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Flying Boats to East Africa

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Flying Boats to East Africa

Old 23rd Feb 2013, 12:34
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Superb, cyflyer! I loved it! Built in 1944 at Rochester as a Mk.III Sunderland, it is just possible that Edward's flying boat was the very one that I saw as a little lad ready for launching into the Medway that year! (Yes, I know, this would be a long shot, but I can dream, can't I?)

The very chequered life of the old girl is well detailed and photographed in this link:
VH-BRF Short S-25 Sandringham

Once again, many thanks for providing this gem of a video!
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Old 23rd Feb 2013, 17:49
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603DX, real glad you enjoyed that, and the others. As you've got me in the mood, I'm uploading a couple of more related documentaries I had with it in my aladdins cave for you to enjoy. "Air Boat '95" -a further video made whilst being restored for Edward Hulton, and "The Big Boat of the Islands", detailing its history from the war to its time with Ansett Airlines. Watch this space.
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Old 23rd Feb 2013, 18:27
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Originally Posted by 603DX
it is just possible that Edward's flying boat was the very one that I saw as a little lad ready for launching into the Medway that year
I have long wondered, on the occasions that I drive across the M2 viaduct and look eastwards down onto the site of the Shorts flying boat works, where did they take off on the river. Obviously the motorway viaduct was not therein those days, but the river has constant curvature. Did the 'boats take off in a curving path ? Did they typically go westbound, into wind, and then land back just skimming Rochester Bridge ?
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Old 24th Feb 2013, 00:03
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Here is "Air Boat '95".

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Old 24th Feb 2013, 02:01
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CY . . . . for all these labours you deserve something better than a leather medal.

Shortly after the book 'Beyond the Blue Horizon' came out, I enjoyed a
snail correspondence with the author. When in UK recently,
despite best efforts, I could not find AF's address or phone. The ones I should have had with me were back home in OZ. So an opportunity was sadly lost to take up an invitation made ten years earlier.

While over there, a visit to VH-BRC, the Sandringham housed
in the Solent Sky Museum in Southampton, was mandatory. In the mid 60s
at the old Ansett Flying Boat Services base at Rose Bay on Sydney Harbour,
my apprenticeship was served in the hangar there. The two boats on strength then were BRC and BRF.

By the way, do you know the title of that large format hard cover book detailing the history of BRF? A google search failed to bring it up.

Last October my daughter was fortunate enough to be given a guided tour of the workshop and restoration section of the Musee de L'Air at Le Bourget, Paris. Her guide took her up into the wheelhouse of the former VH-APG, the Sandringham operated out of Rose Bay in the 50s by Sir Gordon Taylor on his 'Cruisebird' charters round the South Pacific. The story of these flights and the fascinating lead-up is told in his book 'Bird of the Islands'.

A daughter of the late Sir Gordon has some 8mm colour footage taken on one of the flights to remote SW Pacific islands and atolls. She is going to have then put on DVDs, so you may expect a copy sooner or later.



Last edited by Fantome; 24th Feb 2013 at 10:42.
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Old 24th Feb 2013, 08:44
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Fantome, I am simply happy that you and other like minded can enjoy them rather than them gathering dust in my cupboards. The next one "Big Boat of the Islands", you will enjoy as it refers back to the airline days back in Australia, of those two Sunderlands you mention, hopefully later today.
I believe the book you are refering to is "The Last Flying Boat" by Peter Smith (the chief engineer who is featured in the videos). I think I read somewhere that he is no longer with us, but someone will correct me if I'm wrong. Your prompt reminded that I had it somewhere and sent me scurrying through my bookshelfs, and lo and behold its in my hand. It turns up on ebay, infact here's one today;

THE LAST FLYING BOAT ML814-ISLANDER, AROUND THE WORLD IN 50 YEARS | eBay

Last edited by cyflyer; 24th Feb 2013 at 08:45.
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Old 24th Feb 2013, 12:36
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Did the 'boats take off in a curving path ? Did they typically go westbound, into wind, and then land back just skimming Rochester Bridge ?
Yes, WHBM, they followed a curving path for part of the take off run, which could be over a mile in length. They could take off and land in either direction to suit the wind direction. For example the maiden flight of the Empire class "Canopus" on 2 July 1936 took off from a position close to Rochester bridge, travelling westwards, and a photograph shows it to be already "on the step" some distance past the castle keep and cathedral spire.

