Top ’dog in­deed

Pilot - - SPECIAL FEATURE -

A re­ally su­per ar­ti­cle by Derek Sharp on the ren­o­va­tion/re­fur­bish­ment of his EX-RAF Bull­dog XX614 in Au­gust’s mag­a­zine. A some­what dif­fer­ent sort of ar­ti­cle to what we read each month but one that would be, I be­lieve, very in­ter­est­ing to most of Pilot’s read­ers. Great photos too.

I saw Derek’s Bull­dog re­cently at Tur­we­ston and it cer­tainly has been lov­ingly and beau­ti­fully re­stored and de­serves the plau­dits given. Well worth all the chal­lenges dur­ing the re­fur­bish­ment pro­gramme. As Derek says, ‘we are merely cus­to­di­ans of these very spe­cial machines and hope­fully, they will still be fly­ing for many years to come’. Kerr John­ston by email The Au­gust is­sue cer­tainly pro­vided a cor­nu­copia for pi­lots of a cer­tain vin­tage, with ma­jor ar­ti­cles on both the Chip­munk and Bull­dog. Two small points on the Bull­dog piece. Firstly, a friend of mine who flew many Bull­dogs whilst OC, Ex­am­in­ing Wing at the CFS, tells me that many Bull­dogs had their rear fuse­lage re­placed whilst in RAF ser­vice (due to fa­tigue is­sues, ap­par­ently). Se­condly, Derek Sharp men­tions that his G-GGRR was ‘orig­i­nally de­liv­ered to the Manch­ester and Sal­ford Uni­ver­sity Air Squadron back in 1974’. This is not strictly true: it was de­liv­ered to the Manch­ester Uni­ver­sity Air Squadron. The union with Sal­ford only took place the fol­low­ing year (and was lamented by those at Manch­ester!) How do I know? I was a Manch­ester stu­dent at the time, and must have been one of the first ser­vice pi­lots to fly XX614, as it was the air­craft in which I did my first flight for con­ver­sion to type in June 1974.

Hav­ing seen XX614 at this year’s RIAT, I can con­firm its ex­ter­nal fin­ish is much more shiny than I re­mem­ber it from 42 years ago! Well done to Derek for get­ting her into such great shape. Paul Smiddy, Wood­bridge

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