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Shackleton WR972

Old 21st Aug 2013, 08:45
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Shackleton WR972

Does anybody know anything about this aircraft and does anyone have any photos of it to share?

WR972 is an aeroplane that I've been interested in for a long time, and I always keep a look out for information and/or images of it, but sadly there isn't much around.

As Shackleton fans will know, it was the only aircraft of this type to have worn completely non-standard colours (excluding oddities like the ETPS aircraft with reversed maritime colours, etc.). It spent some time painted in standard grey/white colours but with liberal applications of dayglo orange applied to the tail, nose and wings. It then acquired silver paint and black/yellow stripes on the undersides. Finally, it was repainted in Blue, white and grey trim.

The aircraft appears to have been used on a variety of trials with the RAE, mostly connected with brake parachute development, for which a towing cable was attached to the underside, together with a more substantial attachment in the rear fuselage, where the tail cone clear fairing would normally have been fitted. Most notably it was used to test TSR2's huge (oversized in fact) brake chute.

I'd love to find out more about this bizarre machine and it would be great to find more images of it if anyone can help.

Last edited by WH904; 21st Aug 2013 at 08:47.
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Old 21st Aug 2013, 09:16
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Perished at the hands of Farnborough's fire crews in the 1970s. Photo taken at the 1968 Coltishall BoB display.
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Old 21st Aug 2013, 15:55
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Dave,
It wont help you quest much , but about 1993/4 I had nearly a dozen Griffon 58 engines and associated paperwork/cards, I am nearly certain that 3 had the 972 tail number on the cards as being one time power suppliers to that airframe, I will carry on looking ....but dont hold ya breath.

Most of the Griffons I had went to the Pylon racers in the US, a fitting end to a superb piece of kit!

PeterR-B
Lancashire
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Old 21st Aug 2013, 16:59
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Isn't there a Shacklebomber still flying in the States?
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Old 21st Aug 2013, 17:05
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That's the one - nice photo

There was indeed a Shackleton flying in the US, albeit rather briefly. It's now grounded sadly, wasting away at Pima I believe. Doubtless it will fare better in the hot and dry climate but it's clearly never going to fly again. One assumes the SAAF aircraft is also destined to remain grounded now, so only the folks at Coventry stand any chance of getting a Shack back in the air one day.

Shackletons are fascinating machines of course, but 972 is a particularly interesting machine, not only because of its varied (and largely undocumented) life with the RAE, but also because of the dazzling paint schemes that it wore. Images of the aircraft whilst wearing the silver and dayglo scheme are particularly rare - I have only one although I've seen a couple of others.

I'd love to see more or know more about the aircraft if anyone out there knows more.
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Old 21st Aug 2013, 19:01
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Before Peter Vallance sadly passed away, the Shackleton at Charlwood used to have at least two of the engines run up occasionally. I'd love to have been there to hear the sound.
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Old 21st Aug 2013, 19:08
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There was indeed a Shackleton flying in the US, albeit rather briefly. It's now grounded sadly, wasting away at Pima I believe. Doubtless it will fare better in the hot and dry climate but it's clearly never going to fly again.
This recently received a full repaint and looks pretty good again.
Avro Shackleton by cactusbillaz, on Flickr
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Old 21st Aug 2013, 22:04
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RAF Coltishall again

She was also at the BoB display at RAF Coltishall in 1969. I took this as she was taxying out for her return flight at the end of the day.

I wish I could have afforded to use colour.......


QP


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Old 21st Aug 2013, 23:53
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Nice photos Never mind the lack of colour, just wish I'd been there to see (and hear) her taxy out, must have been a delight!
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Old 22nd Aug 2013, 09:46
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Before Peter Vallance sadly passed away, the Shackleton at Charlwood used to have at least two of the engines run up occasionally. I'd love to have been there to hear the sound.
I think they intend to get WR982 at Gatwick running again.

so only the folks at Coventry stand any chance of getting a Shack back in the air one day.
We're still plugging away at it. We're trying to organise A8-20 E4/M5 support at the moment, then its time to start digging out all the re-spar drawings from the HSA Bitteswell period.

Kind regards,

Rich
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Old 22nd Aug 2013, 13:14
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I hope the project is successful. It's been a great pleasure to see XH558 flying and I can't think of a better aircraft to restore to flying condition in the same way. It would be a delight to see and hear the mighty Shackleton back in the air. If it ever happens, I'll be hoping it re-visits St.Mawgan one day... not a dry eye in the house!
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 18:59
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Wow, I underestimated how rare and exotic 972 must be! Are there really no more pictures of this magnificent machine out there?
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Old 8th Sep 2013, 20:40
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There used to be a Shack engine at Taylor Woodrow Uxbridge for testing curtain walling structure on buildings. Spent a few days there doing this in the late 80,s.

Regards
Mr Mac
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Old 9th Sep 2013, 07:36
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I've managed to track-down the owner of some photos that illustrate 972 whilst with the RAE but I haven't seen them yet. I'll post them up when I finally get a look. Hope some more images emerge
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Old 13th Sep 2013, 20:51
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Its been a little while but I have just found another picture of this aircraft. This was taken a bit later (obviously) than my last effort and shows the Shackleton in its final resting place on the dump at RAE Farnborough. I had just switched from B&W to colour and clearly remember thinking "I hope this one comes out OK". It was taken through the chain link fence using a fixed 200mm lens so I could not help but get the Comet fuselage in the shot as well.





QP
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Old 14th Sep 2013, 00:48
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A very interesting photo if not a rather sad one! First time I've seen a photo of her on the dump.
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Old 14th Sep 2013, 18:05
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I should have added that the RAE Farnborough picture was taken on 29th March 1975. I wonder when it finally expired.


QP
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Old 15th Sep 2013, 20:28
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As QuePee's says his picture shows WR972 on the dump on 29th March 1975 but by the 26th of July 1975, when I noted the contents of the dump, it had been largely consumed and on the 11th of August it had gone.

Richard
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