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Avro Air Fair at the old EGCD airfield

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If anyone is up in the 'Grim North of England' and going to this event, I'll be there.

http://avroheritagemuseum.co.uk/avro-air-fair-sunday-6th-august/

Be worth it just to see a couple of rare old bombers go over: the BBMF Avro Lancaster and an Avro Anson too, and of course the museum has an Avro Vulcan which is well worth a poke around as well. The postcode is SK7 1QR if you're coming a long way and using Sat Nav. Be aware that traffic can be bad as there is a load of construction work going on around the borough of Stockport and quite a few roads are closed off, not least because a new motorway bypass is currently under construction right near EGCD's location. Easiest way there (to avoid traffic) is probably via Poynton.

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For 39 years I worked at a MoD establishment 2 miles west of Woodford. My most memorable moment was in 1993 when I watched 3 Vulcans take off, one after the other. No cameras allowed at work in those days and I had no advanced notice of the flights. It was a spectacular sight.

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1 hour ago, Ray Proudfoot said:

For 39 years I worked at a MoD establishment 2 miles west of Woodford. My most memorable moment was in 1993 when I watched 3 Vulcans take off, one after the other. No cameras allowed at work in those days and I had no advanced notice of the flights. It was a spectacular sight.

And a spectacular sound too, because, damn, the Vulcan is loud. Living near Woodford I used to see (and hear!) Vulcans and Nimrods all the time, but what probably sticks in my head more was when Vulcans used to be regular visitors to the similarly nearby Barton airshow. That big jet would do a display over the airfield with the engines making the loudest roar you've ever heard, and after finishing a display and with the sound having died away, all you'd be able to hear for miles around would be car alarms going off everywhere, they having been set of by the pressure of its sound waves, and all over the airfield small children would be crying from that loud sound having terrified them. It was always astonishing.

What also stuck in my head - literally - was the first time I ever went into a Vulcan's cockpit, which you would enter from below, then come up into it from between the seats, if you were not careful, you'd smack your head on all the control levers when doing so, because the cockpit in that thing is really pretty cramped. It is pretty dark and oppressive in there too with it only having a minimum of windows in order to protect the crews from the bright flash of the nuclear bombs it was designed to deliver but thankfully never did.

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I believe the Vulcan's engines were later used in Concorde. That excellent doc on XH558 was shown again on Sunday evening on More4. The doc also mentioned the Vulcan doing a barrel role after take-off at Woodford. Jaws dropped!

I don't think the cockpit was designed for comfort! :biggrin: That doc also showed the exit procedure should it be necessary. There was a real danger of hitting the fuselage and it was also very difficult to position yourself to jump out. H&S didn't seem to exist in those days.

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3 hours ago, Ray Proudfoot said:

I don't think the cockpit was designed for comfort! :biggrin: That doc also showed the exit procedure should it be necessary. There was a real danger of hitting the fuselage and it was also very difficult to position yourself to jump out. H&S didn't seem to exist in those days.

That was true of a lot of early jets. A friend of mine who lived in Stockport (Jimmy Jay) who flew Spitfires in WW2 and who eventually rose to become a Wing Commander, told me a story once of how he was flying a Gloster Meteor not long after WW2 ended...

The week before this flight, a fellow pilot had got into trouble when flying a similar variant of the Meteor, tried to bail out and unfortunately he hit the tail, he got tangled on it with his parachute and went in with the aeroplane, he of course being killed. My friend Jimmy was flying over England (or so he thought) above a cloud layer and he did not realise there was a 200 mph crosswind which was taking to the south. When he got low on fuel and thought it was time to RTB, he let down through the clouds expecting to see England, but found himself over the middle of France! He of course immediately turned north and started heading for home, but he was desperately low on fuel and thought he would have to bail out, and since he was not in one of the Meteor variants fitted with an ejector seat, and was aware of the incident the week before, he recalled sitting in the cockpit, looking at the fuel gauge and then peering out of the cockpit trying to figure out how he would clamber over the airframe to avoid a similar fate. Fortunately, he spotted a disused emergency grass airstrip left over from WW2 on the south coast of England and managed to land the Meteor on it. When he shut it down, it had three gallons of fuel left in it and it had to be dismantled to be got back to base because the airfield wasn't big enough for his Meteor to take off from.

