Sunderland III/V/Ansett Sandringham

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5 years 9 months

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Some might be interested in this?

A couple of weeks ago I was sent this photo by a fellow aviation enthusiast friend of mine, he took this back in 1993, and we suspect late June/early July, he is very happy to share the shot!

At the time he was working at Heathrow (always had a camera to hand) and got a call that the tower had a visual on a "Flying Boat". ATC called it up and asked if there was a possibility of a quick fly past. The pilot duly obliged, don't think that would happen nowadays?!

As it turned out the Sunderland/Sandringham was conducting an air test having been restored to flight prior to flying across the pond to eventually be resident at the Fantasy of Flight Museum in Polk City FL.

Having done a bit of research over the past few days I managed to find this link which pretty much sums up the potted and fasinating history of this particular airframe.

Tim by Timc63, on Flickr

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Great History, Shame no longer airworthy. Kev

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For me this raises a question that I don't see asked very often. Kermit Weeks has an amazing collection, including the Lancaster that got smashed at Woodford (etc etc). Surely he doesn't have the time left to be restoring all of this stuff? It seems like Fantasy of Flight is now operating more like a storage facility than the full-blown tourist attraction it once was, so surely this won't remain a sustainable venture for Kermit in the long run? I keep seeing the comment sold to Kermit Weeks, but at some point that vast collection will have to be sold off. The loss of the Sunderland as a flyable aircraft seems frustrating, and the Lancaster doesn't appear to have made any progress either.

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Thanks for posting that, Tim! I was lucky enough to go on board her when she was moored at Chatham Dockyard - probably 1986 or 1987, just possibly 1988, really wish she was still here and still where she should be, but I guess we must be grateful that Edward Hulton kept her here and airworthy as long as he did.

As an addendum to your post I'm sure I remember reading that she attracted a lot of interested radio traffic from other aircraft crossing the Atlantic when she flew to Florida, including someone who broke in to utter the immortal words "Hey, are you guys still on patrol?".


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We were returning from a jaunt to Northern France in a rental PA28 and she flew underneath us on her departure.

A sight I will never forget.


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A long way from here, Mechanics Bay 14Dec1963

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A small point: according to the link given by DinoTim in post 1, it was "Ferried to Marseilles for conversion" after September 1981, but I recall seeing it there on 17 June 1981 and, indeed there are photos in the link of it at Marseilles in August 1981. I wonder what the exact dates were for its arrival and departure from Marseilles.

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Ah sweet memories. I worked on this aircraft for a short time whilst it was at Chatham.

According to my diary for 1989 (yes, still got it!) Brian Taylor (ex-Rynair) called me on Friday 30 June 1989 and requested by attendance at Chatham the next morning (viz Saturday). There seemed to be some link with the CAA and problems with the electrical system.

Saturday, 1st July entry records meeting with Peter Smith, Denis Dearlove and Edward Hulton, the then owner. and indeed I had to investigate some problems with the electrical system. Seem to remember that I came up with some recommendations of various jobs that need doing in order to make the CAA happy. The aircraft was still on the slipway then, but was due to hit the water very shortly afterwards.

The next entry shows that I was at Chatham on Tuesday 25th July. Seem to remember going out in the harbour that day and then did some related work back in the office on 31 July.

The aircraft (ML814, Islander) was then in Ryanair colours and was registered G-BJHS. I still have some photographs of it.

It is worth reading Peter Smith's "The Last Flying Boat", still available on Amazon this morning.

After Chatham it moved to Calshot, Southampton Water, before being ferried out to Kermit Weeks in Florida

I hope that above helps.

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16th June 1990 she flew over RAF Coningsby during the airshow.

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It's in exactly the same condition as it was in 1982. Still has the airline interior, same paint etc. It's hangared, and in good condition. I don't think it would be difficult to get it flying again - and certainly that seems to be KW's plan, from the large lake on the FoF site.

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Saw it at West Malling airshow 88or89.
Awesome sight . Shame they didn't do a pass with the Catalina, but still cool

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Saw it at West Malling airshow 88or89.
Awesome sight . Shame they didn't do a pass with the Catalina, but still cool

It was a great shame and a missed opportunity. Plane Sailing's Catalina G-BLSC took off from West Malling and flew in formation with the Sunderland for about 25 - 30 mins while Arthur Gibson took air-to-airs from his Aztec over the Weald of Kent but then landed back at the airfield before the Sunderland gave its lovely display. I was fortunate to be on board the Catalina and it was a wonderful experience to fly very close formation with the Short aircraft. The Catalina was flown by Paul Warren Wilson (captain) and Pete Treadaway (Co-pilot) whilst, if memory serves, the Sunderland was flown by Mike Searle and Ken Emmott.

The date was 28th August 1989.