Category: Aircraft

P.1127 on Ark Royal – story behind the image

Bill Bedford and P.1127 XP831 on the deck of HMS Ark Royal

February 3rd 1963. Here is XP831 on the deck of HMS Ark Royal after Hawker Test Pilot Bill Bedford had completed the deck landing. This was the first ever vertical landing of a fixed wing aircraft on an aircraft carrier and the last of significant milestones in the proving the prototype’s potential. 3 months later XP831 would crash at the Paris Airshow.

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Sea Harrier – story behind the image

XZ450 Sea Harrier at Dunsfold August 1978

It was late in a sunny warm Sunday afternoon in August 1978.

XZ450 just at start up for the first Sea Harrier flight at Dunsfold. the photo was taken by Dunsfold Photographic Dept. John Farley is in the cockpit, Trevor Davies is sitting on the ground and I’m standing with the cine camera.

Dick Poole, formerly of Dunsfold Flight Test Department

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Avro 707B

Avro 707B VX790 c1953 – This second prototype was painted bright blue.

The Avro 707, was the first British aircraft with a delta-wing – a research aircraft to prove the concept of delta wings for the 3 times as large Avro Vulcan that was to follow.

The first Type 707 aircraft (serial VX784) made its maiden flight on 4 September 1949 at Boscombe Down. Tragically, test pilot Eric Esler lost control of the aircraft at low speed on 31st September and fatally crashed near Blackbushe.

The loss of the first prototype resulted in work on the second Type 707 aircraft being suspended for a time, until a number of modifications were introduced to save time and simplify the construction. The long pointed nose section intended for the Type 707A was grafted onto the fuselage, resulting in the new aircraft being 12 ft (3.66 m) longer than the original. Redesignated Type 707B (serial VX790), the maiden flight took place at Boscombe Down on 5 September 1950.

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Harrier Story – Presentation by John Farley

Former Dunsfold Chief Test Pilot John Farley’s presentation of his story of the Harrier development from 1951 to 2015. This hour long presentation is a unique insight into the early development of the “jump jet” and the evolution of Hawker’s prototypes P.1127 to the Harrier as a military aircraft. This recording was made by the Brooklands Museum Trust in 2015.

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Kestrel returns home

XS694 arrives in the UK. Photo from https://www.facebook.com/wingskestrel/
Museum number 1: Wings Museum’s 10,000sqm building situated off the Dunsfold – Alfold road. The curved roof design is now not part of the proposal.

Warbirds Magazine reports the “return home” of the crash damaged Kestrel XS694 that has been languishing in the USA for many years. But the question is – coming home to where? The Wings Museum, who bought the airframe some years ago, are based in Balcombe Sussex and don’t have space in their agricultural building that is packed with their current display artefacts. The Warbirds report skirts over the huge elephant in the room that Wings Museum have plans to build a 10,000sqm warehouse to the South of Dunsfold aerodrome as part of their ambitious plans to move their museum from Sussex to Dunsfold.

A restored Kestrel would make an excellent centre piece to this new museum, but with supporters being asked for donations to help with the restoration it begs the question: what about the money earmarked to construct the new Museum? Professional estimates indicate there will be little change out of £10m to build the museum – and that’s without factoring in the operating costs. Half of the proposed museum space is destined to be telling the Dunsfold Story but so far the Kestrel appears to be the only item in their catalogue that has any link with Dunsfold.

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Last Harrier flying in civilian hands

Art Nalls has announced he wishes to sell his two Sea Harriers. Art currently flies his FA.2 formerly XZ439 originally from Dunsfold and now the oldest Sea Harrier in existence, as well as a two-seat Harrier T.8 (ZD993). Neither aircraft would be permitted to fly in the UK. http://warbirdsnews.com/warbird-articles/art-nalls-hawker-siddeley-harrier-fleet-for-sale.html

You can find more about Art’s passion for Harriers here.

Dunsfold: 439 as FRS2, before pitot change. Photo: Andy Lawson, BAe Systems

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VC10 open day 12th October

Brooklands are hosting another open day this month where you can visit the VC10 at Dunsfold.

https://www.brooklandsmuseum.com/whats-on/vc10-za150-open-day-at-dunsfold-aerodrome

We understand their Napier Railton will also be on display. https://www.brooklandsmuseum.com/explore/our-collection/cars/napier-railton

In 1951 the car was sold to the GQ Parachute Company of Woking. GQ had the car modified and fitted with test equipment capable of deploying an aircraft braking parachute at high speed and then retracting the parachute when the speed had dropped to about 30 knots. These experimental trials were carried out on Dunsfold airfield and proved to be most successful.

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