David Burke's Plea

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19 years 11 months

Posts: 50

As no-one else has started on about this, let me be the first to do so.

The article in Flypast from David was extremely interesting ,to say the least.

It is something that Flypast and others have thought about for very many years, as I am sure we all have at some time.

I must say I agree almost entirely with what David said.

I think it really is time to consolidate what we have in the way of old aeroplanes in the many and varied aviation museums around the country.
The Varsity was given as an example of the current situation, it is not one of my favourite aeroplanes ,although very impressive to stand behind one with the engines running, and until David said it, I had not considered the fact that not one of those "preserved" was actully under cover.
Even though it is not a famous plane, it would be an absolute tragedy if we ended up in 15/20 years with not one complete example anywhere. I wonder if the IWM will put their remaining example indoors when the "superhanger" becomes even more "super", remember they've already scrapped one, if they don't do it, then I think we can all consider that one lost in the long term, just like the RAF Comet they had....and scrapped.

It would also be a tragedy to have to scrap any "historic" aircraft, but maybe it really is time to push all the available effort onto saving at the very least ,one complete permanently under cover example of each and every type, no matter how non-famous they may be.
When that has been done to our satisfaction, we can then consider all the rest of the remaining examples.

Another way forward would be for the various museums, under the banner of the British Aviation Preservation Council to start ,in a BIG way, to swap airframes around with each other and with foreign museums or air forces.
This might ensure that one complete example of a type survives somewhere, and might also make a particular museum more interesting to the public and the collection "more fit it's theme".

The swapping of aircraft with foreign museums/forces would be a good thing IMHO ,and could potentially bring many "new" types into Britain, and also give foreign enthusiasts a better chance of seeing something that they would otherwise have to come to GB to see, and vice-versa for us of course.
There are a huge number of foreign types, some famous...some not so famous, that could possibly be a better draw for Joe Public , never mind us enthusiasts ,rather than seeing yet another decrepit Vampire, lovely aircraft as it is.

Of course what this would require, apart from the obvious money, would be for ALL the museums/individuals to genuinely work with each other towards a common goal, what I suspect would happen though....because too many are too individualistic , would be that some people WOULD work together, but others would quickly throw a spanner in the works and muck it all up, maybe because they don't think they are getting a "fair deal" out of it.
And then everyone would go to ground again and we would be talking about this same question in another ten/fifteen/twenty years....after we have completely lost a few types to the weather/scrapman.

The apathetic situation regarding aircraft preservation which prevailed in virtually every country until at least the late sixties cannot be allowed to happen again.

A case in point which is a perfect example of the current situation is the Vulcan XL391 at Blackpool Airport.
This possibly dangerously corroded aircraft, just been attacked by paint brush weilding vandals, should not be allowed to live any longer if it means that other aircraft types (that currently only live outside) that can realistically be saved with the same amount of money that David Main is attempting to raise, have to stay outdoors somewhere....maybe forever.

It will of course be very sad when the day comes that XL391 has to be scrapped, but something somewhere has to give sooner or later, for the overall benefit of the WHOLE of the aviation preservation scene in GB.

In a perfect world we would save evrything, but this ain't a perfect world, even for relatively "simple" things like historic aviation.

Another thing I would dearly love to see is ALL the aviation mags working together on this one, I see no problems with it, they will all just have to forget the healthy rivalry/competition while the situation is arrested ,FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF ALL OF US INCLUDING THE AVIATION MAGAZINES.....hows about it Ken, Michael etc ?
Maybe you David ,could start it off with Ken.......?

Original post

Member for

19 years 11 months

Posts: 469

RE: David Burke's Plea

Thankyou for the title. It's a thought that has been held for many years by me (and indeed others)that the current situation cannot continue. We are faced in the near future with the retirement of even larger civilian and military aircraft for which we literally have no room for in our museums at present.
This is not to say that we start a scrapping program but we do have to look to the future and really decide what we want.
I imagine very shortly we will be down to two surviving Belfast aircraft (Cosford and Heavylift). I am sure that efforts will be made to save the Heavylift example if they are willing but realistically who could handle it???. This leaves us in the situation of one real survivor - that lives outdoors.
The will be no massive funding injection that will save all these aircraft - it's a reality that the future of aircraft preservation in the U.K needs co-operation .
Whether this happens through the BAPC or indeed through
the influence of the press remains to be seen.
I would like to think that the magazines could aim in one direction.

Member for

19 years 11 months

Posts: 5

RE: David Burke's Plea

An interesting article and follow up. I agree it is a shame that so many aircraft are outside however I think that we need to be careful about what we mean by co-ordinated efforts. At the moment many smaller museums are experiencing difficulties geting their hands on money to fund even relatively small projects to protect aircraft. Yet we are seeing the larger bodies receiving more money time and again (and this does not just happen in aviation but with museums in general). There are many smaller museums with exceptional aircraft in their collections that simply are not receiving the funding because they can't employ consultants to write bids or do not have the kudos the larger museums have. Surely the future is to take what money is available and distribute it in a different way to ensure that we maintain a vibrant independent sector. Or do we sacrifice the smaller "local" museums that are not getting the funding and keep their aircraft outside so that the larger museums can maintain thier aircraft undercover?

