Dambusters tour, final roll call

The final roll call for the Dambusters tour was a total of 12 planes from the Whitehill Farm group that made it to Germany and the dams,  plus 3 flexwings from Ince that we met briefly at Calais and later at BNA.

  • G-BYLC / Quantum / Geoffrey Coan
  • G-FOXW / Eurofox / Adrian Whitmarsh & Graham Slater
  • G-CCWP / Eurostar / Grant Finney & Chris Kemp
  • G-CGWP / Foxbat / Peter Goff & Justin North
  • G-CETO / Skyranger / Simon Stoodley
  • G-CEWT / CTSW / Kevin Tuck
  • G-KUPP / CTSW / Tom Burton
  • G-CDVK / Savannah / Mark Peters
  • G-CCJT / Skyranger / Stephen Sykes
  • G-CGNH / Escapade / Jon Ingram
  • G-CETT / Eurostar / Paul Thompson
  • G-CWAY / C42 / Martin Conway

Congratulations to all !

The majority of the tour group lined up in Korbach:

Sedan Douzy for lunch

G-CCWP arrived Sedan Douzy after 2 hrs from Rheinstetten. Pretty uneventful flight apart from having to go low level to avoid controlled airspace.

Landed at Sedan just in time to be abused by the the President of the Flying Club. Not happy that we delayed his departure for lunch.

After being robbed for €2.27 a litre we found a lovely little cafe beside a leisure lake were Grant was almost choke to death by French mustard overload!

Karlsruhe

Grant and Geoffrey landed at Rheinstetten which is a glider field just outside of Karlsruhe.

PPR had been given but they weren’t talking to us on the radio. Probably just as well as our epic duo changed the circuit direction in the middle of their landing sequence – something to do with Geoffrey failing to notice the 3 windsocks all pointing in the opposite direction to the landing they were attempting.

Flexwing in the hangers, but most strange ASI

Although Karlsruhe is industrialised with lots of factories, the city centre was very impressive.

Some strange goings-on though in Karlsruhe, a man on a penny farthing

And the weirdest urinals in a city centre bar.

Speyer technical museum – part 3, Space

The final frontier … or rather, in the case of Speyer technical museum, the final building …

Photos from the space building at Speyer technical museum.

Lunar rover and Apollo lander. Apparently the Apollo lander in the museum was so realistic it been used in a number of films including Transformers 2

There were display cases and writeups of a number of astronauts, German, European, American and Russian.

One case had memorabilia from the Apollo landings, some presented by Neil Armstrong’s eldest son to the museum. I didn’t know that carried on the Apollo 11 mission there was a small piece of the wing fabric from the Wright Brothers’ first aeroplane and a section of wood from the plane’s propeller. Both of these were on display at the museum.

Largest exhibit there was a Russian Space Shuttle.

A 1/8th scale prototype that was used to test heat shield material, which clearly worked judging by the scorch marks from re-entry to the atmosphere.

And the Russian shuttle itself. This wasn’t the final shuttle, it was one of the earlier prototypes used to perfect the automatic glide re-entry system, but other than the rear engines it was identical to the Russian shuttle.

First impressions was the sheer size of the shuttle, and second was that whilst it was a complex construction, the actual individual parts looked quite basic and primitive.

And then back to our planes, to take off over the museum and fly the short journey to Rheinsetten, a glider site near to Karlsruhe.

Speyer Technical museum – part 2, the planes!

I took so many photos of the technical museum I’d split the photos into three blog posts, the first post covered the main museum, and here I’ll include the planes.

First of all, this was planes at a museum like I’d never seen before, there was a variety of planes, sure, you could go inside them, sure, but what was unusual was that many of them were raised up on the ground on large metal posts so you could walk all around them underneath and had to climb up stairs to get to most of them.

Many of these planes were at quite ‘jaunty’ angles making it interesting to walk inside them, and some of the wobbled a bit when you were inside them.

