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The Rotary Nostalgia Thread

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The Rotary Nostalgia Thread

Old 8th Aug 2010, 18:13
  #81 (permalink)  
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Could this also have been delivered by Geoffers?

Agusta-Bell 206B G-BCWM arrives at Battersea c. 1977

Last edited by Earl of Rochester; 7th Jun 2013 at 08:44.
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Old 10th Aug 2010, 14:48
  #82 (permalink)  
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G-TALY & DoW's Pilot

Just stumbled across this forum by accident and spotted this thread with interest. My father is Ken Davies, the former pilot of the Duke of Westminster and one-time pilot of G-TALY. Now retired (but still flying) he was actually employed as a Mechanic and not a Gardener and consequently flew as a private pilot and not as a commercial one. He was originally employed as a mechanic for real. The present Duke's father gave him permission to fly his own light aircraft from a disused airfield on the Eaton Estate and later asked him if he would fly a plane for him if he bought one. The rest is history. I will check with my Dad the next time I see him and get him reading this forum but in the meantime to the best of my recollection the sequence of aircraft (FW & RW) was:-
Piper Cherokee
Piper Apache
Piper Aztec
Enstrom Shark
Bell Jet Ranger (I seem to recall that there may have been 2 of them one after the other with G-TALY being the first)
Twin Squirrel
Hawker Siddley HS125
Cessna Citation (again, I think there were 2 of them)
and that's about when he retired so I'm not sure what came next!
I grew up around the planes and the hangar (where my Dad also kept his own light aircraft of various sorts over the years) so remember them all to varying degrees!
I hope that has refreshed/updated a few memories for a few other people!
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Old 10th Aug 2010, 14:51
  #83 (permalink)  

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Say Hi For Me! Glad to hear he's still around!

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Old 10th Aug 2010, 15:06
  #84 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2010
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More from Ken

Thanks for the warm welcome! I will give my dad a ring tonight and see what pictures he can dig out and I'll scan them and get them posted for you all. One extra little snippet that occurs to me, the pictures of G-TALI the twin squirrel at Cranfield posted earlier would probably have been my Dad and me visiting as the Duke was happy for Dad to use her when she wasn't needed for anything else! We went to quite a few Fly-Ins over the years when his own light aircraft were unservicable for one reason or another. So that explains the mystery of why the Duke's machine was there!
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Old 10th Aug 2010, 19:15
  #85 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Latest Update

Having spoken to my Dad he is going to have a rummage and see what pictures of TALY, TALI and anything else of interest that he can find.

I can now confirm that TALY was the only JetRanger that the Duke owned, the other one I remember was hired (presumably to fill the void between TALY and TALI) and that since the departure of TALI and the move to jets, the Duke no longer owns a helicopter

I have pointed him in the direction of the forum and hopefully I can get him on-line soon to make contact himself but in the meantime he sends his regards to everyone who remembers him and asked me to say "Geoff, do you remember the flight back from Rome?" which I'm guessing means more to one of you than it does to me!
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Old 10th Aug 2010, 19:34
  #86 (permalink)  
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Apologies!! LOL

Hey Red Flag
Thx so much for putting me right on the gardener/mechanic issue; comes to all of us with age I am afraid - confusion (to some degree) reigns!

Please remember me to your Dad (I was the Chief Engineer) and it was a pleasure to have him stay one night when G-TALY was being a little difficult anbout compliance with the limits for compressor cases.

And we then woke EVERYONE up at F/O at 6 am with ground runs and a flight test before his departure to Battersea to collect 'Himself'.

Aaaagh, those were the days!
Best ~ VFR
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Old 11th Aug 2010, 05:06
  #87 (permalink)  
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RedFlag: Please let me add my welcome, to the forum and the thread, as well as my appreciation for having made contact with us.

There are, as you have doubtless seen, several PPRuNers who know your Dad, including VFR440 (above), ANW and GeoffersInConrwall and there are plenty of others who know of him.

My godfather was pilot to John Broome (original developer of Alton Towers) and I suppose we may share some similar experiences in that John Broome was an intensely generous man and similarly offered my godfather the use of his aircraft for personal engagements. I have many and fond memories from this period.

John Broome's first pilot is also on the thread: Paco and, as mentioned earlier on by Earl, the Towers aircraft was situated not far from Eaton Hall at Stretton Hall in Tilston.

