Straight & Level 14 May

Dambusters still bouncing at 70

The technology was far from perfect and the 617 Sqn mission failed to significantly damage the German war machine or shorten the war, but the Dambusters have remained part of military folklore since.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of Sir Barnes Wallis’s bouncing bomb raids of May 1943, the UK’s Brooklands Museum is holding a series of events, culminating in a day of celebrations on 17 May, including a chance to meet veterans of RAF Bomber Command and view a prototype of the so-called aerial mine used to breach the Ruhr dams.

Wallis spent almost four decades working at Brooklands, including time spent on the Wellington bomber.

Dambusters rexfeatures_908020a.jpgBoJo’s H-ro rant

London mayor Boris Johnson – whose pet project remains a new hub airport in the Thames estuary – recently told opponents of a third Heathrow runway that such a project would “desecrate” the capital with “hundreds of thousands, if not millions of great flying fleets of fortissimo flatulence”.

That image of large, noisy objects descending from the sky over London, often unable to land… it reminded us of something. Not sure what.

bojo rexfeatures_1810674d.jpgThe last survivor

Another icon of the Second World War – the only surviving Dornier Do 17 “Flying Pencil” – is to be raised from the English Channel, 73 years after it was shot down during the Battle

of Britain.

The aircraft – preserved largely intact – was spotted by divers in 2008 off the Goodwin Sands in Kent. Aside from barnacles and other effects of sea life, the condition of Do 17Z Werke nr 1160 is said to be “remarkable”, with its tyres inflated and damage to the propellers only, inflicted during its final crash landing.

The three-week project to raise the Do 17 is described as the biggest recovery of its kind in UK waters.

The restored aircraft will go on to be exhibited at the Royal Air Force Museum.

Taking to the aria

Leisure airline Monarch entertained passengers who were checking in at London Gatwick for its inaugural flight to Verona with some traditional Italian opera. Sadly, there were no seats for a tenor.

Still human

Jesper Vanddam writes from Denmark saying that it was with some relief that he read our headline: “USAF leader confirms manned decision for new bomber.” He says: “I have long feared that such a decision would be taken by robots.”

Hands off Earth!

EADS Cassidian’s “Defending world security” certainly wins the prize for most ambitious corporate slogan. Those Klingons must be terrified to invade now.

Klingons rexfeatures_494919g.jpg


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