View Full Version : Duxford Beau

surely not
3rd Feb 2003, 10:25
I have been trying to find out how the Beaufighter restoration at Duxford is going, can anyone help? The website for the a/c hasn't been updated in ages.

My father rates it as his favourite a/c having worked on them with 25 sqdn during WW2. He's 84 now and lives in Wales but it would make his last years very happy if he could see a Beau fly again. How much longer is he likely to have to wait? :D

3rd Feb 2003, 15:13
I aksed Pete Rushen at TFC to field this query, as he is the man who knows!


Difficult question to answer as it revolves around manpower/parts/funding which of course all inter relate. Work is progressing. Parts are being made or have been made for the following components:- ailerons, elevators, rudder and undercarriage doors.

Everybody out there can help by looking for all things Beau! Whether its a propeller or a widget it will all help. We are also helping our Beaufighter project friends around the world by making more than one of each item so they can finish their Beau., even if it is a static.

Hope that helps,

Pete Rushen


surely not
3rd Feb 2003, 20:31
Many thanks for your help Treadigraph, I guess the answer is that it won't be flying for a year or two yet.

I took my father to see the restoration about 3 years ago and he was like a little kid reunited with his favourite toy. As he looked it over he kept remembering all sorts of bits of info about the a/c and its quirks. As far as I'm concerned watching him that afternoon justified everything that the restoration movement does.

Best wishes to Pete and his team :D :)

vintage ATCO
3rd Feb 2003, 20:40
A few pictures on my web site here http://www.stevelevien.com/nwdux.htm taken on 5 Jan.

vintage ATCO

surely not
10th Dec 2004, 16:28
I have just been onto the TFC web site to see if there is any news re a target date for the Beau to fly again, but there is no indication of a month or year.

If anyone on here has any news I would be very interested.


John Eacott
10th Dec 2004, 23:24
These photos were taken back in early July: the cockpit is viewed through a perspex screen, so the image isn't as clear as it could be.



20th Dec 2004, 14:08
I'm not involved with TFC's Beau, and so do not know exactly how far they have got with it, but when I last visited in November, there seemed to have been some more visible progress made, especially around the engine mountings.

One of the biggest problems TFC have had is that correct, original, and airworthy Hercules engines - with forward-exitting exhausts - are rarer than hens teeth, and so they have been looking at adapting later Hercs (rear facing exhausts) to fit either the existing engine mounts, or new mounts which would go with the existing pickups on the forward spar. There are all sorts of problems involved there - stress calculations, weights and balances, physical design of and build of any new mounts, routing the exhausts back through to the forward collector rings so that they retain as much originality as possible, at least in appearance...

And then there's the props... don't mention props...

The long and the short of it is that TFC have got themselves one of the most complex and difficult warbirds in the world to restore. There are no other airworthy examples that they can copy bits from, and even the UK's other static or project examples either aren't as complete or as advanced as theirs. So they really are breaking new ground. Plus they have their existing fleet of flyers which need to be maintained, on a finite resource...

What I'm trying to say is, progress IS being made on the Beaufighter, but it's slow. Very steady, and very, very good, but necessarily slow. My gut feel, based on watching this aeroplane grow steadily over the last decade? Maybe another five years, maybe a bit longer. I certainly don't expect to see it fly before then.

surely not
21st Dec 2004, 15:35
Thanks BeauMan for that news. It sounds like one heck of a project they have on their hands. I'll have to tell the old fella he's got to hang around into his 90's to see it fly!!

23rd Dec 2004, 15:40
I'm sure these avenues have been explored before but what is the relationship between the owners of the M of F, Skysport, RAF Museum and the TFC Beaufighters (not forgetting the Ozzie one at Essendon?). If the end result required is one flier and two good statics, is there any room for manouevre in exchanging parts between the owners? Probably a bit naive but maybe it's a way forward.

26th Dec 2004, 15:19
During the later part of the last Century I loaned my Hercules 316 to the FC at Duxford for them to see if that Mk of engine could be used, they took many measurements from the engine mounting points and very kindly checked out the bores and cylinders to see what condition they were in, this was if they were unable to trace or find any of the correct engines, they would know how good or bad my engine was.

Also whilst this was going on I took my father down to Duxford to see the Beau Nose section along with a very personal tour around some of these spectecular old aircraft, I left my father with his hand on the Beaus cockpit side, as I was walking to look at the Corsair, upon turning to look at him, he was wiping away many tears, the journey home was three hours up the A1 and onto the M62, it was only when we approached his home that he was able to say a few words to me.

I always wondered if I had done the right thing in taking him to see that old Beau,.... sadly, he is no longer with us.

My regards to all of you this Christmas


surely not
26th Dec 2004, 21:26
vfrpilotvb I know exactly what you are referring to, my father was similar. except that all his memories came flooding back to him and as his eyes burned brightly with happy memories he talked at length about the joys of looking after the night fighter Beaus of 25 sqdn.

Whenever we go to Airshows he is always looking through the book stalls and prints to see if he can find a mention of the night fighter Beau but it doesn't appear to have caught the imagination in the way that the Mossie and others have.

I saw him today and he has agreed to hang around for another 5 years so that he can see the Duxford Beau fly. I don't know what deal he has done with the controller of life spans but he seemed confident that lasting to 91 wouldn't be a problem!!

27th Dec 2004, 07:44
Surely not,

You lucky chap, I know my pop had some very good memories of his peers who he flew with with 272 Sqdn, I feel the actuall touching of that Beau brought so much back that it overwhelmed him for the next few hours.

After dad had gone I found his diaries, after carefully reading them I felt it may interest some if I published on the Rotorheads Forum some short extracts from his diaries from the early part of the N African conflict, the Diaries were the tiny "Charles Letts" type with sqdn blue paper one page covering three days, over a period of several months nearly every page covered the loss of his fellow flyers and aircrew, like many threads on the Pprune forums, it triggered an immense amount of similar comments about other Ppruners fathers, I feel our generation( just after the WWII) have not realised just what our parents went through as individuals, and just how brave All of them were.

You are very lucky to still have your pop with you, I would dearly love to hold my dads hand just one more time!

Spend lots of time with your dad, you never know when the Chief Pilot will call the last flight.

Peter R-B