Air International 1994-08
A.Pearcy - A look back at Bedford
Busy apron scene at Bedford on August 29, 1960, depicting flight test aircraft used by both NAD and Aero Flight. They include a hybrid all-white Hunter WW598, two Fairey Delta 2s WG774 and WG777, Buccaneer S.1 XK524, Supermarine Scimitar, and in the top left hand corner of the photograph Supermarine Type 529 VX136 delivered to NAD on April 15, 1953 for tail-down deck landing trials.
This unique formation of Comet research aircraft took place on March 29, 1972, near Bedford. Leading the trio is XN453 ex G-AMXD c/n 06026, in the background is XP915 the only Comet 3 ex G-ANLO c/n 06100 transferred to the BLEU at Bedford on June 21, 1961, and in use until March 1972. Nearest the camera is XV814 ex G-APDF c/n 06407.
Folland Gnat T.1 XP505 served with the Flight Systems Squadron at Bedford on low-level gust and turbulence research for which it was equipped with nose and wing tip sensor probes. It was delivered to Bedford in May 1969 and sold to the Science Museum on April 29, 1984.
VAAC fin logo and nose markings aside, the additional sensors and antennae on Harrier T.2 (modified to T.4A standard) XW175 clearly identify it as a trials aircraft. It is seen here at the College of Aeronautics, Cranfield, where the fly-by-wire systems were installed.
This immaculate BAC One-Eleven Srs 201 XX105 commenced life as G-ASJD on July 6, 1964. It was repaired after an accident and entered airline service, being sold to the Ministry of Defence on September 21, 1971. It was refurbished at Hurn and modified for use by the BLEU at Cranfield.
Hawker P1127 XP980, the forerunner of the Harrier, photographed at Bedford in 1966. Note the extended ram air turbine (slightly ahead of the base of the fin) and the need for an access ladder. The white and black markings on the fin and nose were for optical tracking reference.
Rare photograph of two of the many research aircraft operated by Bedford. In the lead is the unique HP.115 XP841 involved in research into the low-speed handling characteristics of slender delta-wing aircraft. It first flew at Bedford on August 17, 1961. Behind is the BAC 221 WG774 converted from a Fairey Delta 2. It was given an ogival wing for highspeed research trials and operated by Aero Flight at Bedford until 1974.
Two of the V/STOL research aircraft operated at Bedford, the Short SC.1 XG905 and Rolls-Royce thrust measuring rig or Flying Bedstead, as it was better known, serialled XJ314. The second Flying Bedstead, XK426, was allocated to Bedford on November 22, 1957, to assess the effects of atmospheric turbulence. Five days later, during tethered flight at Hucknall, the rig crashed killing the CO of Bedford. It had completed 156 tethered flights, totalling 13 hours, and four free flights amounting to 21 mins.