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Llanbedr (North Wales)

Old 16th Aug 2004, 20:15
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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Unhappy Bad News

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news about Llanbedr, especially having just spent a lovely week there, I couldn't believe that this was announced during my stay.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/north_west/3561380.stm

Neg G
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Old 18th Aug 2004, 22:01
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Looks like it's the end then V. sad for the people working there and the local community too. It all seems very quick with the closure happening at the end of October.

Doesn't give me much time to get back there whilst they are still flying for one last look from the dunes on Shell Island. Sad day indeed...
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Old 21st Aug 2004, 13:36
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From that BBC link:

"But its future may take another twist with interest being shown by the RAF.

A spokeswoman for Ministry of Defence Estates said: "A decision on its future rests with the RAF who have made a bid to use it in connection with their contract to train Indian Air Force pilots."

So there could be some hope then? I would hate to see it close, even though its been mooted for some time now.
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Old 21st Aug 2004, 15:58
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"A decision on its future rests with the RAF who have made a bid to use it in connection with their contract to train Indian Air Force pilots."
Would this be some form of relief landing ground then - I'm assuming the training would be based at Valley?? This would probably give the place a reprieve for a while.
(at least until the contract ends!)
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Old 22nd Aug 2004, 16:43
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This would probably give the place a reprieve for a while
Yes lets hope so because Valley is extremely busy at the moment, although as previously mentioned it would more than likely be a short term extension of use, but then again a year later they may find another use for it.......

Anyway as promised for "No Comment" and other closet spotters a full Listing of Aircraft seen at Llanbedr last week:-

ZJ 646 - Alpha Jet(Flying)
ZJ 649 - Alpha Jet(Flying)
WH453 - Meteor (Red/Yellow outside in Poor condition)
WH734 - Canberra (Raspberry ripple, tied down outside !)
WH887 - Canberra (Dump/Fire dept.)
XV435 - Phantom (Dump/Fire Dept.)
A92-480 - Jindavik on Gate
>4 x Jindaviks (Flying)
1 x RN FRADU Hawk being roaded out on low loaders !

In addition to the above there were numerous Hawks from Valley in the circuit most days, plus overshoots from C-130's,Tornados & various Helicopters.
The two days I spent on Shell Island the Jindaviks were being lauched several times a day but there was no sign of the resident Meteor (WK800) nor Canberra(WK128) all week !

Hmmmmmm i almost feel 12 again

Neg G

P.s The Lager was very good in the club too !
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Old 22nd Aug 2004, 18:30
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Hi Neg G

Very interested to hear about the two Canberras, don't suppose you got any pictures did you?

Especially interested about WH734 still being all in one piece so to speak as it's a pretty historic aricraft.

WH734 (built early 1953) was the first British jet aircraft to be fitted out as an air-to-air tanker. Conversion was carried out by Flight Refuelling Ltd in late 1954 (50 years ago!) with a hose drum unit fitted into the rear part of the bomb bay. Used for high speed flight trials of probe/drouge systems the Canberra proved equal to the task and, arguably, if it had been developed further could have been of great value making use of redundant B.2 airframes as the bomber force declined.

Pic shows WH734 in action during trials.

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Old 9th Oct 2004, 17:22
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Beeayeate,

WOW what an excellent picture, I didn't realise that WH734 had such a history, a friend told me that it was still sat outside a couple of weeks ago when he had a short stay on Shell Island.

Has anyone obtained any more up to date information regarding Llanbedr or is the final Ops day still as previously stated to be the 31st Oct(Sun) or more likely Fri 29th?
Any information on any official closing ceremony's etc.. would be greatly appreciated.

Neg G
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Old 11th Oct 2004, 09:18
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MEMORIES!!

Have posted these elsewhere but what the hell....

All from '90-'92

























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Old 11th Oct 2004, 14:33
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That's got to be one of the nicest Canberra paint schemes ever. Great pics Hairy.
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Old 11th Oct 2004, 18:41
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Wow what excellent photographs Mr H.C.Eater, they brought a lump to my throat especially as I heard via another website that the Final operational Flight of Meteor WK800 (Z) was made today at 11.30am with its final resting place unknown

Its hard to believe the inevitable is gunna happen to Llanbedr !

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Old 11th Oct 2004, 19:06
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A friend of mine lives very close to Llanbedr and confirms the base is to close at the end of the month and has also stated that the fire section is to be disbanded, so nothing likely to take its place in aviation in the near future.

A link, if it hasn't been posted before:

http://www.maesartro.co.uk/llanbedr.htm
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Old 15th Oct 2004, 14:04
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Thanks for the comments guys re the pix - some of them were shot from a canoe whilst on camp with the space cadets! Great days.
Thats sad to hear about WK800 - probably be broken up and the "nose" preserved - thats crap. Problem is we had a gorgous Meteor F8 (VZ467 - owned by Delta Jets for a while) but that was sold to Oz, so presume no hope of this bird being retained, thats even crappier.
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Old 30th Oct 2004, 11:48
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Ok, this subject raises its head again! Just been sent a little snippet from the Cambrian News (at least I think thats where it was cut from!). Its not all quite over yet!

