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“Fill her up”
think, Czech master signallers acting as “navigators” and general passenger comforters. They seemed to do very little actual navigating and a great deal of looking amused when yet another sheet-white passenger asked for a brown paper bag, of which they always had a generous supply. Happy days. DEREK O’CONNOR
. . . and German Pioneer Sir, Your Database coverage of the Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer ( January Aeroplane) brought back some interesting and fortunately happy memories of my military service in 1957—59 with 654 Sqn, Army Air Corps (AAC), in Germany.
At the time the AAC was re-forming and broadening its capabilities to be more than air observation posts directing the artillery. Austers had been the main tool of the AAC but were not able to perform all the variable tasks now called upon to do. Exploratory trials to replace the Austers 6 and 7 were conducted between the Prestwick Pioneer and the DHC Beaver. That the Beaver was selected is now history, and at the time of the trials the Pioneer was known to have problems.
During a time with my squadron at RAF Gütersloh I was invited to take part in the testing of the Pioneer, fl ying at full load and performing some spectacular manœuvres. Each aircraft was fi tted with stress gauges and wires all over the airframe, especially in the cabin, which seated fi ve people. We were told that there was an airframe problem being investigated, and several strut attachment points had failed, allowing the wing to fold
AEROPLANE JUNE 2009
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Flying Visit Maurice Hammond
The Managing Director of Eye Tech Engineering and restorer of Mustangs Janie, Marinell and a few others, talks to MELVYN HISCOCK about his aviation career
What is your fi rst aviation memory? That would have been watching the cropsprayers around the village where I grew up and I would have been about six or seven years old. We were in the next village to Tibenham and so I used to watch the gliders there.
When was your fi rst fl ight? My fi rst ever, that is a good question. I was probably 16 or 17 and it was from Tibenham in a Motor Falke.
What prompted your career in aviation? I fl ew model aeroplanes when I was a teenager after I had got a job and could afford the radio control. I started my business in 1985 and by 1988 I could afford to learn and so I got my licence in 1989.
the cockpit and thought, “This is what aviation is all the cockpit and thought, “This is what aviation is all the cockpit and thought,
the cockpit and thought, “This is what aviation is all about”? Flying my P-51 together with Rob Davies in his, with four F-15s from Lakenheath and fl ying over the American World War Two cemetery at Madingley.
Do you have any unfulfi lled ambitions? I would love to own and operate a P-47 Thunderbolt.
What has been your worst moment in the cockpit? When it fi lled up with smoke! A right-hand fuel cap on the Harvard was not fi tted correctly and allowed fuel to puddle across the wing which I didn’t see — the exhaust plume ignited it as I took off. I made a very quick teardrop circuit and landed, by which time it had gone out.
When was your fi rst solo? January 14, 1989, in a Piper PA-38 Tomahawk from Ipswich Airport.
Who has been the biggest infl uence on your career? There has probably not been any one person, but my good friend Rob Davies gave me the most help in terms of fl ying the Mustang.
What is your favourite aeroplane? The Mustang. It is simple to maintain, it is just bits of aluminium bent and riveted together. It has no good graces at the bottom end of the speed range and it will fall out of the sky and rattle your fi llings on some “in service landings”, but it is a superb aeroplane.
What do you consider your best aviation achievement? I suppose it is primarily restoring my fi rst Mustang and fl ying it. Then restoring both the airframe and the engine on my second and doing the test fl ying. I don’t think there are many people that have achieved that goal.
Can you think of a time when you looked out of
And your least favourite? I’m not a huge fan of microlights. It’s the thought of those two-stroke hairdryer engines buzzing around at a million revs.
Hypothetically, if you could fl y one aircraft from history, what would it be? It would be the P-47, either the bubble-canopy version or the razorback.
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