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LUTON History and Nostalgia

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LUTON History and Nostalgia

Old 18th Nov 2015, 19:33
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Photograph

This is my first post so please excuse any errors in procedure but after reading pprune for several years, in particular Luton items, this photograph is of real interest. Aviation, especially at Luton is one of my pastimes? I have lived in Luton since 1954. My profession is a Civil Engineer. My second job as a junior setting out engineer was on that apron. We went on to construct the apron in front of the McAlpine hangar. I will delve into the memory banks re these two aprons. The hangar adjacent to the apron in the photograph was Autair? I think the first of the Britannia 737 s arrived about then. Did wonders for our production that day. I returned some 30 years later to carry out the earthworks on the taxiway underpass and after that the excavations and drainage for the new terminal apron and taxiway extensions. Now a pensioner the current development from construction and aviation viewpoints is of interest. If there are any items of construction at Luton, from past or present, anyone would like an opinion on please ask. I may be able to assist. Constructor
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Old 19th Nov 2015, 04:35
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Welcome Constructor This thread was created for people just like you so I am glad that you have finally posted here.

Just for you seeing that you will have a love of mud is a photo I took by the Ibis of the new approach road as it heads for the under construction tunnel. Taken in I guess 1998.



and of the Eastern Apron and new terminal under construction. Photo shows the terminal extension to the old terminal which later became the link building to the new terminal. A few years later the Northern Apron was built and then taxiway Echo linking the Main and Northern Apron.


unknown photographer

Last edited by LTNman; 19th Nov 2015 at 04:55.
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Old 21st Nov 2015, 09:21
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A very interesting article giving more detail about the 707 which paint-stripped a few of Vauxhall's finest in 1978!........

Full article at:

Best of Airways Magazine - Good Jets Gone Bad


Pan Am started phasing out its non-turbofan 707s in 1970 when the value of the aircraft would have been around $1.5 million (equivalent to $8.7 million today). Many were sold in the United Kingdom, Turkey, the Philippines, Yugoslavia, and of course the USA. Ten years later one could be acquired for less than $500,000 (now $1.4 million).

One such aircraft was Pan Am’s former Jet Clipper Aurora, 707-300 N725PA. It saw service with THY-Turkish Airlines, followed by a two-year stint with UK-based leasing company Tempair (Templewood Aviation). When the latter firm was liquidated at the end of 1976, the 707 was parked at Ostend, Belgium.

In December 1977 Lieutenant General Maurice F. Casey, trading as Burbank International, acquired the aircraft. At one stage during payment negotiations in Miami, a gun appeared on the table and the buyers tried to pay with Australian black opals. On February 17, 1978, wearing its new registration N725CA, the airplane was ferried from Ostend to Luton, England, for checks. Casey’s intention was to operate livestock flights between Miami and Venezuela, which was always going to be problematic because the aircraft was not equipped with a main cabin cargo door.

A special certificate was issued to ferry the aircraft from Luton to Miami via Gander, and the flight took place on March 8. Freelance navigator Dave Welch (Airways, January 2012, May 2011, July 2003, May 2002 & June 2001), who was on the flight, described the 707 as “a flying heap of sh*t.” Before its departure on March 8, N725CA carried out a test flight from Luton, during which a hydraulic cable broke loose, dumping a load of fluid over new cars parked at the nearby Vauxhall plant. This prompted the national press to refer to the aircraft as ‘The Luton Carwash Bomber’.

Welch adds: “We just managed to get the 707 airborne [on March 8] before a bailiff arrived at Monarch Engineering’s operations intending to slap a writ on it for all the damage. Vauxhall made a million pounds [4.5 million/$6.8 million] insurance claim against Templewood, plus a large number of the population of Luton claimed that their cars were ruined too. On the way to Gander it developed the worst Dutch roll I ever experienced—twice at least. One problem was that one of the outer engines wasn’t giving full power.”

The aircraft never moved from Miami, although more than $73,000 (worth $220,000 today) of repair work, mainly to wing corrosion, was carried out during most of 1979. Three liens were placed on the 707 between March 1979 and October 1981, and at one stage it came close to being sold to a company in Wyoming. Finally the aircraft was bought by General Air Services in 1981, and broken up at Miami between September 1983 and January 1984"
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Old 23rd Nov 2015, 15:11
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Debate taking place on the Luton forum of Airlines, Airports & Routes whether a new dedicated link to the station, which is now under review, would go over or under taxiway Alpha.