On the occasion of a royal visit to the works by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on 14 March 1939, they witnessed a newly built Sunderland take off for its first flight travelling eastwards, lifting off and climbing over the bridge.
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Old 24th Feb 2013, 12:41
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Here is "The Big Boat of the Islands" , the story of VH-BRC the sandringham housed in the Southampton museum


Last edited by cyflyer; 24th Feb 2013 at 12:45.
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Old 25th Feb 2013, 15:12
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Imperial Airways Shorts S-23 Empire Class flying boat G-ADUY "Capella" moored in front of the Winter Palace Hotel at Luxor along the River Nile in Egypt c.1937


A closer (but rather poor quality) view of Capella's starboard bow revealing her name and the name of her owners; Imperial Airways London

"Capella" carried mail, light cargo and passenger between Southampton and Mombasa in Kenya stopping (among other places) in Luxor, Egypt and in Kisumu (on the western boarder of Kenya on the edge of Lake Victoria) before heading to the coast for Mombasa.

This craft ended her days in Batavia (now Jakarta, Indonesia) where she was damaged beyond repair.


Imperial Airways Shorts S-30 Empire Class flying boat G-AFCT "Champion" departing Mombasa Harbour c.1940

"Champion" was the first of the improved Empire Flying Boats being re-engined with the Bristol Perseus XIIIC which enabled it to carry a greater payload than the S-23.
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Old 25th Feb 2013, 18:10
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All this nostalgia! Maybe some readers will appreciate the Poole group that has a remarkable archive of flying boat operations. The meetings are a joy, still attended by former air and ground crew.

Even some East African material if you dig.

Poole Flying Boats Celebration

FF
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Old 26th Feb 2013, 00:42
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There's a splendid collection of flying boat photos BOAC& Pan Am as well as NZ and Australian on
flying boat | Items | National Library of New Zealand

and you can get to the large archive scans too...lots of BOAC history there
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Old 28th Feb 2013, 23:20
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Superb Cyflyer...thank you so much for posting that video.

I have been showing people around VH-BRC at the Southampton Hall of Aviation (now SolentSky) for 10 years. I thought I knew most there was to know about her, but that video gave me even more information. "The Big Boat of the Islands" is superb stuff.

Beachcomber will be 70 years old in the summer of this year. And she is still in remarkably good condition. We allow visitors free access to all the cabins upstairs and downstairs as well as guided and supervised (often by me) visits to the flight deck up the access ladder. We let visitors sit in the flight seats and stand on the small table to look out of the roof hatch. Many of our visitors are left in awe at an age of aviation that is gone forever.

We have 2 jet fighter cockpits we let visitors sit in. Then we take them up the access ladder onto the flight deck of Beachcomber. I often ask young visitors which aircraft they would really like to fly....almost without exception it is Beachcomber. There is still something very special fired in the imagination by the big boats.

Once again, if anyone from PPRUNE wants to visit VH-BRC in her 70th anniversary year, please send me a message here and I will be delighted to personally show you around.

We are taking very good care of her.

Last edited by Corsairoz; 28th Feb 2013 at 23:37.
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 00:28
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Yes Corsairoz, I had a great visit to your museum back in 2011 and I presume you were the gentleman who showed me round VH-BRC. And maybe you took the (very good) photo of me in front of the Spitfire, on my camera.
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 12:52
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Wow, my favourite aircraft of all time, the Empire Boats, along with my second favourite (well, 1,01 favourite), the Sunderland and its derivatives. One is in 7th Heaven. Thank you very much for posting.

Last edited by S'land; 1st Mar 2013 at 12:55.
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 15:15
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Proplinerman

Yes, that sounds like me.

C
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 15:50
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Interesting piece of film about a Pan American Airways flying boat

The Long Way Home-The Pacific Clipper.m4v - YouTube
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 17:23
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A well-made video, radeng. I didn't know anything about that epic event, and in a tight action-packed five minutes or so, it was quite competently related.

Only one thing was a bit odd, the background music - wasn't that a pinch from "633 Squadron"?
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 17:56
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603DX,

I don't know about the music. Was the 633 squadron music written especially for that film, or from somewhere else?

I'm a bit surprised they didn't fly via Tahiti to Chile or Columbia and back that way. Or even possibly direct to Chile from Kiwi. Then cut east over Central America and up the East Coast.
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 00:48
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A quick look at the distances on the map will tell you the answer.
P G Taylor flew to Chile from Australia in the early 60s I think, he wrote an excellent book about the trip. The take- off from Easter Is with jato help sounds horrifying!
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 08:20
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Originally Posted by Tankengine
P G Taylor flew to Chile from Australia in the early 60s I think, he wrote an excellent book about the trip. The take- off from Easter Is with jato help sounds horrifying!
April 1951, in a Catalina

P G Taylor's 1951 South Pacific Flight

I'm surprised that Avgas was even available at Easter Island.
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