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Having rolled off the De Havilland Aircraft production line at Hatfield in September 1960, DHC.2 Beaver, construction number 1442, flew for the first time in January 1961 and was delivered to the Army Air Corps as an AL.1/XP772 in February 1961. Following service with the AAC, XP772 became a ground instructional airframe in August 1977 and by 1980 was in storage for displaying in a museum. It went on loan to the Army Transport Museum at Beverley in 1983 before moving to the Historic Aircraft Flight Reserve Collection at Middle Wallop in March 1992 with the civilian registration of G-BUCJ and a view to returning it to flight. XP772 arrived at Duxford in May 1993, on loan from the AAC, to the British Aerial Museum/Propshop Ltd. XP772 was discharged from the AAC and put up for disposal in September 2004 and acquired by Propshop Ltd. In March 2006 the registration was changed to G-DHCZ (the nearest equivalent to DHC.2). Following a 7 year restoration, including the installation of extra windows in the passenger area and the fitting a three bladed propeller instead of the original two bladed propeller to the front of the 450hp Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-1 9 cylinder air cooled engine, G-DHCZ flew at Duxford for the first time on the 22nd February 2011. The Beaver is to be used by ARCo in a passenger/transport capacity in support of aircraft operations away from Duxford.
As the oldest Commanding Officer of a Tiger Squadron, No 74, still flying operationally, as in war birds, F-86 etc, Cliff Spink was invited to the NATO Tiger Meet at Cambrai. He was flying over to France in the Duxford based F-86A Sabre which has been suitably adorned with orange and black Tiger stripes in honour of the occasion. The first proper sighting of the finished artwork was when Cliff took the F-86 out onto the runway just before mid-day for what looked like throttle checks and then returned to park it. Just before two o’clock, John Romain fired up the Desert Buchon and the first time I get to see this Buchon fly, was with an excellent aerobatics display. Not only did I get to see the Buchon fly once but twice as just gone three o’clock, JR fired it up again as Cliff Spink started the Sabre and both took off. We were then treated to a top side pass with both aircraft in formation. They turned and returned with a bit of an under side pass before an individual pass by both which was a bit quick to catch.
The Tiger scheme is temporary and it’s up to the owner whether it remains on for the Duxford Spring air show. Apart from the sun not shining, much, the only other downside was the noise of the Lotus/Renault F1 car having a test day at Duxford. I hadn’t seen the event advertised and I think this time the aviation photographers outnumbered car photographers.
17th June 2011
There was a busy sixty minutes of war bird activity centered on the grassed area of the ARCo compound when I arrived that morning for a week day visit. Just after 10.30, Spitfire Mk XVI/TD248 arrived with its owner and was parked out on the grass. Later that morning it disappeared into the ARCo workshops. Just after TD248 parked up, the propeller attached to the Warner Scarab engine of the Nieuport replica was swung by the pilot and after strapping in he took off from the grass strip and then sneaked back for a low pass and a wave before heading off to France for the La Ferte-Alais air show over the weekend. The Silver T.28 Fennec had been towed onto the grass by Terence the Tug and was then turned in a circle as a compass check was taking place. As this was going on and with Rod Dean at the controls, the Merlin engine of the T.IX Spitfire crackled into life. He flew off to the north and then returned a short while later for a nice bit of aerobatics over the airfield. There was a rumour that the recently re-painted Kennett Aviation Skyraider, which is based just down the road at North Weald, would be doing a DA display over Duxford later that afternoon with Rod at the controls. That actually took place the next day. Following the compass check the T.28 was taken back to Hangar 2 and that was the war bird movements over with for the morning. TD248 re-appeared from the workshops later that afternoon, parked next to the BoB Buchon that had returned from its trip to the Czech Republic.John Romain took the Mk XVI for, presumably, a test flight following a bit of maintenance but a hoped for display from him was not forthcoming as after a run and break he came in to land on the grass strip.
17th June 2011
17th June 2011