BBMF other types ?

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Reading the interview with Paul Day, it was very interesting that Paul thinks that it would not be appropriate for the BBMF to take on other types, apart from the Mosquito RR299 that BAe were going to give them.
The main reasons areI suppose the fact that the MOD wouldn't want to pay for any other aircraft, and perhaps also that the RAF/BBMF/MOD do not consider that there would be very many other types that the public would even recognise or the names of them even .

I have always thought it would be nice if the BBMF could be expanded into a fully fledged RAF Historic Flight,with a few other types right from WWI up to modern times, all this relying on a huge pot of money and plenty of good will from the faceless wonders at the MOD of course.

But what other types would it be appropriate for them to have ?
They would HAVE to be types that Joe Public and the general media had heard of, to guarantee support and recognition for the Flight.
But I'm sure there can't be that many to choose from really that Joe Public, his long suffering wife and the 2.4 screaming kids would appreciate seeing at a display and go home knowing what it was that they saw.

Given a cavenous pot of money and the MOD man "He say YES"....
I would choose the following types that I think the general public may possibly have heard of...given a following wind:-

Camel
Tiger Moth
Wellington
Flying Fortress..problems with this because they know it's a Yank
Mosquito
Mustang...same as the Fortress
Meteor
Vampire
Shackleton
Canberra
Comet...problems with this because they think it's an airliner.
Whirlwind...chopper of course
Vulcan
Lightning
Hercules
Phantom
Nimrod
Harrier
Hawk...Red Arrows of course
Sea King....yellow rescue colours of course
Chinook
Tornado
Eurofighter....had to get that one in....well everyone's heard of it haven't they !

Well that's about it, not a very long list, not even from WWII,and most being post war jets, but I think that is just about all the RAF aeroplanes they would have heard of.
But then what can we expect from a bunch of day trippers ?

What would you add or delete?

Original post
Profile picture for user SteveYoung

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RE: BBMF other types ?

Interesting topic, and I've got a couple of views on this.

Firstly, the name "Battle of Britain Memorial Flight" would suggest to me that the Flight should honour those who flew and died during the Battle. Therefore, strictly speaking, the Lancaster should not fly under that title. A controversial viewpoint I know, but bear with me, I'll return to PA474 later.

I would have liked to have seen Black 6 operated as part of the BBMF, and perhaps if the RAF / MoD had been slightly more far-sighted an ex-Battle of Britain film HA-1112 could have been operated to represent a Bf109E. Let's not forget that young men of both sides fought and died during the summer of 1940, and we have seen from gatherings of former WW2 aircrew at events such as Flying Legends that they feel no animosity to each other. What finer tribute then, than to fly aircraft from both sides to honour ALL the fallen airmen?

Secondly, and I know this is very much a pipedream with no chance of ever becoming reality, it would be fitting to include the BBMF within an RAF Historic Squadron; BBMF as one flight, why not a Bomber Command Flight as well? Even limitting the idea to currently (or almost) available aircraft, this Flight could operate Lancaster PA474, Vulcan XH558, and one of the Canberras currently nearing retirement. Putting my 'with hindsight' hat on, we could include Mosquito RR299, and all sorts of other gems which are now sadly lost for ever.

Of course, all this is just my opinion, and assumes that the MoD beancounters would be able to smile favourably upon the idea. Like I said... sadly it's just a pipedream... :(

Profile picture for user Ant.H

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RE: BBMF other types ?

