Peter, Mike Burnett & myself were all ex army but I couldn't remember how Peter spelt his name but your excellent photos identified him for me. I had no idea he had been killed so long ago & even Chalky White passed on a while ago; all very sad. Where did you get all those photos??? I still have a good one of you in your Sunday whites on Albion's deck in HK, complete with your new sword!!
Agusta-Bell 206B JetRanger III G-VANG at the Mannstead in June 1982 (Photo: Wingnut)
This Mann-supplied craft began life in June 1981 as G-BIZA then to G-VANG the following year when she signed-up to Skyhook. In 1986 she was bought by 'Hecray' Ltd (when she became G-HRAY) and was the following year bought by Aeromega who re-registered her as G-OMDR.
A private message I recently received reads:
I have read the AMH nostalga thread several times (with much enjoyment) and was wondering about Bob Baff. He was an excellent pilot and instructor and often flew the Bell 47G2 G-ARXH. This machine was owned by the Hon. Mrs Kidd, the grandmother of Jodie. Sadly, Bob died on the 10th Jan 2010. I first met him in 1958.
The brown and gold colours referred to earlier were, IIRC, devised by an agency on the premise that they would instil confidence in the company, brown being a safe "earth" colour and gold for "riches". As TRC says they were awful. The gold was actually real gold leaf sealed with a hard wearing lacquer.
I think I am right in saying that Bob Baff introduced Nicki Papadakis to Alan Mann and put up the money to purchase Fairoaks airfield from Doug Arnold who went on to buy Blackbushe, but that's another story. If Chris Hobbs is a Prune member he would know better than me.
IIRC John Ackroyd-Hunt was an ex Royal Marine pilot along with Mark Lngford, he came from CSE. Johns death was reported in the Field or Shooting Times, I am unable to find the relevant copy, again IIRC he was demonstrating at a country fair and making a low level turn when a main blade struck the ground.
G-BBKP at the time of the accident was owned by the late Viscount Portman, who had met Peter Faulkes in the Navy. The lady passengers' name I know but am reluctant to release because her husband is still alive.
Some of the pilots I recall were : Nigel Thornton (ex Navy,) John Dicken Air Hanson, John Willis (ex Army,) Geoff Cox. Mike Somerton-Rayner (ex Army,) Chris Hunt (ex Army,) Danny Foreman (ex Army) he flew G-AVVH for David Brown, Aston Martin.
How did Paul Midgeley die please?
From this PM it is clear that there are still more ex-Manners on PPRuNe. Here's a reminder of the ones we know:
Delivery of G-BIZA was taken for Vanguard at Frosinone on the 19th January 1982 and it arrived at Fairoaks on the 23rd. A trip short on daylight and in poor weather meant going the coastal route via Cannes and losing a day in Lyons in fog. The fact that it left the Agusta factory with a miserable battery also meant that a battery cart had to be sought for every start ... which did not help!
Gosh I remember the Bell 430 Round the World flight.I persuaded them to take an extra passenger with them in the shape of Helix,a Bear from the Helicopter Museum,whom I retrieved safe and well upon their return. He now lives in a box at the museum,complete with his own round the world certificate as the first bear to travel around the world by helicopter !
76Fan: Thanks for this info! Does this mean you served with Mann's for a time? If so, we'd love to hear more.
Heli1: You are going to have to post an image of Helix!
Helihub wrote: .. given the red/white Sunstrand sticker on the side ..
And the rest .. I don't know why Vanguard didn't go the whole hog and sell every square inch of the fuselage for advertising .. as they were well on the way!
Of course if they had .. then this is how VANG may have looked ...
"The Vangvertiser" .. or how Vanguard's 206 may have looked had they embraced a few more logos on their ship!
For those who knew my godfather then they will also remember his aversion to advertising or company names on the airframes. I'm not sure if he would actually break-out into a rash when he saw what he considered as graffiti; perhaps something close to it!
There were some at Ferranti who were at odds with him on this and, more than once, a Ferranti ship appeared (usually a Bolkow) with 'Ferranti Helicopters' painted on the side. Such apparitions were however generally short-lived for as soon as the Colonel sighted the indiscretion it was required to be returned to 'normal'.
In the latter years I think the Colonel conceded with the yellow 105's (which were almost constantly involved in utility ops) and BATB (the ex-Rolls Royce corporate mount) was stamped with "Northern Lighthouse Board" for that contract. At least one Ferranti 206 wore the Plessey logo for about a year (negotiated down from an initial request to emblazon the Plessey name across the fuselage just for'ard of the tailboom and which the Colonel flatly refused).
All great stuff!
Of course had VANG's owners adopted a more Ferranti-esque approach to the appearance of their craft .. then she may have looked something like this ..
"The VANG" as she might have appeared in 'different' circumstances!
And in such fine form doing what you do best .. pulling out of your Helipixman's Collection 'hat' hard or otherwise impossible-to-find-elsewhere images, lol, great stuff! Had been looking for a shot of G-AXAY for over a year.
I mentioned (both in post 183 on this thread and elsewhere on the Ferranti Thread) the terrible tragedy which befell G-AXAY on 7th March 1974 when she literally broke apart in mid-air over Inkpen Hill, Hungerford. It was, to the best of my knowledge, the most dramatic (and obviously catastrophic) Bell 206 accident in UK rotary history at the time.
