Swal­lows about to fly the nest

Pilot - - OLD TIMERS -

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

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