A dedicated link was first mentioned in the early 90's




This was the road tunnel going in around 1998.
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Old 23rd Nov 2015, 16:40
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It's what the spare side in the tunnel was for.
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Old 23rd Nov 2015, 17:23
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Given the recent positive commentary about a link finally happening, perhaps this original plan will come to fruition after all?
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Old 26th Nov 2015, 20:49
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Happy memories of Autair's 1-11's


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Old 27th Nov 2015, 15:25
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Thank you for the welcome and acknowledgement of our life with mud. The other half of our year we live with dust as was the problem in your picture of the new Airport Way. That picture reminded me that just behind where you were standing with your camera we created 3 large plateaus by digging a lump of the top of the hill and infilling the valley and the remnants of Spitalsea Lane. A large shed was built on the lower plateau but I do not know what happened to the middle and upper tiers. Very useful storage areas and very local to the Airport.
As to all the speculation regarding a) a tunnel under the airport to develop a business park and b) a rail link of sorts, two words, twice. Dream on and Bendy Buses.
I have read your weekly bulletins on the development works with interest I will make a few comments in the right section
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Old 27th Nov 2015, 16:28
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Those plateaus are still there and remain untouched and unused. Also next to nothing grows on them after all these years as they seem to be pure chalk.

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Old 27th Nov 2015, 19:46
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From my memory of Luton that hill of chalk was formed when Vauxhall extended their works, late 1950s?. The top plateau is chalk. The middle plateau has an impermeable membrane and crushed concrete (recycled material) over it.
Going back to the 1968 time when the apron next to Autair was built a lagoon on the chalk hill was used to store nasty liquids in. The lagoon burst and the 'liquid' flowed down the hill into Spitalsea Lane and down onto Kimpton Road /Vauxhall Way junction. When the thousands of gallons of nasty sludge had been sucked up the road had disappeared. The junction was closed for several days.
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Old 29th Nov 2015, 04:12
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Britannia Flying Club

BTNT was another PA28 with the club, seems that is also still with Azure. I also remember laterally a TB20, think it was OTUI which is still current but moved on.
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Old 1st Dec 2015, 19:42
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Britannia Flying Club




A line up of the 3 Luton based BFC aircraft taken on 9/6/92. The TB-20 G-OTUI was, I believe, privately owned by a Thomson employee not the flying club.
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Old 1st Dec 2015, 20:14
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Now who did that Jetstream belong to?
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Old 1st Dec 2015, 20:58
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The Jetstream is a BAe demonstrator
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Old 1st Dec 2015, 21:12
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I think the Jetstream is a 200 srs with Astazou engines and 3 bladed props, so it could be G-GLOS or G-BBYM both of which we refurbished for BAe at Glos Air, Hurn in the mid 1980s.
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Old 1st Dec 2015, 22:49
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Originally Posted by cj241101
The TB-20 G-OTUI was, I believe, privately owned by a Thomson employee not the flying club.
Isn't that Caravan II OO-TIZ in the background?
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Old 2nd Dec 2015, 08:05
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Registration Number: OO-TIZ
Current Status: De-registered
Delivery Date: 1987-05-18
Registration Cancel Date: 1993-06-16

Why are the backgrounds in photos often more interesting than the subject? I guess it is that hint of something that leaves you wondering!
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Old 2nd Dec 2015, 08:22
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Jetstream / Cessna 406

The Jetstream is probably G-BKUY which was a regular at the time so it's not in my anorak log. It was still registered to BAe. I seem to remember it had small "Air Foyle Executive" stickers on the nose. Cessna 406 OO-TIZ was operated by SkyService.
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Old 2nd Dec 2015, 08:58
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G-BKUY / Air Foyle

G-BKUY with the Air Foyle Executive sticker, photo taken 14/5/95. This aircraft was originally registered to McAlpine Aviation on 6/9/83 who used it on the Euroflite scheduled service to Brussels.




Behind is Falcon 900B N332MC of MCI Transcon Corporation.
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Old 2nd Dec 2015, 17:39
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Britannia Flying Club

G-ATHR around 1984-5, in earlier Britannia livery.
Me preflighting, instructor is Dave Duffy who was a Britannia engineer at the time, going for his commercial licences. I don't know if he made it.
The other club aircraft at the time was another PA28, G-ATRU, which got bent at Old Warden. It was almost impossible to get a booking on 'HR after that, and I gave up for a few years.



This is where we used to park then:

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