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Manchester Airport - Then & Now

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Manchester Airport - Then & Now

Old 13th Apr 2008, 22:49
  #81 (permalink)  
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Don't forget those wonderfully noisy Spantax Coronados!

That VC10 pic takes me right back. BOAC Cunard - what a wonderfully gracefull aeroplane, if a tad loud with four Speys! But strangely, the 1-11s with half as many Speys seemed louder. Maybe becuase they hung around longer.

On a CONGA departre you could still hear them at the 06 end several minutes after they'd taken off.
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Old 13th Apr 2008, 23:20
  #82 (permalink)  
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That VC10 pic takes me right back. BOAC Cunard - what a wonderfully gracefull aeroplane, if a tad loud with four Speys!
And a tad louder with four Conways!
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 19:10
  #83 (permalink)  
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And a tad louder with four Conways!
Absolutely right spekesoftly all 84000 lb's of them. The 1-11 did have Speys of between about 10300-12500lb's..... No contest

Strangely enough the Caravelle was rated as among or if not the loudest of that era and was kitted with 12600lb Avons and later JT8D's.

Music to my ears
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 21:40
  #84 (permalink)  
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Never mind Venetian glass chandeliers. What happened to Alcock and Brown statue? Always good for a teenage snigger.... Don't know if it's Brown your side but it's.... You get the idea.
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 21:54
  #85 (permalink)  
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Just had to post this. Can't remember when I took it, but it was a long time ago!

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Old 16th Apr 2008, 18:00
  #86 (permalink)  
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Great photo.
That picture would have been taken from a covered deck directly above the Airport Shop situated close to the entrance of Pier B.
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Old 17th Apr 2008, 21:14
  #87 (permalink)  
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Mention of Alcock and Brown reminds me of a PA announcement made in the Summer of 72; "would Messrs Alcock and Brown please report to the Air Traffic Control Tower". John (I think) Brown was the Manch ATC Training Officer and Norman Alcock was the Regional Inspector. I was easily amused in those days.
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Old 17th Apr 2008, 22:09
  #88 (permalink)  
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John Brown...one of that dying breed...a True [and natural] Gentleman. [He was my Watch Supervisor] So were Pete Perry and Les Miller.
As to Mr Alcock...I remember "Norman" as an STPO [Specialist TelePrinter Operator] and D.G. [Dave] Alcock and G.D [Graham] Alcock..as ATCAs...both on the same watch.....
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Old 18th Apr 2008, 13:08
  #89 (permalink)  
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Flew out of Manchester for the first time on a Saturday in August 1971 on a Wardair 707 to Vancouver. This was apparently a notable sight for the time (later they became more common) which fascinated the spotters - we were having coffee in the buffet before departure, the 707 landed empty inbound from Gatwick or somewhere so not on the arrival board, and a whole lot of them ran over to the window !

There was the most incredibly tatty Channel Airways Comet 4B on the next stand heading to Palma, with half a BEA paint scheme still on it, paint patched and peeling, unwashed, never seen an unkempt aircraft like it before (or since, really). Next year, Channel were gone.

The car park was just a small surface one in front of the terminal. If it was full you parked in the Excelsior Hotel car park, which was completely uncontrolled, and walked across the road.

Some years later took a BA One-Eleven to Glasgow. This was a through flight from Frankfurt and was on the international pier. There was a "gate" which was an obscure door on the right hand side of the main hall which led round a windowless passage and allowed domestic passegers to circumvent the departure controls still in place then (and to keep them out of the Duty Free as well !). All now long gone.

I, too, wondered what happened to those chandeliers.
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Old 18th Apr 2008, 13:18
  #90 (permalink)  
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The Allcock & Brown statue is still there - on the upper floor at the rail station end of the 'Skylink'. The Parachute Regiment memorial stained glass window is in the T1 chapel.
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Old 24th Apr 2008, 20:38
  #91 (permalink)  
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This thread has taken me back a little, my very last holiday with Mater and Pater was to Jersey in July 1965, we flew from Ringway as most people called it then , I think with BEA, in a Viscount, that was also my first commercial flight in a BIG pax a/c, if I close my eyes I can still hear the whine from those turbines, but how tiny Viscounts look when you look at the Regional Jets that flit in and out of Ringway now!

Peter R-B

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Old 4th Oct 2008, 22:14
  #92 (permalink)  
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Manchester Airport - Then & Now

I have just stumbled across this thread and it has prompted me to make my first PPRuNe posting

From around 1955 to the early sixties my father worked for BEA in a uniformed 'reservations' capacity. He split his time between Ringway and the city centre Royal Exchange Air Terminal. Now, a lot of my recollections are hazy and some will prove innaccurate in their finer details but I am going to list a mixture of some of my late father's anecdotes and some of my own boyhood memories. I'm sure some of my points will serve to ressurrect this excellent thread and some new and entertaining stuff will result.

