The mighty Bel­lamy

Pilot - - OWNER REPORT - John Preece, Cambridge

Pat Malone men­tioned Vivian Bel­lamy in his June col­umn, and it took me back to 1968 when I last met him. It was at RAF Deb­den in Es­sex where a dozen RAF pilots had as­sem­bled to check out on Spitfires and Hur­ri­canes prior to the film­ing of the Bat­tle of Bri­tain. Vivian was brought in as the ex­pert in any­thing Su­per­ma­rine due to his pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence as a test pi­lot with the com­pany.

The air­craft were be­ing as­sem­bled from var­i­ous sources, hav­ing been put into fly­ing shape by an en­gi­neer­ing com­pany based at Hen­low. I was given a Mk 9 for a fa­mil­iari­sa­tion trip with at least two hours ex­pe­ri­ence on type. Climb­ing out of Deb­den I sud­denly ex­pe­ri­enced a loss of power and rough run­ning from the mighty Mer­lin. A very short and hasty cir­cuit was flown and the air­craft handed back to the main­te­nance team. It was duly checked and no fault was found. Sus­pect­ing that the pi­lot was the prob­lem, the large bearded fig­ure of Viv was called upon to test the air­craft prop­erly. I watched him de­part and at about 500ft an omi­nous cloud of smoke came from the ex­haust with the sound of rough run­ning. If my cir­cuit was tight, it was noth­ing com­pared with the Bel­lamy ef­fort. Mas­ter­ful!

In case you are think­ing that the film was made at Dux­ford, we moved there once the fleet had as­sem­bled and the Span­ish (Ger­man) air­craft had ar­rived from Spain.

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