Swallows about to fly the nest
The Shobdon Historic Aircraft Club has a pair of 1938-built BA L25c Swallow IIS: the long-time resident G-AFGD and more recent arrival G-ADMF. Frustratingly, neither of the Swallows has flown for a while but it is expected that both will take to the air again soon. Pobjoy Cataract-powered G-AFGD was discovered in the late Bertram Arden’s shed near Exeter racecourse in the early ’70s. It still wore camouflage, evidence of it being impressed into military service (as BK897) during WWII. It was used by the Glider Pilot Regiment for training and converted into a glider, simply by the removal of its propeller, for the duration. After a painstaking rebuild from 1978, it was repainted in the colours it wore with the Cardiff Aeroplane Club in 1939 and has been based at Shobdon ever since. Ironically ‘GD is currently without its propeller once again, pending the delivery of a newly-manufactured propeller shaft, needed because the existing one was found to have worn splines.
The second Swallow (G-ADMF) arrived at Shobdon in July 2014 having spent the previous 65 years in Ireland as EI-AFF. There it suffered damage when its hangar was flooded and the owners devoted many years to restoring ‘FF to its former glory. During that rebuild it was re-engined with a Pobjoy Niagara and successfully flown. It was subsequently based at Taghmon in County Wexford for some years until put up for sale. Built in 1938, it was operated from Castle Bromwich but was stored dismantled throughout WWII. From 1946 ’MF was owned by well known racing pilot Percy Blamire until he sold it to Ireland in 1949. G-ADMF’S first flight after two years of careful preparation is imminent. This should be a satisfying year for the team at Shobdon when the pair of Swallows grace the skies once again. Report & photo: Tim Badham
Shobdon’s historic Swallows should soon be in the air