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LUTON History and Nostalgia

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LUTON History and Nostalgia

Old 16th Nov 2016, 18:01
  #1801 (permalink)  
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Lympne/Ashford airport got a concrete runway because of I think 2 crashes in a day including a 748 that ended up on its roof.

I think it was a year later that it was all over for Lympne and its new concrete runway.
You are confusing two events.

G-ARMV crashed at Lympne 10 July 1965 when landing bad weather. the nose wheel dug into the grass and the aircraft overturned. All 52 occupants escaped.

A hard runway was built which came into use in 1968. Commercial operations ceased at Lympne (now Ashford) in 1974 although it kept going for light aircraft until 1984.

The famous 'double-'eader' was at Portsmouth on 15 August 1967. G-ATEK overran the runway at 11:48, followed at 13:34 by G-ATEH. Famously it was reported that the controller said he didn't tell the second about the first because he thought "it might put him off".

This caused the cessation of commercial ops at Portsmouth and lead ultimately to the closure of the airfield.
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Old 17th Nov 2016, 06:08
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Also I remember the TV interviewer sticking a microphone into an airport official's face at the scene and demanding "Tell us , what happened?"
The guy just indicated with his finger at a dug-in nose and replied:

" Well, I would have thought that THAT was bloody obvious!"
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Old 17th Nov 2016, 08:55
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Originally Posted by Haraka
Also I remember the TV interviewer sticking a microphone into an airport official's face at the scene and demanding "Tell us , what happened?"
The guy just indicated with his finger at a dug-in nose and replied:

" Well, I would have thought that THAT was bloody obvious!"
Brilliant!

Weren't the days before media training and professional spokespeople much more fun, not to mention honest?!
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Old 17th Nov 2016, 11:04
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Ex Redcoat Bristol Britannia photographed yesterday by my good friend Mike Elvins. This image was taken from public land in the northeastern quadrant of Luton airport.

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Old 17th Nov 2016, 11:15
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So how did the Brit end up in that strange location?

What is the building to the north of it?
Attached Images
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Old 17th Nov 2016, 12:24
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The Britannia after retirement was used for smoke training by the airport fire service. When a purpose built facility was introduced, the Britannia was moved to its current location. Here we have an image of it being moved from behind the Britannia Airways hangar to the fire training ground and reproduced with permission from Chris Coates.

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Old 17th Nov 2016, 12:58
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If I had a pound for every hour I spent fixing VS and/or flying in it, I could well be retired by now.

Always a sad site after so many of years of your life spent on it and its sister fleet at IAS, Redcoat and Invicta, to name but a few operators of the 312F after BOAC.
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Old 17th Nov 2016, 14:18
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Learned contributors,
Regarding Skyways lease of Autair aircraft in early 1968.
Skyways leased G-ATMI and G-ALZZ to operate I.T. flights beyond the range of their Series 1 HS 748s ( Or were they still Avro 748s then ?) They were flown by Autair crews with Skyways cabin staff.
For further details and a couple of great photos one of each aircraft, see Dick Gilberts excellent book 'Skyways at Lympne'
Hope it helps
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David
P.M. me for further details of the book if required (Avoids the advert police)
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Old 17th Nov 2016, 14:27
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Skyways748_zpsa8306e46.jpg Photo by warner_phil | Photobucket


G-ARRW at Luton in 1971 One day I'll learn how to post photos - perhaps!
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Old 17th Nov 2016, 14:45
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If I had a pound for every hour I spent fixing VS and/or flying in it, I could well be retired by now.

Always a sad site after so many of years of your life spent on it and its sister fleet at IAS, Redcoat and Invicta, to name but a few operators of the 312F after BOAC.

