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pigsty

Classic Air Force

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Just back from my hols in Cornwall, and managed this time to call in at Classic Air Force at "Newquay Airport". This is the old Coventry mob, gradually settling in at their new location.

Anyone familiar with RAF St Mawgan will know Hangar 404, the big one at the end of the line. This is where all but a few of the exhibits live. At the moment they have a Vampire trainer, a Venom (both ex-Swiss), a Percival, a Dakota, most of a Varsity, a Meteor NF.Mk.11, a Sea Devon, a Hunter T.Mk.8 and a GA.Mk.11, two Jet Provosts, and the old Qinetiq BAC 111 which has just arrived. Technically all but the Varsity, the Hunters and the Sea Devon are flyable, and the Vampire, Venom and Meteor and at least one JP have all flown recently. Not too sure how sustained this will be. Unfortunately the Hunters are in a bit of a state: the trainer is bent and full of water, and the fighter is being stripped for service as their gate guardian (although that should at least give you something to see along the A3059).

There are cockpit tours of the Dakota and the 111, the latter including the best legroom of any airliner ever. Other exhibits are all admirably accessible, within tyre-kicking distance. A small bonus was being able to see the Vampire's engine being reinstalled with the help of a crane and five nervous fitters.

Overall it's a promising start. The entry fee is a little steep but you get good talks from the volunteers and, as more exhibits gather, it should become better value. (A Lightning and a Harrier are possibilities, and they're thinking seriously about how to get the Nimrod down.) The concessions rate is a genuine reduction, too - a full third off. One welcome feature is that on entry you get a voucher equivalent to the price of admission, which you can redeem against the purchase of items from the gift shop, up to 50% of their total value. (I think! - it all got a bit complicated but I got excellent reductions on a couple of Aerofax books.) The actual stock is a bit hit and miss but there are good things in there - except the models, on which they could do with taking it a bit more seriously. Though they have taken care to lay on a stock of the paints that Airfix recommends.

Not hugely impressed with the pasties, but at least they weren't Ginsters. :sick: NB: the hangar is vast and unheated, and they have to leave the doors open a lilttle. Bear this in mind on a claggy day.

Pigsty's rating: 7/10, a fair way to spend a couple of hours if you'm down that way.

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id say this is a fair review of Classic Air Force at the time of pigsty's visit. to update things, we now have both meteors down (the NF11 and T7) the pair of jet provosts, a venom and vampire, an anson, a chipmunk, a proctor and prentice at least one and sometimes 2 dragon rapides and at least one auster. All of these are in flying condition.

On the static side are the 2 hunters, a harrier gr3, the sea devon, the varsity a locally built evans vp-2 the BAC 1-11 and (my personal favourite) a canberra. as well as a sea hawk in storage This was joined this week by a static VC-10.

we have, unfortunately, lost the C-47 which was sold to a German company who are using it for pleasure flying.

Coming soon from Coventry (but with no date set) are the flying canberra, a twin pioneer, another devon, a pembroke and hopefully the nimrod

steve...a proud volunteer at Classic Air Force, usually found with my head in various panels of the hunter removing components for display

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Would I be correct in believing that the "locally built evans vp-2" is no mere "locally built evans vp-2" but "Spirit of Truro" built by a team of pupils and staff from Truro School in the 1970s and 1980s?

http://www.truroschool.com/history/the-spirit-of-truro

Click on the Take Flight article for PDF article giving the full story.

Edited by Seahawk

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We went there earlier in the year. My Dad and me went up in the Rapide , which was fab. My Wife and I got married at the headlands hotel in Newquay so it was great to get a view from the air. I was hoping to have gone up in the Dakota but maybe that wont happen now.

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Yes Seahawk, you would be correct in that. And we are hoping to get another one of our Daks later in the year which hopefully we will be able to do pleasure flying in, as we have applied for certain CAA exemptions for pleasure flying which I won't bore you with here.

Steve

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