The Daily Mail has a rather bizarre story about a whopper swan in Jersey who lost his mate a few years ago and has fallen in love with a £6million Eurocopter EC155. Even more strange is the fact that although dozens of different choppers fly in and out of the runway every week, the whooper only has eyes for the EC155. He even recognizes the chopper’s engines when it flies in, chases it down the runway and then sits and nestles by it until the chopper’s owner flies off again!
Since the pilot and local airport officials were afraid the swan would fly into the chopper’s rotor blades, they decided to have a vet clip his wings. And while there are many swans in the area, there aren’t any other whooper swans.
A local employee told the Daily Mail:
‘He seems very happy but I would like to find him a female white swan – but this is Jersey and there aren’t many around.
‘So if anyone can help me find him a mate that would be brilliant. It would also stop him flying around the airport when his feathers grown back.’
If you still have no plans for this weekend, IWM Duxford’sSpring Air Show on Sunday will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the United States Army Air Force arriving at RAF Duxford in April 1943. The flying programme will present the Red Arrows, the Breitling Wingwalkers and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire, Lancaster and Hurricane, but the highlight of the show will be the first-ever display by the Eagle Squadron consisting of a Hawker Hurricane, Supermarine Spitfire Mark I, P-47 Thunderbolt and the P-51 Mustang Princess Elizabeth (click here to see the latest flying participation list).
If you have not been to an air show at IWM Duxford, this short video will show you what you have been missing:
In addition, the Imperial War Museum has put together this short video where American veterans describe what it was like to be posted at Duxford from 1943-1945:
Directions and Prices
The Imperial War Museums’ website has directions to IWM Duxford and be sure to check out our special guide to the area by clicking here. For the day of the event:
IWM Duxford will be open from 8am to 6pm. The flying display will start at approximately 2pm and finish at approximately 5.30pm. This will give you plenty of time in the morning to explore the whole of the museum, take part in activities across the site and soak up the atmosphere provided by trade stands.
Advance ticket booking is now closed, but you can also buy tickets on Sunday with the prices being:
Adult (16-59 years): £25.50
Senior (60 years and over): £20.40
Child (5-15 years): £12.75
Infant (4 years and under): free
Disabled Adult, Senior, Student: £17.85
Carer (one per disabled visitor): free
Friends of Duxford Adult: £20.40
Friends of Duxford Senior: £16.30
Earlier this month, aviation enthusiasts and military veterans alike gathered outside Sheffield to mark the 70th anniversary of one of World War II’s most memorable air assaults: Operation Chastise, otherwise known as the "dambusters" mission.
The gathering was extra special because vintage aircraft, including a Lancaster bomber, recreated a dambuster mission by performing three runs over the Derwent Dam in Derbyshire which, coincidentally, was used back in 1943 by the 617 Squadron pilots to train in preparation of the daring night missions using “bouncing bombs” against dams in Nazi Germany’s industrial heartland in the Ruhr Valley.
If you want to learn more about the actual mission, a quick look at YouTube reveals the following documentary narrated by Actor Martin Shaw who also talked to the last living RAF veteran of the mission as well as a survivor of the tsunami that was caused by the Moehne dam’s destruction:
The Aviationist blog has posted the following footage from onboard the RAF Memorial Flight Lancaster as it flew over the Derwent Dam:
Finally, PlanesTV has the following footage taken from the ground of the Lancaster flying over the dam:
Disney has released another sneak peek of its upcoming movie “Planes,” a 3D animated comedy adventure featuring a plane named Dusty who has dreams of competing as a high-flying air racer. The problem is that Dusty is not built for racing and he is also afraid of heights – forcing him to turn to a seasoned naval aviator for help in qualifying to take on the defending champ of the race circuit.
The last time we posted a trailer for “Planes,” we noted a number of viewers on YouTube were less than thrilled by what they saw and the same can be said about comments for this new trailer:
The latest release date for “Planes” (at least in US theaters) is August 9th. So I guess we will have to wait until then to see whether this animation soars with movie goers or crashes hard!
Air Force One For Sale. Over in the USA, an Air Force One is for sale for a minimum deposit of $50,000 and not because of the sequester or any austerity initiative. And as the Aviationist blog pointed out, its not even one of the 747s but a DC-9 used from February 1975 until September 2005 that was hated by the media because its seats were uncomfortable. As of writing this, the reserve for Air Force One has not been met and you still have at least a week to place your bid by going to the auction site here.
Orville Wright Letter to be Auctioned Off. For aviator buffs with a tighter budget, the Swann Auction Galleries’ Autographs Sale will auction off a letter signed by Orville Wright and dated November 10, 1921, that was sent to the publisher of Aviation and Aeronautical Engineering in response to the controversy surrounding the Langley vs. Wright controversy. Auction officials estimate the letter will go for between $4,000 and $6,000. In addition, the auction will sell a signed portrait of aviator and aerospace engineer Howard Hughes, from the pressbook for his 1930 film Hell’s Angels (estimate: $1,000-$2,000). The auction will take place on May 23rd and for more information, visit SwannGalleries.com.
First British Pilot Ever to Attend the Top Gun School. In British aviation news, British Royal Navy Lieutenant Stephen Collins will soon be the first ever British pilot to attend the famous Top Gun school. Collins is no stranger to naval aviation as his father was a pilot during the Falklands War and later moved to Red Arrows aerobatic team. Collins has also flown for the US Navy for the past five years as part of an exchange programme that allows British aviators to get used to aircraft carrier operating conditions.
