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Aerovan crash, Manchester, 1957

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Aerovan crash, Manchester, 1957

Old 4th Mar 2013, 07:15
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"G-AJOG/OO-ERY was the last Miles Aerovan to survive,in 1963 I was part of a team sent down to Wrafton Gate (a strip at the end of R.A.F Chivenors airfield) to remove the engines,instruments and other recoverable equipment from this aeroplane,the airframe despite my pleas to the very few people interested in old aeroplanes at that time to save her,she was set alight,the fire brigade arrived on the scene to read us the riot act and put the fire out ! the remains were burnt on November 5th by the R.A.F.
The company who purchased G-AJOG was Devonair Ltd for use on a ad hoc air service to the Lundy Islands,the aircraft came from the Belgium Royal family but became the subject of a complicated legal battle and it remained in the blister hangar at Wfafton Gate.
For many years I always thought that the aircraft never actually flew to Lundy but only just recently I have confirmation that she flew there at least once quote this e-mail 'With regard the Aerovan,yes it certainly flew to Lundy,Martin Harman,the then owner of the Island around 1959 invited the R.A.F officers over to the Island for a cull of the red deer,the officers provided their own guns and ammunition,we certainly have a photograph of the aeroplane on Lundy following the successful deer shoot' so ended a forty year old mystery for me.
The idea was to fit the Aerovan with Lycomings much like the Miles Gemini conversion in Australia done some years later,however the ownership problems held everything up.
One remarkable story about the Aerovan can be summed up in this accident at Croydon in 1944,one of these machines loaded with racing pidgeons took off in a strong wind failing to get any altitude over 100 feet,it turned downwind after flying for three miles out from the airfield then struck a tree,and disintigrated with hundreds of birds flying away ! performance was not one of its good points.
The only other machine to be developed was the Hurel Dubois high lift high aspect ratio version of the Aerovan aircraft which was later developed into a special aircraft used for geophysical survey work in France."

This information comes from Hairyplane via another Forum.
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 19:58
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Aerovan

Thanks for that NF was it Red !
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Old 5th Mar 2013, 03:59
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NF2,
Thanks for the update - I always wondered what happened to her. The Aerovan was visible from the road though a window in the hangar - I was shown it by a school chum of mine (Martin Looker?), who said it was his father who was going to provide air service to Lundy. IIRC the hangar was also the home of the North Devon Flying Club and a red Magister.
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Old 5th Mar 2013, 04:30
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ICT_SLB,

When I did my Flying Scholarship at White Waltham in 1966, the CFI was Maurice Looker. Was he your chum's father?
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Old 6th Mar 2013, 03:50
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I42,
Sorry, no idea but if he was ex-Chivenor (of which there were many in North Devon) he very well could be. 1966 was when I left Barnstaple for the bright lights of Bournemouth and, eventually, a student apprenticeship with BAC Hurn.

Last edited by ICT_SLB; 6th Mar 2013 at 03:53.
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Old 6th Mar 2013, 15:52
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ICT_SLB,

Yes, he was at Chivenor - see here:
http://www.pprune.org/military-aircr...ml#post6300406
and here:
aero club | flying club | royal aero | 1952 | 3430 | Flight Archive

There is also a picture of Maurice Looker on the first page of this Flight article:
1968 | 0782 | Flight Archive

I recognized him immediately, because of the mustache. Interestingly, I never flew with him, even though he was the CFI. My GFT was with Mr. Wright, whose first name I never knew, because of course, he was called Wilbur.

Last edited by India Four Two; 6th Mar 2013 at 15:58.
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Old 7th Mar 2013, 02:39
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I42,
Sorry, I'm not sure if I ever met Martin's dad. Thanks for all the links to my childhood! I went to Pilton Primary right underneath Chivenor's approach and several of my friends were "Chivenor Chappies" as they were referred to in school.
I'll be back in the UK in August but sadly will have no time to visit Barum.
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Old 16th Mar 2013, 12:37
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Aerovan-Aerocar

I knew there was another 'similar' type around at the time as it appeared on the cover of some very old copies of Flight/Aeroplane.
This was the Portsmouth Aerocar.
Slightly more adavanced with retract gear and partial metal construction,but apparently never made it into production.
Same 150hp Cirrus engines (with vp props),and looks quite smart with the gear up.
The 'brochure' shows a better cruise speed than the A-Van,with a s-eng climb at max wt of about 230 ft-min.(an Islander at max is similar (in practice).
The Company still exists in the same area,but went on to an engineering only base,having been an airline operator pre war.
The A-Car design seems to have been sound,but no doubt the market very uncertain at the time.
It would be interesting to see what it could have done if the 0-540 lyc was available.
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Old 15th Jul 2013, 01:20
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North Devon Aerovan

Happened i was in the Barnstaple area last Sat (after a trip to E-Cott) and having flown past Chiv en route to the coast decided to check what was left where the original 'North Devon' airfield was situated.
The original railway line that ran alongside the northern boundary is now a cycle way and runs right alonside the 'still surviving' blister plus a couple of other hangars/sheds.These are now part of the Chivenor industrial park,and the original airfield is a housing estate,(where i had been winched up in a piston Whirlwind on a ATC camp).
It was good to see the buildings still in use (over 80 years old),and there is still aviation at Chiv with the ATC Grobs plus the SAR flight.
E-cott is a haven of flying as it should be,and very easy to find with the Burrington radar golf ball in the circuit.
Anyone wishing to experience some gliding can book a flight in the 'birdfalk' plus a T-Moth is based there doing booked trips.
PP
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Old 21st Jan 2016, 15:26
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Aerovan on feature film.