With regards to your ideas about Bf109's/Buchons in the BBMF- Not a chance my friend!What generally isn't appreciated are the conditions needed to safely operate a 109/Buchon,namely a grass runway.109's do NOT like asphalt.
The problem here is the propellor torque and subsequent swing.
Asphalt would give more friction to the tyres and would therefore make an undercarriage collapse far more likely.It's worth remembering that there isn't a Bf109/Buchon in the world that hasn't had a take off/landing mishap.Black 6 was only ever operated from grass runways for this reason.It would have been a major problem for the BBMF when you bear in mind that no,or atleast very few RAF airfields have grass runways.Coningsby would never have been suitable.
You also have to consider that the 109 is generally a bit trickier than your average Hurricane or Spitfire.With all the different handling characteristics,instrumentation etc,a week day Tornado pilot would probably have difficulty flying it safely.
There are also the historical aspects to consider.I personally think it would have been wrong to include german types in the BBMF's inventory.The Luftwaffe was bombing the living daylights out of the UK,and it was 'The Few' who went up against them. Would it be right to memorialise the aggressor?I think not, although I'm sure there are plenty out there with a differing opinion.

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RE: BBMF other types ?

I agre with you on this Ant. It's very much a case of remembering
our crews. This doesn't detract from the German losses but I feel that if the German's operated a memorial flight it would quite rightly have the likes of Bf109,Fw.190,He.111 and not British aircraft.

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RE: BBMF other types ?

Interesting discussion topic chaps. I suppose the name BBMF grew out of Britains Finest Hour. Operation of the Lanc and Dak I suppose go outside this remit by definition. I think that a Mossie would have been nice though.

Regarding the Paul Day interview, I think that the BBMF are happy because the majority of their aircraft use one of three basic types of engine (Baby spit/Hurri/Lanc use single stage two speed Merlins, Big Spits use Griffon and Spit IX two stage two speed supercharger). This commonality between engines must help the flight keep their costs down. Indeed, remember a few years back a Hurri donating her engine to PA474? Adding other types that would stray and increase engine types would probably be a major headache not least for sourcing and maintaining flyaway packs!!

The Flight sadly has a tight budget and operates in an excellent way that ensures maximum exposure to these cherished beauties. When we unveiled our memorial here, it was possible to get the BBMF Hurri LF363 to fly over ...excellent!

By the way Fury, love the fact you included God's own helicopter in your choice, well done that man!!

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RE: BBMF other types ?

under the name BBMF it would only be right to have spits and hurri's, oh and a blenheim and a defiant. under the name WW2 historical flight, of course things could be a whole lot different, i am under the impression that no memorial to luftwaffe crews is available to the public, even in germany? i think this is wrong, they acted on orders which were given them by people who did not deserve to be remembered. apart from that they were damn fine pilots, those who fought in the battle realise that, so why can't a number of other people realise that?

coanda

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RE: BBMF other types ?

It's nice to dream of all these 'what if's', but, the fact that the BBMF hasn't been 'culled' by the souless MOD accountants is still remarkable, and as testament to the persistance of the RAF no doubt. Not to mention the support of BAe. Lets face it no other airforce can boast the same 40 year continuous operation of an historic flight of that many aircraft. Others have tried on smaller scales with varying success, the SAAF, RAAF and the recently formed Swedish Flight which is now under treat.
I think when the Lanc joined the flight a name change should have happened, but the BoB is probably still the RAF 'finest hour' and as such evokes more in the mind of the public than just RAF Memorial Flight. I think amongst us enthusiasts the name is irrelevant, the main thing is that the flight should continue long into the future.
The idea of a seperate RAF Historic flight (expanded from the Vulcan display/Vintage pair)would have been a nice idea, not one the MOD wanted pay for though. Hmmnnnnn.......1987. XH558 joined by the last 2 F3 Lightnings after their final aero's season, plus a T5 later, then a Shack, Victor, Meteor, Canberra etc.......not to mention the stuff if the project had been created in the sixties!
What about the RNHF.......? 3 Stringbags is nice but would'nt it have been better for BAe to have restored another type out of the museum stores? Imagine the RNHF with the addition of a SeaFire, Gannet, the Sea Vixen, an ex-RN Phantom, Buccaneer, Falklands vet Sea Harrier etc.....
Oh well, it's nice to dream of missed oppotunites.....

