September 2021

In this month’s edition:

  • Down on the farm – Tony Palmer
  • Places to visit by Air: Brooklands – Richard Griffiths

Down on the farm 36 this month 8/21

The club evening meeting at the Swiss Cottage this month will be on the 1st of September. It would be nice to see a good turn out as we only had 6 members last month.

Klemm L25C G-ACXE

We are now preparing, painting and installing the various hatches on the underside of the plane. We are planning the new hatch to go over the fuel filler and contents gauge which is situated on the port wing stub. We need to consider all the following in the design and manufacture:-

  • Ease of operation
  • Ease of manufacture
  • Weight ie material type and thickness
  • No loose parts to drop on the grass/loose in flight
  • It should not open in flight
  • Stiffness
  • It cannot be made too light as it will be used at every fuelling

I will report next month with what we came up with!

Bristell NG5 G-NGBB

BB has been weighted and the fuel flow test carried out. I have not made up my mind on the paint scheme so at the moment it is just plain white.

G-NGBB waiting to take to the skys for the first time

Stop press 28.8.21: Farry carried out the first flight with me and Phil Trangmar (the inspector) in attendance. After the first 2 or 3 flights I joined Farry in the cockpit as a second pair of eyes and ballast, so that we could carry out the climb rates and stall speeds fully loaded etc.

G-NGBB first flight

DH82C 5084

The Tiger has had the newly rebuilt mag. installed and has been flown and it works perfectly now.

River Cuckmere burst its banks in late July: update

It has now burst its banks and flooded the flood plain in August.

Norfolk Air Museum

I was on holiday for a couple of days in Suffolk and Norfolk and came across an aviation museum which I did not know existed so I popped in for a few minutes to see what they had.

An English Electric Lightining aircraft parked on grass.

English Electric Lightning F MK 53 at the Norfolk air museum

A Dassault Mystere aircraft parked on grass.

Dassault Mystere IVA at the Norfolk air museum

Tony Palmer

Places to visit by Air: Brooklands

Statues of Alcock and Brown, both fitted with fabric Covid pandemic masks.

I though that an occasional series of articles on places to visit by air might be of interest so to kick it off, here is my take on Brooklands Museum – and I have to start with an admission that I actually flew in to Fairoaks the week before I drove up to Brooklands to visit my son who was living near by.  However it is only 7 miles taxi ride between the two, so eminently doable. As an aside, on the way up we managed a low level across Gatwick (and my friend managed to orbit his house in Crawley). Might be a bit more difficult as commercial traffic picks up again!  There is actually a short grass strip at Brooklands.  It’s on the Mercedes-Benz World part of the site but is only available on very special occasions.  Anyone got it in their log-book?

If you look on Fairoaks website, you will see that their logo is very similar to Brighton City (Shoreham) Airport’s; same owner, and the landing fees are also similar, i.e. a bit pricey! Just bear in mind that it is located inside the London Control Zone so special procedures apply.

A view of Gatwick Airport from low level from the windscreen of a light aircraft.

Gatwick at low level

Brooklands is perhaps best known for its historic motor racing.  However from 1909 to 1989 it was an airfield, and a major site of aircraft manufacturing by Vickers-Armstrong and subsequently British Aerospace.  As a native of Bristol I always believed that Concorde was entirely conceived and produced at Filton (well, maybe a bit at Toulouse also), but much design and development was actually done here. This would have included testing in the ingenious supersonic wind tunnel, where air from an enormous balloon in a separate building was sucked through a narrow pipe into the Barns-Wallace designed Stratosphere Chamber.

A view down an enormous clyndrical chamber containing the nose of a commercial aircraft.

The Barns-Wallace designed Stratosphere Chamber

Concorde is certainly well represented here, with a large scale model at the entrance gate, and the real thing parked up outside. You can actually go on-board for a small extra charge.  No idea how they managed to get it there; it certainly didn’t fly in!

The name Barns-Wallace crops up quite a bit on exhibit labels. In the main hangar is a partially reassembled Vickers Wellington Mk1A with his characteristic geodetic construction exposed.  This aircraft actually spent a few years at the bottom of a Scottish lock.

There is also a prototype bouncing-bomb, together with other of Barns-Wallace designed explosive devices.

The collection of aircraft in the ‘aircraft park’ (most open for interior visit), ‘aircraft factory’ and ‘flight shed’ is very diverse, including a number of unique prototypes. Of particular interest to me was the Alcock and Brown, Vickers Vimy replica; there is a family connection. After the 1919 historic first Atlantic crossing ended in an Irish bog, the original aircraft was transported by ship via Holyhead in North Wales. My grandfather worked in the harbour as a boilermaker, where family history alleges, he managed to nick a turn-buckle as a souvenir. A few years ago I found a turn-buckle amongst my father’s workshop odds and ends, and wondered if it was the very one grandfather purloined. However, an intense scrutiny of the turn-buckles on the replica Vimy didn’t show a match. May be it was an internal fitting.

An oblique view of the replica Vickers Vimy aircraft as flown by Alcock and Brown on the first trans-Atlantic flight.

In the slide-show below are a few more pictures of exhibits.  Click on an image to see a larger version.

The site also contains the London Bus Museum and plenty of historic motor racing exhibits, with a preserved section of the famous racetrack banked curve..

Contributions on the theme of ‘places to visit by air’ will be very welcome.

Richard Griffiths


  • Club night, Wednesday 1st September, 7:30 pm, Swiss Cottage, Shoreham!

For the latest list of events, go to the Events page on the Strut website.  I’m including exhibitions and displays later in the year as they are announced; it’s nice to have something to look forward to – let’s hope they happen.