Here are my notes in no particular order or chronological relevance.

*Vulcans from nearby Woodford would sometimes perform circuits and bumps much to the startlement and horror of waiting passengers, but bemusement of airport workers.

*Several Vampires and perhaps a Meteor or two were based at Ringway and gave impromptu displays.

*When a Stratocruiser (PanAm, I think) landed at Ringway people looked on in dread as it approached the runway in a nosedive. Not having seen a Stratocruiser before, it just did not seem right that its nosewheel should be the first to touch the ground.

*Pleasure flights in an Auster from the hangars at the Altrincham Road farside were only 5 or 10 shillings. My pocket money was sixpence a week so I never left the ground in an Auster.

*A frequent celebrity Ringway passenger was Honor Blackman who was quite a stunner. She lived quite near - probably Wilmslow.

*My father used to sort out complicated UK flight itineries for the renowned racecourse gambler Alex Bird, who lived in Prestbury. My father's reward was a tip for which he was sworn to secrecy until after the race. These tips were, as they say, straight from the horses mouth and they always won. I might be wrong, but Mr Bird might have gone on to get his own light aircraft or at least make greater use of air taxis.

*Finnegan's of Wilmslow, the up-market department store, later to become Hoopers, ran the duty free shop. The catering was contracted to Smallman's. I seem to recall some kerfuffle about Mr Smallman being a city councillor and the tendering process had not been as squeaky clean as it ought to. I could be mistaken though.

*The ferrying of passengers between the airport and the city centre terminal was done with a small fleet of pale blue buses. The sight of one of these was enough to arouse schoolboy excitement. They were just so exclusive and mere members of the public would never get to ride on one. The buses were operated by Manchester City Council Transport Department and in addition to the blue colour scheme they were single deck from the front to halfway then a double deck sprouted from mid to rear. The cavernous luggage hold was under the top deck. The drivers acted like they owned Princess Parkway.

*For some strange reason an Icelandic aircraft was stranded at Ringway - probably a Loftleidir DC4. The passengers were all Icelandic whalers on their way to repatriation after a presumed long period at sea. Without exception, they were massive, bearded and looked ferocious. Naturally, they set up camp in the bar with not unexpected consequences. When the time came, they ignored all normal requests to board and the situation was close to getting dangerously out of hand until an Icelandic stewardess came on the scene. She was big-big blonde and certainly not the sort to take nonsense from anyone. To get this drunken horde out of the bar and across the apron to the waiting aircraft would normally have presented an impossible task. However, this nordic godess soon had them under control and behaving sheepishly. She organised a game which resulted in the ensemble performing a noisy but good-spirited conga which snaked around the bar a couple of times, then through a strategic door and eventually, still snakingly, across the tarmac to the aircraft steps.

*Apparently there was a plumbers merchant or similar in the Isle of Man who had a lock-up near Ringway which held a supply of copper cisterns. Whenever the DC3 to Ronaldsway was particularly empty, the first class section would be curtained off and, shielded from the passengers eyes, the seats would be occupied by copper cylinders, each oneduly strapped in. It helped with the trim too. You may treat this with a pinch of salt but in those days I was inclined to believe everything my father told me.

*The name 'Silver Wings Club' was unmentionable in our household. I only ever heard those words when my mother was cross about father's very occasional late homecomings. I wonder why?

*Does anyone remember the BEA ciggies in lightweight alloy tins? Were they Benson & Hedges or Du Maurier?

*From time to time I would get a few BEA barley sugar sweets. Standard issue on unpressurised aircraft. They were great for playground barters.

*In 1957 my brother and I who were in the cubs, were taken by father in a DC3 to Elmdon. We were to go on to Sutton Great Park to visit the Centenary Jamboree. Resplendent in our pristine uniforms and polished shoes, we were given the VIP treatment and had the 'honour' of leading the passengers out.

*As a boy I was fortunate to make quite a few unaccompanied flights. Invariably these were to Heathrow in a DC3 or Viscount and, towards the end, a Vanguard. I would be met by one of my father's colleagues and plonked on the 'roof garden' of Queen's Building. No matter how exciting the spotting was I always had to make my way back to the desk at about 2.30 - 3.00pm for the earliest flight back to Ringway lest there be problems with my 'stand-by' ticket.