I am sponsoring the development of a tribute website which is documenting the history of http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/417...licopters.html and, during the life of this thread, have decided to expand the site to include details of selected corporate and private helicopter operations in the UK from the 70's and 80's and into which your father's story as personal pilot to the Duke would fit nicely! On this matter I have sent you a PM.

Among the characters you will discover here are Dennis K, referred to affectionately by my godfather as 'Dennis the Menace' and who has either flown, owned or has some connection with virtually every flying thing mentioned on this thread! Dennis, as you will have read, bought G-TALY from his lordship whereafter she became G-CSKY and which was the aircraft I did my PPL course in. She was a lovely little thing and I would be delighted to see some photos of her in her prime as it were!

There are many other experienced, knowledgeable and interesting persons on this forum and who you are sure to get to know.

Again welcome, and .. happy posting!

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Old 11th Aug 2010, 08:58
  #88 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Thanks for the welcome (again!)

It has been quite an event reading through the accumulated thread and picking up on the references to my Dad, it has brought back a lot of memories of my own. I am going to see my Dad this evening (it's his birthday would you believe so finding this thread has been a bit of an extra birthday present for him!) and I'll see if he's had a chance to find any pictures for me to scan yet!
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Old 11th Aug 2010, 22:20
  #89 (permalink)  
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Pictures of G-TALY to follow soon!

I now have on loan from my Father a wonderful album of photographs & cartoons detailing the collection of G-TALY from Frosinone in March 1979. I will scan the most significant pictures as soon as I can get my scanner set up and working but some of the high points in terms of TALY's history are:-
1. TALY being wheeled off the production line and outside ready for a test flight prior to flying her back to the UK
2. TALY airborne for the first time and on route to Urbe on the outskirts of Rome.
3. TALY outside Alan Mann Helicopters after a 5 day flight across Europe.
4. Before & After pictures of TALY in the hangar for interior & radios to be fitted and colour scheme to be added (there is an interior shot elsewhere in the album of the temporary radio bungeed on top of the panel with a big piece of rubber under it!)
5. TALY being collected by my Dad in her new livery for delivery to her new owner.
There's loads more documenting the whole 5 day journey but not all of it is relevant to TALY herself (several pictures of my Dad and Mr Geoff Newman nursing hangovers seem to feature for some reason )
I'll get the important ones up ASAP
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Old 12th Aug 2010, 13:48
  #90 (permalink)  
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Everything Comes To He Who Waits!

OK, as a newbie there is an excelent chance that i will get the process of attaching the images wrong at least once before I get the hang of it so this will either be the first image of G-TALY to appear since the start of the thread (in which case loads more will quickly follow to tell the story of her collection from Italy) or it will be an ignominious failure and a great let down after the noble Earl's build-up, so here goes:-

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Old 12th Aug 2010, 14:14
  #91 (permalink)  
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Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin....

Once upon a time (Tuesday 13th March 1979 to be exact) two intrepid airmen, my father Ken Davies and his trusty sidekick who now goes by the name of Geoffersincornwall (for reasons that may become apparent later) set off to collect G-TALY from the Frosinone, 50 miles south of Rome.

The first image to record this epic and historic journey is one of my father on the commercial flight out:-

At this point I feel I should explain that the person now known only as Geoffersofcornwall has added a caption casting slanderous and totally unsubstantiated aspertions about my father's intentions towards an air hostess who is just out of shot. My father has been nursing thoughts of legal action over this and other similar allegations ragarding the same trip for the 31 years since this photograph was taken!

However, on to the moment you have all been waiting for. The intrepid pair arrive at Frosinone and enter the factory to see this gorgeous creature waiting patiently for them on the end of the production line, still in her virginal white colour scheme:-

This is the first known picture of G-TALY before she had even set foot outside into the Italian sunshine. Minutes later and the engineers were wheeling her outside for her test flight prior to handing over the keys:-

Once again the slanderous pen of Geoffersincornwall was at work here too and the caption reads:-
"A moment of acute embarrassment however, as Ken offers to give the ground crew a hand with the bump start. A quiet word in his ear and after a conference with the engineers we confirm that a starter motor is on the specification"
My father asserts that he knew there was a starter motor fitted all along and that he was just trying to be helpful. However 31 yrs on and he's still sulking!

