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The demolition of Woodford has begun

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The demolition of Woodford has begun

Old 8th Feb 2015, 09:10
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Originally Posted by philbky
BAe should not have been allowed to move from airframes to things that go bang, or the equipment to guide armaments.
Which brand of totalitarian regime would you favour?
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Old 8th Feb 2015, 09:56
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Sooty, that is an insulting comment. The regime I would like to see, as you put it, is one that has the common sense to realise that a country of banking centres, call centres, museums and shops alongside high tech innovation and manufacturing centres owned by foreign companies is not, long term, a recipe for national success.

We live in a global economy and companies will always make decisions on where they operate and what they do. Joint ventures are obviously the way forward when looking at the costs of new projects in any major engineering area or in infrastructure. The problem for the UK is that whilst it is a centre of excellence in so many fields, ownership of most major economically and strategically important industries is in the hands of foreign concerns either totally or to a major degree.

How many aircraft, road vehicles, trams, trains, power companies, telecomms operators, food providers and many more essential products/services are either wholly or mostly British owned? Frighteningly few. What is lacking is a balance.

Back to BAe, its reason for scrapping the RJX was spurious in the extreme. That apart, the country has lost a strategically important industry and the expertise that goes with it, not just for now but for the future.
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Old 8th Feb 2015, 15:18
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Surely..someone is jesting,, the sign say Considerate Constructors look
after the environment....
Why then are they allowed to actually pull down with a tracked excavator type vehicle when the roof above is clad with Asbestos Cement Sheeting moving the digger tracks will grind that asbestos cement to dust,..releasing millions of microfibres into the air..!!

before anyone starts to say well it is Asbestos entrained in Cement, that did not stop my local council slapping a ban on me doing the same when I re-built a fire damaged warehouse and decided to take down the undamaged lean-to which was clad in perfect sheets of the same seemingly highly poisonous every day roofing item...

Will the NHBC or local council guarantee air and soil quality to all the new house buyers..?? somehow I think not!! someone should ask Cheshire East about that sticky one...

Peter R-B

Last edited by Peter-RB; 8th Feb 2015 at 15:20. Reason: Bad spelling
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Old 8th Feb 2015, 15:55
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Demise of Woodford and BAe

I agree totally philbky, BAe screwed themselves to the floor when they decided an all military was the answer, and cancelled the only civilian project they had. They got caught with their hands in the till with the never ending escalation cost of the Nimrod which then was, sensibly IMHO, cancelled. The Typhoons days are numbered as again it costs to much and they will be left with another white elephant, the F35, which of course they are only building bits of, not assembling complete airframes.
My only hope is that BAe stays in business long enough to continue to pay my pension until I turn up my toes.
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Old 8th Feb 2015, 17:16
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Philbky, I agree with much of what you say, and would certainly support the view that successive governments over many years would have served the country better by encouraging manufacturing and buying the resulting products rather than those of foreign competitors.
My objection was to the idea that BAe's actions should have been prescribed. I would much prefer that they were free to make whatever business decisions they find most appropriate. It is the environment in which they were forced to operate that needed attention, and sadly still does.
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Old 8th Feb 2015, 17:56
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BAe's retrenchment is down to market forces. If they had been better than the competition at what they do, Woodford would be busy making aeroplanes today and there might be closed factories in Brazil.

My gripe is what has then happened to that valuable infrastructure they've left behind.
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Old 8th Feb 2015, 19:11
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Devil

Sooty and Shaggy, the government of the supposedly most market driven country in the world certainly knows how to protect its own. Other than protectionism why is the USAF getting an essentially outdated airframe for its tanker replacement? Or is it that the politicos decided that after nearly 60 years of the KC135, the air force couldn't cope with anything too new?

If perhaps Thatcher and the governments that followed had learned how the US really works instead of just engaging in a love in (please note I'm a regular visitor, have family there and have a great deal of admiration for how they operate) the UK would be in a much better position than now. If the UK leaves the EU just watch the exodus of major corporate investment as tariff barriers, currency controls and all the complicated paperwork kicks in.

