Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Small World of DITC

Today's November 11. I generally don't set out to do anything in particular on this day, or Anzac day either, given that what I do most of the year involves a good degree of sharing military history. But I often end up doing something appropriate anyway as part of the normal run of things.

Today was a pretty special day. Volunteering at the RAAF Museum we had a tour with the DITC (Defence International Training Centre). The DITC's own definition of its role is "... to provide training and support that enhances Defence cooperation and cross cultural awareness between members of the Australian Defence Organisation and foreign militaries."

We get a remarkable range of officers from militaries literally all over the world (today from as close as Papua New Guinea, and as far as Holland, as well as Pakistan, China, India, Vietnam, and many more). We had army, navy, air force and one marines officer.

Experience was diverse. One officer had trained at the Empire Test Pilot's School, Boscombe Down, in the UK, one of the real elite pilot training schools, and had been mentored by one of the ETPS instructors who just happens to also be a pilot for The Shuttleworth Collection, thus someone I know, and today's 'small world' moment.

Pointing out the RAAF Museum's DHC Caribou on display, I was able to tell them that this actual aircraft, in its 45 years of service, had operated in several of their countries (from memory it had operated in Pakistan for the UN, Vietnam during the war there, and Papua New Guinea on many humane works).

If we can facilitate better understanding, experiences and co-operation between so many countries, as well as highlighting the cost of military history, then that is a good thing. There's a good chunk of 'lest we forget' here, but also works for building for a better future.

Friday, July 11, 2014

It's not all work...

For last Sunday's Interactive Flying Display at the RAAF Museum, I was lucky enough to get a flight down from closer to home thanks to a ride in Matt Henderson's CT-4. We were led in formation by Murray Wallace in his CT-4, with Barry Maclean as passenger.

This shot was taken as we ran in over RAAF Point Cook, with the museum's external-store aircraft* below, and the base water-tower and parade ground further up, the You-Yang hills on the horizon.

*L-R Bristol Freighter, C-130E, C-130H, HS 748 & DHC Caribou.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

That Grumman Duck Flying

I remember cutting this together on VHS video from the film, because it was one of the best bits of warbird stunt flying ever, and it was one of my all time favourites - the Grumman J2F Duck. Thanks to Roger Soupart for bringing this bit of online film to my - and now our - attention.

Many years after playing with it in analogue movie form, I came across a set of magnificent 35 mm slides from the filming of the Duck in Frank Tallman's hands at the British Film Archive library off Totenham Court Road, London. Despite eye-watering repro costs we ran a selection in 'Airside' a Warbirds Worldwide special issue. Great days.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy Canada Day!

Greetings to all my Canadian friends, far and wide. Have a great day!

'Hawk One' the Canadair Sabre operated by Vintage Wings of Canada seen at the Canadian Warplane Heritage's base of Hamilton, Ontario in 2012. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Spitfire R6915 returns to IWM Lambeth

A neat video showcasing one of the most historically-significant surviving Spitfires (Battle of Britain veteran R6915, in original later-war colours and configuration) on the occasion of its return to the Imperial War Museum, Lambeth, UK. I'm delighted to note it's narrated by Andy Robinson, IWM Conservator. Andy's one of the most highly knowledgeable authorities on aircraft conservation I've had the privilege of knowing.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Take 2: LVG C.VI

 After the retirement from active flying of the LVG C.VI in the UK*, the loss of the type from the air is to be replaced shortly by the magnificent work of the French Memorial Flight with the completion and forthcoming flight of their detailed example.  See more on their website, here.

[Images from the Memorial Flight blog.]

*Owned by the RAF Museum, LVG C.VI 71984, C/No 4503, was registered as G-AANJ and operated, flying, for many years by the Shuttleworth Collection, before the RAF Museum requested its return.  It is now stored at Cosford, awaiting restoration.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

"Australia Aids Coastal Watch" Rare 10 Sqn Sunderland footage

A neat newsreel segment from 1940 of 10 Squadron RAAF Short Sunderland Mk.I flying boats operating from Mount Batten, Plymouth, Devon - though both the unit and location are unnamed in the original film.


The 'briefing' at the start is risible, but the film is worthwhile for the (brief) segments of natural sound 1940 Australian accents at the start and end.