I ended up at this site after seeing an unusual aircraft (to me at least) in a 1956 film called "The Hostage". A low budget British film in black and white, shown on TV (January 2016).
The registration was G-AJKP, and I discovered from a registration database that it was a Miles Aerovan. What interested me was that on the apron, the rear part of the fuselage was lying a few yards away from the aircraft. The storyline required the pilot (played by Ron Randall) to dump a packing case into the sea. The box was slid into the rear of the aircraft. I expected the rear part of the fuselage to then be re-attached, but the aircraft took off without it, leaving the rear end open to the sky.
Over the sea, the (lone) pilot selected autopilot and went to the rear to shove the packing case out of the open end of the fuselage.
I did further research on the aircraft and it had originally been owned by a company in Birmingham, and later changed ownership, moving to St. Helier, Jersey. At the time of the 1956 film the owner is listed as F.G. Miles Ltd., Shoreham, Sussex. They had acquired it in February 1954.
On 21st March, 1958, two years after being used in the film, it is listed as 'destroyed'. Does anyone know if it was destroyed in an accident, or was is just scrapped?

Last edited by TomUK; 21st Jan 2016 at 16:00.
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Old 21st Jan 2016, 16:40
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G-AJKP was destroyed in a fatal accident at Oldbury Worcestershire 17 December 1957. Almost certainly one of the last flying Aerovans.

Last edited by Planemike; 22nd Jan 2016 at 08:03.
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Old 21st Jan 2016, 16:54
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Drifting back to White Waltham, after I had completed my Flying Scholarship at Sywell in July 61, I left school in summer 62 and worked 6 days a week in Sainsburys in Eastcote so I could fly on the 7th. I went to WLAC at WW and joined. The CFI took pity on me (and my Dad) and the deal was I would be dropped off on a Monday morning at the CFI's house in Ickenham and I the drove CFI in his VW Beetle to WW. The only two instructors I flew with were McDouall (once) and Ginns, and once with a BEA Trident fleet training captain, Ward. Cannot remember if either McDouall or Ginns was CFI though (long time ago!). Next flying was Chipmunks on N Airfield at the Towers.
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Old 21st Jan 2016, 21:52
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I was interested to see the reference to "Mac" McDuall, who looked like everyone's benevolent grandfather, and despite having cross eyes was a great pilot, ex ATA as was the then CFI at West London Aero Club, Joan Hughes when I did my PPL with them in 1955. Mac had a great fund of aviation stories, the only person that I know that knocked the funnel off a steamroller with a Wellington! All retailed after flying in the bar!
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Old 22nd Jan 2016, 03:11
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Wander00,

What aircraft did WLAC have in 1962?

In 1966 when I was there, they had Colts, Ercoupes and two Chipmunks for spinning (G-AOTH and G-AORF)
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Old 22nd Jan 2016, 07:47
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At WLAC I have recorded a Beagle A61 (once) G-ARUX and J1/N G-AGTT, which I flew several times. I was pretty impecunious and they let me have the J/1 for about a £ less than the Terrier. The flight I did with Capt Ward was to Rearsby was to collect a tailplane, a flight which they "let me have" for half price! Just looked again at my logbook - there is a signature by the CFI which I cannot decipher, but looks like it begins with "G", so may have been the "Ginns" who checked me out in the J/1


Just looked on Google and there are several "Ginns" in Ickenham still

Last edited by Wander00; 22nd Jan 2016 at 13:28. Reason: Update
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Old 23rd Jan 2016, 08:49
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Aerovan crash, Manchester 1957

Another photo of G-AISF. Does anyone know where this might have been taken ?
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Old 24th Jan 2016, 10:06
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Aerovan crash, Manchester,1957

The church showing in the background on the right looks very much like the one at Lowfield Village to the southern side of Gatwick which is still there, although nowadays surrounded by industrial units. The runway would be therefore be in the right position, if that is the case.
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Old 28th Jan 2016, 15:51
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I workled at Shoreham for F G Miles, Shoreham, that was where Meridian Air Maps was based.
Another Aerovan was used a trial for the Hurel-Dubois very high aspect ratio wing, which was planned to put on a new design.
That came to sad end afrer a heavy landibg when the tail boom broke off.
We thought the woodworms had stopped holding hands
When the pilot came into the Drawing Office someone asked him what happened.
He said, I have shortened it a bit.
That was Peter Hollick, otherwise kniown as "Alco"
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Old 31st Jan 2016, 09:03
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The last Aerovan was still flying in Italy during 1968 if this link is correct.
Miles Aerovan: Cheap Hauler : Atomic Toasters
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Old 1st Feb 2016, 11:35
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quote
...Aerovan on feature film. I ended up at this site after seeing an unusual aircraft (to me at least) in a 1956 film called "The Hostage". A low budget British film in black and white, shown on TV (January 2016).quote


Here are some screen grabs from the above film,obviously shot at the old Ramsgate Airport (not Manston) with its very distinctive terminal/tower - which was criminally demolished ....


The other aircraft probably operated by Air Kruise who were based there at the time....











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