Thursday, 29 October 2015

Final 'final' flight of XH 558 yesterday from Doncaster Robin Hood airport

Sam Scrimshaw photo posted via the Vulcans, Victors and Valiants FB page

Final 'final' flight of XH 558 yesterday from Doncaster Robin Hood airport, captured by after their live stream failed....

" ..XH558 - Farewell old girl. You did this country proud. Never will we see the likes of you again. Doomed to spend the rest of your life in a hangar or with a bit of luck fired up for fast taxi runs. I was so lucky to have seen her fly on numerous times - most recently at Teesside Airport on the first day of her two part flight around the country as part of her final farewell tour. I was also lucky to have heard her famous howl on numerous occasions. I also saw two Vulcans in nuclear, antiflash white come in to land from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus at RAF Luqa, Malta and then taxi past me while I was sat in the cockpit of a Lightning when I was with 11 Squadron. Per Ardua Ad Astra..." .....Robin Patrick Ellwood


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Mildenhall SR -71 Blackbird -17976 taxiing out on 2 May 1980

A few of Terry Senior's SR 71 photos posting on FB 'Airshows of 70s and 80s' page - link below. Click to view large

below;   " ..17972 on my first sighting of her at Mildenhall 30 April 1976, showing flight preparations and taxiing.." Terry Senior

Below; 17976 taxiing out on 2 May 1980, being readied before line up (otherwise known as 'last chance') landing and taxi back after a 12 hr sortie..

More of Terry's images on the FB 'Airshows of the 70s and 80s' page here

Sunday, 18 October 2015

HMS Ark Royal McDonnell Phantom FGR 1 892 NAS

Phantom FGR 1 XV 567 892 Naval Air Squadron, Malta 1973. Fantastic load-out of Matra rocket pods. Rare to see anything other than tanks on the outer pylons. Photos by David's World on Flickr

HMS Ark Royal McDonnell Phantom FGR 1 892 NAS with Blackburn Buccaneer S.Mk.2B XT286 809 NAS 1972

HMS Ark Royal (R09) Operating with USS Forrestal (CV59) 1972

David's World Flickr page is here
My British Phantom page on this blog (over 80 photos) is here

29 Sqd Lightning - Starfighters in Holland

A "mixed" formation of RAF Lightnings of  29 Squadron and Dutch F-104 Starfighters of Nr. 322 Squadron operating from the airbase of Leeuwarden. After landing the Lightning Squadron Leader donned some clogs for a photo.....Peter writes, " I think he did not appreciate this joke very much but maybe I am wrong... Who knows this British Commander? "

Peter Rhebergen post on the Lightning FB page

Monday, 5 October 2015

The "myth" of the last dogfight in Europe - a unique combat encounter - Grasshopper vs Fieseler Stork

An article in Le Fana de l'Aviation, issue April 2015 entitled "The "myth" of the last combat " relates the story of the last aerial 'combat' in Europe during WWII. This story was first published in Cornelius Ryan's bestselling book 'The last Battle'. According to Ryan the last 'fight' ensued on 11 April 1945 as two American 'Forward Observers' at the controls of an L-4 Grasshopper nicknamed 'Miss Me?!' flying ahead of 5th Armoured Division columns sighted an enemy spotter plane during a routine scouting mission some 100 km west of Berlin. The enemy aircraft was a German Fieseler Storch. The two aircraft were not prepared for fighting. However, the Americans – pilot and co-pilot Lt. Duane Francies and Lt. Bill Martin – took advantage of their air position above the Germans, opened their doors and used their service revolvers (.45 caliber pistols) to begin firing on the enemy spotter plane below.

Francies later wrote:

"...The German Storch, with an inverted 8 Argus engine, also a fabric job and faster and larger than the Miss Me!?, spotted us and we radioed, 'We are about to give combat.' But we had the advantage of altitude and dove, blasting away with our Colt .45s, trying to force the German plane into the fire of waiting tanks of the 5th. Instead, the German began circling..."

 Firing out the side doors with their Colts, the American crewmen emptied their guns into the enemy’s windshield, fuel tanks and right wing. Francies had to hold the stick between his knees while reloading. He late recalled,

"..The two planes were so close I could see the Germans'eyeballs, as big as eggs, as we peppered them."

 As the German aircraft maneuvered to evade enemy fire, one of its wings touched the ground resulting in an involuntary crash-landing. The L-4 Grasshopper proceeded to land safely close-by, the crew captured the Germans and provided first-aid.

 "..I never found out their names," Francies later wrote. "..They could have been important, for all I know. We turned them over to our tankers about 15 minutes later after the injured man thanked me many times for bandaging his foot. I think they thought we would shoot them..."  

And while not the last aerial combat encounter in Europe, it is probably the only known WWII dogfight using only pistols.

 As the Le Fana article makes clear, this was of course a long way from being the last aerial encounter in Europe. That took place over Czech territory. On 8 May a Yak-9 accounted for a 9th AF F-5E, the pilot, a Cpt. Malcolm L.Nash flying a recce sortie over POW camps around Dresden when he was mistaken for a German Fw 189. Nash was able to belly land at Reichenbach, 40 km west of Dresden. The following day Nash's unit sent out more F-5s to look for him. Once again the Soviets took on one of the F-5s in the vicinity of Prague and shot it down. So the last aircraft downed over Europe in WWII was a 39th PRS F-5 Lightning shot down over Prague by a Soviet P-39 on 9 May ! This was the thirteenth 'victory' of a Major Vasily Pschenitchnikov of the 100 GIAP.

Avro Vulcan XH558 last air show display flight at Shuttleworth

captured by Lena Hedges - Avro Vulcan XH558 , otherwise known as The Spirit of Great Britain, seen here on her last air show flight at Shuttleworth. You don't just see & hear her , you feel her!!


Excellent video which really captures the sight and sound. Sadly Old Warden was a sell out today so had to take family to a field a few miles away...sadly not close enough but it captured the imagination of my 9yr old daughter who loved watching these videos. Incredible to see roads...fields, verges and greens with people of all ages with cameras, camcorders and selfie sticks all out to capture a glimpse. So sad we won't see her like again..."

Vulcan at RIAT 2015 and more from that display on this blog here

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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...