircraft register in 1990. The aircraft is powered by a POTEZ 4D34D engine.


Monday 26 August 2013

Hinton in the Hedges - 1st June 2013

I arrived here on a beautiful evening with plenty of activity still going on. Around the field were an interesting mix of types including ZK-JQK a long way from home in New Zealand.

ZK-JQK is a Pacific Aerospace 750XL c/n 118, a large single engine aircraft - this example was built in 2005 and has operated with Hinton Sky Diving in the UK for several summers. The aircraft is powered by a 750HP Pratt&Whitney PT6A-34 turboprop. This aircraft is currently listed "for sale" on the Pacific Aerospace website with approx 3,300 flight hours.

Link to Pacific Aerospace website

Looking very smart was Swiss registered Cessna 177B Cardinal HB-CWC, this machine was built in 1972 with some 4,100 flight hours. This aircraft was recently imported into the UK and had actually been registered as G-ZION a week earlier on 23.5.13 but as can be seen had yet to adopted its new registration letters. Currently 29 Cardinals registered in the UK of which six are 177B versions like this machine.

Also dating from 1972 is this WSK Antonov An-2 HA-ANG c/n 1G132-53 - this aircraft has had this registration since delivered new 41 years ago. It first arrived in the UK in 1998. HA-ANG departed back to Hungary three days after this photo was taken.


Sunday 12 May 2013

"M" Shed Museum - Bristol - Flying Flea

The "M" Shed Museum in Bristol city centre is located next to the Harbour beside two old cranes - recently refurbished the museum tells the story of Bristol. Part of the collection deals with local transport and includes Mignet HM.14 Pou Du Ciel ( Flying Flea ) G-AEHM.


This tiny French designed biplane aircraft was homebuilt by Henry James Dolman in the Staplehill district of Bristol during the mid 1930's. He gave this aircraft the name "Blue Finch". The aircraft was registered on 30th April 1936 and first flight took place at the old Whitchurch airfield ( now Hengrove Park ).  The "Flying Flea" design became popular with amateur builders but a series of fatal accidents saw the type withdrawn from use by the authorities  - this aircraft was struck off the aircraft register on 4th March 1939.

The aircraft was stored for many years and made a static appearance at an airshow at Hendon, London in 1951. The aircraft passed onto the Science Museum collection and for many years was on display at their reserve collection at Wroughton, Wiltshire before coming to Bristol in 2011.


Monday 6 May 2013

Popham - Microlight Trade Fair - Saturday 4th May 2013

The first day of the annual Popham Microlight Trade Fair had very mixed weather with low cloud and rain in the morning but clearing up to be bright and breezy in the afternoon.

This years show had a large number of gyrocopters both on exhibition and visiting.

Rotorsport the UK agents for Auto-Gyro brought two examples of the Cavalon gyrocopter - the type gained UK CAA Section T approval on 1st May 2013 - this example G-CHWM was flying demonstration flights and is the second to be registered in the UK and is based down in Devon.

In direct competition with the above Cavalon in the two seat enclosed side by side marketplace is the Magni M24C Orion  - G-CGRX c/n 24-10-6004 was the 600th gyro to be built by Magni ( small "600th" above the cockpit ) - delivered in 2010 it was based at Perranporth, Cornwall until April 2013 when it was sold to a new owner in the Bournemouth area. 

Busy giving trial flights was Calidus G-ULUL - this example was built in 2010 and originally registered as G-HTBT. It was re-registered as G-ULUL in February 2013 and now wears promotional titles for an Air Total fuel called UL91.

Magni Gyros were also exhibiting and offering demo flights in M16C Tandem Trainer G-JWNW  - this M16 was built in 2010 and is powered by a Rotax 914 turbo engine  - it is based near High Wycombe.

