Freight DogsFinally a forum for those midnight prowler types who utilise the unglamorous parts of airports that many of us never get to see. Freight Dogs is for pilots and crew who operate mostly without SLF.
I received this message recently from an Aussie PPRuNer and it sounds like bad news for the Queen of the Skies:
Re Belfast RP-C8020, (9L-LDQ) and prior Hi, I do apologise for not responding to your message received months ago regarding the Belfast. The Shorts Belfast has not flown commercially since late 2008. It seems rather disasterous for the old girl and no doubt the crew would be suffering and just forget the maintenance. Most recent reported crew being Brian Porter with Rash and McKeever as engineers. The previous support and guidance of Dave Duffy and Geoff Leach appears long gone.
The aircraft without registration ( RP-C8020)cannot be used commercially and this is a worry for its future. A suggestion would be a Museum rather than just waste away or whoever the owner be he should sell it.
The aircraft has long been operating with no sources of spares other than what GL managed to salvage out of Heavylift and the old hulk Christmas Tree at SEN. God only knows how it was determined airworthy for commercial ops with no formal support from vendors or the OEM. It was only a matter of time.
Still, I'd rather see it go to a museum rather than a hole in the ground.
Dodo 56, I absolutely agree. I flew these aeroplanes between March, 1980 (HLA's first commercial flight to Tripoli, with Captain Peter Jobling,) through to September, 2002 on the last UK commercial flight into Southend.
I don't know if there are museums in Oz but I doubt you'd ever get anyone to pay to bring her home.
The only other Belfast I know of is the one at Cosford:
Anyone know where and how Geoff is these days? do not suppose the Belfast issue could have been good for Him, he took me on when Polar just had the line facility at PIK he single handedly got the hangar build the place sure went downhill when he left. Dave McG.
I took XR371 to die at Kemble on 26 Aug 1976. We thought that that would be her last flight ever but luckily she made one more to Cosford and is now tucked-up safe and well at the end of the new Cold War hangar.
The Belfast is on a 121 certificate and will be crew training in a couple of weeks, for the new transport contract starting February. Several Captains/FO/and FEs are rated and also fly the 727s.
Lots of support from the UK vendors and truck loads of spares and engines. 10 years to run at least.
Since Geoff Leach ran away ( tried to take over the running of the company rather than fixing the planes ) the dispatch has gone back to 100% on all birds especially the 727s. He was penny wise pound foolish.
Working on grubby cessna's ( all different colours ) out in the bush now.
Out of interest I emailed CNS yesterday, and enquired about her condition, and received this reply from the airport ops manager - "Neil, I would confirm that the Belfast is still at CNS Airport in one piece but is unlikely to ever fly again because of corrosion. Regards Paul" (Neil is an ex- Belfast Pilot).
A sad end then to the old girl, but I don't understand why when she's just had a complete repaint... in grey!
(I have a recent couple of pics but I can't work out how to upload them....)