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-   -   LUTON History and Nostalgia (https://www.pprune.org/aviation-history-nostalgia/527527-luton-history-nostalgia.html)

boeing_eng 7th Aug 2016 19:40

7&8 is the current number of said hangar...Opposite Stand 10 (it could well have been different back then!)

dc9-32 8th Aug 2016 07:26

I used to walk through the hangar abeam stand 10 as a short cut to get to work in the terminal. There was a little wooden door on rails that you just pulled across, stepped in, pulled it shut then strolled across the hangar floor.

Fond memories of 707's in various state of repair.

boeing_eng 8th Aug 2016 16:44

Reminds me of the procession of BAL Engineers who used to walk straight across the taxiway between H89 and H61 in the 1980's often pulling toolboxes!:}

LTNman 10th Aug 2016 19:40

The AvgasDinosaur who took these photos many moons ago has asked me to post them on his behalf and wonders if someone can answer the following questions

Did the Boeing 707/720 operators suffer any payload range penalties operating ex Luton. I'm thinking Monarch, Invicta, Britannia, Trans Asian ?

Which stand is the Brit on ?

Anyone got any good tales of the Bristol Britannia years at Luton particularly the freighter ops?

Can anyone I/D this Brit I accept it is a pretty shabby photo.

Many thanks for your time and trouble
The AvgasDinosaur

http://i1320.photobucket.com/albums/...psf0rqx1ad.jpg

http://i1320.photobucket.com/albums/...pskolejijs.jpg

http://i1320.photobucket.com/albums/...pstif698hg.jpg

treadigraph 10th Aug 2016 20:10

The Britannia looks like EI-BCI.

DaveReidUK 10th Aug 2016 20:18


Originally Posted by treadigraph (Post 9469684)
The Britannia looks like EI-BCI.

Agreed - sans titles.

http://www.airteamimages.com/pics/52/52037_800.jpg

LTNman 10th Aug 2016 20:37

Photo on this link confirming that it is the same aircraft as taken by The AvgasDinosaur with the following text.

Aviation Feature ? Luton Airport 1978-1985 | GAR


EI-BCI is seen here in Eurafric’s basic colour scheme in the snow, shot in January 1979. Around that time it was leased to Aer Turas and is seen here with the trademark rhino on the tail painted out. Redcoat Air Cargo, also based at Luton, bought this airframe as G-BHAU. It replaced ill-fated Britannia G-BRAC which crashed after take-off from Boston-Logan due to severe icing, descending into a wooded area after only gaining an altitude of 1,700 feet.


LTNman 10th Aug 2016 20:55


Which stand is the Brit on ?
Using this photo as a reference and by comparing the light and dark shading of the apron, which is the same on both photos, the Brit's are both on stand 11.

http://i1320.photobucket.com/albums/...ps99rriisk.jpg

Spiney Norman 11th Aug 2016 01:34

LTNman. You mention any good tales of Bristol Britannia operations.....

It was a typically foggy night at Luton Airport with a low stratus base that had, as the night progressed, descended on to the surface. An easterly wind meant 08 was in use and, as this was in the good old days, an SRA terminating at a half nautical mile using the ACR430 was the way to go for any aircraft that wished to make an approach. I was working in the tower but unfortunately don't remember who my colleagues were on this occasion. Aircraft movements had been expected to be few and far between without the curse of the weather which had seen most of those scheduled divert elsewhere without even attempting an approach. In the early hours of the morning the clatter of the Lamson tube had delivered a teleprinted flight plan for a freighter Britannia operated by a based cargo airline. To our surprise, at the appointed ETA the aircraft turned up and elected to make an approach. The SRA went without a hitch and the aircraft landed and parked up without incident (apparently). As a grey dawn began to lighten the fog it was my turn to carry out the morning surface inspection so, shivering and cold, I made my way out to the runway in the dreadfully draughty yellow Land Rover. I entered the runway and made the run down to the 08 turning circle and was surprised to see some clods of mud on the southern runway edge which quickly resolved themselves into the mighty tyre tracks of a pair of bogies! I moved over to the Southern runway edge and peered into the fog...The tyre tracks ran off onto the grass and, after a quite tight angular turn, ran parallel to the runway surface but offset about 40/50ft from the actual runway edge! The tyre marks were around a foot deep and this surface penetration seemed to have helped as there was no skidding where the aircraft had made it's sudden turn to regain the runway as the crew must have realised that all the runway edge lights were on the left! One poor edge light had however reached the end of it's life by being squashed flat by the whispering giant. I called the tower and reported my findings to the chagrin of the tower controller who knew that, even in those far off years, there'd be some serious paperwork to follow. On my way back across the apron I stopped behind the prime suspect and saw that, unsuprisingly, the underside of the inboard engine cowlings and some of the aft fuselage was liberally coated with mud. No getting away at the end of the shift for us then! The tower 'senior man' rang the airline to advise them of our findings and, whilst we stood in the tower listening to his prolonged conversation, noticed a small group of personnel run out to the aircraft with yard brushes and buckets and vigorously begin to clean the mud off whilst their 'chief' issued strong denials on the phone that it certainly wasn't them and we should look elsewhere!......

