Friday, September 30, 2011

Spitfire from the cockpit

Thanks to the retired Colonels (and no doubt Wing Commanders) of Tonbridge Wells' favourite paper, The Telegraph, you can see the pilot's view from the Spitfire I discussed in the previous post here.

Meantime, with background narration from Andy Saunders and John Romain, here's the Spitfire's flight.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Spitfire I P9374

Two images of early Spitfires at Duxford, 1939 (above) and 2011 (below). [BBC & Brian A Marshall.]

The newest, oldest flying Supermarine Spitfire. [Brian A Marshall]

Undoubtedly one of the most exciting aircraft restorations is the rebuild of Spitfire I P9374, the earliest configured Spitfire now flying. A great deal of interest has been shown on the early test flights (as yet, no public flying display) and it is clearly a symptom of the health and desire for authenticity that this rare Spitfire has been restored to as original condition as is possible; including awkward systems like the early 'wobble' handle for the undercarriage, as well as the ultra-rare 'bracket' type de Havilland airscrew.

As well as the 'chassis' pump on the right-hand wall (centre of the image) the single strap rudder pedals can be seen on the left, with the 'Supermarine' stamp. [BBC]

The rare and re-engineered de Havilland Bracket type airscrew. [BBC]

John Romain of Historic Flying Ltd, the restorers of this machine, referred to this aircraft in a BBC News audio slideshow programme (where many of these images come from) here in August 2010:

John Romain explaining the process in front of a Hispano Buchon. [BBC]

This BBC broadcast is a good quick insight into some of the detail of restoration. A recommended listen.

And as a guide to the level restorations are at in terms of recovery of very degraded airframes and simultaneous recognition of the achievement in accurate reconstruction, this Spitfire also sets an important benchmark.

As well as of warbird 'benchmark' interest, we must congratulate to John and the team, and not least the owner for funding such a remarkable project.

Here's a sequence of images of the aircraft 'beached' (via Spitfire expert Peter Arnold, and Andy Saunders - who is working on a book about the aircraft with Grub Street. Details of the book here):

Circa 1940, with two German soldiers in their travel postcard. [via Peter Arnold]

Sinking into the Calais sand. [Via Andy Saunders.]

Some of the remains after being disinterred. [Via Andy Saunders.]

Meanwhile, here's a couple of stunning images of this machine in action over Duxford, from Brian's blog here (thanks Brian!).


PS: Long discussions on the aircraft here on Key and here on WIX.

PPS: For a pilot's eye view, see the follow up post here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Airplanista Article

I recently assisted colleague Kathy Mexted with an article in a US aviation magazine, Airplanista, about flying (and its history) in Australia.

Head on over here to read more in the August issue - it's free. And Kathy's blog is here.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Wet 'Bou Signs Out

The DHC Caribou A4-152 retired to the RAAF Museum arrived with some ceremony on the 26 November 2009. Here are some photos from the day.

On taxi-in, with an arch provided by Point Cook CFA, and Rob Fox's Birddog, a fellow 'Vietnam Vet' in the foreground.

Pilot Squadron Leader Victoria Rookyard showers the crew with champagne.

While the traditional military dousing of the crew is carried out by RAAF Museum staff.

RAAF Caribou A4-152’s first pilot joins it's last crew - Flight Engineer Warrant Officers Rod Cairns and Peter Ryter; 38 Squadron’s Executive Officer, Squadron Leader Victoria Rookyard; -142’s first RAAF pilot, Des Lovett, and lastly, Co-pilot Squadron Leader Ross Benson.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Macchi Mc 72 - Aircrew

Following up on the current Aircrew feature in Aeroplane magazine for October 2011, here's a couple of the online items that can't be presented in print.

Perhaps the most important online offering is this link here which gives what is claimed to be the sound of the Mc 72 - a spine-tingling sound.  If you've read this far the link is just above.  Stop. Go back!

This video above from BomberGuy, has a good selection of period footage of the aircraft, pilot Francesco Agello, and engine, at 52 seconds after an intro of general still shots.

The surviving, record-breaking Mc 72 in the Italian air Force Museum. James Kightly.

And here's a link to the reference in the period issue of Popular Mechanics. For particular - and now odd-seeming - reasons, this magazine never mentioned manufacturer or trade names.

Emphasis on the propellers, but also how little frontal area the aircraft has. James Kightly.

The original team, pilot and aircraft.

The Fiat AS.6 engine:

And joint between the fore and aft halves:

[Aeroplane's monthly Aircrew feature is built around a specially commissioned central illustration by my artist colleague Ian Bott (his website here) while I write and compile it.]