Aviation History and Nostalgia Whether working in aviation, retired, wannabee or just plain fascinated this forum welcomes all with a love of flight.

M-B Meteors

Old 14th Aug 2019, 13:17
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 25,369
M-B Meteors

I was very privileged to attend a visit to Martin-Baker yesterday, which included their activities at Chalgrove aerodrome. Both Meteors flew, giving a polished exhibition of graceful formation flying. A wonderful sight (and sound)!

Are M-B's Meteors now the only airworthy examples still flying in the UK? Long may they continue to do so!
BEagle is offline  
Old 14th Aug 2019, 13:28
  #2 (permalink)  
Gnome de PPRuNe
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Too close to Croydon for comfort
Age: 55
Posts: 5,625
Thread on Spectators Balcony about Canberras seen over Oxford on Monday revealed that they were the M-B Meteors. The ex-Doug Arnold NF.11 G-LOSM/WM167 still has a valid permit though I believe it may now be inactive.

Do you know who was flying them?
treadigraph is offline  
Old 14th Aug 2019, 14:32
  #3 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 25,369
I do know who the pilots were, but it is inappropriate to name names on a public forum without their permission.

I'm sure that if you had a valid reason to ask, M-B could tell you.
BEagle is offline  
Old 14th Aug 2019, 15:29
  #4 (permalink)  
Gnome de PPRuNe
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Too close to Croydon for comfort
Age: 55
Posts: 5,625
Just vulgar curiosity.
treadigraph is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2019, 02:01
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 2,736
Are M-B's Meteors now the only airworthy examples still flying in the UK
Don't know about the UK BEagle, but we have an ex RAF F.8 in Oz that does.

https://aviationmuseum.com.au/gloster-meteor-f-8/
megan is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2019, 06:36
  #6 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 25,369
Good to know that VZ467 'Winston' is still flying - it was the late 'Puddy' Catt's favourite mount back in the '70s when he was towing targets for us at RAF Brawdy.
BEagle is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2019, 13:49
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 30
At what point to these Meteor's become just uneconomical / dangerous to keep airworthy? Surprised that by now they have not switched to something like a couple of surplus Hawk's for example.

Plus how cost effective is it for M-B to continue to maintain their own airfield when for the amount of flying they do they could surely set up residence at somewhere like Northolt, Benson, Farnborough, Odiham etc - all of those being within a 15-45 minute drive from their HQ at Denham.
Bonkey is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2019, 14:51
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hanging off the end of a thread
Posts: 15,772
Originally Posted by Bonkey View Post
At what point to these Meteor's become just uneconomical / dangerous to keep airworthy? Surprised that by now they have not switched to something like a couple of surplus Hawk's for example.

Plus how cost effective is it for M-B to continue to maintain their own airfield when for the amount of flying they do they could surely set up residence at somewhere like Northolt, Benson, Farnborough, Odiham etc - all of those being within a 15-45 minute drive from their HQ at Denham.

The problem you have is a Hawk is a single engine, so when you bang out a seat the engine ingests all that lovely smoke and debris, not an ideal outcome, that is why the meteor is still in use, it is a reliable, strong aircraft, with wing mounted engines out of the way of the smoke ingestion, stronger more damage resistant engines being centrifugal, has a speed range suitable for testing most seats... If you write a spec for a tandem seat, twin engine wing pod mounted aircraft, rugged and simple to operate with a sufficent speed range to carry out the tests you come back to the Meteor, there simply isn't anything else out there.

Last edited by NutLoose; 18th Aug 2019 at 23:01.
NutLoose is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2019, 15:03
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reading, UK
Posts: 10,471
Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
The problem you have is a Hawk is a single seater
I suspect you didn't mean that ...
DaveReidUK is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2019, 15:16
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Wilts
Posts: 77
Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
I suspect you didn't mean that ...
Some are though....
Quemerford is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2019, 16:53
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: River Thames & Surrey
Age: 70
Posts: 8,081
Originally Posted by Bonkey View Post
At what point to these Meteor's become just uneconomical / dangerous to keep airworthy? Surprised that by now they have not switched to something like a couple of surplus Hawk's for example.

