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ello, and welcome to your September edition of ‘FlyPast’. Unbelievably we’re in August, which means that not only is it more than half way through the year, but even the spectre of Christmas cannot be ignored. Luckily, the airshow season is in full swing to distract warbird enthusiasts from present-buying forays, and no event was more welcome this year than the always magnificent Flying Legends at Duxford. Suffice it to say, it was a great show with lots of unusual warbirds – even the British weather decided to play along and give up a beautiful cloudless sky. However, as most of you are aware, the Sunday event was slightly marred when Mustang TF-51D 44-84847 ‘Miss Velma’, for many years a resident at Duxford with the Fighter Collection, had to make an emergency landing in a nearby field. The accident is still under investigation, so we can’t comment on the cause, but what did grab my eye were the headlines in the popular papers the next day. Take this one, for example, from ‘The Sun’ – “Horror in the skies: Duxford on-lookers tell of moment out-of-control plane headed for them before hero pilot brought it down in a field”. The use of the word “horror” suggests all manner of scenarios, but the reality – a Mustang performing a safe and controlled dead-stick landing – certainly isn’t one of them. Such emotive statements were unnecessary. Note too, the phrase “out of control”. Had the aircraft been in such a condition, it would not have been bought down as skilfully as it was – exactly where the pilot wanted it to go. Perhaps the only positive term is the word “hero”, adding at least some good feeling to the hyperbole.
Deputy Editor Steve Beebee
Contributing Editor Ken Ellis
EDITORIAL: Editor – Chris Gilson Deputy Editor – Steve Beebee Contributing Editors - Ken Ellis and Dave Unwin Group Editor - Nigel Price General enquiries to: Editor’s Secretary: Johanna Buckley FlyPast, PO Box 100, Stamford, Lincs, PE9 1XQ, UK Tel: 01780 755131 Fax: 01780 757261 E-mail: [email protected]
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Aviation enthusiasts will probably be gnashing their teeth in annoyance at the sensationalist approach. This, however, seems to be the default position of the mainstream press in the post-Shoreham world where even a small accident is hyped to the point of scaremongering. Why not consider writing into a mainstream newspaper next time it publishes a story like this to express your distaste at the way it handles such news? I certainly will. Let’s try to spread the word that airshows are actually safe, and not a sea of accidents. One notable aircraft not at Duxford this year was the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Lancaster, which has just undergone a comprehensive overhaul by the Aircraft Restoration Company. The Duxford-based firm has done a splendid job, and the much-loved bomber looks magnificent in its new colours – read the story inside. Elsewhere in this issue, we have a special Cold War section, which features a fascinating article from Victor air electronics officer Mike Beer, and a gripping account about the time the USAF misplaced one of its giant, ten-engined B-36 Peacemaker bombers, which was thought to have an atomic weapon aboard. Until next month, savour the rest of the airshow season and enjoy your magazine.
Chris Gilson Editor
Below The Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum’s de Havilland Mosquito T.III TV959 has flown in the US. See ‘News’. FHCAM
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FlyPast (ISSN 0262-6950), September, is published monthly by Key Publishing Ltd, PO Box 100, Stamford, Lincs, PE9 1XQ, UK and distributed in the USA by UKP Worldwide, 3390 Rand Road, South Plainfield, NJ 07080. Periodicals postage paid at Rahway, NJ and at additional mailing offices. Periodicals Postage Paid at Piscataway, NJ and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to FlyPast, Key Publishing Ltd, C/O 3390 Rand Road, South Plainfield NJ 07080. DISTRIBUTED BY: Seymour Distribution Ltd, 2 Poultry Avenue, London, EC1A 9PP Tel: 020 7429 4000 Fax: 020 7429 4001 PRINTED BY: Warners (Midland) plc, The Maltings, Bourne, Lincs. PE10 9PH PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY: Key Publishing Ltd, address as Editorial
Printed in England ISSN 0262-6950
Britain’s top-selling aviation monthly
Former Lightning pilot Ian Black reflects on the career of aviation entrepreneur and jet devotee Mike Beachy Head.
Sqn Ldr Clive Rowley tells the story behind the choice of colours worn by the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Avro Lancaster.
Fighting back The Polish Air Force crews put up dogged opposition when their country was invaded by Germany. Robert Gretzyngier describes their gallantry.
Memorial Flight Lancaster
Valour over the Pacific Thomas Cleaver profiles US airman Hamilton ‘Mac’ McWhorter who became the first Grumman Hellcat ace.
Last to fall The ‘honour’ of dropping the last bombs on Berlin went to a 105 Squadron Mosquito crew, and not to 109 Squadron as first thought. Richard Stowers explains.
104 Norseman Darren Harbar goes air-to-air with Noorduyn Norseman 44-70515, the only flying survivor of the type in Europe.
120 Combat Lancer The F-111 had a disastrous operational debut in Vietnam. Warren E Thompson describes the revolutionary jet’s baptism by fire.
126 Berlin Express FlyPast examines North American P-51B Mustang ‘Berlin Express’ which recently flew to Britain from the US.
Contents September 2017
The RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Avro Lancaster PA474 flying in new markings. See feature beginning on page 32. JOHN DIBBS-THE PLANE PICTURE COMPANY This page, main image: An atmospheric evening view of Hawker Hurricane P3717 (G-HITT) at Old Warden, Bedfordshire. NEIL HUTCHINSON
24 Fighting back
88 Valour over the Pacific
120 Combat Lancer
COLD WAR WARRIORS A series of features profiling the men and machines of the Cold War, and analysing some of their frequently hazardous missions. 40 SOUTHEND DELTA
56 EJECT! EJECT!
46 BROKEN ARROW
58 DAYS OF THE VICTOR
Avro Vulcan B.2 XL426 has a new home at London Southend Airport. Steve Beebee spoke to its owners.
Dr John Clearwater reveals what happened to a B-36 Peacemaker that went missing in 1950 while carrying an atomic bomb.
Johnny Squier survived ejecting from a Lightning at Mach 1.7 and 40,000ft. Ken Ellis tells his story.
52 PUSHING TOO FAR
Andrew Brookes describes how, in less than an hour, the RAF lost a pilot and six Hawker Hunter jets.
Squadron Leader Mike Beer tells FlyPast what life was like as an Air Electronics Officer on the Handley Page Victor.
A report and pictures from Duxford’s spectacular Flying Legends Air Show.
A portfolio of rarely seen images showing Gloster Javelin jets in service with 46 Squadron in 1956.
108 From The Workshop
Darren Harbar visits Hawker Restorations at its new base and describes a trio of exciting Hurricane projects.
A forgotten base in East Yorkshire is being commemorated by local residents. Chris Gilson went along to the site at Carnaby.
North American Mustangs.
• Hurricane takes to the air • Sea Fury flies again in US • Arizona museum acquires Spitfire • US Mosquito to make public debut • First flight for Canadian Spitfire • Help needed to save Sea Vixen
Hawker Sea Fury
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