Had the UK kept its home owned industrial infrastructure those in favour of withdrawal (I'm not) would at least have something to ensure employment and the provision of home manufactured necessities to back their case.
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Old 8th Feb 2015, 19:50
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Things that go bang...

Just a reminder that HSA did a fair bit of work in that field in the 60's at Woodford and Lostock.
It is a great shame that the airfield couldn't be saved although I don't have a good knowledge of the details.
ATC:BHX and Coventry have always worked well for me and they're close.
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Old 8th Feb 2015, 21:53
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If they had been better than the competition at what they do, Woodford would be busy making aeroplanes today and there might be closed factories in Brazil.
This is an insult to the talented people who worked at Woodford. Of course they could have made something at least as competitive as the E-jets, given the backing of management. The sad loss is not of concrete and tarmac, it's of many well paid jobs and of skills and knowledge that have been lost to his country forever

Airbus wings next to go?
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Old 9th Feb 2015, 06:22
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HS748 - good design in fair competition with F27 Friendship.

ATP - Should have been a natural successor; but was a dog that suffered far too many undercarriage collapses. The rot set in on a tarnished reputation.

HS146 - It is a puzzle as the why this was not a world leader 'City hopper': Were four engines too thirsty, or was the dumpy unconventional design just not pretty enough.

Fokker and Hawker Siddely had this market ringfenced between them and both blew it initially to Canadair and latterly Embraer who I suspect have reaped the benefit of the BAe demise. The BAe fleet of ATP & HS146 shows ignorance of consistent corporate 'branding' and perhaps a little arrogance in asuming that third world upstarts would not be serious competitors. A lesson that the Boeing Clan (inc McDonnell Douglas) learned from Airbus/Sud Aviation but managed.
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Old 9th Feb 2015, 09:37
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With 387 produced, the 146/RJ was a success in my view.
The property-value-driven decision to close Hatfield, where we had a purpose-built final assembly building, and move all the 146 production to Woodford (where they were building them in less happy conditions) was not very clever, but kept it going for a decade or more.

Woodford, like Hatfield, is now a classic example of the folly of current planning where houses are built on "brown field sites" which would once have provided the employment for those living in the existing houses that surround the employment-free new development. Where will those living in the new houses work, and why not build the new houses there?

Last edited by Allan Lupton; 9th Feb 2015 at 09:39. Reason: typos
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Old 9th Feb 2015, 10:49
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Wonder if there is anyone out there who can provide some aerial shots of the changes that are underway?

Planemike
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Old 9th Feb 2015, 11:30
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Building more nice houses, I'm assuming it won't be Coronation Street, will attract buyers, if not Mancunians, then Chinese/Singaporean/Malaysian buying off-plan in some expo in the Far-East as has happened thousands of times in the South-East of the UK these last few years. The developers will be happy, the local council happy, but in the middle to long term who else ? The truth is no-one gives a sh1t about aviation except enthusiasts and more importantly those employed in the industry, so to appeal to Joe Bloggs on the basis of aviation is a lost cause. As long as people can go on holiday by air and not have them flying over their heads all is well….

Someone said to me the other day that the UK seems to exist on banking, specialist hi-tech and people buying houses, as all the normal producing industries have essentially gone with the wind. Woodford was an existing sanctioned, legitimate airfield and as to why no one decided to use the existing buildings or to build adjacent either aerospace pertinent businesses such as Dowty who have suffered a fire at Staverton recently or Dunsfold and it's various inhabitants, is a mystery ? A few maintenance companies, a few FBO's, other hi-tech businesses and some private flying would have sustained a healthy local economy to my mind.


SHJ

Last edited by SpringHeeledJack; 9th Feb 2015 at 11:42.
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Old 9th Feb 2015, 11:52
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ATP. Avro Taking the Pi33!

