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Flight 14.9.1956

50 years ago

Farnborough 1956

Following Monday's "preview" display the flying programme was modified on Tuesday to provide an improved and more logical presentation. Even before the flying display, however, a basic difference was evident in Tuesday's Farnborough mixture. The new ingredients were seen in the people attending. Among the visitors, appropriately enough, more foreign uniforms were seen, together with more stripes on uniform sleeves and stars on shoulders more foreign tongues were heard and more expensive brochures were transferred to more expensive-looking briefcases. The day's flying display began with the Beverley and the engine test-beds, as on Monday but with the inclusion of the Orion Britannia. The order of R.A.F. participation was reversed, the Canberra T.4s of 231 O.C.U. preceding the helicopter group and the Hunters of 43 Squadron following it. The penultimate item was to be the Britannia 301 - its only appearance that week - and two Fairey Deltas. The incident which was presented to the British public at their breakfast table next day under headlines such as "JET TWISS SAVES DROOPY" occurred as Peter Twiss was taking off in WG 774, his record-breaking F.D.2. As he applied re-heat early in the take-off run, the cluster of three braking parachutes accidentally streamed from the tail of the machine. Twiss continued along the runway without re-heat, but was heard to apply afterburning again before leaving the ground. The tail parachutes were jettisoned after take-off, and Twiss and Slade carried out their low-level display as planned. Optimism concerning the weather was again out of place on Wednesday. The flying programme was changed to a bad-weather routine. Rain fell once more on Thursday morning, but conditions were good enough for the flying programme to proceed in the afternoon. An unusual incident involving the Folland Gnat occurred as "Dick" Whittington was bringing the agile machine in to land after his display. On touching down he streamed the brake parachute, which scooped up water from one of the large puddles which covered the runway. The added weight on the tail, together with the crosswind, caused the aircraft to skid and veer on to the grass at the side of the runway. Whittington was unhurt and the Gnat undamaged. A three-day spell of English weather at its worst had greeted overseas guests to the 1956 S.B.A.C. Display and Exhibition. The flying demonstrations had been viewed through a wet and muddy field, yet they had impressed. For more from Flight of Old visit Flightglobal.com/Archive

Source: Flight International