Air International 1982-03
J.Fricker - Operation "Prentice"
The first of five prototypes of the Prentice - flown on 31 March 1946 - showing the original fin and rudder and flat wing-tips.
The first of a 20-strong pre-production batch, in RAF all-yellow finish, showing upturned wing-tips and an interim fin and rudder.
The Prentice T Mk 1 was in service with the RAF by mid-1948, and early in 1949 the new monoplanes finally replaced venerable Tiger Moths at the RAF College, Cranwell, where these three examples were photographed.
G-APJE was furnished with seven seats as a demonstrator.
The first Prentice ferry flight from Cosford to Southend on 27 April 1956, with G-AOKR passing the airship sheds at RAF Cardington. The photograph was taken by the author from an accompanying Prentice, holding the slick between his knees.
G-AOPO was sold to Belgium, where it was re-registered OO-OPO and used for banner towing - note the hook under the rudder.
Another delivery satisfactorily completed by the author.
Of more than 250 Prentices purchased by Freddie (now Sir Freddie) Laker's Aviation Traders Ltd, fewer than 20 were eventually sold in the civil market. G-AOLU (on photo) was operated by Maitland Air Charters Ltd.
The end of the dream - with engines removed and civil registrations crudely applied for the delivery flights to Southend and Stansted, a group of Prentices await final scrapping.