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19 years 11 months

Posts: 469

RE: David Burke's Plea

It's a reality that the isn't going to be a redistribution of lottery cash . It's also a fact that the will never be enough money to put all the aircraft undercover that are currently preserved. What is a reality is that the are a number of aircraft at present that are currently 'at risk' that are too significant to leave outside.
My suggestion is that we 'target' these aircraft and encourage efforts to put them undercover. If this means that the
profile of these aircraft is raised to such an extent that they are considered 'endangered' this could only be helpful in terms
of raising finance . Whether this is in the form of lottery-local authority or indeed private endeavor doesn't really matter. If I think through a list we are talking such types as
the AW Argosy-Herald-Heron-Varsity etc of which we have no examples in the U.K undercover. This is just a small sample of what we stand to loose - action is necessary-it's just going to take some imagination.

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19 years 11 months

Posts: 50

So we let them all rot then ?

So then Troy and David, I've come up with a few solutions, and you have shot them down, so what are YOUR solutions.
You haven't actually said yet what you would do.
If you are going to crap on other peoples' ideas, then you really ought to come up with alternatives or not say anything.

What is so wrong with co-operation Troy, are you one of those that I mentioned that WOULDN'T work with others to sort the problem , are you an individualist or what?

Maybe it might not be possible to get all of them together with the BAPC and the various magazines to put in a serious large bid to the lottery, BUT has anyone actually tried it, or does everyone just continually piss and moan and say things like "It's too much like hard work"...."They will never let us have any money"...."That'll never work"...etc etc etc .

The various small museums around the country are important as you say, and they have rescued a few very rare historic aircraft, but I am seriously beginning to loose interest and sympathy for their plight , if they cannot sort it out themselves ,and they (you) do not want ideas and solutions from outsiders like me,....or do you just want money from me?..... then STUFF them and their aeroplanes, they deserve to go bust and their aircraft rot into the ground......that is what happens to any business that has no imagination or foresight, they ought to move aside and let more "open minded" people get on with it.....or as I said before, "We can kiss all those aircraft goodbye now, and stop worrying about them"

By the way Troy, YOU may think that there are no clubs or cliques involved with some of these museums, but take it from me...if you like....,there are very many other people who would disagree with you .

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19 years 11 months

Posts: 469

RE: So we let them all rot then ?

The point of my article was to highlight the plight of aircraft which I consider to be 'at risk'. As you have probably noticed it's my opinion so I do not necessarily have to provide my answers. Infact the wouldn't be much point in publishing it if
I already knew the answers. I could just list my answers in a column and say that will do.
I reserve the right to either agree with you or indeed disagree - thats my privledge in the same way as it's yours.
I dont 'shoot down' people or even 'crap' on their idea's so I will avoid using your terminology.
I think we all agree that the are aircraft outside that will not survive in the long term. We therefore (in my opinion)
need to identify which are important and decide if they are realistically worth saving. By importance it could be a last survivor ala Beverley or it could be a type that has had a large
attrition rate . The Herald springs to mind with no examples inside.
How we fund this - if indeed 'we' need to fund this remains to be seen . Preservation did exist before the Lottery and I am sure it could continue without it. This is not to say that an injection of cash wouldn't be appreciated. The main problem we have is that preservation is amazingly diverse in terms of the differing types and make-up of groups themselves.
A blanket sum of lottery cash would be amazing - the only problem we have is who exactly would administer this and what would be their terms of reference. The BAPC as it currently stands would not be capable of this and I also feel that they would not want the job.
My interest is in terms of direct action. Apply pressure
through the 'press' or with the NAHR by saying this is a benchmark machine and as such is of national importance.
In terms of swaps the could be some exchanges carried out in the U.K that would make collections more diverse and also allow
for some interesting pairings. How about a J-29 and Draken together - that would be a nice pairing but it will require co-operation - I wish it could happen.
Your final statements concern the Blackpool Vulcan.
I cannot comment on the individual as I do not know him. He
has a idea for preservation that is different to mine but I have to respect that.
Finally regards the magazines- they can seek to influence but cannot yield much practical help beacuse of their structure. If any clear feelings or practical steps get support I have no doubt's that the magazine's will choose to help in whatever ways they deem appropriate.

Member for

19 years 11 months

Posts: 5

RE: So we let them all rot then ?

Thank you for your comments re my two recent posts. I was not intending to shoot anyones ideas down or otherwise - merely to raise additional points about the preservation movement as it stands. Being actively involved I do know the pitfalls surrounding bidding for funds as I have been involved in this and this is where I get my experience from - not by saying it won't work and moaning but by going out, doing it and finding out for myself. As to the cliques comment I am sure this would do a disservice to a number of museums however I know they do exist in some places. If you look at my post again I was advocating a fairer distribution of money to let smaller organisations have a look in - surely that must be a reasonable solution also? Co-operation can be a good thing however it needs to be managed carefully and well. What we need is open debate about the ideas both from peole in the preservation scene and those with an interest so I welcome this discussion - and if we can encourage those outside to join us and help - even better!

Member for

19 years 11 months

Posts: 50

RE: So we let them all rot then ?

Thank you for the replies David and Troy, I thought that would get you talking...HA HA!

Well, I'm not really sure what to say now, apart from thank you for expanding on your opinions both of you.
I really wish that someone could come up with something soon, or we are going to be talking about this subject forever more.

If anyone else has an opinion on this...then please speak up.

Regards.

Member for

19 years 11 months

Posts: 469

RE: So we let them all rot then ?

Thanks for the speedy response. I think the article should start a lively debate. I am sure the are many opposing points of view
which will be aired. I advocate a direct approach to preservation
- it is a matter of getting your hands dirty and participating.
The purchase of the Beaufighter for East Fortune was a good
step and showed that local fund raising can succeed - lets hope that similar endeavour can happen in England.