Happier days - VS at Manston in 1976



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Old 17th Nov 2016, 16:48
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Didn't it get moved three times over the years after its wings were removed? The first time it ended up close to the fire station, then to the fire training ground and then it was dragged into the long grass.
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Old 18th Nov 2016, 13:01
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I can't tell you how exciting it was for me as Autair Ops' Tea Boy and general assistant the day that HS748 G-ATMI was delivered to Luton from Woodford on the 30th March 1966.
Never had one seen inside an aeroplane so smart, pristine and with that lovely 'new' smell. Such a contrast to the dear old Ambassadors, the interiors of which resembled and smelt like a well used ash-tray.
After intensive crew training G-ATMI was put to work on schedules and IT charters as far afield as Corfu. She was joined shortly thereafter by G-ATMJ. During the Summer and early Autumn of 1966 both 748s performed an overnight rotation to Milan departing Luton at 2100hrs and 2115hrs respectively. G-ATMJ was exhibited at SBAC Farnborough that year, positioning there each morning from Luton after its return from Milan before flying back to Luton again in the evening ready for the Milan rotation.
Some interesting proving flights were made. These included in May 1966 a visit by G-ATMI to the grass airstrip at Riverside Park, Dundee, at that time the largest aircraft to land there.The airstrip was prone to water-logging and subsequently Autair started a Dundee-Luton (London) service in 1968 using RAF Leuchars. Another interesting airfield was Brough where the runway was just over 1000 metres long. Autair commenced their Hull-Luton (London) service from here in October 1966 using the 748s. Whilst the 748s performed very well from this relatively short runway the same could not be said for the H.P Heralds that replaced them. This factor combined with the construction of a bloody tall chimney adjacent to the airfield by RioTinto Zinc prompted a move to RAF Leconfield.
On a more personal note, I recall in those early days a staff outing in a 748 to Kidlington (Oxford and grass at that time) where several of Autair's pilots' had received sponsored training. On our departure back to Luton the pilot, Mike Ellis performed a high speed daisy-cutter, racing across the airfield before pulling the 748 up into a steep climb - quite exhilarating to those of us who had not lunched too heavily!
I remember watching Pete Hogg displaying the 748 at the GAPAN Garden Party at Denham when Sir Alan Cobham was the Guest of Honour. The runway at Denham was just a little short for a 748 so a landing was not attempted.
My last contact with G-ATMI was in the autumn of 1971 when I was working for Air Anglia. at Norwich. We had chartered an aircraft from BAF, an oil-rig crew change at Esbjerg. To my delight G-ATMI arrived from Southend outside Norwich Terminal (a collection of enhanced huts with, in those days, an excellent restaurant) having been leased to BAF by Autair. Better still the Captain was Geoff Cole, even better I was going on holiday to Denmark and Norway and cadging a lift. It was an absolutely vile day and the weather at Esbjerg was right on limits. A piece of cake for Geoff and the 748.

I would add that it has been a privilege for me and others of my generation who have enjoyed their employment in the airline business to work alongside so many veterans of the Second World War. Typically Geoff Cole. Google: 'Wings of War - Frightened by a Dragon'

Last edited by OUAQUKGF Ops; 19th Dec 2016 at 08:24. Reason: Amendment
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Old 18th Nov 2016, 14:00
  #1813 (permalink)  
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What a great story and is what this thread is all about. I wonder why Autair ditched the 748's for some ex BEA Heralds?

Last edited by LTNman; 18th Nov 2016 at 16:43.
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Old 18th Nov 2016, 15:16
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This factor combined with the construction of a bloody tall chimney adjacent to the airfield by RioTinto Zinc prompted a move to RAF Leconfield.

My Dad arranged a day out to Jersey and back on the 5th June 1968 on Herald GAPWD, via Hull! We landed at Hull going up and then coached to RAF Leconfield and WD flew across empty. Coming back there were not many of us on board back to Luton so no need for the coach to Leconfield!
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Old 18th Nov 2016, 17:28
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LTNman I've really no idea why the 748s were replaced by the Heralds. I suspect that Autair purchased the Heralds as a cheap job lot (Too good a bargain to miss my boy, know wot I mean!) and already had several pilots with the Herald on their licence who included Hazel Hazelden ex Chief Test Pilot of Handley Page. (I could rabbit on here about the number of graduates from the ETPS that Autair employed but some other time).

When the Heralds first arrived at Luton they were in pretty poor condition after a hard life on BEA's Highlands and Islands and were completely refurbished by Autair's engineers.

Perhaps the Company decided, probably quite rightly that they could make more money by operating IT Charters with the 748s and leasing them out rather than operating them on scheduled services which were not very profitable. The Herald having fewer seats and being perhaps less versatile in respect of IT Charters.

Last edited by OUAQUKGF Ops; 18th Nov 2016 at 19:09.
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Old 19th Nov 2016, 04:13
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I remember flying into Brough when I was with Air Anglia on the light fleet in the mid 70s, never felt comfortable with that "bloody tall chimney" being so close to the runway!
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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 08:35
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At the risk of thread drift I've added a bit more to my post 1797 on the Ambassador.
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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 11:13
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Originally Posted by OUAQUKGF Ops
At the risk of thread drift I've added a bit more to my post 1797 on the Ambassador.
Thanks for posting the additional info OUAQUKGF. Do you have any further details about the Autair Ambassador routes? I don't think they were normally used on the scheduled runs, so info about where they flew regularly on charters would be very welcome.
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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 11:46
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The Autair Ambassadors were definitely used on the Blackpool-Luton run as my "wife to be" travelled back to Luton on one. I was nearly emasculated next time we met up as apparently it was the bumpiest, scariest ride she had had in an aircraft until I learnt to fly!.
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Old 22nd Nov 2016, 13:15
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I did 2 trips on the Ambassador. The first was a jolly to Copenhagen and back. I believe it was the last of a series of charters as it was full out with Danish passengers outbound and we were the only ones on the return.

The second time was to Luxembourg, which was a Clarksons four day wine tasting trip to Germany. It was supposed to be an Ambassador both ways, but it went tech for the outbound trip, so ended up going out on a 1-11 from Birmingham instead, where it had diverted to the night before! We did come back on GALZZ, which I believe was the last flight of an Autair Ambassador.
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