Apologies for being off-line for a mo. Yes Sav ... the 429 air test was spectacular and I'm very aware of the bum-kicking this site occasionally hands out to both Bell and how the ship is described as a B206 on steroids. I don't want to sound too toffee nosed ... but the 429 as I flew her is one of the best handling machines it has ever been my privilege to fly. And it isn't a jumped up 427 either! And by the way, and contrary to popular opinion, the Bell guys did start with a clean sheet of paper AND ... AND the 429 was the first heli ever to be designed following the MSG-3 system. And it shows in the maintenance cycle (200 hours between checks as a starter and no 50 hr/100' back to 50 hr sequence any more.) And vibration is almost non existent at any speeds. Mind, I'm not a highly experienced twin-engine man. Downside? If I were a paramedic, I'd be mighty careful with the rear clam shell door loading! A good 'bum's eye' view of the T/R is vital. Why don't we just stick to side loading like all the USA HEMS operators? Yes, the 429 will be on the front cover of BLADES along with my report and to do it justice I've done around 4,000 words. PS. I'm not on commission! Item 2. Barry Sheene's G-STEF was sold direct to Don Wood at Bournemouth. I flew it with him in November 2000 for his DA. Don had a massive collection of ex F1 cars in his 'Source' hangar. Don sold the machine on himself. 3. E of R ... Yup I've checked the Tagshaw/Bamberg connection. The company was one of Mr B's. Meantime I'm e-mailing the AWOL & AYTF picture direct to S. 4. Sav ... re the ZZZs. I have another .... G-BBZZ Enstrom, but even in semi retirement, I'm never asleep on the job! 5. Mark T wasn't all bad. At Skyline I was launching us for a dual navex ex Booker and as we left the hangar, I said ... "Mark, got your map?" He shot back like a Roger Federer forehand. "There's people out there who say that's the most dangerous thing I should carry!" Nice reply. I don't think his ZZ was the machine he got into trouble with in SA tho'. 6. Enstrom sales ... why didn't she sell? Well the fact is she did. My boss, Roy Spooner offered me a grand for every one I sold. I did 138 sales from 1973 to 1982. For our school to stay competitive with Robinson, the trick was to operate used machines. A five-year old 28A model was making £25,000 when a new R22 was £80k. One third of the interest, a third of the insurance and ditto on depreciation.
Hope this 'nostalgia' thing isn't too offbeat for other PP readers. For my part ... please keep 'em coming.
In my search relating to G-STEF a friend mentioned that STEF had been sold to one of Sheen's family members. Today I've managed to source the name "Jeremy Paxton" - does this ring any bells? See: Helicopter Life
Evidently Paxton re-named STEF to ORRR and then bought a newer model which he named MRRR (below).
G-MRRR MD500E at the Rectory Hotel, Crudwell, 12 May 2010
Last edited by Earl of Rochester; 7th Jun 2013 at 16:43.
Hope I'm not monopolising these helicopter twists & turns, but yes, G-SHAA (first of the 21 SH registrations I used) was mine too as I imported it from Florida in March 1988. She was almost unique in the UK being a 280 Shark but non-turbo. She appeared on the front cover of a now defunct publication called 'Pilots International'. It was sold to the Manchester Helicopter Centre the same year. The only other UK 280 model I know was the second non-turbo I had rebuilt and registered G-SHRK. Formally Barrry Sheene's G-BGMX 280C and now owned by Vanguard Helicopter at Henstridge. I was training in her at Compton Abbas just last year.
In June 1988 I purchased Jeremy Paxton's Enstrom 28C G-BNBS as he was upgrading to Barry's turbine. I registered that one as G-SHDD ... SHBB & SHCC were 206s. SHFF and SHGG two more Enstroms. SHJJ another 206, SHKK & SHLL both Hughes 269s, SHMM & SHNN more Enstroms, SHOO & SHPP back to Hughes 300s, no SHQQ but SHRR was a 206. SHSS, SHUU, SHXX were Enstroms again and SHVV & SHZZ the final 206s in the SH series. SHWW was an Enstrom sold to Dennis Smith, sadly later lost in a Rotorway ... RIP, but I didn't use SHYY. PS. Am I becoming a reggie anorak?
