View Full Version : Last Flight of an RAF Shackleton

1st Sep 2004, 23:37
As best as I can tell the poor old shack last flew (other than the SAAF Pelicans 16 & 22) in 1988. However I remember being on a diving trip to St Abbs in early September 1994 and a couple of fast jets flew over while I was standing watch as shore saftey. I few mins later I haerd the drone of what could only be 4 piston engines in the distance and a few seconds later I spotted what I believe was a shackleton.

I was shocked and didn't believe it myself but the shilloette is very distinctive.

Can anyone shed any light on this, I know I got the dates right even though it is 10 years ago as I have a record of the trip in my dive log.

After just watching the film on the last flight of Pelican 16 it reminded me of this and again they stated in the film that the last RAF shack ceased flying in 1988.

Am I going mad or did I really see 10,000 rivets all flying in close formation.


2nd Sep 2004, 05:45

To the best of my knowledge, Mr MacHendry is still flying in the USA on an "experimental!" permit to fly. Conflicting reports of who actually owns her; Amjet and Air Atlantic being 2 options. One thing for sure, somebody here will know:

Anybody know what date she flew out on?

2nd Sep 2004, 09:16
According to No 8 Squadron history (http://www.raf.mod.uk/squadrons/h8.html) they swapped their Shacks for mushroom carriers in 1991.

Are you sure it wasn't a Lancaster? They have 10,000 rivets in loose formation, but as I recall the Shack had more like 40,000. Also you could usually recognize a Shack from the oil slick it leaves behind.

Here's a picture of one of the last of the Old Grey Ladies to fly over Changi during the 205 disbandment in 1971. The photo was taken by Ian Waters.


2nd Sep 2004, 10:21
According to the web, the owner of Mr MacHendry (WL790/N790WL) is

1220 N MARKET ST STE 606

Airworthiness certificate was granted on 12/12 1998

Here is a pic I took of a couple of Shacks at Lossiemouth on the very day they were auctioned at Sotheby's ( 4 July 1991)


2nd Sep 2004, 23:10
Well I didn't get close enough to count the rivets but I thought it had contra-rotating props. If my memory serves me right it was about a mile north of St Abbs heading at about 2000 ft going roughly 270.

I remember someone telling me that it may have been used as a flying testbed for what was then a new radar system for Nimrod 2 but I don't know if there is any truth in that.

Thanks for the great pictures people, keep them coming.

I just wish there was some way that the one in Manchester museum could be made airworthy again (sigh), every time I go up to town I just can't resist going in and having another look. Theres something about that aircraft that is just so majestic.

Vick Van Guard
3rd Sep 2004, 09:20

On September 7th 1994 I was standing on the apron at East Midlands Airport when I heard an unusal sound, scanning the sky to the south the unmistakeable shape of a Shackleton came in to view. It slowly transited overhead the field at about 1500'.

This was the delivery flight of WL790 from Coventry to Macon Georgia and the last flight of a Shack in the UK. :sad:

Happy that I saw it though :ok:

3rd Sep 2004, 13:58
Wow, that means I saw her on the last day in the UK as the last entry for the dive trip was the 6/9/94 and I stood shore duty the next day.

Thank you for the information, I now know that I am not going mad. I assume I must have seen her on the way to East Mids from where she was based.

4th Sep 2004, 13:33
The Atlantic Group bought two Shackletons and flew both to Coventry. One is still there and regularly ground run by the Shackleton Association group that maintain her and are I believe trying to get her to a taxiable condition again. Radar dome was removed so now painted as a maritime patrol Shack.
The other aircraft, Mr McHenry, is still flyabe in the USA and based with the CAF at Midland Texas.