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Bristow Photos

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Bristow Photos

Old 23rd Feb 2014, 17:14
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Redhill, Main Hangar

Redhill, Main Hangar






A lot of pics I've probably posted before and the info was correct as of 2002.


Redhill, Main Hangar.......you either loved it or hated it. Many engineers ended up here during their "corrective training".
Personally, I was lucky enough to be involved in many interesting and varied projects although the organisation of most of them drove me close to resignation more than once!
My wife, Jan, also worked there in the IT department but I didn't meet her until she ended up working behind the bar in my local pub!!!


Around the mid-seventies a new head office was constructed at Redhill Aerodrome, in Surrey. Bristows had been operating here for many years from some of the older hangars on the airfield and it was decided to combine the office block with a new relatively large hangar.

During the last 25 years, Redhill's main hangar has been involved with heavy maintenance, line maintenance, major epairs and modification programmes
on Bristow aircraft as well as customer machines. The scope of work carried out has been immense, from the smallest scheduled maintenance inspection up to Search and Rescue conversions and major accident repairs.

With its on-site C.A.A. approved design office, sheet metal department and avionic workshop the hangar has been able to carry out industry leading modifications such as I.H.U.M.S. ( Integrated Health and Usage Monitoring System) and the Dual Hoist fit on the S.A.R. Sikorsky S-61s.

This photo shows the base layout. The building with the blue door now houses the sheet metal and avionic departments. For many years the Bristows empire was controlled from the offices behind the hangar.





A 1977 picture showing a couple of Bristow Bell 212s, a Beech Baron and ex Ghanian or South African Wessex.






A Guiness Book of Record attempt at seeing how many Bell 212s can be squashed into a fixed area. These were ex- Iran machines after the pull-out, and apparently all arrived over one weekend.






Yet another typical Redhill Main Hangar collection, a couple of Bristow S76s, a customer Super Puma and of course the everlasting Bell 212s which, incidentally, is what I worked on the first day I joined Bristows in 1979.




Redhill Aerodrome before the main office block/hangar were constructed. At this time Bristows operated from the hangars on the left.













Remember modifying this one at Redhill.....

















To be continued.........................
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Old 23rd Feb 2014, 23:03
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Couple of comments about the Redhill post.

The Wessex in the hangar was an ex Ghana Air Force Mk. 53, which was an almost identical configuration to the commercial Wessex 60 operated by Bristow, and eligible for conversion. There were two of them, and this was the second one, that was eventually completely rebuilt from the ground up and ended up going to Skye, I seem to recall. When the rebuild started, someone had stolen the dataplate and there was a massive panic in the hangar trying to resolve this issue - it was a nice ship when it was finished.

Also in that picture is BGB after undergoing a crash rebuild, and the 212 in the foreground is G-BFES which rolled over, offshore. They painted United Helicopters on the tail at one point for a Flight International tour and article about the US operations. We were ordered to install the twin-pac as there was inadequate visual progress (according to Bill Petrie) on the aircraft, and every night on the night shift, we would hoist it out and complete all the fuel call and engine deck installations, before sticking it back in in the morning and going home. As a result, the day shift couldn't work on it, so it took twice as long to complete!

The Beech Baron is G-APUB, belonging to Sir Douglas Bader, that used to be maintained there.

Bill Denman is the one doing the Broadway song and dance number on the top of the row of 212's.

I can't recognize the guys working on the Whirlwind, but do recall Joe Bowell telling me a stroy about completing an aircraft in one of the old hangars, in a rushed preparation for an overseas contract. They finally got all the ground and flight tests completed, and pushed it into the hangar for a dawn takeoff the next morning. Once they got the ship inside, they couldn't get the hangar doors to close properly and couldn't figure out what was wrong with them, so kept opening them and pushing them harder and faster to get that last foot of closure. Someone then looked up and realized that the end of a Main Blade was sticking out through the door and they had just destroyed it with their increasingly strenuous efforts to get it closed. Quick change and quick track first thing in the morning and it was gone...

Although I was glad to get out of there, I had a great time working there, and worked on some really great projects and got experience second to none in the industry.
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Old 24th Feb 2014, 00:04
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Dave,

My Helicopter flying career ended on the ramp in front of the blue hanger in almost the same exact position the 212 is seen. I landed Huey 509 there at the end of the Season where it would undergo its conversion to the UK Registry and get some Checks done. Flying Lawyer flew from Blackpool to Redhill on that trip....beautiful weather....with a couple of stops along the way.