*My spotting years were from around 1958 until just before the opening of the new terminal in 1962 so I never experienced the roof or piers. I would cycle from Rusholme to the pathway at the end of the runway down the side of the Airport Hotel. I used to get there much quicker by bike than by the 64 bus which took a circuitous route taking in Cheadle and Gatley. My route took me through Fallowfield, Withington and down Palatine Road where I would skirt Northenden and then Longley Road, Sharston, Benchill and finally a complicated little short cut through Woodhouse Park. Sometimes I would wait until my friends got on the bus in Rusholme and then proceed to prove that bike was quicker over the 5 or 7 miles or however many miles it was as the crow flies. By the way, does anyone remember the Stockport based North Western Roadcar Company which shared the 64 route with MCTD. They had strange red buses with long bench seats upstairs, the passageway being down the offside windows. Very awkward if you were 'trapped' in a window seat. Half a dozen people would have to move to let you out.

Here are a few of my Ringway memories:-

*The Ferranti family had homes and their factory HQ near the airport and used to base their DH Heron and/or Dove there. These were followed by a Piaggio P116 which made an unmistakable high-pitched noise due to it having twin rear facing props. For a short time I was under the erroneous impression that it was an amphibian but later learned that the P116 was based on an earlier Piaggio aircraft which was amphibian.

* With waits of up to an hour between aircraft arrivals, things could get tedious. You would watch that distant tiny black dot morph over the minutes into an aircraft and there would be a race to identify it first. There were very few folks around then with quality binoculars and scanners were unheard of. The monthly single sheet timetable might have included it but anything which was not a boring scheduled flight would never be included. It was useless to us regular spotters. Usually the main onboard landing lights would switch on about a mile from touchdown but if you saw lights on approach miles away, you could bet a pound to a penny that it was an Aer Lingus DC3. Were they the only ones to keep lights on all the time? The DC3s were replaced by Fokker Friendships during my time spotting.

*The pure jet age arrived at Ringway with Air France's Caravelle. I can't be certain but I feel that the Caravelle predated the first 707 as a scheduled jetliner at Ringway. The first 707 I saw was Sabena. Was Sabena the first airline to fly 707s out of Ringway? The others around that era were obviously BOAC and there was Aer Lingus. The bizjet had not fully arrived but I recall a Chester built DH125 making an early appearance. Before the arrival of the 707 the transatlantic flights were done by BOAC DC7 (Seven Seas) and Britannias (The Whispering Giant). The Super Connie with its wingtip fuel tanks, probably my all time favourite airliner after Concorde, was a rarity.

*Most comical and predictable regular was a Dan Air Avro York. I think it was on newspaper runs. It would bounce half a dozen times before settling on the runway.

*Helicopters were so rare in those days. I probably only saw half a dozen in my Ringway days. One was a civilian Bolkow and the remainder military Whirlwind types.

*My last Ian Allan had not yet completed G-A--- series.

*Package and charter operators rarely bought new. The overseas holiday industry was in its infancy and relied on cast-off DC3s, Vickers Vikings, DC4s and 6s. BUA used the more recent exBEA early Viscounts but, I believe this was to satisy HMG's conditions of troop carrying contracts. BKS based at Yeadon did buy new Avro 748s though they did have a varied fleet of second-hand including some exBEA DC3s and Elizabethans. I think a Channel Islands Airline bought new Dart Heralds but stictly speaking, they were probly more of a flag carrying airline than a charter outfit. Incidentally, I flew in a Herald some twenty years later and it was still like new.

*Convair Metropolitans had scheduled flights in and out of Ringway. I can remember seeing them in Swissair and Sabena liveries.

*Hunting Clan and British Eagle were regulars. I think they had DC4s, Vikings and perhaps the aforementioned Metropolitan.

*Bristol Freighters could often be seen. There was a sizeable traffic in racehorses between UK and Ireland. It was a Bristol Freighter en route from the Isle of Man which crashed onto Winter Hill in 1958 (The Viscount crash in 1957 just a couple of hundred yards from the Airport Hotel, just predates my spotting years).After the Bristol Freighters came the twin boomed BEA Argosy and, to my mind, the thinking behind the 747, the Carvair. Extra special cargo visitors were from Flying Tiger Lines. Word would spread like wildfire and people would descend on the airport in droves no matter what time of night or day. A rare treat would be a KLM Lockheed Electra (also cargo, I think). Those Allison turboprops sounded like nothing else.

*A Heron of The Queen's Flight with ubiquitous day-glo and Prince Philip at the controls was a memorable 'cop'

*Occasionally some of us would cycle round to near where the Romper pub stands and hope to glimpse Djindivik drones outside Fairey's hangar. Also, there was a twin engined American warplane which we assumed was a Martin Marauder or something of that ilk. It seemed to be there forever.