..................Surrey-based Thales UK plc are the preferred bidders for the Watchkeeper programme and their chief executive Alex Dorrian is supportive of using the Cardigan bay area for test flying.

He stated in a letter to Lisa Francis AM: "The UAVs used within the more advanced Watchkeeper programme are far more advanced than the Jindivik drones currently flown and do not require the extensive ground facilities, long runway or supporting chase aircraft currently based there.

"Test flying no the Watchkeeper programme must take place, and the system will be certified eventually only for in service use, in military controlled airspace.

"There are a limited number of UK sites suitable for this and the final decision about where to undertake this testing has not yet been taken.

"However, we have actively promoted the use of the Cardigan bay area, working closely with the WDA and the DDA. This would have a twofold benefit.

"Firstly there would be a direct benefit of test flying within the Bay - based either at Llanbedr, if available, or at the commercially owned Parc Aberporth site.

"The work would be expected to start towards the end of 2005 and involve a team of perhaps 20 to 30 people working on trials activities in the early phases of the programme.

"The continuing uncertainty over the future of Llanbedr Airfield means that we have been unable to confirm Llanbedr as our preferred site, even though we see it has specific advantages.

"Ultimately the decision on the closure of Llanbedr or indeed plans for the site following its closure, rests with the MoD, it is therefore not guaranteed as available for operation of flight trials".

Later in the article Ms Francis said:

"I will still be pressing for Llanbedr to be used in some way in the Watchkeeper programme because of the facilities available and the fully trained workforce. We have until the end of the year to get the MoD to take the same view".
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Old 30th Oct 2004, 23:24
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Ahhh Shell Island

Memories of my parents forcing me and my bro on a huge number of caravaning holidays to some farm in the hills above Llanbedr in the early-mid 80s as a kid. I think RAE Llanbedr probably started interested in flying. Every year we'd visit the
limited number of exhibits at Maes Artro, pass the fascinating Jindivik gateguard on our way to the beach, and take a stroll along the "slate walk" from the picnic spot, offering views of the aircraft parked up. My old man particularly enjoyed pointing out all the aircraft he knew from when he was a kid.

Didn't one of the Jindiviks crash in the dunes? I seem to remember something about that.

3 issues played on my mind there as a young'n.

1) What would happen if you took a photo, as the sign on the road through to the beach appeared to my young mind to say "MOD property, anyone taking photos will be shot"!

2) Where did the man sit in that red and yellow aeroplane thing by the gate? I couldn't really fathom the whole pilotless thing.

3) What unspoken things go on in the village during the hours of darkness?

The last issue left me wetting the bed at night. Still does.

It's a shame the buggers in suits are closing the Airfield though. It will take some of the character away from a nice area.

Last edited by Time Bandit; 30th Oct 2004 at 23:41.
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Old 20th Nov 2004, 21:30
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Just got the info that the Meteor there ,WH453, is up for disposal - qouoted as non effective and if you see the picture you can see why!!! It looks in a pretty poor state - one for the scrapman I feel.
Shame really as it looks like it is one of the drone conversions - does anyone have any further details?

It would be good to see a few more Jindiviks preserved as well - does anyone know whether they may be offered for disposal with the closure of Llanbedr?
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Old 23rd Nov 2004, 22:31
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I have seen the photo and the Meatbox does indeed look in poor shape cosmetically.
Hopefully someone will save her, but it does look a possible for that airfield in the sky
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Old 5th Mar 2005, 16:55
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Well sadly the closure & decommissioning of Llanbedr has passed by almost unrecognised with little sign of its aviation history remaining.

For any wishing to ponder on 'what used to be' one of the nicest airfields in Britain theres a good little article in this months Aircraft Illustrated, which sadly also mentions what has happened to the former based aircraft such as the historic Canberra WH734 which "Beeayeate" informed us of earlier in this thread & "Hairyclameater" supplied some excellent photos of.
Sadly several of the aircraft have come in contact with the scrapmans Gas torch

On a hopefully brighter note has anyone heard of any future plans for the airfield ?

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Old 6th Mar 2005, 08:52
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I hear that the runway lights have been ripped out, presumably the first stage of a ploy to render the site unusable for further flying?
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Old 7th Mar 2005, 20:27
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Huh bleedin typical, though that could be a good sign, give it 2yrs & they'll be installing new ones at our expense !

IIRC the Runway surface is very hard & abrasive(High Friction) at Llanbedr & the Airfield manuals used to warn of encountering excessive breaking action & tire wear etc..

Edited to say that I now know what happened to the remaining Non-Flying Airframes:-

WH543 - Meteor - Static display at Bentwaters museum

WH734 - Canberra - Scrapped

WH887 - Canberra - Scrapped

WK128 - Canberra - Scrapped

XV435 - Phantom - Scrapped


Neg G

Last edited by Negative 'G'; 8th Mar 2005 at 18:23.
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Old 9th Mar 2005, 07:34
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But at least the noses of the Cranberries have been saved woo hoo , yep so in effect scrapped......
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