Newsletter 15
? Winter 2006
Updated on 9Dec2006
Aviation Heritage Project
Dunsfold Wings & Wheels
Female Angle
Flight Test from a Desk
Harrier News
Hawk News
Graduate Apprentices
Hawker People News
Hugh Merewether
  1924 - 2006, Test Pilot
  Flight Development
  Faster, Higher, Further
  Spinning With Hugh
JSF Progress
Sea Furies at Reno
Sea Harrier ZA195
Sea Hawk Recovered
Sir Sydney & Sir George
Sopwith & Bradshaw
Summer's Day at Dunsfold
Vulcan to the Skies
Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents © Hawker Association

Karl Wingett-Smith, onetime member of the Installations Department, writes about his current activities...

Nowadays my reincarnation is busy with, amongst other things, Vulcan XH588, struggling to prove how we can make its remaining old systems airworthy (In some ways I'm relieved that Dick Duffell is retired from the CAA!). Half the time seems to be spent in trying to make them better than they ever were because, with increases in engine power came temperatures higher than some of the materials could stand; and do they show it since we've been daft enough to strip them out for examination after twelve years without use.

Some of the older materials are no longer permitted, asbestos for one, and in other cases the manufacturers have vanished or been swallowed up by commercially minded outfits for whom the past creates no profit, and therefore no interest. Harsh? Maybe, but true in some cases.

Vulcan to the Skies

Where alternative new materials have to be found they need qualification to satisfy BAES and the CAA that they are adequate replacements for those which, in my opinion, weren't up to the job in the first place anyway. That is a marginally more difficult task than getting a military aircraft released for RAF service! After all, nobody wants fifty tons or so of ageing retired 'V' bomber making a forced landing in The Mall next June.

In case there's anyone who doesn't know, XH588 is housed at Bruntingthorpe, near Leicester, and for those of you who, like me, spent time with Handley Page, there's a Victor there, too. It periodically makes taxy runs and it was reported that on one of these, a couple of weeks before the Vulcan roll-out in August, it gave its crew a spectacularly smooth ride; it is said to have lifted off for quite a bit of the runway length.

Note for Harry F-M - I know you've sent me to Coventry for working on the scrap metal from Manchester but at least 'our' aeroplane has beaten it into the air ! Not that anyone from HP could ever be accused of bias.