Seeing as this is my very first post in quite a few years of being a registered PPRuNer I have made up for it by possibly going over the top on my word count. Still, I hope its not all been boring. It would be nice if one or two of you could add your comments and please, please put me right where my shrinking brain cells have got it wrong.
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Old 6th Oct 2008, 09:56
  #93 (permalink)  
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The KLM electra was a regular Saturday substitution for the scheduled viscount. Thay occasionally used to sub to a DC8 as well.
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Old 6th Oct 2008, 18:36
  #94 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Manchester
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Ahh some memories on this thread ...

The black rubber flooring all over T1, with the sound of trolleys running over it... for me, the sound of travel.

The travelators in the T1 car park, much faster than the lifts today.

VC10's on Pier B. A few years back I had the honour of marshalling an RAF aircraft on to stand. A fine sight, and the parking wasn't bad either.

Christmas parties: the best ones were held by SB and Customs. Customs, somehow, always had a very well stocked bar ...

Good News on the chandeliers ... Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, two are being restored, one to go to the Museum of Glass in St Helens, the other to the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.
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Old 7th Oct 2008, 15:59
  #95 (permalink)  
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SB Christmas Parties

I think it was "Archie" from SB, that ran the christmas parties. He funded the party with a football card where you purchased a team for a sum of money & when the card was full he would pull the tape at the bottom of the card showing the winning team he would take half the stake & you would win the other half. What happened to Archie think he had a heart bypass?

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Old 8th Oct 2008, 18:28
  #96 (permalink)  
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mephisto, nice post , welcome back

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Old 9th Oct 2008, 21:00
  #97 (permalink)  
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Mephismo - that brings back lots of memories for me. We used to cycle to the 06 end, on Altrincham Road near the 'level crossing gates' across the road that were closed for 06 arrivals. The road was along a concrete 'taxyway' in those days, probably dating from WW2 but then (early 60s) outside the airport boundary. It's part of the airport's taxyway system again these days.

The Winter Hill crash was a Bristol Wayfarer - passenegr version of the Freighter. And the dreaded Smallmans also held the contract for school dinners at our school in Hale Barns - and it was absolutely inedible! I suspect they did rather better for the airport.

My first ever flight was in an Auster from Ringway - a birthday present I think. It changed my life - I sat behind the pilot and marvelled that he could move the stick and the whole world tilted over. "I'm going to do that one day" I promised myself. "Move a stick to tilt the world". Been flying aeroplanes for 30 years this year.


Last edited by Shaggy Sheep Driver; 10th Oct 2008 at 10:38.
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Old 11th Oct 2008, 18:01
  #98 (permalink)  
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A few of my memories of Ringway-

Going with my friend Roger and his parents in their Austin (KAT 647 - why can I remember that registration when I can't remember if I locked the back door this evening?) to 'look at the planes'. This must have been circa 1952 or 3 (we were VERY young). The car park was cinders, I think we saw a Rapide that was doing pleasure flights and I can remember the Fairey hangar was clearly visible. I have no idea where the car park was in relation to today's layout.

I was never a frequent visitor to EGCC as a pilot but my logbook tells me I first went there on 31 May 1971 in a Cherokee G-AVBM. I visited several more times that year, once in a Chipmunk to pick up my then girlfriend, a hostie on BEA's S1-11 fleet, parking alongside one of the piers! My last visit was 2 Oct 1999 in command of a 146.

I certainly remember North Western Roadcar's buses with the lateral benches upstairs. Getting off wasn't much of a problem on the route I used to travel - Glossop to Manchester with stops in Stalybridge and Ashton only. (As an aside I also remember the SHMD buses which worked the same area - they all seemed to be real rattletraps).
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Old 11th Oct 2008, 19:29
  #99 (permalink)  
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Olympus. Please don't slag off the old SHMD buses.
My uncle used to work on them as a "Body builder!
He died a few years ago because of the asbestos
they used to insulate the bodywork.
My second EVER flight was in the old Rapide that
operated at the then Ringway. About 1948 I think.
That's all there was operating there then I think!
My first flight was off Southport beach in an old
DH Moth that someone had managed to fit out with
a TINY 4 seat cabin. Thrill a second!
I was told that the chap used to keep it in the local
bus garage and taxy it from there to the beach at the
start of the day's business. Don't know how true that was?
My LAST duty flight from MAN was a 767 to Montego Bay.
Slightly less exciting. Returned to LGW.
What a difference the years make!
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Old 11th Oct 2008, 20:18
  #100 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Cambridge UK
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I don't know when you had your flight off Southport beach but in the late sixties/early seventies Capt J S Lewery had the concession to operate pleasure flights from the beach with his Fox Moth.

Taxying the aircraft from the town may be an urban myth as I recall he positioned the Moth to Squires Gate at the end of each day's flying. (and no offence intended with the reference to SHMD).
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