What a dog. One of the worst aeroplanes I have ever worked on. (And I include the BAC 1-11 there).
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Old 9th Feb 2015, 14:37
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ZeBedie said:
This is an insult to the talented people who worked at Woodford. Of course they could have made something at least as competitive as the E-jets, given the backing of management.
No it's not, it's a fact.

Your second sentence explains, perhaps (BAe management may disagree), why BAE were not as good as the competition and therefore Woodford has closed rather than a factory elsewhere in the world, like Brazil.

By any sensible measure, the RJX should have been a twin, not a 4-holer, but it was cheaper to use the 146 bits; another example of uncompetitiveness.

And as for the ATP.... talented people?
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Old 9th Feb 2015, 15:31
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It was clear many years ago that BAe had lost interest in the civil market otherwise they'd still be building the 125. Had BAe decided to stay within the Airbus consortium, perhaps Woodford would have been chosen rather than Finkenwerder as the No2. plant for Airbus. For example, it would be much easier to move wing assemblies from Chester (oops, sorry - Broughton!) to Woodford than it is to Hamburg.

Last edited by barry lloyd; 9th Feb 2015 at 18:59.
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Old 9th Feb 2015, 18:38
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1-11

Turin-Why was the 1-11 included as one of the worst aircraft you've worked on?
It was one of the best I've flown! I guess you're coming from the maintenance
standpoint.
Just interested.
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Old 10th Feb 2015, 12:17
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The ATP was designed at Woodford as the first update of the Nimrod came to a close. Therefore there were hundreds of avionic engineers needing something to do. This goes some way to explaining a Smiths EFIS system (Designers do like to invent and re-invent, rather than use Honeywells options), the number of relays in the aircraft and wiring looms made on “peg boards” which when installed to the aircraft were generally an inch or two too short due to the variability of the fuselage manufacture at Chadderton…hence electricians were struggling to get looms to fit and connect. Similar levels of the new world design mating with old world aircraft manufacture later found their way to Nimrod 4…ie old comet made at Chester using 1950’s technology, mated to wings designed by clever young things, with tolerances to a 10th of a thou, and they didn’t quite mate properly.
As for Woodfords long term future….it wasn’t in the RJX. The RJX was simply a development of the RJ put in place to keep the value of the Bae owned 146 and RJ portfolio as high as possible. When the attacks on 9/11 took place Bae quickly realised that the value of the aircraft had plummeted so far that the RJX effect to keep the values raised had vanished. Hence in Nov 2001 the programmed was cancelled. Other forums have discussed the RJX issues regarding fuel burn, noise etc. It can be easily summed what effect the RJX would actually have had.

Prior to September 2001 RJX programme life was anticipated to continue for another 5 years or so. BAE’s grand plan was to then introduce the FSTA programme to Woodford (BAE had pinned its flag to buying ex BA 767’s and converting these) as the skills within the perimeter fence would neatly switch to this type of programme. FSTA disappearing was quite a shock to BAE.
Nimrod MR4A employed many, but not to the same levels as previously. Sadly, as with Hatfield, the demise of Woodford sees the end of the UK’s ability to design and build whole aircraft. Yes we can debate the relative merits of the aircraft and their strengths and weaknesses, but don’t anything away from those who were involved. It was a massive achievement that will never be repeated in the UK, sadly.
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Old 10th Feb 2015, 14:36
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What is FSTA?
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Old 10th Feb 2015, 15:59
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So, BAe management was building the RJX as a five year stopgap? Hmm, that's not the view of many people who were in the offices or on the shop floor at Chadderton and Woodford. They were being sold on the aircraft having at least as long a life as the 146 and, given the amount of revised and new engineering in the project, five years would not have been a realistic time for payback.

You might be right of course as the same totally ridiculous thinking is evident in the stated BAe view in November 2001 that the regional jet market had died in the flames of the WTC.

The real truth will one day come out that BAe just didn't and still don't want to be in the aircraft manufacturing business.
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