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Handley Page Hastings

Old 20th Jan 2023, 16:02
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I saw several Hastings from the old 202 'Met' Squadron parked at Aldergrove in 1963 and apparently ready for 'retirement' but I understand next year they were re-purposed to become the T5 nav trainers at Lindholme (which I saw there in 1965) which served until Lindholme closed in 1972 so when I went back to Lindholme in '73 for my Area Radar training at Northern Radar they had gone (but there was still the solitary Victor an a hangar)
I also saw Hastings up to 1967 when visiting Abingdon but never got to fly in them.
The last Hastings I saw was in 1974 when it served as camera ship (WD480 I think) in the runup to the Farnborough Airshow in August /September in 1974. It was retired shorly after the airshow.

Last edited by chevvron; 22nd Jan 2023 at 13:55.
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Old 20th Jan 2023, 16:28
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On the last photo above is that a B-17 in the left hand bottom corner?
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Old 20th Jan 2023, 16:56
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Originally Posted by Brewster Buffalo View Post
On the last photo above is that a B-17 in the left hand bottom corner?
Yes but I don't think it is US; maybe Aeronavale roundels?
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Old 20th Jan 2023, 17:23
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Given the Lajes location, most likely to be a Portuguese AF SB-17?
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Old 20th Jan 2023, 20:05
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It is a Portuguese SAR B17. I think the Portuguese Air Force had about three at Lajes.
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Old 21st Jan 2023, 10:49
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Thanks for confirming it's a B-17. Surprised they were still operational in the late1950s.

On the others - on the apron a Nord Noratlas and a C-54?.

More interesting on the runway is an USN EC-121.
From wiki - The Atlantic Barrier (BARLANT) was to extend early warning coverage against surprise Soviet bomber and missile attacks as an extension of the DEW Line.
BARLANT became operational on 1 July 1956, and the EC-121's flew continuous coverage until early 1965. Their mission was to fly orbits to the Azores and back. The barrier was shifted to cover the approaches between Greenland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom (GIUK) barrier in June 1961.
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Old 21st Jan 2023, 11:14
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
I saw several Hastings from the old 202 'Met' Squadron parked at Aldergrove in 1963 and apparently ready for 'retirement' but I understand next year they were re-purposed to become the T5 nav trainers at Lindholme (which I saw there in 1965) which served until Lindholme closed in 1972 so when I went back to Lindholme in '73 for my Area Radar training at Northern Radar they had gone (but there was still the solitary Victor an a hangar)
I also saw Hastings up to 1967 when visiting Abingdon but never got to fly in them.
The last Hastings I saw was in 1974 when it served as camera ship (TG 506 I think) in the runup to the Farnborough Airshow in August /September in 1974. It was retired shorly after the airshow.
Chevvron, None of the MET1's you saw at Aldergrove in 63 went on to be Nav Trainer T5's, the only MET1's that did were already so modified by that year and they were TG505,511 and 517 converted in 1960, the other five T5's were converted from standard C1's.
The 1974 Farnborough camera ship was the RAE resident WD480 making its last ever flight on the 31st of August 74, I watched it from near Greenham Common as it flew a racetrack pattern with the various airshow attendees for-mating alongside it, it was only later that I discovered it to be its last flight.
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Old 21st Jan 2023, 18:48
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Fascinating thread guys!!
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Old 22nd Jan 2023, 07:58
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WD480 was the unique C.2 with a bath tub "Bomb Bay"
(Used for sonobouy batch acceptance testing off of West Freugh)
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Old 22nd Jan 2023, 11:06
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I only ever saw '480 during that one period.
When I arrived at Farnborough in March '74, the main runway was being re-surfaced so most of the fast jets and large aircraft had been 'boltholed' to other airfields and just helicopters, transport flight other smaller types using the subsidiary runways at Farnborough so '480 came in from Bedford sometime in August 1974 to perform its swansong.
Two other notable 'retirements' during that time were the Beverley, which had in fact already gone to Luton for use by Autair and was eventually flown from Luton to Paull by an RAE crew in March '74 and 'Zebedee', the Shackleton T4, VP293, which departed to Strathallen in in August '74.
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Old 22nd Jan 2023, 13:01
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The last Hastings I saw was at the Gulag St Athan Air Day in 76.....I recall the landing involved an extended demonstration of the full rudder authority
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Old 22nd Jan 2023, 15:39
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Just published by Air-Britain: Handley Page Hastings - The RAF’s Transport Workhorse (air-britain.co.uk)

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Old 22nd Jan 2023, 17:18
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Originally Posted by Brewster Buffalo View Post
Thanks for confirming it's a B-17. Surprised they were still operational in the late1950s.

