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thurleigh/bedford

Old 26th Nov 2010, 17:28
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ARA seem to be going more and more over to CFD.
From what I was told at Filton (albeit six years ago), cruise conditions are do-able on computers, but the 'everything down and dirty' low speed predictions are still more accurate from a wind tunnel.
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Old 26th Nov 2010, 23:20
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some interesting info in this thread, http://www.pprune.org/flight-testing...thurleigh.html and it reminded me of the plan to build a 5 mile runway between Thurleigh and Little Staughton shortly after the war, i'd love to know what they were planning to fly off it
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Old 27th Nov 2010, 13:21
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chevvron, not so sure about a semi-permanent TR1/U2R datachment but they were certainly regular visitors - remember having 3 in the visual circuit one day, one of which was a 2 seater on detachment at Alconbury.
The attraction of Bedford was our runway orientation, being about 90 degrees different to Alconbury, provided a handy diversion option when the cross wind there was too strong. Only remember one or two actual diversions but at least one of those resulted in an operational sortie being flown from Bedford the following day.
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Old 30th Nov 2010, 11:10
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Sorry I worded it badly; no aircraft based at Bedford but a ground handling det. including the high powered car for the final 'talkdown'.
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Old 26th Dec 2010, 17:49
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vertical tunnel

This is used by Bodyflight as an entertainment,

Bodyflight UK | The Worlds Largest Indoor Skydiving Centre

but guess you knew this already.
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Old 26th Dec 2010, 18:33
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Do a Hover - it avoids G
 
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Twinwood spinning tunnel

Thanks to a bad fire (contractors debris etc) during the calibration phase towards the end of completion it was never used for aircraft spinning research and we all had to rely on the Lille tunnel.
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Old 17th Jun 2016, 22:35
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I think the Cray 1S was at Farnborough, I hadn't heard of there being one at Bedford.

The flight simulation complex (in which I worked) comprised I think 5 Gould Concept 32 computers running at around 5 MIPs each.

There were several motion systems, a couple of projection domes ant the cube shaped advanced flight simulator (AFS) in a building 80 feet high, which pilot Les Ellingham decided to use as an aiming point and overfly at below 80 feet in a Lightening. Never actually saw it, but I certainly heard it! Unforgettable.
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Old 17th Jun 2016, 22:42
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Are you sure it was Mach 3.5, I heard it was Mach 2.5?

There was, still is! a transonic tunnel with a 13 feet working section (height if I recall) using using a fantastic wooden propellor, there was a television documentary on it, it's now used/owned by Redbull Racing team to do aerodynamic testing of racing cars.

I think there was a a smaller tunnel which was considerably higher speed, a figure of mach 5 comes to mind, achieved through a reservoir of compressed air I think?

I spent all my time on the airfield site, never went into the tunnel site.
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Old 17th Jun 2016, 22:49
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Aircraft on site:
May not be a full list, but it's what I recall seeing.

12 Canberras.
BAC 1-11
1 Tornado
Sea King helicopter
Lynx helicopter
Gazelle (I think it was ours, Farnborough might have had one too)
1 Harrier (with digital computer inside the engine, visible through the vectored thrust nozzles)
HS 125
Lightening - not sure if that was ours or not.
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Old 17th Jun 2016, 23:36
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Towards the end of the 1980's, the Harrier was based at Bedford, with the digital flight control computer installed.

I can only presume it was flying from there, although I never saw it in flight. We rarely left our office!
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Old 17th Jun 2016, 23:42
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It was the Lynx that was used for flight control law research, ACT Lynx, ACT for Active Control Technology. I think it was a venture with Westlands of Yeovil.

Farnborough had a Jaguar for flight control law research, which they weighted down the tailplane with lead and some extensions on the leading edges of the wings so as to upset the stability (lead in the tailplane ought to do it). It was a BAe project I think.

The aircraft is still there, on permanent display at one of the entrance gates.
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Old 17th Jun 2016, 23:45
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Ghengis, the technology demonstrator, the predecessor to the Typhoon, it was called the EAP -Experimental Aircraft Programme - that was tested on the 8 foot tunnel too.
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Old 17th Jun 2016, 23:48
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Concorde was tested on the 8 foot Mach 2.5 tunnel too. The museum at Farnborough ( Air Sciences Trust) has the aerodynamic models of concorde used in tunnel testing.

I was at the museum a few years ago.
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Old 1st Jan 2017, 09:10
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Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace View Post
Aircraft on site:
May not be a full list, but it's what I recall seeing.

