Straight & Level 8 October

A century of front-line service
Allan Winn, who runs the Brooklands museum and was formerly of this parish, reminds us of the 100-year link between the former factory there and the British armed forces, which has ended with the retirement of the RAF’s Vickers VC10.
However, the museum near London continues to have an association with the type, with the Sultan of Oman’s private aircraft (A-40-AB, formerly G-ASIX), plus the recently-restored fuselage of G-ARVM and the original test-specimen fuselage currently being refurbished to go on show in its new Stratosphere Chamber.
The first Sopwith three-seat Tractor biplane was produced at the Surrey site for the Royal Naval Air Service in August 1913. Almost exactly a century later, as our feature on P24 describes, the Brooklands-assembled VC10 bowed out. Until then, says Winn: “The British armed forces have always had one or more Brooklands-built or assembled types in front-line service: we can’t think of any other site/customer relationship that comes close!”

Made in Brooklands: products included the 1919 Vickers Vimy (below).

Vimy rexfeatures_627073af

Beer glasses
Carl Brancher wonders if a can on the bottom right of an image we ran last week of a CFM production line could possibly be a can of Tuborg beer (on the Safran machine bottom right). We can safely say it’s not – although we suspect it is a lubricant of a very different and quite legitimate sort.

CFM Production 2 - 4x6

Skyfall
Indonesia’s Lion Group is opening an MRO facility on Batam Island, offering heavy maintenance for Lion Group and third-party customers. “Presumably,” wonders our regular correspondent Ian Goold, “in case a Qantas A380 drops in.”

Planes, trains and satellites
John Leahy had this to say about his company’s focus on aircraft manufacturing at the unveiling of its Global Market Forecast: “Because that’s the business we’re in – we don’t make trains.” In the week Bombardier was grabbing the headlines with the first flight of the CSeries, whoever could Airbus’s super salesman have been referring to?
While the Canadian business is indeed one of the world’s leading manufacturers of rail-based transportation products, perhaps Leahy was conveniently forgetting that Airbus (as EADS will soon be retagged) will have in its portfolio everything from helicopters to space satellites to surveillance systems.

Sleepless in Seattle
A final thought on the double-dozing flightcrew controversy from Goold: “What’s the point in flying Dreamliners if the pilots aren’t allowed to sleep?”

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