Span­ish Dragon

Pilot - - NEW REGS - Com­piled by Alan Brown

The Span­ish Civil War was trig­gered in 1936 when Gen­eral Fran­cisco Franco was flown from the Ca­nary Is­lands to Span­ish Morocco in DH Dragon Rapide G-ACYR. This air­craft is on dis­play in a Madrid mu­seum, but the Fun­dación In­fante de Or­leans is a col­lec­tion ded­i­cated to pre­serv­ing Spain’s aero­nau­ti­cal her­itage in fly­ing con­di­tion and they pur­chased Rapide G-AEML in 2008 to rep­re­sent Franco’s plane. G-AEML was built for Wright­ways at Croy­don Air­port in 1936, was im­pressed as an RAF Do­minie and then flew for six­teen years with Arm­strong Whit­worth Ltd. It has re­mained air­wor­thy for vir­tu­ally all of its eighty years and now takes Span­ish marks.

Spitfire res­ur­rec­tion

Mark V Spitfire BL688 had a busy, if ac­ci­dent-prone, ca­reer fly­ing with six front-line squadrons be­fore trans­fer­ring to No. 58 Op­er­a­tional Train­ing Unit. On 29 May 1945 it was de­stroyed, fly­ing into high ground in bad weather with the loss of Pol­ish trainee pi­lot Zyg­munt Bauerek. The wreck­age was sal­vaged at the time, but small pieces have been dis­cov­ered since and the air­craft has now been reg­is­tered G-CJWO for restora­tion, although this must es­sen­tially be a new-build at­tached to the maker’s plate.

By any other name...

Nom­i­nally, Raytheon 400A light busi­ness jet G-FXCR is a first on the Bri­tish Regis­ter, but the de­sign dates back nearly forty years. The Ja­panese Mit­subishi MU-300 Di­a­mond was in­tended to build on the suc­cess of the MU-2 tur­bo­prop; pro­duc­tion rights were bought by Beechcraft who re­named it the Beech­jet 400. Beechcraft then ac­quired Bri­tish Aero­space’s Dh.125-de­rived biz­jet range and re­vived the iconic Hawker name for them. De­spite its dif­fer­ent lin­eage, the Beech­jet be­came the Hawker 400, but now it has taken on the hold­ing group’s ti­tle.

Up to twenty thou­sand

The Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity’s re­cently-pub­lished sta­tis­tics, as of 1 Jan­uary 2017, show a small in­crease in the to­tal G-reg­is­tered fleet to 20,027, up 103 from the pre­vi­ous year. There was pro­por­tional strong growth in air­liner num­bers and large ro­tor­craft, while fixed-wing GA was al­most static. The num­ber of hot air bal­loons con­tin­ued to fall, re­flect­ing the peak of ac­tiv­ity ten years ago and their av­er­age use­ful life. 13,376 air­craft have a valid Per­mit to Fly, ex­actly two-thirds of the fleet, although those in the Sin­gle Seat Dereg­u­lated class must be added to this. There are three gas air­ships and three fixed-wing sea­planes, but vir­tu­ally one hun­dred min­i­mum-lift (toy) bal­loons.

Au­t­o­gyro trail­blazer

VPM M15 Trainer G-BVDG is a home­built au­t­o­gyro, pre­de­ces­sor of the Magni M16 Tan­dem Trainer. The only one that has ap­peared on the UK Regis­ter is re­stored this month af­ter twenty years in Kenya.

Tiger Avi­a­tion has re-reg­is­tered Robin­son Beta G-RSWW as G-TGRC

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