12 Canberras.
BAC 1-11
1 Tornado
Sea King helicopter
Lynx helicopter
Gazelle (I think it was ours, Farnborough might have had one too)
1 Harrier (with digital computer inside the engine, visible through the vectored thrust nozzles)
HS 125
Lightening - not sure if that was ours or not.
Farnborough certainly did have a Gazelle, an RAF specification one as opposed to the 656 Sqdn AAC ones which departed in about 1982 and which were quite crude by comparison.
We also had a couple of Sea Kings until one 'broke its back' after a heavy landing from a simulated throttle computer freeze and a couple of Lynx flying trials plus one of the prototypes in storage. I'm sure Bedford had more than one BAC111; Farnborough only had the one.
Many of the Bedford Canberras found their way to storage at Farnborough after Bedford airfield closed. It was a frequent occurence at weekends after DPA flying moved out for someone to come in to fly out a Canberra which we in ATC didn't even know was there, usually to places like Bruntingthorpe for preservation.
Bedford also had an ex BUA VC10 which was rendered un-flyable with a 'bent' fuselage; don't know what happened to that.
On my first visit to Bedford in 1974, soon after being posted to Farnborough, the Hunting 126 jet flap research aircraft was being taken away on the back of a lorry.

Last edited by chevvron; 1st Jan 2017 at 09:30.
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Old 1st Jan 2017, 10:34
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I remember that Gazelle, it lived in A shed what I was a Farnborough apprentice circa 1988/89. There was a placard in the cockpit saying "It is prohibited to crash this aircraft ", or words roughly to that effect. I don't actually recall ever seeing it fly, but recall being told that it was mostly flown by the station commander as his private "hack" - that may of course have just been ground crew scuttlebut.

G
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Old 1st Jan 2017, 13:08
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Do a Hover - it avoids G
 
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the Hunting 126 jet flap research aircraft was being taken away on the back of a lorry.

On its way to the US for full scale tunnel testing
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Old 2nd Jan 2017, 07:19
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Originally Posted by Genghis the Engineer View Post
I remember that Gazelle, it lived in A shed what I was a Farnborough apprentice circa 1988/89. There was a placard in the cockpit saying "It is prohibited to crash this aircraft ", or words roughly to that effect. I don't actually recall ever seeing it fly, but recall being told that it was mostly flown by the station commander as his private "hack" - that may of course have just been ground crew scuttlebut.

G
It was flown frequently but rarely used for trials work, mostly CT by fixed wing TPs who were cross trained for helicopters, although having said that, various COEFs did use it as transport to other stations for meetings etc and Graham Williams flew it for the BBC to commemorate Cody's first flight from what was then the Officers Mess lawn.
I had one ride in it with the late Pete Rainey, regretfully in the back seat so I omitted to record it in my log book. I have one Gazelle flight recorded in XZ335 on 3 Jul 78 but I think that was an AAC Gazelle of 656 Sqdn.
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Old 2nd Jan 2017, 07:21
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Originally Posted by John Farley View Post
On its way to the US for full scale tunnel testing
Thanks John, I always wondered where it went. Wonder where it is now?
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Old 2nd Jan 2017, 08:42
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RAE Bedford operated a range of aircraft, some on permanent inventory others as visitors for trials involving other RAE departments or civilian developments.
Circa 75-80, the only BAC 1-11 was the 'BLEU' aircraft XX105 (BLEU became Flight Systems 2, AERO flight FS1 circa 1974, then amalgamated to become Flight Systems Squadron ~ 76).
However, a BAC owned 1-11 may have visited during the BAC reduced stability, Smiths fly-by-light, and RAE Versatile Autopilot trials.

There were many visiting helicopters for comparative agility tests, the agility course was on the airfield and likened to horse jumping/eventing. A Scout or Gazelle was probably used during the helicopter combat flights; fast jet pilots guested as test engineers (extreme manoeuvrfes) and to compare tactics.

The dedicated simulator research facility (FS1?), was SW of the hangers on the airfield site; this involved research into simulation, per se, and was also used for project evaluation. IIRC it had a multi seat moving base simulator, which may have been reconfigurable as a single seat aircraft. I also recall a VSTOL facility, Harrier and helicopter, but this might have been the same system as above.
There was a separate fixed base simulation with a moving belt visual for fighter agility / weapons aiming.
FS 2 had a simple fixed base simulation for night low-vis evaluation; this was extensively used for airfield lighting, flight director, and crew procedures research. Some of this was in conjunction with the Hatfield design sim (DH/Smiths LED para visual display), and the Weybridge Advanced Flight Deck.

A visit to the wind tunnel model shop was always a must (unfortunately often in conjunction with a visit to the site Boss *). As well a viewing 'what's new models', the very skilled modellers could repair one's most valued presentation solid aircraft models and create all sorts of presentation gift mountings.

* the ultra low level (50ft) high-speed flight test course started adjacent to the head-mans office, which being on the second floor might have looked down on the passing aircraft. The straight line track ended next to the airfield ATC tower.
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Old 2nd Jan 2017, 11:53
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A 1-11 - 500 was delivered shortly before Bedford closed. I remember it well because OC Flying Bedford, then 'Tag' Taggart, brought it into Farnborough one day and for what reason I do not know, COEF objected to this and told them not to get off the aircraft and go back to Bedford.
Course we in ATC got the blame as usual for accepting it in the first place!
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