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RE: BBMF other types ?

I agree entirely Graham.
Well said.
Just a pity we are only ever allowed to dream about these things.

Yes the RNHF case is a bit bewildering (my word), why go to the trouble of restoring a third Swordfish, which I am convinced the general public have never heard of, when BAe could have aquired a Seafire, several of which are available...especially the Burmese MK XV that has been for sale in the USA since it arrived there (see www.courtesyaircraft.com), or one of the few Sea Hurricanes.....especially AE977 that was for sale for some time.
I mean...if they were going to give the BBMF a Mosquito for free, then a Seafire or Sea Hurricane for the RNHF shouldn't break the bank.......AND Joe Public has heard of them as well, should make the RNHF more "visible" and interesting to him and his family......

HMMMMM....
Missed Opportunities....seems we can't get enough of them,gives us all something to moan about though doesn't it :-(..... if you read my other post..."David Burke's Plea" ,which I am sure you have/will :-), you will see that we could be up against yet another ,VERY BIG MISSED OPPORTUNITY.....not so easy to solve though IMHO.

Ta Ta...FURY

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RE: BBMF other types ?

Damien, I did not intend my opinion to be misconstrued as bad taste. Certainly such a view would have been prevalent in 1940, but 60 years later we are seeing that time heals to an extent. As I stated in the original post, hardly a month goes by without seeing a report in the aviation monthly's of former adversaries meeting and remembering the past.

I'm certainly not condoning the actions of Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945, but I'm also not ignoring the fact that young men who flew for both the RAF and Luftwaffe fought a desperate battle in 1940 and many died doing so. The causes for which they fought were vastly different, but with very few exceptions the men themselves were not. The meetings with former enemies in peacetime show this to be the case.

Ant, thanks for the explanation about the difficulties of operating a Bf109 from hard runways. I hadn't thought about that!

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RE: BBMF other types ?

Of course, the BBMF name was adopted AFTER the arrival of PA474-prior to that it was just the Battle Of Britain Flight.

There's no way any German aircraft should fly with the flight, and even operating a Dakota is a bit suspect in many ways, apart from Lanc crew currency flights-and that's more paying lip-service to the rules than anything else.

What should happen with the flight is the increased moves towards authenticity-years ago the Lanc was supposed to get a fibreglass bombload and properly operating turrets, but it never happened-big shame. At least now they are toning down the gloss paint-'474 was starting to look like she was in a Dulux advert or something!

We should be very, very thankful that we still HAVE the BBMF-though I bet you that the penny-pinchers will get rid of it in the end. First of all they'll have less fighters, then gradually it will all be grounded. Whitehall will get '474 before old age does, you just wait and see.

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RE: BBMF other types ?

Good comments here!

Years ago PA474 HAD operating turrets. This was stopped due to the strain on the hydraulic system through wear and tear?? CWH was hoping to have operable turrets but the powers that be stated they were not to be moved in flight as they change the airflow over the airplane HAH!! Nice idea about the fiberglass bombload that would be something to see. What ever happened to her getting a H2s radome installed???

Last but not least. Thank goodness for the toned down paint scheme the high gloss finish was TERRIBLE!!!!!

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RE: BBMF other types ?

Yes, I know the turrets did once operate correctly, but that was a LONG time ago! The plan I read of was to 'get the turrets operating on bottled air'. I guess nothing will come of it though. I must confess to giving up my membership of the Linc Lanc Association some years ago now, so I have no idea what is going on-if anything-about the H2S blister. I'd have thought they could fund it though, as they funded the mid-upper deflection ring.

I know it's a picky detail, but I'd love to see '474 fitted with the more usual type of tail fins-even though her own are completely original to when she was built, they don't look like the vast majority of Lancs did.

Another thing I'd love to see, is the Lanc painted up one time as Hendon's 'S-Sugar'. Okay so Sugar still exists, but that would be a WONDERFUL sight in the air.