WigginAirways posted a link on the Ferranti Helicopters thread which led to another image of WOSP (below):
B206 JetRanger III G-WOSP (as flown by Paco) being operated by the Hills which were Burnt!
- Dennis K
Far from being boring I think it is interesting to understand how some of the registrations we see have come about. Tracing origins helps to gain a better overall awareness of the industry (me thinks!).
For you ...
Westland's Wasp (such as the type RotaryWise is soon to add to his flying collection!)
Just stumbled across this forum by accident and spotted this thread with interest. My father is Ken Davies, the former pilot of the Duke of Westminster and one-time pilot of G-TALY. Now retired (but still flying) he was actually employed as a Mechanic and not a Gardener and consequently flew as a private pilot and not as a commercial one. He was originally employed as a mechanic for real. The present Duke's father gave him permission to fly his own light aircraft from a disused airfield on the Eaton Estate and later asked him if he would fly a plane for him if he bought one. The rest is history. I will check with my Dad the next time I see him and get him reading this forum but in the meantime to the best of my recollection the sequence of aircraft (FW & RW) was:- Piper Cherokee Piper Apache Piper Aztec Enstrom Shark Bell Jet Ranger (I seem to recall that there may have been 2 of them one after the other with G-TALY being the first) Twin Squirrel Hawker Siddley HS125 Cessna Citation (again, I think there were 2 of them) and that's about when he retired so I'm not sure what came next! I grew up around the planes and the hangar (where my Dad also kept his own light aircraft of various sorts over the years) so remember them all to varying degrees! I hope that has refreshed/updated a few memories for a few other people!
Thanks for the warm welcome! I will give my dad a ring tonight and see what pictures he can dig out and I'll scan them and get them posted for you all. One extra little snippet that occurs to me, the pictures of G-TALI the twin squirrel at Cranfield posted earlier would probably have been my Dad and me visiting as the Duke was happy for Dad to use her when she wasn't needed for anything else! We went to quite a few Fly-Ins over the years when his own light aircraft were unservicable for one reason or another. So that explains the mystery of why the Duke's machine was there!
Having spoken to my Dad he is going to have a rummage and see what pictures of TALY, TALI and anything else of interest that he can find.
I can now confirm that TALY was the only JetRanger that the Duke owned, the other one I remember was hired (presumably to fill the void between TALY and TALI) and that since the departure of TALI and the move to jets, the Duke no longer owns a helicopter
I have pointed him in the direction of the forum and hopefully I can get him on-line soon to make contact himself but in the meantime he sends his regards to everyone who remembers him and asked me to say "Geoff, do you remember the flight back from Rome?" which I'm guessing means more to one of you than it does to me!
Hey Red Flag Thx so much for putting me right on the gardener/mechanic issue; comes to all of us with age I am afraid - confusion (to some degree) reigns!
Please remember me to your Dad (I was the Chief Engineer) and it was a pleasure to have him stay one night when G-TALY was being a little difficult anbout compliance with the limits for compressor cases.
And we then woke EVERYONE up at F/O at 6 am with ground runs and a flight test before his departure to Battersea to collect 'Himself'.
RedFlag: Please let me add my welcome, to the forum and the thread, as well as my appreciation for having made contact with us.
There are, as you have doubtless seen, several PPRuNers who know your Dad, including VFR440 (above), ANW and GeoffersInConrwall and there are plenty of others who know of him.
My godfather was pilot to John Broome (original developer of Alton Towers) and I suppose we may share some similar experiences in that John Broome was an intensely generous man and similarly offered my godfather the use of his aircraft for personal engagements. I have many and fond memories from this period.
John Broome's first pilot is also on the thread: Paco and, as mentioned earlier on by Earl, the Towers aircraft was situated not far from Eaton Hall at Stretton Hall in Tilston.
I am sponsoring the development of a tribute website which is documenting the history of Ferranti Helicopters and, during the life of this thread, have decided to expand the site to include details of selected corporate and private helicopter operations in the UK from the 70's and 80's and into which your father's story as personal pilot to the Duke would fit nicely! On this matter I have sent you a PM.
