Old Timers

Pilot - - CONTENTS -

Vin­tage com­ings and go­ings, restoratio­ns and main­te­nance, plus an air show in Oz

Har­vard G-TVIJ, Boe­ing Stear­man G-CIOC and Stin­son Re­liant NC50238 left the UK to­gether on 13 Novem­ber 2019 to start an epic cross-con­ti­nent ad­ven­ture. Rout­ing across France, Ger­many, Aus­tria, Slo­vakia and down through the Balkans to Greece and Egypt, th­ese three US clas­sic air­craft headed for north-west Saudi Ara­bia where they were due to ar­rive at the new Prince Ab­dul Ma­jeed bin Ab­du­laziz Air­port in early De­cem­ber.

A few miles away at the his­toric city of Al Ula the sec­ond ‘Win­ter at Tan­tora’ Fes­ti­val, a twelve-week cul­tural/arts tourist pro­gramme, is tak­ing place from 19 De­cem­ber 2019 to 7 March 2020. Along­side the week­end per­for­mances there are a num­ber of spe­cial events such as a Bal­loon Fes­ti­val (2-11 Jan­uary 2020) and ex­pe­ri­ences for vis­i­tors in­clud­ing horse-rid­ing, tour­ing, hot air bal­loon and heli­copter flights. To th­ese has now been added ‘vin­tage air­craft flights above the unique, his­toric land­scape of the Al Mad­i­nah re­gion’. The sin­gle-engine trio was joined by Beech D18S G-BKGL for the lat­ter part of the jour­ney, and will be of­fer­ing sight­see­ing and air ex­pe­ri­ence flights through­out the fes­ti­val.

The air­craft have been ac­quired by the Royal Com­mis­sion for Al Ula, ‘Aerial Ad­van­tage’ be­ing listed by the CAA as the new own­ers on 22 Novem­ber. The CCF T-6 Har­vard 4, pre­vi­ously owned by Rob Davies, is painted in a USAF over­all yel­low scheme with the se­rial 28521. Twin-beech G-BKGL, flown by Nick Houghton at many UK events over the past cou­ple of years, served with the RCAF but is painted in USAAC colours with se­rial 1164 and D-day stripes. Both the AT-19 Re­liant and the A75N-1 Stear­man were im­ported from the USA and re­stored to fly at En­stone from 2015. The Stin­son, NC50238 stayed on the FAA reg­is­ter while flown from Compton Ab­bas, and the Stear­man, G-CIOC went to Sky­max (Avi­a­tion) at Damyns Hall to fly wing-walk­ers. All four of the air­craft are re­main­ing on their re­spec­tive CAA/FAA reg­is­ters, and each will be op­er­ated in Saudi Ara­bia un­der an ex­emp­tion.

While it is hoped that the twin might even­tu­ally re­turn to the UK, Sky­max Avi­a­tion has re­placed ‘Os­car-char­lie’ with Stear­man G-BNIW for its wing­walk­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in 2020.

Beech D18S G-BKGL caught up with the Re­liant, Har­vard and Stear­man in Croa­tia on 23 Novem­ber

ABOVE LEFT: the Saudi-bound Re­liant, seen here over the Cotswolds dur­ing a Pi­lot flight test in 2015

ABOVE RIGHT: all-yel­low Har­vard 4 G-TVIJ at Lit­tle Grans­den be­ing dis­played by for­mer owner Rob Davies

Stear­man G-CIOC dur­ing its Ni­tra, Slo­vakia stop-over

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