One or two people check out the odd thing or two....

and then Snr. Mazzeti hands over the keys.

At this point my father would like to point out that he is not, as appears, standing in a hole but Snr Mazzeti was quite tall!

Snr Buldini, the Chief test Pilot arrived on the official company bicycle (one of the perks of his job apparently...)
And (fanfare please) G-TALY takes to the air for the first time....

Shortly after that, our dynamic duo set off for Urbe, a small airfield on the outskirts of Rome and G-TALY is finally on her way towards her new home.

End of Part One.
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Old 12th Aug 2010, 14:43
  #92 (permalink)  
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Are you till sitting confortably? Then I'll begin Part Two

After arriving at Urbe, the idea was to refuel and head along the coast to Genoa. At the time G-TALY was not fitted with a range-extender and she held fuel for 250 miles. It was 230 to Genoa. It was apparently decided to limit the possibility of buttock-clenching moments by jacking TALY up on one side, filling up the tank, closing it and then letting her down again and having enough fuel onboard to make the trip without (to use my fathers normal understated approach to things) crashing and dieing The following picture give a taste of the pioneer spirit of the two fearless aviators as you can clearly see the temporary radio bungeed to a bit of rubber on top of the panel:-

Self evidently it worked and they made it Genoa with plenty of fuel in hand only to be grounded by bad weather for the next 24 hrs. The following picture of TALY seen out of a speeding taxi window was actually taken as they arrived to continue the journey after the weather improved and not, as some unscrupulous commentators have suggested, as they tried to make a run for it after deciding the trip would be safer on the ground!

With the improvement in the weather they set off for the Agusta factory at Casrina Costa near Milan to complete the export formalities before crossing the Alps

It is at this point my father hopes to retaliate for Geoffers' slanderous remarks elsewhere in the record of the journey.

This is my father hard at work at the controls......

And here is a younger, debauched, Geoffers apparently nursing a monster hangover from the night before (I am going to slip the word "allegedly" in at this point as I don't want to be caught in the counter-suit!)

However the reason for my father's desire for revenge becomes clear when you see the cartoon that accompanies the 2 pictures above and which my father denies catagorically ever happened.....probably....

And on that note...we reach the End of Part Two,
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Old 12th Aug 2010, 15:25
  #93 (permalink)  
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And so to Part Three

Part Three starts with what my father claims is a distortion of the facts.

After leaving Milan they headed to Lugano in Switzerland. At this point the official photographic record of the journey shows Geoffers hard at work first thing in the morning, clearing the ice from TALY prior to the next leg through the Simplon Pass to Geneva.

While the following picture.....

bears the caption "Ken is seen at breakfast the following morning. I'm not saying he is nursing another hangover but he had one hell of a job focusing on the croissant". Once again, this will be presented as evidence when he gets round to sueing for slander!

The fearless nature of our two pioneers (if you look up "fearless" in the theosaurus it gives "mad as a fish" as an alternative) is made clear by the view out of TALY as they tackled the Alps:-

They are in a white helicopter, with minimal instruments, no heater and they are flying over snow which, as my father points out not unreasonably, is both cold (no heater) and white (the colour of TALY) and in the event of a forced landing would have resulting in them not being found until global warming eventually cleared the Alps!

They were at 7000ft, attempting to squeeze over the top of the pass but as they followed the valley west, they ran into snow.

In fact, when disaster DID strike, and that it was obvious that they were not going to make to to the small airfield of Sion, they decided that discretion was the better part of valour and landed at a disused military airfield. The following picture documents what happened next. Depending on who's account you believe they either "enlisted the help of a friendly passer-by to locate a telephone" or they "hijacked a passing car and made a dash for the nearest pub", you will have to decide for yourselves...

What ever happened, the eventually made it safely to Sion where snow forced them to stay for a while.

But they eventually continued (after consuming their own weight in fondu apparently!) and made it to Geneva where they cleared customs.

They then completed the next leg to Troyes and put TALY to bed for night. Im going to draw a veil over the night at Troyes, suffice it to say that wild allegations have been made by Geoffers, denied by my father and are best left unrepeated until the legal action

From Troyes they set off the following morning to Le Touquet where they completed customs formalities once more and then put TALY's load carrying capacity to the test by investigating French cuisine for lunch

With lunch over they set off up the coast to Cap Gris Nez before my father's least favourite part of the trip, crossing the channel. No great fan of water as he can't swim, he has been known to wear a wet suit, life-jacket and deploy floats just to cross the Mersey so this was going to be a challenge....