Among the characters you will discover here are Dennis K, referred to affectionately by my godfather as 'Dennis the Menace' and who has either flown, owned or has some connection with virtually every flying thing mentioned on this thread! Dennis, as you will have read, bought G-TALY from his lordship whereafter she became G-CSKY and which was the aircraft I did my PPL course in. She was a lovely little thing and I would be delighted to see some photos of her in her prime as it were!
There are many other experienced, knowledgeable and interesting persons on this forum and who you are sure to get to know.
It has been quite an event reading through the accumulated thread and picking up on the references to my Dad, it has brought back a lot of memories of my own. I am going to see my Dad this evening (it's his birthday would you believe so finding this thread has been a bit of an extra birthday present for him!) and I'll see if he's had a chance to find any pictures for me to scan yet!
I now have on loan from my Father a wonderful album of photographs & cartoons detailing the collection of G-TALY from Frosinone in March 1979. I will scan the most significant pictures as soon as I can get my scanner set up and working but some of the high points in terms of TALY's history are:- 1. TALY being wheeled off the production line and outside ready for a test flight prior to flying her back to the UK 2. TALY airborne for the first time and on route to Urbe on the outskirts of Rome. 3. TALY outside Alan Mann Helicopters after a 5 day flight across Europe. 4. Before & After pictures of TALY in the hangar for interior & radios to be fitted and colour scheme to be added (there is an interior shot elsewhere in the album of the temporary radio bungeed on top of the panel with a big piece of rubber under it!) 5. TALY being collected by my Dad in her new livery for delivery to her new owner. There's loads more documenting the whole 5 day journey but not all of it is relevant to TALY herself (several pictures of my Dad and Mr Geoff Newman nursing hangovers seem to feature for some reason ) I'll get the important ones up ASAP Cheers
OK, as a newbie there is an excelent chance that i will get the process of attaching the images wrong at least once before I get the hang of it so this will either be the first image of G-TALY to appear since the start of the thread (in which case loads more will quickly follow to tell the story of her collection from Italy) or it will be an ignominious failure and a great let down after the noble Earl's build-up, so here goes:-
Once upon a time (Tuesday 13th March 1979 to be exact) two intrepid airmen, my father Ken Davies and his trusty sidekick who now goes by the name of Geoffersincornwall (for reasons that may become apparent later) set off to collect G-TALY from the Frosinone, 50 miles south of Rome.
The first image to record this epic and historic journey is one of my father on the commercial flight out:-
At this point I feel I should explain that the person now known only as Geoffersofcornwall has added a caption casting slanderous and totally unsubstantiated aspertions about my father's intentions towards an air hostess who is just out of shot. My father has been nursing thoughts of legal action over this and other similar allegations ragarding the same trip for the 31 years since this photograph was taken!
However, on to the moment you have all been waiting for. The intrepid pair arrive at Frosinone and enter the factory to see this gorgeous creature waiting patiently for them on the end of the production line, still in her virginal white colour scheme:-
This is the first known picture of G-TALY before she had even set foot outside into the Italian sunshine. Minutes later and the engineers were wheeling her outside for her test flight prior to handing over the keys:-
Once again the slanderous pen of Geoffersincornwall was at work here too and the caption reads:-
"A moment of acute embarrassment however, as Ken offers to give the ground crew a hand with the bump start. A quiet word in his ear and after a conference with the engineers we confirm that a starter motor is on the specification" My father asserts that he knew there was a starter motor fitted all along and that he was just trying to be helpful. However 31 yrs on and he's still sulking!
One or two people check out the odd thing or two....
and then Snr. Mazzeti hands over the keys.
At this point my father would like to point out that he is not, as appears, standing in a hole but Snr Mazzeti was quite tall!
Snr Buldini, the Chief test Pilot arrived on the official company bicycle (one of the perks of his job apparently...) And (fanfare please) G-TALY takes to the air for the first time....
Shortly after that, our dynamic duo set off for Urbe, a small airfield on the outskirts of Rome and G-TALY is finally on her way towards her new home.