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B.A.S Twin Otter

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Old 13th Jul 2018, 16:02
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B.A.S Twin Otter

Yesterday (July 12th) whilst observing the comings and goings at STN I noticed a British Antarctic Survey Twin Otter taking off from RAF Cranwell and seemingly landing at Duxford. Rather a LONG way from home, anyone have any info so as to quell my curiosity ?
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Old 13th Jul 2018, 16:46
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They have been coming up here for "winter" maintenance since at least '78, think Fairlight at Biggin Hill used to do it as often used to see them there. These days they usually seem to be at Duxford.
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Old 13th Jul 2018, 16:55
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VP-FAZ was at Blackbushe a couple of weeks ago..
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Old 13th Jul 2018, 17:16
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Long time ago they used to go to Fairoaks, think there was a damaged one in the back of a hangar. Mr angry never seemed to appreciate the principle of aviation photography!
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Old 13th Jul 2018, 18:19
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Originally Posted by treadigraph View Post
They have been coming up here for "winter" maintenance since at least '78, think Fairlight at Biggin Hill used to do it as often used to see them there. These days they usually seem to be at Duxford.
Alan Mann Engineering at Fairoaks had that contract for many years 70s/80s/90s; the Dash 7s were a bit too big for Fairoaks so they came to Farnborough
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Old 13th Jul 2018, 18:25
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BAS headquarters are in Cambridge, so Duxford is convenient for fitting/testing new science equipment when any of the four Twin Otters are in UK.

Doesn't happen very often now though - the Northern summer maintenance has been done in Canada for almost 20 years now, and the aircraft only come over to Europe for specific projects.

When I started flying with BAS in the mid 90s, the aircraft maintenance was done by Alan Mann at Fairoaks. Over the following decade the Twin Otters and Dash 7 were at times maintained by Anglo-Normandy in Guernsey, CSE at Oxford, and then Field Aviation in Calgary (and Toronto occasionally for the Dash 7).

At the moment the Twin Otters are looked after by Rocky Mountain Aircraft in Springbank, just west of Calgary, and I think the Dash 7 is maintained by Voyageur in North Bay, Ontario.

A few weeks ago we had a get-together at Duxford to celebrate 50 years of Twin Otter operations by British Antarctic Survey, with two of the aircraft there.

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Old 14th Jul 2018, 06:10
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One lives and learns as ever! Cheers Ant! Going to Duxford today, expect there will be one there, now I can look really knowledgeable!
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Old 14th Jul 2018, 08:38
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Thanks for all the info chaps!

Doesn't happen very often now though - the Northern summer maintenance has been done in Canada for almost 20 years now, and the aircraft only come over to Europe for specific projects.
That's what I had understood to be the way things worked, so was surprised to 'see' one in the UK these days. Perhaps one of the Duxford visitors this weekend would be kind enough to post a photo in situ ?
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Old 14th Jul 2018, 15:04
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Both VP-FAZ and VP-FBL have been operating out of Cranfield for the last few weeks.
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Old 14th Jul 2018, 21:57
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There was one at Duxford today, dunno which one though.

Ant, have any of you BAS pilots ever written up Antarctic flying for Flying or Pilot? Would be of great interest, I'm sure...
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Old 15th Jul 2018, 16:23
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have any of you BAS pilots ever written up Antarctic flying for Flying or Pilot?
There was something in one of the magazines three or four years ago by one of the current pilots, but can't remember which publication - may have been "Fly Past". I have tried searching for it but can't locate it right now.

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Old 15th Jul 2018, 17:39
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When I worked at Kidlington (1971ish) one of the flying instructors was John Ayres who had spent time in Antarctica. I seem to recall that he had written about it but it's too long ago to recall much..
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Old 15th Jul 2018, 20:42
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I usually read Pilot and Flyer, don't recall anything in either of those...

John Ayres had trouble with a broken ski mount on a Porter out on the ice somewhere which ended up wrecked after an attempt to take off sans skis circa 1968; I believe as a result he was stuck in Antarctica with the scientists throughout the winter. I think it was also he who ferried a rather bent Islander back from Rwanda so BN could repair it.
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Old 19th Jul 2018, 10:28
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They seem to have been visitors to Cranfield for work with Avalon over the last few summers.
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Old 19th Jul 2018, 18:18
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Thanks treadigraph for the info on JA. He really was very decent chap.
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