Wednesday, 25 May 2016

RAF COSFORD AND MEETING ONE OF MY HEROS

Last Sunday was the AGM of the Vulcan to the Sky, which would be the last one in its present form and we wanted to go for that reason, to meet up with fellow enthusiasts and also as RAF Cosford has a wonderful Cold War aircraft museum - all on the same day.

RAF Cosford is set in a lovely part of the country, on the way to Telford from the M6. Mostly flat with lots of green fields and nice scenery. It is a huge site and we parked right outside the fantastic building which houses the Cold War collection. I'm not going to bore you too much with lots of aircraft as you're probably fed up with them by now - just a few but some interesting artefacts were on display.






Our meeting was 12 but there was coffee and a get together at 11 and as we were in the refreshment area, I spotted - was it REALLY him? Yes, my hero, Squadron Leader Martin Withers DFC, former Chief Pilot for the Vulcan XH558 and the pilot who flew XM607 all the way to the Falklands Island, and was responsible for putting the runway out of action, then managing to survive until finding a Victor Tanker plane to refuel him to get the plane home. An amazing feat. I have wanted to meet him so much but never been to an air show where the planes have landed to meet these people. He was so nice, even gave me a kiss! And allowed husband to take a photo. I also met Dr Robert Pleming, the man who was responsible for bringing the Vulcan to the sky, the pilot who took Guy Martin down the runway at Wellesbourne on the TV programme most people saw and the first ever pilot of XH558, who is now 90 years young and carried out 444 flights. A very lovely man indeed.


This next paragraph is for my friend and blogger Barbara from March House Books (is that what you're called now Barbara?) I recently bought a Kindle against my better judgment as I love having a book in my hand. I'm still not convinced but I've just read three books on it and I have been unable to put the tablet down as they're so exciting. They are by L J Ross, an author who was in the legal profession and turned to writing. The first one is called Holy Island and is set on - well, Lindisfarne and is about dark and mysterious murders happening on the island and the subsequent solving of these crimes. The main character is DCI Ryan, who is just recovering from a personal tragedy which happened during the course of his work and he is drawn back to work by this crime. The second book is called Sycamore Gap and is based around the area of Hadrians Wall, probably the area near Housesteads and the third one is called Heavenfield. The latter two are following on about the theme running through the first one but don't want to tell any more. They are compulsive reading if you love crime stories and really make you think about "who dunnit!


I have to say I don't find it easy to go back to pages in the book that I want to check up on, like something I failed to notice. It seems to have gone and flipping back pages seems to me to easier. However these books are not in print! They are only two or three pounds though, so quite unusual for me to buy E books as I like to go to places like Gutenberg Press for out of print books.

Right, enough of books - here are some photos.

I have actually read  a sign like this at Checkpoint Charlie in the late 60s when it was REAL!  Shivers down the spine as you go through into the Eastern Quarter!


The first of the V bombers in Cold War period - the Valiant. We have never seen one of these before.

The next is the Victor, which eventually ended up as a tanker plane and fuelled Vulcan all the way to the Falklands (well there were actually 11 of them fuelling each other in turn fuelling the Vulcan and then back again.

And of course - my very favourite Vulcan!

The car of the Cold War era, the Trabant.

The equivalent in West Germany of the time no need to name!

And of course our own Mini of the period.


A Lightening - it's speciality was just that - going straight up! Amazing.


The TSR2 - a shocking thing that this plane was destroyed and could have been a world beater. 
This amazing wall of the Cold War Hangar, was supposed to represent an aircraft wing.
Well that's all for now, not TOO many aircraft today but I had such a wonderful day out after all the worry that I've had over the last couple of weeks with my husband and mother both not being well. Speak to you next time.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

'DRIVE IT' DAY - at AVRO HERITAGE MUSEUM, WOODFORD

Oh yes, another post. Apologies in advance for all the aircraft pictures but this seems to be the main source of interest at the moment. I don't have much time for cycling as I am at my Mum's every other day with the odd time that it's every day and I don't really have such an exciting life that there's anything much to tell people about.

Every year in Spring there is a classic car event "Drive it" Day where everyone who has a classic car is encouraged to - well, drive it. In advance I had a Facebook post saying that a couple of car clubs were going to be at Woodford displaying their cars. Thoughts going through my head were, we might have the opportunity to have a photo shot of our car in front of XM603.

We arrived before opening time and sure as sure, my contact asked if we wanted that. Of course we did and tootled off to park ours in place. Here are a couple of photos.




It would be amazing to pilot this wonderful plane



This is where it all began, maybe. I hope this building doesn't get demolished


So, that's all for now, this will give me time to catch up and read some of your blogs, as I'm sadly failing in this at the moment as I've been painting over the last few weeks, it's a bit job as one bit leads into another bit and I'm definitely not stressing myself about it with so many more important things to worry about.

Bye for now, until next time.



Tuesday, 17 May 2016

BRUNTINGTHORPE

Oh, no, I've been such a lazy blogger recently, just been so busy with my Mum, decorating and trying to fit in all the things I really need to do as well as attempting to declutter as well. The name of the blog seems to be rather inappropriate at the moment as I use my Beetle from time to time, don't take her to shows and am struggling to find time to cycle as well.

There had to be a decision made by members of the Vulcan to the Sky club on the future of the club, as it was no longer connected to the sky! Therefore we attended an EGM at Bruntingthorpe to hear the result of the vote from members prior to the AGM which will be held this coming weekend at Cosford.

We wanted to go also to see the aircraft which are at Bruntingthorpe so combined the visit. After the meeting we had access to walk around all the planes, some awaiting restoration and some just sitting there for anyone to go up to. 

We did really want to see the Victor, which followed on from the Vulcan and which was a very important plane during the Falklands war, as a large number refuelled the one Vulcan which aim was to bomb the runway so the Argentinians couldn't take off in their planes. I think it was 13 Victor tanker planes which refuelled each other then eventually there was only one left to refuel the Vulcan on her way back home after a successful raid on the runway at Port Stanley.

She was an impressive plane and so large too. So pleased to have seen her. 

Also on display was a Shackleton which is in the process of being restored and I was (hmm) allowed into the body of the plane and clambered over the high bulkheads to get to the cockpit. Strictly speaking we shouldn't have but the people involved let us in. A very interesting plane in that she stayed up in the air for hours on end on coastal observations and so there is on board a little kitchen etc. The job was similar to what the Nimrod did before the powers that be decided to scrap brand new ones which had been built at Woodford.  Say no more about that!

One of the most amazing sights was the Guppy - I have honestly never ever seen anything so big in my life. It was rather like the Hindenberg, with wings. This is an extreme load carrier and very impressive. I think it used to fly wings from Deeside to where Airbus was being built. 


Guppy - It really does look blown up!

Victor (V bomber)

Inside Shackleton

Another inside the Shackleton

Lots to do here
Sorry I chopped the top of the cabin off. This was the only one I got of the outside

I'm going to surprise you and put on another post with some pictures from Woodford - in which we had our car photographed in front of the Vulcan there.

Bye for now and sorry for the late posting and for all these aircraft posts. I hope you're not bored with them all.