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Old Warden held a open-doors Engineering day on a crisp January day. Great chance to get close-up and personal with the aircraft and take some interesting photos.
First-class condition - until I read the information plaque, I hadn't realised this was the old RAFSPA jumpship. Sadly, long retired from that role before I jumped. Still, I have fallen out of a Tiger Moth!
- Fieseler Storch
Peter Holloway's beautiful Storch. He (what a nice chap) gave a short talk to a few of us, at which I learned the wings can be folded back along the fuselage, for transportation. I am constantly surprised at how sophisticated old "simple" aircraft actually are.
- Fieseler Storch cockpit
Storch cockpit. Peter Holloway gave us privileged few a short talk on this aircraft - I want to fly in this one day, preferably on a breezy day when it's slow flying capabilities can be demonstrated to their maximum.
Such an important aircraft. I have yet to see this making a hop along the runway. Keeping such old aircraft in working, airworthy condition is what makes this collection so special.
Well, on the plus side, the spark plugs are easy to get at.
- EON Glider
It looks even more fragile on the ground! If I hadn't seen this being flown I wouldn't have thought it was possible. Such an exposed position. I suppose it must be exhilarating for the pilot - if you can get over the fear of falling out of the thing.
- Bristol Centaurus
I have no conception of how a complex engine like this gets designed and built such that it can reliably (well, mostly) run for hours on end. All without the aid of a computer.
- Wallbro tail
Wallis Brothers. I've no idea it if ever flew - I am guessing it would need a better propeller to even manage a gentle hop.
- Wallbro nose
I knew I'd seen Ken Wallis's Wallbro somewhere! It's now on display at the Shuttle Collection. No idea why it is classed as a replica, surely it is a true build?
Peter Holloway's Ryan in near flight condition. I expect Dodge has claimed his place as first to fly her!
- Ryan Pirate engine
This, one of Peter Holloway's stable, is now close to flight readiness.
- Bristol M1C
I love the nose of this little fighter. For an English design, it is very Germanic looking.
- Shuttleworth engine detail
Clayton & Shuttleworth built lots of traction engines and the like. I guess they had a hard life and not many are left. This one is going to need a lot of restoration.
I have a lovely picture of my Grandad sitting in one of these. I will get around to scanning all my old photos one day.
- Little Nellie
The most famous of Ken Wallis's autogyros. The rest of his collection is stored in a nearby hangar. Sadly, I don't think any of them will fly again.
- Hurricane Merlin
Those there chains appear to be driving a small magneto. But it looks far too small to provide sparks for the magnificence that is the Merlin.
- Hurricane engine detail
Starboard side fo the Merlin. As usual, I have no idea which bit is what or why!
- Hurricane electrics
In the area behind the pilot, so presumably something to do with the radio?
- Car engine and radiator
Brass and copper and oil and stuff...
The lovely Scout now has a bomb rack. I have no idea how soon it'll be before she needs re-skinning but spitting oil everywhere is quite typical of the Scout - many attempts at cowl modifications were made to try and make her spit more like a lady.
- Spitfire instrument panel, rear
I have no idea how a fitter gets to the rear of the instrument panel, for example, to replace a faulty unit. When it's stripped-down like this it looks to be difficult enough.
- Spitfire rear instrument panel
Somehow "Handle like eggs" doesn't seem to go with the violent handling you'd expect a thoroughbred fighter aircraft to be able to handle.
- Spitfire engine bay
A whole Merlin fits in there, n problem. The Spit will be flying this year we are all assured. Fingers crossed.
- Spitfire main spar detail
Detail showing the construction of the main spar. Sorting out dealing with over-size rivet holes and somewhat poor maintenance from the past is the last major task before the Spit finally comes to the end of her oh-so-long rebuild.
- Spitfire tendons
Cables for the tail control surfaces. No sign of redundancy anywhere.
- Spitfire seat
Where the seat goes, anyways. I am not sure I want to sit on top of something labelled "Danger". If I win the lottery, I reserve the right to swiftly change my mind!
- Spitfire Dashboard
Brand spanking new condition. For all the claims it "wouldn't get it's CoA if built today" it strikes me as being a well-engineered, complex and sophisticated aircraft. Lottery win required.
- Lysander Mercury
Big, complicated, manly. I like it.
- Westland Lysander
Nothing that a bit of gaffer tape and sugru can't sort out, I'm sure.
- Merlin Crank
Oh dear. It'll take more than gaffer tape to fix that then...
- Chipmunk Port Wing
De-rivetted and ripped open to replace the undercarriage support. Safety is first, second, third and last in aviation, the cost being work and expense. And time. It's a philosophy that works.
- Chipmunk Starboard Wing
The Chipmunk needs both undercarriage supports replaced due to fatigue cracks. And that involved ripping off the fabric and de-rivetting the leading edges to get to them.
- Brisfit Detail
Nope, no idea. It's satisfyingly complicated and mechanical looking.
- Brisfit Engine
Big and beefy, much like the rest of the Bristol Fighter.
- Singer Cycle Motor
I've always had a yen for a cyclomotor. The French have always been big on these so mebbe I can pick up an early Peugeot or similar.
- Hurricane guns
Business end of the (port side) Hurricane. Experts claim .303 is stoplight a round for dogfighting but I still don't want to be on the receiving end of eight of them, thank you very much.
- Car dashboard
Speedo? Rev counter? Oil pressure gauge? Even fuel level? Nope, none of those present or, apparently, needed.
- Hurricane Merlin
Non-engineers should not look under the bonnet - it's too scary.
- Chaff cutter
Most examples of agricultural machinery from this time seem to be finished in a dull pink colour. But this brighter red is apparently more typical. I expect my Dad could've operated this, no doubt single-handed.
Actually, it might be an oversized snowdrop. I am better at recognising fauna rather than flora.
- Winter Flower
Macro photography is apparently a perishable skill. In the Swiss Gardens, in diminishing light, I only managed to take a couple worthy of keeping. Hoorah for modern digital cameras and large capacity memory cards!