Once upon a time, well the first Monday afternoon in March actually, Terence the Tug was doing what Terence the Tug loved best. Moving Spitfires around. Terence the Tug resides with lots of other Spitfires at The Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford in an area that is off limits to the public. Because of this is it is often referred to as ‘Area 51’ by those who know nothing about anything.
On this day with his driver and drivers mate, Terence the Tug was to travel far from home. They were taking TD248, who had spent the night in ‘Area 51’, back to his normal resting-place in Hanger 4 after his big adventure in Southampton with the other Spitfires the day before. Terence the Tug and his passengers spent many minutes trundling along the airfield side of Duxford before passing through the big wide gate marked ‘B’ for Bravo onto the museum side of the airfield.
The driver and the drivers mate had to kick their heels for several minutes as they waited for the Big Fat Avgas Tanker to make the long and perilous journey from the bottom of the airfield to the ‘B’ for Bravo gate.
Oh how the driver of the Big Fat Avgas Tanker revelled in the predicament that the young whipper-snappers had got themselves into as the drivers mate poured avgas from a jerry can into the little fuel tank of Terence the Tug.
With the driver and the drivers mate safely onboard and Terence the Tug suitably refreshed with his high-octane avgas, the driver pressed the ‘go’ button. The little engine of Terence the Tug coughed back into life and they continued their journey to Hanger 4 little realising that the adventure was far from over.
As they arrived outside Hanger 4, an enormous problem stood in their way. Someone had left a Big Red Fire Engine right next to the hanger doors and they could not get in. Having parked Terence the Tug and TD248, the driver and the drivers mate disappeared into the hanger.
The driver and the drivers mate opened the hanger doors only to find a Sprightly Little Red and White Chipmunk parked in the way. The driver and his mate attached themselves to the wingtips of the Chipmunk and pulled it out of the hanger and parked it outside the toilet block.
The drivers mate unhooked TD248 as the driver swung Terence the Tug around and the drivers mate re-attached the tow hook so that Terence the Tug was now pushing TD248, instead of pulling it.
With TD248 safely installed in his normal resting space and with Terence the Tug parked outside the hanger, the driver and drivers mate then returned the Sprightly Little Red and White Chipmunk to its parking place and finally closed the large hanger doors.
Having had a most excellent adventure, Terence the Tug with his driver and drivers mate were last seen making their long way home to ‘Area 51’ and The Aircraft Restoration Company, trying not to be seen as they used the back roads of Duxford.
If there is a moral to this story then it has to be that if problems are going to arise, make sure that there is no prat with a camera on hand to record the events.
As the drivers mate climbed back on board Terence the Tug, after securing the ‘B’ for Bravo gate, the driver pressed the accelerator with his foot and Terence the Tug spluttered and came to a juddering halt.
My how the driver and the drivers mate looked suitably embarrassed as the driver tried to explain, over his little walkie-talkie, to the Controller in the Tower how they had run out of avgas and please could they have some more. The driver had to say this several times as I don’t think the Controller in the Tower could believe what he was hearing.
After a few minutes they returned to the outside as the driver got on his little walkie-talkie to the Controller in the Tower to find a big burley fireman to move the Big Red Fire Engine. After a few more minutes and in a cloud of thick foul smelling exhaust, the Big Red Fire Engine rumbled away from the hanger.
Having positioned the nose of TD248 just inside the hanger, Terence the Tug then pushed on the tail wheel so that the whole aircraft pivoted on its main wheels and swung around into the hanger and ended up pointing in the opposite direction.