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RE: BBMF other types ?

i raised a point sometime ago ( maybe here or maybe on the old Warbirds Worldwide forum ) about parking the Lanc with Duxford's example. Has it ever happened and are there any photos on the web?

if whitehall ever decided to ground the Lanc what are the chances of it been sold on to a group like the Fighter Collection (just for example). Or would it simply be grounded?

thoughts?

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RE: BBMF other types ?

As far as I know, '474 has never been parked with the Duxford Lanc, or any other of course! It's a hell of a shame they can't get her in to East Kirky somehow for a photoshoot of them both running together, but no chance of that. The only thing that may happen way, way off in the future is that '611 flies out of East Kirkby-but I think she's superb just as she is.

I can't see the Canadians ever brnging theirs over, the way they dither about with it. Great as another flying Lanc is, I can't help but think that theirs is a poor relation to ours-it has never looked 'right' in my opinion. (Paint colours/marking, for one)

Even if NX611 is restored, she can get out of East Kirkby, but it's not a place you can operate from, so that would mean they would effectively lose their star attraction! And it might possibly have to go by road to somewhere else to be restored anyway.

Duxford's doesn't come out to play, NX611 is 'stuck' in East Kirkby, S-Sugar is even more trapped indoors at Hendon-makes you realise just how special '474 is, doesn't it?

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RE: BBMF other types ?

As I've heard it,there are plans afoot to fit an H2S blister in the near future.I think it would be good to see this fitted,rather than just that peculiar dustbin lid-type disc shape under the fuselage.
As for the rudders,it might be nice to have rounded examples fitted,but then again the square bottomed examples do give better authority and lighter handling.
What I'd also like to see is the fitting of exhaust flame dampers onto the cowlings to fully recreate the period effect.It doesn't seem right to see the exhaust stubbs.

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RE: BBMF other types ?

that would unfortunately mean a loss in power, if I remember rightly- not sure the powers that be would be happy about that one!!!

coanda

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RE: BBMF other types ?

Ant, you are of course right about the larger rudders being better-and as every single landing '474 makes is a risky thing, greater control can only be for the better.

Didn't all Lancs built after a certain point with no H2S fitted have that 'dustbin' lid under the fuselage?

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RE: BBMF other types ?

The BBMF Lancaster has been parked next to the Duxford example.
I remember it happened at a Flying Legends in the 1990's.
Regards the Canadian Lancaster I don't blame thier reluctance to bring her across.She is their only flying Lancaster in the same way as PA474 is ours.
Regards the rudder control on landing I believe that PA474
is usually landed on her mainwheels and left to settle on the tail to give her more rudder authority.

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RE: BBMF other types ?

I'd always thought that disc under the fuselage was something to do with her days as a Search & Rescue aircraft or a leftover from her testbed days.
As for the exhaust shrouds,I'm not at all sure that they did cause a loss of power.They perhaps imposed a slight aerodynamic penalty.If a Lanc with exhaust shrouds can get airborne with a belly full of bombs in wartime,then why shouldn't a lighterweight warbird do the same today?

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RE: BBMF other types ?

LAST EDITED ON 12-11-01 AT 08:59 PM (GMT)[p]With regard to the flame damping on the exhausts. The exhaust system is different. The exhaust stubs are not there,as such, instead there are whats called saxophone exhausts, with a shroud over them. So I would think this would cost lots of cash to change. I also think this system gave more power, not less. It did on the Merlins of the early Mosquitoes, but didn't make much difference on the later Mks. of Mossie.

Neilly

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RE: BBMF other types ?

Wartime photos of Lancs with their engine cowlings off look no different to me than ones of '474 in a similar state today-I thought she was simply lacking the curved outer shroud, that was all. There's no way either that such a small difference is going to make any power difference to a Merlin-like Ant says, they were happy to run loaded Lancs with them in the war.