April 2018

In this month’s edition:

  • Interesting Second World War RAF Training Films
  • Airspace regulation likely to end up in the courts
  • Down on the Farm #2 with Tony Palmer
  • All Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation
  • The General Data Protection Regulation and YOU!

Interesting Second World War RAF Training Films

Following our RAF Centenary video evening, here is a Second World War RAF training film on low-level navigation:  “Nought Feet”. It’s a model of clear instruction and the information it contains is still very relevant for navigation without a GPS!  Parts 1 and 2 below.

Airspace regulation likely to end up in the courts

An interesting report on the current state of airspace regulation in the current issue of Flight Training News.  The piece contains details of a British Gliding Association meeting where the CAA revealed that, once airspace is granted to an airport, they are effectively powerless to take it back!  Flight Training Online: Courting a battle over airspace  Looks like we will be called on at some point to fund a lawyer!

The British Gliding Association are currently sponsoring an Airspace Change Proposal (ACP) for the reclassification of the Control Areas at Doncaster Sheffield Airport from Class D (controlled airspace) to a Radio Mandatory Zone (RMZ).  Details here: ACP-2017-60

The Future Airspace Strategy VFR Implementation Group (FASVIG) have just published a detailed and comprehensive paper on reducing infringements.  One issue they raise is the design of airspace:  Managing the Problem of Infringements

And here is a petition against the Brize-Norton and Oxford Airport airspace grab.

Down on the Farm #2

Bristell NG5 G-NGAA progress report

This is moving on, the fuselage has been painted;

The engine has been installed, brakes completed and bled. The wings are at the rivet fill stage and will go for painting soon. The instrument panel is complete but not installed yet.

The airstrip has been rolled and cut for the first time this year with the new grass cutter.

Klemm L25C G-ACXE

We have had all the reciprocating and rotating steel parts Magna fluxed at Deltair in Havant. A new set of piston rings have just came through the post today, these have been purchased slightly oversize so that we can machine out the worn ring grooves to remove the belling and effectively get new pistons in that area. Below is a brief history of the plane.

A history of British Klemm, L25c, Series 1A, “Swallow”, G-ACXE

The first BK L25c 1A Swallow, G-ACMZ, was built and flown from Hanworth, Middlesex.  The Klemm designed L25 had been changed, in as much as the outer wings were made to fold rearwards, the undercarriage was a British Dowty, design and some parts were ‘beefed up’ to meet UK approval.  British Salmson engines were used at first but the Pobjoy Cataract engine became a more popular choice.

BK L25c Series1A Swallow No. 21, was built during the year and made her first flight on 11.10.34 and was granted it’s Certificate of Airworthiness No 4510 on the 12.10.34.  Having been sold new, for £695, to Mr Eric Gander Dower, Managing Director of the Aberdeen Flying School Ltd, she was registered G-ACXE and in the name of this company.  The delivery flight to Dyce was carried out by Gandar Dower together with his Chief Flying Instructor, Eric Starling, it took four days to reach Dyce.

For the next eleven months ‘CXE” flew over 150 hours on training and club work ending with a flight by John Neilan back to Hanworth on the 12th -16th October 1935.  ‘CXE’s C of A had expired by then but was renewed on the 26th February 1936.

In Mar 1936 ‘CXE was purchased by the brothers HS & GB Goodby, proprietors of The Birmingham Garages Ltd and flown by them from Hanworth to Castle Bromwich and was registered to their company on the 20.04.36.  The UK Register of Civil Aircraft shows that ‘CXE was kept at Castle Bromwich.  This airfield was the home of the Midland Aero Club and the Goodby brothers were probably members.  Don Ellis, a later owner of ‘CXE (see below), quotes “they used to fly down to the Island (IOW).

Cllr S Goodby (presumably sitting on the Birmingham City Council) was a member of the Airport Committee which would have been charged with, among other things, the creation of the new Birmingham City Airport at Elmdon.  On 1st May 1939 “………the new airport opened for business with the arrival of the Lord Mayor, Alderman James Crump, in a two-seater Swallow aircraft”.  This Swallow must surely have been ‘CXE.

At the time of the 50th anniversary of the opening of Elmdon Airport, Don Ellis was asked, by the celebration organisers, to be present with ‘CXE as his aircraft was considered to be “the first to fly into Elmdon.”  However at that time ‘CXE was no longer in Don’s hands.

The Goodby’s flew ‘CXE from Castle Bromwich and/or Elmdon until the outbreak of WW2 and her C.of A. lapsed on 07.04.40.  It is clear that ‘CXE was not impressed into the RAF in 1939-40 but “was definitely kept at Knowle airfield during the war”. Knowle, (a mile or so south of Elmdon) operated by Horace Everitt, was the wartime home of several light aircraft and Bill Burgoyne, the son of Donovan Burgoyne recalls helping his father with his aircraft at Knowle and ‘CXE was certainly there at that time.