But then things were very different in those days.......

Spiney Norman 11th Aug 2016 01:55

Oops! I've just noticed another question......

Did the Boeing 707/720 operators suffer any payload range penalties operating ex Luton. I'm thinking Monarch, Invicta, Britannia, Trans Asian ?

I'm pretty certain the Monarch 720B's had no issues. I did a fam flight on, I think, G-AZFB? To the old Larnaca airport with a full load down the back and we certainly had no issues. The general ATC opinion was that they performed very well which was more than could be said for the Dan Air B727's! On the subject of Dan Air. Their Comet 4's also seemed to have spectacular field performance wherever they were bound for. My memory may be playing tricks here but I seem to remember a British MD80 operator in the 1980's who were the only airline I remember who would delay departures out of Luton for performance reasons on very hot days? Who were they, if they're not a figment of my imagination? I'll have to do some web research.

Success! Paramount and they were MD83's.

LTNman 11th Aug 2016 05:09


The SRA went without a hitch and the aircraft landed and parked up without incident (apparently).
From memory, in those days RVR's were calculated by an airport firemen sitting in a little raised hut that sat on legs who would count runway edge lighting.

It must have been a cold lonely night sitting in that little hut while surrounded by a thick fog.


http://i1320.photobucket.com/albums/...pss9xtqxmz.jpg

Spiney Norman 11th Aug 2016 07:29


Originally Posted by LTNman (Post 9470045)
From memory, in those days RVR's were calculated by an airport firemen sitting in a little raised hut that sat on legs who would count runway edge lighting.

It must have been a cold lonely night sitting in that little hut while surrounded by a thick fog.


http://i1320.photobucket.com/albums/...pss9xtqxmz.jpg

Correct. The firemen seemed to hate it as much as we did and it wasn't unusual to have to constantly ask them 'how many lights' because we thought we could discern a change in visibility but nothing had been heard from them. Quite frequently it was due to the failure of the very unreliable handset radios. The number of lights counted was checked against the official RVR table and noted on a proforma. Allegedly, someone checked the data against the Daily movement register and weather obs log to see if minima had been busted. Quite how well that worked I can only guess!

Spiney Norman 11th Aug 2016 10:17


Originally Posted by boeing_eng (Post 9467181)
Reminds me of the procession of BAL Engineers who used to walk straight across the taxiway between H89 and H61 in the 1980's often pulling toolboxes!:}

An old friend of mine's dad used to be an engineer, (I think for BAL). He was a massive fan of the old black and white cowboy films. So much so he'd somehow got his security pass made out in the name of Tom Mix. Even once getting caught out crossing the apron by a fast taxying aircraft which got him intercepted by security didn't reveal his true identity.

seer557 11th Aug 2016 11:32

In response to Spiney Norman (Post 1611), probably the same guys pictured here. (Also reported elsewhere on pprune I believe). Going "off road" seemed to be their speciality!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmakSwlYLs0

Spiney Norman 11th Aug 2016 12:00


Originally Posted by seer557 (Post 9470362)
In response to Spiney Norman (Post 1611), probably the same guys pictured here. (Also reported elsewhere on pprune I believe). Going "off road" seemed to be their speciality!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmakSwlYLs0


Love the video! Without actually naming the airline involved in my post, they subsequently fell foul of officialdom for (allegedly) importing 'exotic snuff' which HMRC discovered concealed in a bulkhead. I believe their aircraft was one of the ex-RAF Bristol Britannia's which found a home at Luton mainly due to the ministrations of Airline Engineering. Oh! By the way, the wheel ruts at Luton were significantly deeper due to the waterlogged state of the ground.

Level bust 11th Aug 2016 15:34

Very similar to the Caledonian Tristar when backtracking 26 for departure decided he would keep to the left hand side of the runway whilst doing so. Unfortunately, the left main gear was on the soft tarmac that was between the grass and the runway edge lights. Luckily there was a vehicle following it down the runway and noticed, so we stopped him from taking off. Not sure what would have happened as the left bogie was covered in soft tarmac!

Offchocks 11th Aug 2016 21:42


But then things were very different in those days.......
Sure were, today someone would have taken a few happy snaps with their phone and they would have been on Pprune within hours!

LTNman 11th Aug 2016 22:51

No fences by the north west corner and 4ft fences around the spectators building. The carefree days of aviation at Luton lasted until the 70's

22/04 13th Aug 2016 12:20

British Island operated MD80s out of Luton for a while.

Teaboy24 13th Aug 2016 13:48

Mention of walking across the taxiway reminds me of the occasion in the early eighties when passenger control on the ramp is not what it is now. Two passengers walking from the gate to their aircraft late one evening decided to keep walking and crossed the taxiway and were found on the Merchantman which was loading newspapers on the hangar line looking for their seats.

Happy days


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