RAF Black Arrows’ Hawker Hunter Restored. Roger Topp, 90, who commanded the RAF’s 111 Sqn and led its Black Arrows team, the forerunner of today’s Red Arrows, was recently reunited with his older Hawker Hunter – which was later grounded, modified to look like a Russian MiG and used for target practice. The aircraft has since been restored and is now on display at Wattisham Airfield Museum in Suffolk. It should also be mentioned that Topp completed a record 22-plane loop at the Farnborough Air Show in July 1958 – a feat that is still on the record books.
Will the Swiss Airforce Display Team be Disbanded? The Aviationist blog has noted that the Patrouille Suisse could be forced to stand down as early as 2016 as a consequence of budget cuts. Beginning in 2016, the ageing F-5 fleet will be progressively retired and replaced by the first JAS-39 Gripen examples – meaning there won’t be many military aircraft in the Swiss Air Force to equip an aerobatic display team, despite its popularity.
Alaska Pilot Crosses Both Poles in a Cessna. The Alaska Dispatch has profiled Alaska pilot Art Mortvedt who recently crossed the Geographic North Pole in his Cessna 185 to become the first pilot to cross both poles in a single-engine aircraft. Mortvedt has also flown more than 20 missions to Antarctica and purchased his aircraft, the “Polar Pumpkin,” after its years of service at the South Pole.
The Truth About Flying in Alaska. On the subject of Alaska or Alaskan pilots, Rex Gray, the president of the Alaska Airmen’s Association, has written an article for General Aviation News where his opening line was:
I’ve heard it a lot — even made the same proclamation myself — “Flying in Alaska is different.” Okay, the truth: It’s not.
He went on to explain why it isn’t except for one important difference: The entire state has a population of less than 800,000, but the pilot population is around 8,000 – meaning 1% of the state’s residents are pilots.
Teen Pilot Completes Her Check Ride. Finally, we recently mentioned the story of teen pilot Amy White who soloed on June 10 (before she passed her driver’s test) and her mother who soloed the following New Year’s Eve. According to General Aviation News, Amy took her check ride on Friday, May 10 (her 17th birthday) and she is now a licensed private pilot.
At least for male travelers, this two minute airline commercial from Russia might just be the best one ever and perhaps not long enough! No word on whether it was effective and actually led to more passengers…
Wales Online has profiled retired engineer Thomas Merlin Maddock who lives in the same Valleys house on Meadow Street, in Pontycymmer as pit carpenter and would-be aviator pioneer Christopher Carlyon did in 1904. Carlyon is not going to be a familiar name to aviation history buffs, but just months after the Wright brothers took to the air, the 17-year old started building his own flying machine in a shed he built 400 feet up a mountain near Bridgend called Coedcae.
His plan was to build a flying machine to glide across the Garw Valley at its narrowest point of about half a mile. However and after several tests on the slopes below his shed, it and the shed were destroyed by a violent storm in 1910.
Demoralised that his flying machine was destroyed before he could do a full fledged flight, Carlyon never returned to the project. Maddock only learned about the would-be aviator pioneer after his father attended the 59 year old Carlyon’s funeral in 1947.
Today and despite being 78-years old, Maddock, who has spent the last decade researching Carlyon’s plans, is taking up the challenge. He believes that Carlyon was inspired to build his flying machine after reading up on the Wright brothers and studying pictures of their aircraft. He also visited Carlyon’s who lent him a box full of glass slides to build prototypes first with a wingspan of 12 inches, then 24 inches and now eight feet
However, Maddock has no intention of taking the final craft for a test flight over the Garw Valley as he says that Carylon picked the most exposed part of south Wales and could have been killed trying to fly it there. Instead, he has found two pilots willing to fly the aircraft once its built, but it will be towed along on the ground to see if it lifts eight or 10 feet to prove this unsung local aviator pioneer right.
Merlin Maddock in his Pontycymer workshop with the 1/3-size replica of a glider first built by Christopher Carlyon, WalesOnline .
Don’t have any plans for this coming Sunday? The Welsh Spitfire Museum near Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, Wales, is set to hold its open day starting at 10 am.
Expect to be entertained by the Army, Pembrokeshire’s Air Cadets, classic and vintage cars, bikes and tractors plus an original steam engine. For nostalgic attendees, there will Forties music from Sandy Sparkle and there is no need to bring a packed lunch as there will be a BBQ, and Salad Bar. In addition, a special ale called Welsh Roundel from the Gwaun Valley Brewery that was brewed just for the event will be available. Finally, the whole event will be watched over by the soldiers of the Glamorgan Home Guard.
The Welsh Spitfire Museum’s aim is to restore vintage aircraft and currently they are involved in the restoration of a MK VIII Spitfire that saw little action during the war and ended up in Australia.
The museum is open to visitors from 10 to 4 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
For the airport, take the A40 towards Fishguard.
The airfield entrance is two miles outside Haverfordwest on the right hand side (East).
[GPS Co-ordinates: 51.830706,-4.96951]
There was a rather unusual crash landing last Sunday at the Duluth International Airport in Minnesota, but it didn’t involve aircraft. Instead, two bald eagles who were fighting in midair had locked their talons together and could not separate before crashing onto the pavement:
According to Randy Hanzal, a Minnesota conservation officer who took the above pictures, mature eagles will sometimes fight over territories by crashing into each other and grabbing an intruding eagle with their talons. Usually, the eagles will let go before hitting the ground, but in this case, they had their talons so deeply imbedded in together, they could not let go of each other.
Hanzal said the two eagles were remarkably calm. So he loaded both into the back of his truck because he had no container big enough to put them in and covered them with blankets and jackets. However and half way to a rehab center, he heard a ruckus and turned around to see feathers flying and one eagle on the back of his tailgate. That eagle flew away while the other one decided to hang around for some antibiotics, fluids and pain medication as he or she (its apparently hard to tell what sex an eagle is) had one deep abdominal puncture along with other puncture wounds around the legs.