The above paragraph makes earlier accounts less than convincing. These stated “during the war ‘CXE was stored in a garage in Birmingham (the Birmingham Garages property) which was subsequently bombed.  The Fire Brigade was said to have saturated the airframe with water while putting out a fire and the airframe remained at that address for some time”.

Nov ’49 saw ‘CXE “…passing northbound through Birmingham on a lorry..”  This was presumably on the way from Knowle airfield back to Birmingham Garages, and not the other way around as has been suggested.

During 1951/53 ‘CXE was possibly seen hanging from rafters at Birmingham Garages.  However there is a photo of ‘CXE on her wheels at Birmingham Garages and dated June 1951.  ‘CXE was seen in 1959 by Alf Jenks at Birmingham Garages on her wheels possibly on view to prospective buyer(s).  ‘CXE was sold by Birmingham Garages in June 1960.

In Sept ’60 ‘CXE was noted as being at Old Warden. Then in Jan ’61 ‘CXE was seen in the showrooms of the nearby Letchworth Motor Company.

Dec ’61 brought a change of ownership to Mr Vernon T D Tutt of Letchworth.

Don Ellis first heard of ‘CXE, in the early 1960s as “belonging to a farmer from somewhere near Bletchley”.  (Old Warden, Letchworth and Bletchley are all within a ten mile radius.)  Don bought ‘CXE for £75 from Mr Tutt on 03.12.62 (This may be the above “farmer”).  ‘CXE was reported as delivered by lorry to Don at Sandown (I of W) on 13.12.62.  Don registered himself as owner of ‘CXE on 2nd May ’63.  She remained stored at Sandown awaiting restoration.

Together with friend(s) Don set about a rebuild but the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) made progress very difficult.  When his work took Don away to the Middle East, the group who rebuilt the Vickers Vimy (that burned at Manchester), offered to rebuild ‘CXE on a four way ownership basis, presumably including Don, if he would deliver ‘CXE to Blackbush, Hants.

Help from Rex Coats (Aeronautical Engineer) allowed progress to be made for CAA clearance after the rebuild.  However the group did little work and appeared to fall apart.

In Aug ’69 ‘CXE was recorded as being at Lightwater, Surrey.  Also later, but still registered in Don’s name, at Hartley Witney, Hants and then at a private house in Sunningdale, Berks’.  All these locations are within a radius of 10 miles.

There are two photographs possibly taken by Guy Black (see below) showing a very dilapidated ‘CXE in the back garden of a Victorian style terraced house. From these it looks as if the Group had, some long time before, abandoned ‘CXE.

In June ’79 Guy Black, of Northiam, E. Sussex, (now head of Aero Vintage) heard of ‘CXE and acquired her from the above “group”, although they may not have been entitled to dispose of her.  No work was carried out and ‘CXE was acquired from Guy Black by Mr JG Wakeford in May ’80.  Upon hearing of this “purchase” Don Ellis pointed out that he was still the legal owner!  However, Don volunteered to transfer ownership of ‘CXE to John Wakeford upon completion of the necessary rebuild.  Although incomplete Don Ellis transferred ownership to John Wakeford in Sept ’98.

Jim Copeman, having been present when John Wakeford purchased ‘CXE in 1980 joined the project in 2008 as a retirement filler. Little did he know!

The rebuild progressed steadily until John Wakeford sadly passed away in Nov 2014.  After a 3 year hiatus ownership passed to Jim Copeman and Tony Palmer, with John’s son Ian keeping a small minority share for family connections.

This ‘history’ is the amalgamation of many stories of G-ACXE and there may well be others that have yet to be considered.  Perhaps, once ‘CXE gets airborne, there will be time to indulge in further research. There may be errors in the above history but these can be rectified if and when additional news is brought to light.

Tony Palmer

All Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation

The recently formed APPGGA seems to be starting to have an effect, with a positive response from the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government about the importance of preserving a network of GA airfields.  Didn’t stop him handing over Dunsfold to property developers though!

The legal weakness that exposes airfields to predatory destruction was a footnote change to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) during the Blair government.  It effectively reclassified airfields as ‘brownfield’ sites available for development.  The current focus of the APPGGA is to rectify this.  They are proposing a series of amendments to the NPPF that would acknowledge the importance of airfields as part of national infrastructure.

You can help!  The APPGGA website is hosting a petition to collect support for the specific changes they propose.  It will just take you 60 seconds to add your name to the petition.  The cool multi-media website is worth a visit at least.  You can visit it here:

All Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation website

The General Data Protection Regulation and YOU!

This will affect you – so please read on:  There are new European regulations on the holding of personal data coming in to force on 25 May 2018.  In the light of the Facebook and other data scandals coming to light, this can only be a good thing.  However, it means that the Strut mailing list must be renewed by that date.  We have to have positive permission from you to hold your email address.

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