Among the visiting gyros were,

G-YYRO  Magni M16C Tandem Trainer c/n 16-10-5654 - there are currently 14 examples of the M16C registered in the UK - this sky blue Magni is based in Kent and was built in 2010 and is powered by the Rotax 914 turbo engine.

Visiting from Oxfordshire was Auto-Gyro MT-03 G-DADA - this MT-03 was built in 2008 and was originally based up in the north of England. Powered by a turbo Rotax 914 G-DADA had flown over 190 flight hours by December 2011. The MT-03 and later MTOsport are very popular in th UK with a combined total of 87 machines currently registered.

Another visitng Magni M16C was G-YRON - this flew in from nearby Fairoaks.

Among the aircraft exhibited was Aeropro Eurofox G-ETUG - this aircraft is the taildown tug variant fitted with a hook for towing gliders of up to 750kg. Over 400 Eurofox aircraft have been built since 1990 with 23 currently registered in the UK.

Link to Eurofox Aviation - UK dealer

The Popham Microlight Trade Fair attracts several hundred visiting aircraft among them are many flexwing trikes such as G-LSKY a P&M Aviation Pegasus Quik microlight. This example was built in 2005 and is currently based in Kent. Almost 400 Quik microlights are currently registered in the UK.


Wednesday 3 April 2013

Halfpenny Green - Fly In - 31st March 2013

G-BPUA is an EAA Biplane - this design originates from the Experimental Aircraft Association ( EAA ) of the USA. The project was to design and build a simple biplane that could then be offered as a homebuilt blueprint for pilots to build themselves at home.

The EAA Biplane first flew in 1960 and it is said that over 7,000 sets of plans have been sold since. The type was not common here in the UK and at the momnet there are four examples registered on the UK CAA aircraft register. This example was completed in Ireland in 1986 and was originally registered as EI-BBF. It was registered in the UK in March 1989 as G-BPUA and had flown just 285 hours by the end of 2011.  

Link to the EAA Biplane website

Another interesting aircraft at Halfpenny Green was Cassutt Racer IIIM G-CGSU. This very smart homebuilt sport aircraft was completed in 2010 and has flown 41 flight hours by 31.12.12. The aircraft is shown here being taxied out of the static exhibition area off on a local flight.

The pilots name is shown on the canopy. There are currently a dozen of these aircraft registered in the UK with about 6 believed to be airworthy at the moment - this example is the most recent to have been completed at is based at Halfpenny Green airfield. There was also a second Cassutt Racer present this being G-BFMF

G-BFMF was originally registered in 1978 and built by owner in Dorset, being completed circa 1982. In 2006 it was bought by an owner in West Sussex before moving onto to the West Midlands in early 2013 - the link below shows the same Cassutt Racer back in 1988 in a white/gold/orange colour scheme

Link to ABPIC photo of G-BFMF in 1988

Also resident at Halfpenny Green is TEAM Minimax 91 G-MYKZ with the name "Kilo Zulu" on the cowling - this aircraft was originally registered as G-BVAV for just one week in July 1993 before becoming G-MYKZ.

"Kilo Zulu" is powered by a Rotax 503 engine and has had several owners around the UK before coming to HalfPenny Green in 2010. By Dec 2011 this aircraft had flown just 69 flight hours.

Among the visiting aircraft was Savannah G-SAVY  - this aircraft was built in 2009 and is powered by a Jabiru engine

EV-97A Eurostar G-UZUP was built from a factory supplied kit - the Eurostar is a very popular aircraft in the UK with approx 165 examples registered as at April 2013. The aircraft is powered by a Rotax 912 engine and is based in the Sheffield area.


Sunday 2 September 2012

Perranporth - 1st September 2012

A holiday in Cornwall gave me a chance to re-visit the north Cornish coast and the airfield at Perranporth.

