Air Enthusiast 2001-01
R.Stitt - Midland Memories (1)
Derby Airways crews taking in the flying show at Nottingham Airport, 1964.
Derby Aviation's first Dakota G-ANTD on the apron in front of the Municipal Hangar in April 1955, fresh from conversion to civilian standards at Exeter. To the rear are Messenger G-AKKO, an Auster and a former Royal Navy Anson I.
Spartan 'mag' system operator Don Davidson prepares to crank the port inertia starter of Anson I G-AMDA during Canadian Aero Service's joint operation with Derby Aviation. Note the 'bird' installed below the fuselage, the 'smooth' engine cowlings fitted to surviving Mk.Is and the unidentified Mosquito in the background.
The DH Rapide was a popular regional transport with UK operators, the Air Schools' group owning six examples between 1948 and 1957. Captured at Bumaston in 1955, G-AIUL was the last to be acquired and the last sold. To the left is Harvard IIB FX395 of Nottingham University Air Squadron.
Anson G-AMDA at rest in front of the camouflaged Municipal Hangar in 1955. Just visible to the rear are two Miles Hawk Trainers IIIs belonging to Wolverhampton Aviation, G-AKKR in the hangar to the left and G-AKKV at the 'pumps’. G-AKKR is now on display as Magister 'T9707' in RAF training markings at the Museum of Army Flying at Middle Wallop.
A former WAAC Marathon undergoes deep maintenance and upgrading prior to entering service with Derby Aviation. In the background are Gemini 1A G-AKGE, Hawk Trainer G-AIUA and Chipmunk WP908 of Nottingham University Air Squadron.
Wartime photographs of Miles Magisters operated by 16 EFTS have proved impossible to find. By a happy coincidence, the Shuttleworth Collection's airworthy example P6382 (G-AJRS) served with 16 EFTS during the war and was one of an initial six modified for night flying at Burnaston by St Athan.
Two wartime trainees help one another prepare for their first solo flights in Miles Magisters, an example of which can just be seen to the rear
Anson G-AMDA receives attention to its port powerplant. This engine was a Cheetah XIX, specially installed to run a 24-volt generator to power the magnetometer equipment.
Avro Anson I NK168 was one of two examples used briefly by 16 RFS for reservist aircrew training. It was sold for scrap in January 1951.
Following its survey role, Anson G-AMDA served briefly with Derby Aviation's training operation at Elstree before joining the Sky fame Museum at Staverton as a flying exhibit. It passed to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford in 1972 and is currently under restoration to Mk.I configuration, complete with dorsal turret
The survey crew with G-AMDA at Freetown Airport, Sierra Leone in March 1958. On the right of the group are, from right to left, Tom Pike (pilot), John Jarville (engineer) and Bert Cramp (pilot).
Steady as she goes! Magnetometer operator's view of the 'bridge' of Anson G-AMDA during the 'UK survey'. The pilot is Dick Wallis, formerly the CFI at the Derby's Wolverhampton operation, while the navigator is William DesLaurier of Canadian Aero
Two Avro Anson T.21s replaced the early Mk.Is as navigation trainers with the 16 RFS. Standing in front of VV296 are, left to right: Alan Barber (navigation instructor), Alan Bramson (flying instructor), an unknown reservist, Ron Fletcher (radio operator instructor) and another reservist.
Originally built as X7523 for the RAF and loaned to the US 8th Air Force in December of 1942, G-AIUK was Derby Aviation's first DH Rapide. Acquired from Kenning Aviation in June 1948, it was sold in Kenya in March 1955 as VP-KND.
Air Schools acquired Rapide G-AEAL from Hunting Aerosurveys - in whose colours it appears - in April 1953. It was overhauled by primer, when the company amalgamated its two locations at the end of the year. It became F-OAVE in March 1956.
Avro Tutor G-AHSA is run-up at Burnaston by Chief Flying Instructor Ron De'Ath prior to its CoA test flight on June 6, 1953; maintenance engineer Tony Topps occupies the rear seat. In the background is the former gatehouse to Burnaston House, the home of Derby Aviation's chief pilot, Eric Lines
Air Schools ground crew prepare to guide Tiger Moth T5878 '33' of 16 EFTS in December 1945. Note the blind flying hood stowed behind the student's cockpit. This example was sold to the civilian market in September 1953, becoming G-AOGT.
Tiger Moth RS241 '8' served with 16 EFTS from September 29, 1940, until it passed to 10 EFTS at Weston-super-Mare in February 1941. It is seen at Abbots Bromley, one of Burnaston's two RLGs. R5241 was written off on July 1, 1952, after being struck by another Tiger Moth, T7737, while parked at Dyce in Scotland.
Air Schools' first commercial air service employed Miles Messenger 2A G-AILL on a charter flight to the Isle of Man on August 21, 1947.
Smartly turned out in mid-1950s Derby Aviation markings, Proctor 5 G-AHTE was one of Kenning Aviation's demonstrators. It was withdrawn from use in 1961 but happily survived and is currently being rebuilt in Suffolk.
G-AGTO was one of two Austers acquired by Derby Aero Club when it restarted operations after the war. The first production J/1 Autocrat, the immaculate three-seater is currently based at Duxford in Cambridgeshire and is used to give air experience flights to Imperial War Museum volunteers
Auster J/1N Alpha G-AGTP was the Derby Aero Club's second post-war acquisition. It was written off shortly after take-off at Enstone in May 1978 when it dived into the ground while towing a glider
The first aircraft touched down at Burnaston on April 6, 1938, shortly after the site had been levelled. The pilot of Blackburn B.2 G-AEBG, W J Kenton, is assumed to be the dapper individual at the centre of this group.
Gemini 1A G-AJZJ was an early member of Derby Aviation's charter fleet and one of several aircraft acquired from Kenning Aviation when it ceased operating in 1948. It is illustrated at Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast in 1964.
WB572 '50' heads a line-up of Chipmunks of 3 BFTS in front of the RAFVR hangar in 1954.
Miles Marathon G-AMGW 'Millersdale' was the first of three operated by Derby Aviation
The Percival Prentice was not a success as a replacement for the classic Tiger Moth. VS252 'FBPU' was one of 14 that served with 16 RFS at Burnaston in the early 1950s.