But then TALY and our heroes caught sight of land....

and they were almost home.

At Gatwick, TALY touched her skids to English soil for the first time while import formalities were carried out...

and then off to Fairoaks for kitting out...

and that brings us to the End of Part Three.
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Old 12th Aug 2010, 15:37
  #94 (permalink)  
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And finally....

TALY sits in the hangar while engineers fit the heater and radios.

and then gets a new colour scheme....

Is it just me or does one of the engineers appear to be doing something unmentionable to her with a hose?!

And then she gets fitted out with a shiny new black leather interior...

....and my father arrives to take her back to her new home.....

....little knowing that 31 years later the story would be re-told online as the result of the accidental discovery of a forum thread by his son!

Oh and just to finish off properly....."and they all lived happily ever after".

The End.
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Old 12th Aug 2010, 18:31
  #95 (permalink)  
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More thread drift?

I have followed this thread with great interest, as I am sure many others have as well - thank you to all who have made it such a fascinating read.

My (very) tenuous connection to Ken Davies was that my PPL(H) was conducted by one of his old friends at Barton. During XC Navex trips across the Cheshire countryside and onto Hawarden, I'd hear intriguing stories about their past exploits involving a variety of aircraft!

I'm afraid I cannot add any further to the G-TALY story but I do have something else to offer...

Having grown up in Glasgow, I was interested to see photographs from Scotland that demonstrated B206s in a variety of guises. My brother and father were gifted a helicopter trip in the late 1980s from the Clyde Heliport - I am not sure who the operator was, but my father tells me during the trip, the pilot had to do an "Eye in the Sky" report for Radio Clyde, further suggesting it was one of the B206s. I asked him to send me any pictures he had and the result should be shown below...

Clearly this is not a B206! Tracking the reg through G-INFO, it appears that this was an Alton Towers aircraft at the time (1987-1990). Why it was in Glasgow doing traffic reports and pleasure flights, I cannot say, but thought it might provide another interesting thread drift of nostalgia.
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Old 12th Aug 2010, 18:42
  #96 (permalink)  
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Reference Peter Cadbury

As well as Peter Cadbury operating Jet Ranger G-CHOC , if memory recalls I think he operated a Squirrel G-JANY as well


Mr Chopper
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Old 12th Aug 2010, 19:12
  #97 (permalink)  
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Hey Red Flag
Just FANTASTIC and thank you (and your Dad) very much indeed. Really appreciated. I shall go an get another large glass of red wine and review the pics one more time ~ VFR
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Old 13th Aug 2010, 03:11
  #98 (permalink)  

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Well, the eye in the sky guy was "Captain George" Muir, who is no longer with us. JLBZ looks like it's on a racecourse - Scotland is certainly not its usual place, unless it was on British Tourist Board business, as JLB was a member.

Are you sure it's the right photo? I imagine Rod Wood would have been the pilot.

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Old 13th Aug 2010, 06:39
  #99 (permalink)  
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The photo of GJLBZ looks like it was taken at the Glasgow City Heliport at the SECC. 'Captain George' Muir (RIP) was almost certainly flying the IRON BRU Bell 206 (the registration escapes me now) for the 'eye in the sky' traffic report.

Another coincidental connection to this thread is that shortly after that was taken Geoffersincornwall was the CP of the Strathclyde Police operation at the SECC and he knew George very well as Clyde Helicopters operated both the Police Bo105 and the Bell 206.
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Old 13th Aug 2010, 07:17
  #100 (permalink)  
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The photo of the 222 is indeed taken at Clyde heliport. I was selling quarry products for a living in 1988 and supplied Joe McGachy (Clyde Helicopter's MD) with the concrete that the helicopter it is sitting on ! (I remember selling it for a very good price in return for some free flying)
I got to know the Clyde guys very well and flew with them numerous times before Mr Bond bought them over.
Their Jetrangers were:
They also had LongRanger G-STVI that was painted in Scottish Television colours (now G-EYRE), a Twin Squirrel G-CHLA and a Bo105 G-SPOL.
The 222 must have been visiting, to my knowledge they never operated it.
I have a number of photos taken around that time that I will dig them out and scan them.
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