On the others - on the apron a Nord Noratlas and a C-54?.

More interesting on the runway is an USN EC-121.
From wiki - The Atlantic Barrier (BARLANT) was to extend early warning coverage against surprise Soviet bomber and missile attacks as an extension of the DEW Line.
BARLANT became operational on 1 July 1956, and the EC-121's flew continuous coverage until early 1965. Their mission was to fly orbits to the Azores and back. The barrier was shifted to cover the approaches between Greenland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom (GIUK) barrier in June 1961.
Here are some more photos of the Portugese Air Force aircraft




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Old 22nd Jan 2023, 18:23
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Those EC121s also operated into Blackbushe up until May 1960. The US Navy established its European base (called FASRON 200) there in 1957 and had planned to develop the airport with a 10000ft main runway and 7000ft subsidiary runway.
Then the UK government discovered that Gatwick was becoming a bit of a 'white elephant' and within a few months closed Blackbushe and shortened the runways leaving the FASRON 200 base area (with its own newly built hangarage and aprons) cut off from the rest of the airport all for the sake of getting a few of the smaller civil operators to move to Gatwick which could have left FASRON 200 operating without hindrance..

Last edited by chevvron; 22nd Jan 2023 at 19:01.
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Old 22nd Jan 2023, 18:30
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Brewster Buffalo
Sorry to be a pedant but l think that the a/c you call a Noratlas is actually a C119. Looks like USAF colour scheme. I am happy to be corrected.
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Old 22nd Jan 2023, 19:06
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Originally Posted by 134brat View Post
Brewster Buffalo
Sorry to be a pedant but l think that the a/c you call a Noratlas is actually a C119. Looks like USAF colour scheme. I am happy to be corrected.
Definitely a C-119.

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Old 22nd Jan 2023, 21:45
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First and last time I saw a Hastings, dimly because it was dark, was at RAF Benson as we boarded for the first night jump of the all-arms para course. I forget exactly when but it would have been 1963, I think.

It was a terrifying experience as we had to jump into a river of sparks from No.2 engine, but once that was over all was OK and we floated down hoping never to see such a rattly old tub again.

We thought the same about the Beverley, as it happens, but that's another thread.
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Old 23rd Jan 2023, 11:00
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We thought the same about the Beverley, as it happens, but that's another thread.
o,nb - having time on both, but much,much more on the Bev, they were 'chalk and cheese'. ... not least of the improvements, was the lack of the post lift-off respiratory pause waiting for 'safety speed' ! !
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Old 23rd Jan 2023, 11:06
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Originally Posted by 134brat View Post
Brewster Buffalo
Sorry to be a pedant but l think that the a/c you call a Noratlas is actually a C119. Looks like USAF colour scheme. I am happy to be corrected.
Originally Posted by treadigraph View Post
Definitely a C-119.
No worries...thanks for the correction I did wonder why it seemed to have a USAF colour scheme. Interesting to hear about the UK basing of the EC-121 and see the pictures of the Portugese aircraft

Last edited by Brewster Buffalo; 23rd Jan 2023 at 13:14.
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Old 23rd Jan 2023, 14:24
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Originally Posted by Brewster Buffalo View Post
No worries...thanks for the correction I did wonder why it seemed to have a USAF colour scheme. Interesting to hear about the UK basing of the EC-121
Photos taken at Blackbushe mostly prior to closure on 31 May 1960:
http://www.blackbusheairport.proboar...oto-day?page=7 There are about 284 pages of Blackbushe photos many containing EC121s
http://www.airfieldresearchgroup.org...ridge?start=30 Photo no 37 is the main one you want.
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