Plus how cost effective is it for M-B to continue to maintain their own airfield when for the amount of flying they do they could surely set up residence at somewhere like Northolt, Benson, Farnborough, Odiham etc - all of those being within a 15-45 minute drive from their HQ at Denham.
The testing of ejector seats requires the runway and indeed entire airfield be 'sterilised' for long periods so operations at any of those airfields would cause delays to other traffic (not that Northolt has a lot even when their runway is open).
M B were supposed to re-equip with Hawks back in the '80s but it just never happened. I saw it on a list of aircraft allocated to the (what was then) MOD(PE) fleet.
chevvron is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2019, 16:57
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reading, UK
Posts: 10,471
Originally Posted by Quemerford View Post
Some are though....
Yes, but using those ones for ejection seat trials would use up a lot of airframes.
DaveReidUK is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2019, 18:43
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 30
Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
The problem you have is a Hawk is a single seater.....
Funny, I thought the Hawk was primarily a dual seat jet trainer as the main role and that only some were single seaters

Bonkey is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2019, 19:02
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Bournemouth
Posts: 30
Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
The testing of ejector seats requires the runway and indeed entire airfield be 'sterilised' for long periods so operations at any of those airfields would cause delays to other traffic (not that Northolt has a lot even when their runway is open).
Langford Lodge - where the other MB operations are based and the test sled too?
Bonkey is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2019, 19:13
  #15 (permalink)  
Gnome de PPRuNe
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Too close to Croydon for comfort
Age: 55
Posts: 5,625
Think Nutty meant to type "single engined"...
treadigraph is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2019, 19:57
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reading, UK
Posts: 10,471
Originally Posted by treadigraph View Post
Think Nutty meant to type "single engined"...
I know, we're only teasing him. But you're right, we should cut Nutty some slack.
DaveReidUK is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2019, 20:23
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: West Country
Posts: 69
Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
I know, we're only teasing him. But you're right, we should cut Nutty some slack.
Yes, but with a rather blunt pair of scissors!
Blossy is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2019, 20:25
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 1,784
In 2017 Aviation Week published an article about M-B's two Meteors, with some interesting quotes from their chief pilot and their marketing director:-


"In spite of its considerable vintage, the sturdy British attack aircraft has all the attributes required for a stable, high-speed test platform" says Andy Gent, Martin-Baker’s head of flying and chief pilot. “From a test perspective the Meteor is ideal. The tail boom is fairly long and the fin is not very high. The engines are also spaced out a fair way out along the wing, so the efflux from the ejection test and exhaust from the gun and rocket motor isn’t potentially going down the engine intakes,” he says.

Based at Martin-Baker’s Chalgrove, England, test facility, the fleet is made up of two Meteors, WA638 and WL419, both of which have been with the company since the 1960s. “They are doing the job so why would you ever go through the heartache of getting another aircraft?” says Gent.

In short, it does not fly all too much, it gets the job done and its well built. Similar reason most older aircraft are still flying these days.

The article goes on to say that they have little intention of changing this any time soon:

Marketing Director Andrew Martin notes the company is one of only a handful that performs airborne ejection tests, and that the Meteor will continue to be used for the foreseeable future. “It is a tough thing to evaluate, and right now while we have these phenomenal assets we are not going to really think about a replacement in great detail,” he says. With the final retirement of the last Royal Air Force (RAF)-operated aircraft in the target towing role in the early 1980s, Martin-Baker acquired a large stock of spares and Rolls-Royce Derwent 8 turbojets. Because of that and the ample remaining airframe life, the company is no rush to find a successor.
spekesoftly is offline  
Old 15th Aug 2019, 20:31
  #19 (permalink)  

"Mildly" Eccentric Stardriver
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: England
Age: 72
Posts: 2,902
we should cut Nutty some slack.
nutty-slack. (noun)
  1. (UK) A cheap fuel consisting of slack (coal dust) and small lumps of coal (nuts).
(Your Dictionary)
Herod is offline  
Old 16th Aug 2019, 05:40
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Wilts
Posts: 77
Mmm nutty slack.....
Quemerford is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.