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LUTON History and Nostalgia

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LUTON History and Nostalgia

Old 5th Oct 2014, 09:18
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Remember the day of the Monarch B757 divert and crew change well - was the tower controller at the time, I think the reason was they needed Cat 3 capable crew to get to Gatwick. Was the busiest diversion day I ever handled, made harder IIRC by having A/C parked on our bolt hole the compass bay.
One other question, in the 10 years I worked there nobody could tell me why stand 16/17 was called the ponder rosa - bet somebody out there knows!
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Old 5th Oct 2014, 16:37
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Not many people realise just how long there has been an airfield at Luton.
About 10 years ago, not long before I retired, they were digging up part of the apron to rectify some cracking and subsidence. About 15 inches down they hit Roman mosaic. Work had to stop, and the archeologists were called in.
It turned out that almost exactly below the modern stand four there was a T shape of yellow tesserae, together with an IV and, to the left of the head of the T the word STOP in Latin. ( Can't remember the exact Latin )
Makes sense for them to have put an airfield there. Handy for Verulamium ( now St Albans ), Durocobrivis ( Dunstable ), easy access from Watling Street, and from the older Icknield Way.
Also, of course being on top of a hill, easy to defend when the tribes got a bit stroppy.
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Old 5th Oct 2014, 20:29
  #123 (permalink)  
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One other question, in the 10 years I worked there nobody could tell me why stand 16/17 was called the ponder rosa - bet somebody out there knows!
There was a western television series called Bonanza which ran from 1959-1973 (in the US I guess, prob a year or two later here) where the Cartwright family lived on a ranch called Ponderosa. The land attached to this (mythical) ranch was enormous and when someone saw stand 16/17 after it had been first laid associated it with that. Bloody stupid name that I always refused to use.
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Old 5th Oct 2014, 23:42
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I thought it was reference by the McAlpine guys as The Ponderosa ....

almost professional - As far as the busiest diversion day, are you talking about the 3 x Laker DC-10s snowclo day or the big fog day which brought large numbers of LHR traffic as well?
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Old 6th Oct 2014, 02:56
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Oxenos;- I think you'll find that correct reading of the latin inscription was 'Boudiccastrasse'. Those pesky Icenae....
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Old 6th Oct 2014, 07:29
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Nice One Eleven picture- with 'BL in the picture 1970 I guess with a BY Britannia being broken up behind the hangar?

Couple of questions- how come so many OU One Elevens not in use (early morning?) and what elevated position was the photo taken from?
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Old 6th Oct 2014, 08:07
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what elevated position was the photo taken from?
My guess is the corner of the McAlpine hangar or perhaps a de-icer. Its the wrong position for the Ops building.
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Old 6th Oct 2014, 08:17
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The big LL fog day, came into work for the afternoon duty to find we were just about the only airfield open in the South East, aircraft parked everywhere, including nose in to the tower behind stand 9, fairly surreal to see the B757 sat in turning circle with steps and vehicles driving out to change crews.
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Old 6th Oct 2014, 08:22
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Thanks VA, now I know!
As an aside, do you have any pictures of the Cv580 that Ryanair used before the 748/1-11 arrived, I know I do but blowed if I can find them
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Old 6th Oct 2014, 11:10
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how about these ones https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrischenn76/6478627125/

Convair CV-580 - Large Preview - AirTeamImages.com
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Old 6th Oct 2014, 17:00
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The big LL fog day, came into work for the afternoon duty to find we were just about the only airfield open in the South East, aircraft parked everywhere, including nose in to the tower behind stand 9, fairly surreal to see the B757 sat in turning circle with steps and vehicles driving out to change crews.
Can't be the big LL fog day I remember, that was in 70s with Sabena, Lufy, Lingus, Iberia everywhere all day, I think they even abandoned stand numbers with nose in & out everywhere....
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Old 6th Oct 2014, 18:43
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No mid 80s, didn't start at Luton till 79 - VA will no doubt know the exact date!
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Old 6th Oct 2014, 18:51
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Seem to remember in its later life that the Autair hangar was used to maintain 146's for a short while but the problem was that the T tail of the 146 was slightly too tall to get it into the hangar.

Some cleaver dick designed a small ramp for the nose wheel so as the aircraft's nose wheel went up the ramp the tail dropped by the required inches thus allowing it into the hangar.

Only airline I can think of would be Debonair.
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Old 6th Oct 2014, 19:41
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Talking of diversions - early 1970 the firemen at Heathrow going on strike/work to rule resulting in not enough cover at certain times of the day especially early evening. British European Airways, Northeast, Sabena, KLM, Aer Lingus etc landed at Luton dropping off passengers and then positioning empty to Heathorw hoping for the fire cover to come up to the required status.
Also in the 1970s firemen at Gatwick went on strike just before Christmas (I think Christmas Eve) and Dan-Air, Laker and BIA aircraft were parked all over the place including the Bravo taxiway! Perhaps Vintage ATCO can verify?
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Old 6th Oct 2014, 19:58
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22/4 -

Couple of questions- how come so many OU One Elevens not in use (early morning?)....
The photo dates from August 1974, just after Court Line went bust, hence the fleet being parked up.

When I worked for Court Line (1970), they operated four 'waves' a day with the fleet all arriving LTN at around 0200, 0800, 1400 and 2000. In the summer, almost nothing was out of service - especially during the day.
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Old 6th Oct 2014, 20:02
  #136 (permalink)  
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Sorry, I can remember several days when we took a lot of diversions but not many specifics. They just happened from time to time.

The first I remember is before I validated so pre-1971 when we took 45 diversions from Heathrow on a Saturday morning. We parked them everywhere, inc along the apron centreline from stand 9, 'first in, last out'. We asked McAlpines if they had any movements that day and could we park a couple of aeroplanes on their apron. 'Help yourself' they said so two Viscounts later . . . .
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Old 6th Oct 2014, 21:17
  #137 (permalink)  
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Old 6th Oct 2014, 21:22
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The picture was probably 1970/1971 not 1974. GAWBL was a 1-11-400 series and if I remember correctly was the only 400 to be painted in Court Line colours, it was then sold to Cambrian in 1971.
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Old 6th Oct 2014, 21:27
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The clue is above the hangar as the old Autair markings can still be seen. The hangar was then marked up as CourtLine.

The green 1-11 looks like G-AWBL which was disposed of on 20/01/71
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Old 6th Oct 2014, 21:42
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So LTN Man I guess you know the date

I first saw 'XML on 9/5/70 ( 'fraid I was a spotter then)- Given how often I got to Luton it would have been under two weeks old at that point.

So most likely May 1970 then - possibly June.

There will be very little of my childhood Luton left soon- the hangar another nail in the coffin.

At least the main apron stand numbers to some extent remain.
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