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LUTON History and Nostalgia

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LUTON History and Nostalgia

Old 15th Feb 2016, 07:28
  #1201 (permalink)  
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Yes that's the one. I didn't know there was a compass bay here and have never seen it in any aerial shots but the clue for me was the NE marking on the concrete together with the lines radiating out from the centre.

Last edited by LTNman; 15th Feb 2016 at 07:41.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 11:14
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Compass base: Compass' for the orientation of?
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 11:23
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Originally Posted by PAXboy View Post
Compass base: Compass' for the orientation of?
Here's an article on compass swinging: Aircraft Compass Swing | AviationPros.com
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 18:45
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When the Compass Base was established near the current fire station it was the Admiralty that had to come up and calibrate it, unfortunately not in a frigate.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 19:03
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Four of the 15 Percival Provosts for the (then) Royal Iraqi Air Force. Nearest airframe is '374' Provost T.53 c/n PAC/F/355. FF Luton 1955. Del to Iraq via Bovingdon 17.5.55.

The Bristol 170 is one of four operated in Iraq and the one in the pic is likely '330' delivered in 1953. All four served until around 1969.

Credit: BAE Systems Heritage Centre Warton-Percival/Hunting Photo Archive

Last edited by vintage ATCO; 15th Feb 2016 at 19:41.
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 19:13
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Thanks Democritus, all makes sense. Do commercial airliners still retain a 'manual' compass as a fail safe?
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Old 15th Feb 2016, 19:35
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Yup, still fitted to modern airliners.

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Old 16th Feb 2016, 05:04
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Another great photo from vintage ATCO so thanks.

Are compass bays still used today as Luton's will be gone this year as it will be incorporated into a new taxiway?
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 12:06
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Not every airport has a compass swing point, as a single piece of tarmac they are 'relatively' expensive for the amount of use/revenue they generate. A good number of airports now use a designated position on a taxiway that can be used instead. They aren't marked as such, more like known locations with no interference that can be used for a compass check.
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Old 17th Feb 2016, 19:02
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Three Provost T.53s for the Burma Air Force at Luton in 1956. All were delivered via Croydon 12 Oct 1956. Proctor 5 G-AGTC in the background, a Percival 'hack'. It was sold in 1960 and destroyed in 1969.

Credit: BAE Systems Heritage Centre Warton - Percival Hunting Archive
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Old 17th Feb 2016, 20:16
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The remains of Proctor G-AGTC are at Great Oakley,Essex where work is under way to restore another of the type, G-AKEX
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Old 17th Feb 2016, 23:14
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Really interesting last couple of pages. Photo 1197 on the last page shows the airports first flood lights attached to the end of the hangar before the airport got its first lighting towers in the 60's.

Also the last photo above gives the best view I have seen of the farmhouse before the wooden terminal was erected around it. This farmhouse, which was part of Eaton Green Farm was where the first airport manager lived and were I believe might have also served as the airports admin office and maybe the bar for the flying club at one time. Can anyone confirm this.

Also has anyone got a photo of this farmhouse from the road?
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Old 18th Feb 2016, 07:37
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Posting to three different forums I have lost the plot as to what I have posted where so apologies if some are duplicated.



This is Luton Airport in 1938 and you can clearly see the farm house. I don't know whether the airport commandant lived there, my earliest recollection is H T Rushton in the early 60s (and probably 50s) but it did become the 'airport admin building' until the building of the 'new' terminal when the admin offices relocated to the SE corner of the terminal and where I had my interview (four days after starting work!) By then the commandant was a man called Cole.

The farm house then became the Luton Flying Club bar and doss house and was fortunately was just a few steps from the old control tower where we repaired to after an afternoon shift only to have to be back at 08:00 the next day.
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Old 18th Feb 2016, 07:39
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And here is a pic from the 50s which clearly shows the compass base referred to earlier.

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Old 18th Feb 2016, 08:38
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The 1938 photo shows the rifle range behind the completed rear hangar but what are the aircraft types of the 13 aircraft I can see in the photo?

By the time the second photo was taken much had changed behind the hangars. Not sure what the rows of buildings were used for in the bottom right of the 50's photos.
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Old 18th Feb 2016, 09:12
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With reference to the rows of buildings I can recall that in 1967 the Operations Department of Autair/Court relocated from the Autair Hangar in to some of these buildings which were on the hillside. The place was like a rabbit warren,dark and dank. The airline's catering department was also located in the same block. We all felt and probably looked like troglodytes.

Later most of the Ops Dept moved into the old terminal building. Our Movement Control Office was on the corner right next to the ramp and naturally had superb views over the airfield. I remember Summer football matches on the stands here at four oclock in the morning while staff waited for the one-elevens to return from Spain. Fat chance today!
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Old 18th Feb 2016, 10:42
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Didn't someone mention here (or it may have been elsewhere!) that immediately after WWII they were used as temporary housing?

Found it! They are Uni-Seco buildings https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prefab...United_Kingdom

Last edited by vintage ATCO; 18th Feb 2016 at 11:16.
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Old 18th Feb 2016, 12:18
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Types from the right:
Gull/Q6/J2Cub?/J2Cub/Heston Phoenix/unsure /TigerMoth & over to you
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Old 18th Feb 2016, 14:36
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Don't you feel the Cubs might be Taylorcrafts, UK built?
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Old 18th Feb 2016, 15:23
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The engines hang out the side but thought I would start people thinking. Notwithstanding: superb pics THANKS for posting. this has been a great thread and shaken a few apples out of the tree.
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