Serving The Aviation Enthusiast for 34 Years

Neil Airey
John Turner
Simon Eccleston
Ian Shaw
Ian Shaw
Trevor Moncrief

NEWSLETTER (Issue No 222)

October 2018

Editor Simon Eccleston

Email: as supplied

 Welcome to the October 2018 newsletter. In this issue we have a review of the September meeting, and an article by member Lloyd Martin (thanks Lloyd). Please note that the start time of the meetings is 7.30pm.

 As per usual, I reiterate my plea for articles to put in the newsletter, so if you have any then let me know. It can be anything aviation related. I am sure you have something to tell the club, for example your work experience, or a book review or maybe an Airshow review.


Next meeting will be held in the Lightning Club, Warton, on October 25th 2018 commencing at 7:30pm

Member Lloyd Martin will talk about TSR2


Operating the Buccaneer, the Last British Bomber’ by Terry Cook  

 Terry Cook gave us a superb talk about his RAF career as a Buccaneer navigator.

 Terry, an RAF navigator started his career on the Buccaneer with 809 Naval Air Squadron aboard HMS Ark Royal. As the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm Buccaneer squadrons were being run down, there was a shortage of crews, thus the RN crews were supplemented by RAF aircrew. Terry was one of 4 crews assigned the nuclear strike role. He then moved to 16sqn RAF again flying the Buccaneer.

After outlining the history of the Buccaneer and in particular the poor performance of the Buccaneer S1 compared to the SMk2, Terry outlined the capability and the role of the Buccaneer in a unique way. This was by describing a fictional account of the Buccaneer’s role and in-particular 809’s role, in World War 3. This description outlined the strike role the aircraft was tasked with, and how that was (would have) been completed. He described a strike mission from the launch from the carrier, to landing back on the carrier. Of note were the tactics used to defend themselves against hostile MiG 21 fighters, by dropping their bomb in front of the attacking aircraft.

This was a fantastic talk, delivered with great enthusiasm, and interspersed with anecdotes. To sum up, the Buccaneer was a superb aircraft, quite happy at 50ft (or below) above the sea and with a great range. To illustrate its low level capability is a quote by one USAF F-15 pilot after trying to intercept a low level Buccaneer during Red Flag training: ‘I knew it was time to give up when the Buccaneer had to pull up to avoid a horse’.


By Lloyd Martin

Spitfire replica W3644 has been removed from its perch over Fairhaven Lake recently.

Erected some six years ago as a tribute to a local pilot (further article to follow), the whole project was paid for by public donation. The paintwork is now beginning to look faded, so it is to be repainted over the winter. It is hoped that it will be re-mounted in the spring of 2019.

The removal from the post went well, but the wings had to be removed next. We have another Spitfire in the hangar at Blackpool airport that has been built to the same specification; we call her ‘Vicky’. This aircraft is notorious for having heavy wings – and W3644 was built to the same specification. It takes five or six people to remove Vicky’s wings. We had five people on the port wing to get it off. These wings have to be strong to stand up to high winds and all weathers safely. The steel spars in the wings are designed to be strong, but also to be removable. These had been in the salt air for six years. It took us about half an hour to wrestle the wing off – it should slide off. The man from Warings (who were good enough to supply a crane and semi-low loader with crew for the day) suggested that we use their version of the fire brigades’ ‘jaws of life’ hydraulic separating tool to get the port wing off. It took a few minutes. Then we found another unseen problem; I was holding the position by the cannon port. John (the boss) was by the fuselage on the leading edge, there were people on the tip, and trailing edge. This how we lift all wings, but the lighter wings on ‘Lucy’ can be done by three men. As the wing came off John and I began to sink; the weight was just too much. Someone had the forethought to place some tyres under the wing. We had to place the wing on these – we could not hold it any longer.

We found out why we had trouble holding it when it was raised to an upright position on the carrier (see pic) – it was full of water! As John and I tried to take the weight it dropped a little. This caused the internal water to move in our direction; increasing the weight considerably.

Pictures show the wing being lifted to a vertical position on the carrier. The left hand photo below shows the lifting (being done by (l –r) Souchi Yasuda, Mike Fenton, John Coombes, Keith Maddock). The right hand photo below shows W3644 arriving at the Old Fire Station, Squires Gate on a semi-low loader.

Avro Lancashire members are invited to the re-mounting, date to be established.

Other articles related to the activities and exhibits in future newsletters:

·        The history and fate of W3644.

·        The ‘aircraft’ of the display team; six Spitfires (including full size simulator), Hurricane, and cockpit sections of Spitfire and Messerschmitt

Spitfire RemovalSpitfire Removal

(Photos Lloyd Martin)



 Carol is preparing the programme of talks for next year. She asks if anyone has any ideas for a talk, or have any contacts who might be able to do a talk. If you do please let me know and I will pass on to Carol. Thanks.


Carol has been working hard and the programme for the next few meetings is as follows (thanks Carol for an excellent job):-

25th October- Member Lloyd Martin will talk about TSR2

29th November- Dave Ward returns to tell us about “The Early Years of the MRCA/Tornado Programme”.

December- No meeting this month.

31st January 2019  Peter Cunliffe who will talk about "The Hawker Hunter and the genius of Sydney Camm"


Simon Eccleston

                                                                                                Newsletter Editor

                              Email: as supplied

Web Site: www.avrolancashire.co.uk

October 2018