Outside by the fuel farm area was Pa-23 Aztec N485ED c/n 27-3864

This aircraft was built in 1968 and originally flew as N6567Y. The aircraft was imported into the UK and in September 1972 registered with the CAA as G-BAED. Over the years this aircraft operated with numerous air taxi operators including spells based in Essex, Scotland and the Isle of Man. In 2001 the aircraft was cancelled from the UK CAA aircraft register and registered as N485ED - although American registered the aircraft remained based in the UK. The current white/green colour scheme dates from its time painted in Manx Airlines colours, see link below

LINK to photo of G-BAED in Manx Airlines colours

Beside the hanger area was Reims Cessna FR 172F G-AWWU c/n 0111 - this Reims Rocket was built in 1969.

For the last 26 years this aircraft had been based at nearby St Just - Lands End airport operating pleasure and scenic flights around Cornwall. In Summer 2012 it was sold on to a new owner and is now resident at Perranporth.

Inside the hanger was flexwing microlight Pegasus Quantum G-CDIL c/n 8093.

G-CDIL was built in 2004 and over the past eight years this aircraft has had four different registered owners, all based in the South West in either Devon or Cornwall - the UK CAA aircraft register currently shows  over 330 examples of the Quantum as registered.

Reims Cessna F172H G-BGIU c/n 0620 was built in 1969 and originally operated in the Netherlands as PH-VIT - it arrived in the UK in 1979 being registered as G-BGIU in February 1979 and has been based in Cornwall since 2003.



Monday 4 July 2011

Fishburn, County Durham - 3.7.11

This was my first visit to the airfield at Fishburn, County Durham, also known as Morgansfield. The airfield was opened in 1985 by Tony Blair MP.

The airfield is located just to the west of Fishburn village - the club house offers tea and refreshments - a polite request to walk along the hangers was granted - thank you. The airfield has 9 small hangers with a further 17 modern "T" shaped individual hangers behind - I was told that approx 40 aircraft are resident.

G-RAYH - Zenair CH 701UL, this rugged STOL type aircraft was built in 2005 and is powered by a Jabiru engine.

G-CBJH - Aeroprakt A22 Foxbat - this kit built aircraft comes from the Aeroprakt factory in the Ukraine. Currently there are 35 Foxbat aircraft registered in the UK.

G-ATUI - Bolkow Bo 208C Junior c/n 611 was built 45 years ago in 1966 and has now flown over 6,500 flight hours.  Over 180 Junior aircraft were delivered before production ceased in 1971.

D-EKNA - Mooney M20F Executive c/n 670297 - this German registered Mooney was built in 1967 and looks in excellent condition and is a resident at Fishburn.

G-BSUX - Carlson Sparrow II - only two examples of this aircraft are currently registered in the UK and this is thought to be the only airworthy example at the moment. Built in 1991 the aircraft was originally powered by a Rotax 532 engine but now has a BMW R100 engine.

G-AYYX - Socata MS 880B Rallye Club - this aircraft was built in 1971 and has been put out to grass - now engineless it appears withdrawn from use among the long grass


Saturday 16 October 2010

Wookey Hole balloon launch - 16th October 2010

The Wookey Hole balloon launch takes place over a weekend in mid October in rural Somerset, England.

The photos below are from the launch on thee afternoon of Saturday 16th October, from approx 4.30pm - the wind conditions were variable with some strong gusts at times.

The meet featured several one man hopper type balloons - the pilot sits in a simple chair frame with the gas container right behind him - no comfy wicket basket!

First to launch was G-CCSI a Cameron Z-42 balloon in the colurs of IKEA.

Second to launch was a brand new Lindstrand Cloudhopper G-NLCH in the colours of Norwich Lighting Centre.

Third to depart was PH-ZSL a Sky 25-16 from The Netherlands - this balloon was previously G-BZSL and was sold to Holland in 2009.

Next up was G-CBIH a Cameron Z-31 in Cameron Balloons house colours.

Last to inflate was G-BOYO a Cameron V-20 - this hopper type balloon is shown here tethered - it might have flown later after my own departure.