Straight & Level 5 March

Messerschmitt at 10 o’clock!

Wolf Czaia shares an update on “White 3″, a restored Messerschmitt Me262, which he recently ferried from its hangar at Paine Field, Washington to Suffolk County Airport in Virginia. Converted into a two-seat configuration, Czaia, with lead mechanic Mike Anderson, took the pioneering jet on its 4,000km cross-country trip.

“As our FAA operating limitations mandated ‘Day VFR only’ and maximum altitude 18,000ft, not exactly optimal for range, it took us four days and six refuelling stops across the continent to reach our destination,” he says.

The sight of a feared Luftwaffe fighter in the “rear view mirror” took some of their fellow aviators by surprise though. Czaia continues: “ATC doesn’t have a computer code yet for the Me262, and controllers frequently asked me for the type of airplane. They usually couldn’t wait then to pass the information on to their airliners on the same frequency: ‘Delta 241, you have a MESSERSCHMITT in your 10 o’clock, five miles.’ One of the many funny replies: ‘Are we being invaded?’.”

You can watch a video of White 3 in flight on YouTube

That’s rich

We loved this typo on the Independent’s website. Maybe getting a few more Indian tycoons to splash their cash would be the solution to the UK’s economic problems.


cmd.jpgY oh why?

Pots and kettles. Chris Barnes writes to point out a rather silly typo on our archive column from 5 February, in which we refer to the Vickers Yalentia. As Chris points out: “The only Vickers aircraft that did not start with a V was the Vickers Gunbus. The correct name is Valentia. He adds, rather generously: “This may be the first Flight magazine misspelling of an aircraft I have ever seen.”

As a bit of background, Chris notes: “The Valentia was basically a Vimy with a passenger cabin. I know this as, in a minor way, I helped build the first replica Vimy at Weybridge in the 1960s where I was a Vickers apprentice.”

Victor victorious

The Handley Page Victor spent much of its RAF career in the shadow of its more illustrious sibling, the Avro Vulcan. But the menacing-looking V-bomber-cum-tanker probably contributed more to UK interests than its elegant, delta-winged sister – giving sterling service in both the Falklands and the first Gulf War.

By then, of course, the Vulcan fleet had been consigned to museums. Victor force pilots are also quick to point out that it could fly faster (it was supersonic in a dive) and climb higher than its Avro rival, and carry a lot more fuel.

In his new book Victor Boys, former test pilot Tony Blackman lifts the lid on the aircraft’s four decades in RAF service, recounting fascinating tales from the type’s career. Blackman is probably better known for his association with the Vulcan from his Avro test pilot days, but was involved in the Victor tanker conversion programme.

Well illustrated and with a detailed index, the book is right up-to-date as it includes an account of the dramatic unplanned take-off of a Victor during what was supposed to be a fast-taxi demonstration at Bruntingthorpe in 2009.




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