The next 'most shocking' Bell 206 accident to occur (in the UK) would take place three years later on 15th May 1977 when a radio-less Tiger Moth (whose pilot had failed to read the Notam advising that the grass runway he was approaching at the Biggin Hill Air Fair was in fact closed to operations) flew into the main rotors of Ferranti's G-AVSN killing Hugh Lovett and his four passengers. My godfather never really got over this incident and bemoaned the loss of his beloved pilot for the remainder of his career somehow managing to find cause to blame himself for the events of that day and which, of course, was utter nonsense.
G-AXAY was the 32nd 206 to be registered in the UK (in March 1969) and, as Helipix mentioned, was assigned to Start Hill Plant Hire of Bishop's Stortford. In June 1971 she was transferred to 'Camlet Helicopters' - another British rotary firm I've never heard of before .. and it was while under their tenure (presumably leased to Manfred Mann) that she met her demise.
The photo which the inimitable 'Elipix' showcased is almost certainly taken in July of 1973 when, I suspect, Mann's were running AXAY into the International Air Tattoo at Greenham Common.
In a picture of ill-fated doom, sitting behind G-AXAY in Helipixman's shot is a Ferranti JetRanger (although not G-AVSN but G-AWJW which was attending the same event at Greenham in '73). The yellow overalls of Ferranti's ground crew are just visible and would doubtless have meant that they were 'at hand' to enforce the Colonel's standard requirement that no Ferranti-craft be permitted to fly anywhere at any time unless it epitomised his ideal of constant cleanliness! The Colonel had a long list of 'no no's' which basically precluded the aircraft from being released for operational duty in anything other than showroom condition!
Just a titbit to add to the sad accident at the 1977 Biggin Air Show.
I was unfortunate to witness this accident at close hand being parked 'rotors turning' at the then 03 runway threshold awaiting my turn to display ... (Enstrom G-PALS or G-BENO I think.) I watched with some concern as the Ferranti G-AVSN with four passengers went light on its skids and promptly lifted into the path of a 'short final' Tiger Moth. At about 50 feet, the Bell's M/R blades smacked into the Tiger Moth's landing gear removing both wheels one of which flew toward the crowd line approximately 30 yards from the Bell's lift-off position. The Bell's M/R head and blade assembly catastrophically separated from the cabin which also impacted fairly close to the crowd line.
In their respectrive positions, the Tiger Moth pilot would not have been able to see the Bell 206 beneath his mainplanes - similarly the Bell would not have been able to see the Moth above. I have to say that a 90 degree 'clearing turn' would have prevented the collision and in fact in training I now cite this accident to emphasise the importance of the 'look-out' turn prior to lift-off .... and as an aside, not ... "to check the approach is clear" but to note "conflicting traffic on the approach." This, on the basis that one invariably sees what one 'expects to see.' On a subsequent LPC training flight when a well known champion motor bike pilot failed to make the clearing turn ... I recall yelling as he transitioned: ... "Stop this f-cking helicopter." I'd like to think my use of the F word ensured the lesson in look-out was learned.
Alan Mann's G-BBEU arrives at Farnborough on 9th September 1976
Some comments relating to BBEU from the Nostalgia Thread:
Savoia wrote: G-BBEU (a Bell) was delivered to Ben Turner Helicopters in August '73. From Ben Turner she moved on to Heli-Air then to Alan Mann in '75. In January '78 she was bought from Mann's by International Messengers, a courier company founded by Andrew Walters, a friend to my godfather who later went on to order a new Agusta-built 206, G-OIML.
In July '81 Hanson's bought BBEU and about a year later she was exported to Uganda (via Autair) to become 5X-MIA. There she flew with the Uganda Police Air Wing until, as with every rotorcraft they have ever owned, she crashed during operational flying duties.
TRC wrote: The roof was changed due to suspected honeycombe delamination as per the Bell rep. It was decided to build a jig at Fairoaks rather than send the fuselage to Sweden (I think). During the 6 months or so that it took to sort the jig out, EU sat in the corner getting steadily smaller as the duty ‘Christmas Tree’. We cut various bits out of the old roof after it was replaced but it seemed sound – oh well!
Barratt Developments A109 G-HELY has featured previously on this thread but this is, to the best of my knowledge, the first time an image of G-BEKH has cropped-up.
Barratt Developments Agusta-Bell 206B JetRanger II G-BEKH
BEKH was delivered to Barratt in January 1977 and remained with them until sold to WR Finance in 1981. In 1987 the craft was exported to France where she was to fly as F-GFDO.
While in the Barratt stable BEKH experienced a turbine rotor burst on 11th December 1980. An extract from the accident report reads:
"The accident occurred during a private flight immediately after take-off from a helipad in the central area of Dundee. There was an explosion in the engine and, with loss of power, the helicopter settled back onto the helipad. A limited fire was extinguished by the pilot and neither he nor his passengers sustained any injuries.
The report concludes that the first stage turbine wheel became disengaged, oversped and burst due to the failure, in fatigue, of a tie-bolt clamping it to the second stage turbine and compressor drive. The reason for the development of fatigue was not conclusively established but evidence is presented which suggests that the manufacturers should re-assess the loads sustained by the tie-bolt. Recommendations are also made concerning the vulnerability of the Bell 206 and other helicopters to secondary damage and fire following an un-contained engine failure."
Can't say conclusively, but a very nice chap by the name of Terry ... paid me a tenner to clean the Barratt Twin Squirrel, circa 1984. He had just flown in for a day or two, and I was then working as an aircraft handler for Bond in Aberdeen . Any wage supplement was greatly received!