Vanguard 50th: Brooklands’ superb “Mudguard”

The Brooklands Museum in Weybridge marked the 50th anniversary of its Vickers Vanguard on 3 December, with a reunion of the first and last Captains to fly the big turboprop.

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Capt Jack Randell (pictured, above left) was in the BEA crew that delivered G-APEP “Superb“ on the short hop from Vickers’ Wisley airfield to the airline’s “London Airport” (Heathrow) base on 13 December 1961 (see extract from Jack’s log book, below). Thirty-five years later, after sterling service in the passenger role and later as a freighter with BEA, British Airways, Air Bridge Carriers and Hunting Cargo Airlines, Echo Papa was flown into its Brooklands birthplace by Capts Gary West (above right) and Peter Moore.

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On 17 October 1996, West and Moore – who sadly passed away last year – positioned Echo Papa from Hunting Cargo’s East Midlands base for a spectacular arrival on the remains of Brooklands’ runway, which only had 600m (1,970ft) landing distance available. This was the last flight of a Vanguard anywhere in the world.

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Reminiscing at the Brooklands reunion with fellow ex-Vanguard pilots about that impressive final landing, West joked: “We’d practised at East Midlands with the landing distance marked on the runway, but it still looked awfully short as we flew down the approach to Brooklands!” 

However it all went to plan and the aircraft was easily stopped in the distance available. “We were very light so we touched down at less than 100kt,” added West.

Read the 1996 article from Flight International (above) about the Brooklands arrival here, and our jump-seat ride to Brussels in the last Vanguard  here.

For information on how you can visit Echo Papa and the museum’s extensive collection of aircraft (including Concorde G-BBDG) and motor vehicles, go to Brooklandsmuseum.com



 

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