A very lucky, very generous and skilful man, who was an inspiration to me in encouraging me to become a pilot too.

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Hi Alan,

That's an incredible story and he's very lucky to have survived! We don't appreciate the dangers the military go through - even in peacetime.

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Just a quick bump for this topic since this show is tomorrow. Hope any Avsimmers in the NW can make it and say hello. If you see me, say hi, you can't miss me, I always wear stupid hats lol :cool:

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It would have been good to meet up, but I've a prior engagement playing airsoft.

Hope you have a great day, Alan! :cool:

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1 minute ago, HighBypass said:

It would have been good to meet up, but I've a prior engagement playing airsoft.

Hope you have a great day, Alan! :cool:

Well in that case, I hope your M4 doesn't jam. :cool:

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LOL! It won't...because I don't possess one: every bugger has an M4 :D I prefer the AK platform and bullpups ;) Having said that, I'm a lefty and as such don't have an SA80 - they can only really be shot right handed unless you want a face full of bolt. Technically an airsoft one won't matter, but still....).

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Serves you right for being one of the 'Devil's Children' lol.

Actually, I've got two airsoft M4s, both of which are very nice, but as with the real thing, if you sling it across your front and walk about, your front rubs on the fire selector switch and can put it on 'safe' without you being aware of it, which is embarrassing if you suddenly decide to start shooting. So yeah, I've got many more airsoft AK variants for that very reason. These are just some of them, including a few obscure ones. Can you tell I like AKs?:

12809554_598039573683466_901490108006378

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VERY NICE! The only concession I currently have at the moment to an M4 is a Sig556, which is kind of similar, but not quite!

Told you I like bullpups. I had the port cover on my Tavor laser engraved:-

20130412_110902.jpg

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Some raw bits of video from this show at the disused EGCD airfield today, with the BBMF Lancaster and Anson doing flybys, the preserved Vulcan XM603 at the Avro museum, some pretty cool movie mock ups of a Spitfire Mark 2 and JG26 Messerschmitt bf109E, plus some cool shots of radial aero engines being cranked up and covering me and my camera with oil when they do so. Also includes a rare clip of Fifi my girlfriend, who hates being filmed lol:

 

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Amazing to think those old Radial Engines were once considered 'High Tech' in its day, best performance at the time. So many man hours went into them

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Yep. She definitely hates being filmed LOL! Love the old radials beign coaxed into life. Thanks for sharing, Alan. Some could do with a shot of:-

 

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Thanks Alan.

I have rather sad memories from Woodford....I'm pretty sure that it was at that airfield I saw a meteor - one of six - pulling out of the loop and diving into the ground - some 200 yards in front of me.

I can still hear the c-r-u-u-u-m-p as it hit.

Must have been about '56 - 57' - I was with the air cadets at the time.

Seeing that occur in front of you is very disturbing - knowing someone's life has just ended.

Regards
Bill

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Yup, me too on occasion, saw the fatal Spitfire crash at Woodford in the 90s and the fatal Mosquito crash at Barton too, also in the 90s. Both fairly grim points in otherwise great airshows. Also had a close call with a Bell JetRanger at Barton once, I flew in it on a Saturday and the next day it crashed on the Wirral owing to a technical failure, badly injuring all the occupants. Sadly, that kind of thing happens with flying machines sometimes.

Oddly enough, I was talking with the pilot of the Hughes OH-6 Cayuse 'Loach' which was on display at this show about airshow accidents, and he and I were commenting on the fact that we thought that Lancaster seen on my video had made a turn over the crowd line on the airfield after one of its passes, which is a big no-no at airshows in the UK these days owing to the danger it presents to spectators if something goes amiss, which as we know occasionally does at airshows, as evidenced by the worryingly frank disclaimer you often see on the back of airshow tickets.

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