I along with more than a few others had our employment with Bristow ended in the Office Building behind the hangar as well.
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Old 24th Feb 2014, 04:01
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Ah yes, the Skye Wessex, that would have been G-BGWT? Rebuilt in 1979 if I remember correctly.
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Old 24th Feb 2014, 09:13
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Mike Johnson

Stacey, Ainippe,


Mike was in the same entry as me at Halton and we met up a few years ago at a reunion, he is live and well.
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Old 24th Feb 2014, 09:31
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The Whirlwind blade being removed is one of three blades that had to have their tips replaced due to Joe Bowell's cack handed operation of the tracking flag!
It was not a case of hitting all three tips during one ground run, no,... he managed to clip them one at a time in three ground runs!!
All of this happened after he stopped me doing the tracking, telling me that he was the only approved person at Redhill allowed to track blades.

I subsequently did the ferry flight to Warri with that aircraft.

I was present the day the blade got slammed in the hangar doors.
The problem with the old wartime hangar doors was that small stones would jam the bottom track, so when the doors wouldn't close, everybody grabbed a long screwdriver, and bent over cleaning out the tracks, followed by an attempt to get the door to close the last 18 inches.
This proceedure was repeated at least four times, each time the door closed a little more
Happy days!
Tony
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Old 24th Feb 2014, 12:24
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Phil Kemp

I loved the reference to "visual progress" reminded me of a Bell 47 rebuild at Dollar's.
After receiving criticism for the lack of progress the engineer in charge Ron said "just before you go give me a hand". We stuck the tailboom on using three bolts with the nuts finger tight and went home. Next day much praise for the massive progress!!!!!!!!

Visual progress the engineers friend and the tool that demonstrates what a clueless bunch some of the managers are.
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Old 24th Feb 2014, 17:38
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Redhill

Redhill cont.




























































.





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Old 24th Feb 2014, 17:51
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Redhill

Redhill cont.































































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Old 24th Feb 2014, 18:42
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Graham Conway

I have recently heard the sad news that Graham Conway, my first Chief Engineer - Morocco 1968, passed away recently

TC
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Old 25th Feb 2014, 02:48
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Graham Conway

Very sorry to hear this bad news.I worked with Graham in Trinidad in 1976.Many times he greeted you at breakfast surrounded by about 20 empty bottles of Carib after being up all night and then would proceed to eat a plate of smoked kippers in front of while you were struggling to wake up and start "Early's"!
A great character and a great Engineer. RIP Graham
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Old 25th Feb 2014, 03:52
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R.I.P 'Boots' Conway, late night/all night drinking still went on when he came to Eket where I was his Supervisor, great chap and good fun, rest well dear chap.

S
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Old 25th Feb 2014, 08:40
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Angel

Graham was a family friend for 50 years, just very sad news. " Boots" was a great guy and good to work with. One of the last of the old guard !
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Old 25th Feb 2014, 09:35
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Graham Conway

Sorry to hear about Graham, one of the best, I was with him in Abu Dhabi and Trinidad, the all nighters carried on in Abu Dhabi but I don't remember them in Trinidad, he was accompanied there.
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Old 25th Feb 2014, 11:53
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Sorry to hear about Graham, he was one of the best.


I operated the Alouette 3 in South Africa and them Morocco, Greenland then Zagross in Iran.


It originally belonged to Air Vice Marshall Key of South Vietnam and had been shot down then rebuilt at Aerospatial.
It still had bullet holes in the pilots seat!!
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Old 25th Feb 2014, 12:08
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Pretty sure they had the Alouette 3 on Lavan Island, in Iran, during the late sixties, early seventies
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Old 26th Feb 2014, 11:01
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Your right P
That was another place, we had two Alouette 3 in country at that time.
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Old 26th Feb 2014, 15:35
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R.I.P. "Boots"... It's been a long time since we worked together on the same Operation.
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Old 26th Feb 2014, 16:15
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'Boots' and 'Badger' in Duri c.1984. Happy days.





May they both RIP.
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Old 26th Feb 2014, 17:14
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Graham Conway



















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