Straight & Level 19 November

Blackbushe – a sign of the times
Long before Boris Island, London City and even Gatwick and Stansted, London’s second airport was Blackbushe, and last month there was a ceremony there to unveil an illustrative sign commemorating the many British airlines that used to call it home.
The sign was unveiled by Harold Bamberg, founding chairman of Eagle Airways, which had its first post-war base at Blackbushe.
The sign is positioned close to the present terminal building and captures scenes from the airport’s historic past, featuring classic piston, turboprop and jet aircraft from Vikings, DC-3s, ­DC-6s,Viscounts and Conste-llations to Comets, as well as the unique Silver City Bristol 170 car ferries.
Bamberg, who flew freighters in the Berlin air lift, had 40 Vikings and expanded into a large fleet of Viscounts, Britannias, and Boeing 707s, which operated transatlantic services from Heathrow via Bermuda.
Blackbushe was originally RAF Hartfordbridge and after 1947 was operated by the Ministry of Civil Aviation until 1960, when the airport was closed and airlines moved to Heathrow and Gatwick.
Private airlines at Blackbushe included Britavia, Dan-Air, Falcon, Orion and Pegasus, as well as Eagle and Silver City.

Hybrid Tornado
Les Hurst, who spent several years flying Tornados as a BAE Systems test navigator, sends in this snap of a model aircraft he found in his grandson’s bedroom.
“It has what appears to be a propeller device fitted behind the engines and as far as I know was never flown,” he says. “Could it be a cunning device to disperse the jet efflux and thus defeat heat-seeking missiles?”


777 trademax
Just one day before Lufthansa’s board agreed the first commitment to Boeing’s proposed 777X, intellectual property records revealed a tantalising new name registration.
The filing showed that the brand ‘Triple 7 Max’ had been formally listed by a US West Coast company known as Wilbur-Ellis.
Given that Boeing has yet to unveil its official designation for the 777X, and given that it has adopted the ‘Max’ name for its latest 737 incarnation, discovery of the listing appeared to be an air transport scoop being served up on a plate.
Except that Wilbur-Ellis isn’t some fancy law firm looking after Boeing’s trademark interests, but a San Francisco-based distributor of agricultural products.
And Triple 7 Max turns out to be a brand of fertilizer.
That might be good for plant expansion and growth prospects but probably not in the sense that Boeing had in mind.

Component deviation list maintenance intervention = We took the winglet off.
Non-contributing 50-seat flying = our regional planes lose us money.

Space filler
Intriguing invite from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to the launch of an action plan for the UK space sector.
Media must confirm attendance in advance it urges, because “Space is limited”.
So, there we go. All that brain-aching speculation about an infinite or ever-expanding universe resolved at a stroke.
Has anyone thought to tell Stephen Hawking?


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