A noisy day at RAF Conningsby

We took a trip down to RAF Conningsby recently through the backwaters of Lincolnshire, we took in Gainsborough, Lincoln, Waddington then a host of villages such as Metheringham, Timberland and Woodhall Spa. The Lincolnshire Fens though long and flat are quite fascinating if you take your time and enjoy the bumps and humps of the old tarmac single track roads that aren’t used much except for old tractors, rabbits and pheasants!

We thought we were getting close to RAF Conningsby when this jet fighter flew close by!

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) now lives at RAF Conningsby and during the week you can visit the special purpose-built hanger and look at the historical aircraft inside AND you get a guide, these guys are nearly as old as the aircraft and have a wealth of information and stories that for £6 make it well worth the hour or so walk-around. They are keen to stress that’s it’s NOT a museum but a working concern. Your can stand just a few feet from the Spitfire, Hurricane and the mighty Arvo Lancaster aircraft it’s a bit of a gamble as to what’s there on the day, however if you look on their website in advance they can tell you what SHOULD be there on the day. Its closed on most weekends though.

http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/visiting/museums/battle-of-britain-memorial-flight/

Or ring them on…01522 782040

A Hawker Hurricane being attended to one of the RAF ground crew, It just has to be a dream posting for the small group of dedicated specialists! 

 

This is the Douglas Dakota (DC-3) a workhorse of the second world war. It ferried supplies and paratroopers on most areas of conflict throughout the second world war. Some STILL fly today in private hands. John told us of a little girl who came with her mommy from the USA on a trip to England, upon entering the hanger she saw the DC-3 and said “Mommy that just like daddies!” Mommy explained to John that hubbie flew one back home in the states but it had more modern engines.  This one still has graffiti on the inside scrawled the paratroopers.

 

This is the business end of one of the 5 Spitfires being readied for the 2012 flying season. These propellers are wood and only available from….Germany….how ironic is that?

 The silver tail is a Mark 9 Spitfire, all paint schemes represent one from the war flown by particular pilots. They have one original that flew in the Battle of Britain. They have such detailed provenance it makes the aircraft priceless. It’s jokingly said in BBMF circles that if anyone crashes one of them then they had damn well better get killed!!

 

Yes one can get so close but MUST not touch anything! There is a fascinating story about the WAAF (female personel) during the war who accidentally took a short flight sat on the tailplane of a Spitfire!!……..Last week apparently the widow of the very same pilot came to visit. (email me if you want the full story)

 The hangar was cluttered with so many Spitfires that I couldn’t get a clear shot of the specialists working on the Dakota’s engine. A Mk 2 and a Mk 9 stand in the way in this photograph.

Julie (formally RAF) stands with our guide John (formally Army Air Corps) in front of a 22,000lb “Grand Slam” bomb, these were carried by the Lancaster. Needless to say they could only carry one each.

The Avro Lancaster sits outside having just undergone engine testing. she is the only flying example left in the world. The grey aircraft sat behind her are the bombers of today, they are the Eurofighter, known to us as the Typhoon.

An RAF PANAVIA TORNADO had just landed and gets attention by the waiting ground crew. The pilot and navigator are still inside switching buttons off! Just above it roars its successor..the Eurofighter. The afternoon was busy, we counted four pairs taking off as well as the TORNADO that had just landed landing, Oh and a seventy year old Hawker Hurricane from the BBMF took off in between all of this, he was a lot slower and a lot quieter I might add.

Several TYPHOONS flew round and round practicing their landings and take off, they call this “Circuits and bumps” During the tour old John had to stop and wait for the jets to pass before trying to talk to us this happened every few minutes today, it was so loud from inside the hangar!

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