Star of the show? was a Lufthansa 747, raised up on metal stilts that you had to climb up to to see

And as we walked towards the nosewheel (50 or so feet up in the air), the metal decking we were walking on became a mesh grid – not for the faint hearted:

Part of the cabin seats were still in place:

Cockpit controls, when real planes needed a flight engineer to keep everything flying:

Although was slightly worrying to notice an escape hatch directly above the cockpit:

Walk out on one wing:

And then downstairs the back half of the plane had been stripped back to the bare fuselage. Was fascinating to see the control cables running all the way through to the rudder and elevators – fly by wire!

And instead of walking back down, we took the slide from underneath the 747:

Russian helicopter (there were a few of these):

And also Russian Antonov 22 – previously both Grant and I had skydived out of one of these planes:

Amazing great collection of planes

Speyer Technical museum

After Ascheffenburg Geoffrey, Grant and Chris flew on to Speyer.

We hadn’t realised that we were so close to this airfield until a pair of Dutch pilots at Ascheffenburg recommended that we go there (and we then looked at the map).

Speyer started well with its massive runway and an extremely modern 4 storey control tower (lots of stairs to pay the €8 landing fee).

We then taxi’d our planes across to the other side of the airfield, parked up, crossed the road and went to the museum.

The museum was amazing. An incredible eclectic mix of machines and machinery. We could easily have spent a full day there.

Here’s a few of the machines we saw:

Submarines

Junkers JU52

Nitro powered hot rod tractors

Dragon hearse

Early twin engine Microlight?

Sprung wheel bicycle (wonder why they didn’t catch on)

1920 speed boat that competed and in the Americas cup (with Rolls Royce aircraft engine)

Piece of the Berlin Wall

And there were loads of cars, fire engines, trains and even musical organs and threshing machines that I didn’t take photos of.

Walking tour of Aschaffenburg

Those who went on the Loire Valley Chateau Tour will remember that I like to aim for 10,000 steps a day.

Well in Aschaffenburg we did over 3,000 of that daily target trying to find somewhere to eat.

Aschaffenburg has some lovely sandstone buildings including this palace and church

But on the restaurant front it doesn’t do so well.

The road that Grant had been informed by the hotel receptionist contained loads of German restaurants, turned out to be a major thoroughfare and just one awful cafe.

We had of course passed several other restaurants on the way, either full (“too touristy”) or empty (“food no good”).

Eventually after backtracking and peering at Google maps we found an authentic German restaurant that sold entirety only Spanish food.

Tom and Grant went for Paella (as you do in Germany) and Chris and Geoffrey went for the meat overload option.

Next morning at Aschaffenburg airfield Geoffrey was relived to see his tyre still inflated and we bade farewell to Tom. Tom had found that he could get customs directly from Aschaffenburg and had planned a circuitous route through the danger areas of Belgium.

The police made a show of checking Tom’s plane, copied his passport and asked him whether he was married and what his occupation was – what this has to do with finding smuggling we didn’t know either.

We could almost taste the beer

…and it had all been going so well.

Geoffrey, Tom and Grant set off from Siegerland after a leisurely lunch. Once again Grant upset the locals, this time by not asking for permission to pull his plane to the pumps.

Fuel and landing fee paid we all set off for Aschaffenburg for a rather lively although not too long a flight. After landing first and second Tom and Grant went up in the Tower to report and watch Geoffrey’s arrival.

The landing seemed fine but after a few yards he suddenly pulled off the runway coming to a stop at the edge of the glider strip.

Geoffrey had a puncture and managed to close the airfield as he had parked on the designated emergency strip for the local area!

Quick ride in the emergency support vehicle (old red VW van) Tom and Grant helped pump the tyre up to get Geoffrey to a better position.

Hopes were high for a quick fix as we had plenty of friends on hand, the right equipment and a spare tube. Thoughts of an early beer were dashed when it was discovered that the spare tube (brand new) had perished.

Option 2 – involve the local maintenance team. It took a while but for the grand total of €10 Geoffrey was sorted.

Time for beer and chips.