Sunday, 21 June 2015

TG Aviation Boeing Stearman, Pent Farm airfield, Postling, Kent

With the closure of Manston airport, long-standing Manston flying school TG Aviation have moved to a small strip in deepest Kent at Pent Farm, Postling, just a few minutes drive from the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone. Former Red Arrows pilot Ted Girdler established his flying school over thirty years ago. Ted sadly died in a airshow crash in 2000 when the Aero Delphin he was piloting failed to come out of a loop and went into the sea off Bournemouth. The Stearman costs around £185 for a thirty minute flight. It is an original US Navy machine, model A75-N25-4 built circa 1942/3. As a primary trainer, it's obviously not a particularly complex piece of kit - "..the aircraft is not overpowered by its 220 or so horsepower, and loops and barrel rolls require diving to pick up enough energy to complete the maneuvers...With no flaps or other complex systems, the landing check list is short: mixture full rich, elevator trimmed slightly tail heavy, keep the engine warm with short bursts of power, as needed, and maintain at least 60 mph on final..". For more on flying the Stearman see "Flying the Army's Primary Trainers" here The military pilot’s handbook includes the paragraph "Avoid cross-wind landings when possible." .Thanks to Ted's daughter-in-law Sue for showing me around and kindly offering to take me for a spin. I sadly had to decline - I'm sure you can see why from the picture above - but I'm also sure that I will be back soon!


Andrew Carter Australian Vintage Aviation Society TAVAS Fokker Eindecker E III, Caboolture, S-E Queensland

Andrew Carter's magnificent 'The Australian Vintage Aviation Society' Eindecker via the TAVAS FB page here

Ebay photo finds

Below; Fokker E.III engine run at Caboolture airfield, north of Brisbane, south-east Queensland, 2014

F-14 Tomcat swing-wing trials

Tomcat No. 3, with Grumman's Chief Test Pilot, Chuck Sewell, at the controls. During aircraft testing, several flights were flown with the right wing locked in the forward position of 20 degrees, and the left wing at 35, 50, 60 and 68 degrees of sweep in flight. Amazingly, it was discovered that in the event of an operational in-flight malfunction, the Tomcat would remain controllable enough for carrier landing in this configuration.


Saturday, 20 June 2015

Sabca-Fokker F.VIIb #daily Ebay photo find # 34

Photograph of Sabca-Fokker F.VIIb / 3M - VH-USU - Southern Cross c.1936. Click to view large

Sabca-Fokker F.VIIb / 3M - OO-AIF - Sabena c.1928.  Service Photographique de la Sabena stamp on the back and John Stroud and Aviation Picture Library stickers.

currently on offer here

FeldFlieger-Abteilung 8 Albatros CVII 1917 -daily Ebay photo find #33

rare pics from FeldFlieger-Abteilung 8 Leutnant Gombert - Albatros CVII in Pont-a-Marcq (Nord Pas de Calais) 1917. Click to view large..

Friday, 19 June 2015

Jean-Marie Saget - greatest living French test pilot - Dassault, Alphajet

On the occasion of the 2015 edition of the Paris Air Show ('Salon Aéronautique du Bourget') French TV news devoted three minutes to the life and career of French test pilot Jean-Marie Saget - the 'Eric Winkle Brown' of French aviation. At 86 years old and with more than 20,000 hours in his logbooks and more than 150 aircraft types flown, this veteran is still flying and instructing in aerobatics three times per week at the controls of his CAP 10.

 Jean Marie Saget enlisted in the Armée de l'Air in 1949 and served as an Officer Pilot with the EC II/2 AT Dijon, flying Vampire and Ouragan jets.. In 1954 he won an air race between Paris and Cannes flying an Ouragan. In 1955 he left the air force after being invited by aircraft designer Marcel Dassault to become a test pilot with Dassault aviation, with whom he worked until 1989. He survived at least one ejection and in 1978 was hospitalised for three months after crash-landing his Alphajet in a minefield following an engine flame-out over Cairo.

During his time with Dassault, he flew all the aircraft produced by the company and was involved in various programmes including the VTOL Mirage Balzac 001 (III V), the first to use a composite power plant for VTOL and supersonic horizontal flight. Other programmes that Saget worked on included the Etendard M, Mirage III,  Mirage F1,Mirage G-8, Alphajet and Mirage 4000, the Falcon jet family and the Breguet Atlantic.

VTOL 'Balzac' intended forerunner of the Mirage III V supersonic VTOL aircraft

 More on the 'Balzac' at the 'Flight International' archive

Jean-Marie Saget made four first-of-type flights;

 Etendard IVM on 21st May 1958
 Mirage G-8 on 08 May 1971
 Alphajet on 26 October 1973
 Mirage 4000 on 9th March 1979

Below; Alphajet take off trials from a section of the Paris-Le Mans autoroute

Jean-Marie Saget at the Melun airshow 2008

See more French post-war test pilots on this blog - Jacques Guignard - from Spitfire to Concorde

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Breguet 19 "Point d'Interrogation" ("The Question Mark")

Breguet 19 "Point d'Interrogation" ("The Question Mark"), photographed in Boston, MA, in 1930. On 1–2 September 1930, Dieudonne Costes and Maurice Bellonte flew from Paris to New York City, a distance of 6,200 km (3,900 mi) making the first non-stop east-west crossing by a fixed-wing aircraft of the North Atlantic.

 Photo source: Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection (08_06_001712)

Breguet 19 "Point d'Interrogation" ("The Question Mark"), photographed in Boston, MA, in 1930. Source: Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection (08_06_001640)

Featured post

Victor B.2 XL513 & XL 512 carrying Blue Steel - ebay photo find #57

An original Ministry of Defence photograph of Handley Page Victor B.2 XL513 equipped with a Blue Steel Missile. Note the four Vulcans on...