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Ghost of the Past

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World War II fighter found in Egyptian desert

The pilot appears to have crash-landed the plane and then walked off into the desert

A World War II RAF fighter, which crash-landed in a remote part of the Egyptian desert in 1942, has been discovered almost intact.

There was no trace of the pilot, Flt Sgt Dennis Copping, but the British embassy says it is planning to mount a search for his remains.

The RAF Museum in Hendon, north London, says it is hoping to recover the plane as soon as possible.

There are fears souvenir hunters will start stripping it.

The 24-year-old pilot, the son of a dentist from Southend in Essex, went missing over the Western Desert in June 1942, flying an American-made P40 Kittyhawk single-engine fighter.

Two-and-a-half months ago an aircraft believed to be his was discovered near a remote place called Wadi al-Jadid by a Polish oil worker, Jakub Perka.

His photographs show the plane is in remarkably good condition, though the engine and propeller have separated from the fuselage.

The original paintwork and RAF insignia are said to be clearly visible, almost perfectly preserved in the dry desert air.

But of the pilot there is no sign. He appears to have executed a near-perfect emergency landing, perhaps after becoming lost and running out of fuel, and to have survived the crash.

Source: BBC News Read more

Spitfires in Burma ‘could be found’

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The Spitfires were concealed by the RAF in 1945 to prevent them falling into Japanese hands

British and Burmese authorities could work together to find 20 Spitfires buried in Burma at the end of the World War II, officials say.

The case of the missing planes was raised when PM David Cameron met Burmese President Thein Sein.

A Downing Street source said it was “hoped this will be an opportunity to work with the reforming Burmese government”.

The exact location of the planes is unknown.

The planes were buried in 1945 by the RAF amid fears that they could either be used or destroyed by Japanese forces, but in the intervening years they have not been located.

At the time they were unused, still in crates, and yet to be assembled.

Until a general election in 2010, Burma was ruled for almost half a century by a military junta.

It has been reported that experts from Leeds University and an academic based in Rangoon believe they may have identified the sites where the craft are concealed using sophisticated radar techniques.

On Friday, officials said President Thein Sein was “very enthusiastic” about the prospect of finding and restoring the planes.

A Downing Street source said: “The Spitfire is arguably the most important plane in the history of aviation, playing a crucial role in the Second World War.

“It is hoped this will be an opportunity to work with the reforming Burmese government, uncover, restore and display these fighter planes and get them gracing the skies of Britain once again.”

Source: BBC News

MkVII Spitfires RAF 152 Sqn, Themaw - Burma 1945

Cold War Jets

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English Electric Lightning

Photo credit: Century of Flight

English Electric Lightnings are one of the world’s fabulous aircraft.

The English Electric Lightning is a supersonic jet fighter aircraft of the Cold War era, noted for its great speed and unpainted natural metal exterior finish. It is the only all-British Mach 2 fighter aircraft. The aircraft was renowned for its capabilities as an interceptor; Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots described it as “being saddled to a skyrocket”. – Wikipedia

“The first time I heard a Lightning, I should have seen it too but I didn’t! I was too busy burying my head into my shoulders with my arms wrapped across my head and ears. The RAF pilot had sneaked up behind the crowd line at Biggin Hill, and came out of the valley behind me at what seemed to be about 10 feet above my head. He then climbed, looped and banked that aircraft round the airfield leaving me breathless, ending with that fantastic Lightning finale of running down the runway centreline, standing the aircraft on its tail, and just going straight up till out of sight. Awesome and a wonderful memory.” – Cheerio Ivan

Some awesome photos on Fast Air Photography of the 2010 Open Day at Bruntingthorpe

Watch one taking off at Bruntingthorpe:


Pretty awesome, huh?

Some more Cold War Jets:

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Phantoms

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Phantom fighter jet to return to former Wattisham base

The Phantom is currently at RAF Brampton which is due to close in 2013

A former RAF fighter jet is to return to its former base in Suffolk after nearly two decades to be restored.

The Phantom XT914 was one of the last RAF aircraft to be based at Wattisham Airfield before the station was handed over to the Army in 1993.

The jet is being moved from its present home at the entrance to RAF Brampton in Cambridgeshire to the Wattisham Heritage Museum.

It will be broken down into sections so it can be transported by lorry.

The Phantom was used by the Royal Air Force’s 74 (Tiger) and 56 (Firebirds) squadrons at the Suffolk airfield before it was retired from service in 1992.

Source: BBC News Read more

Phantoms preparing for take off at Wattisham Base
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Footage of RAF Wattisham and Phantoms of 74 and 56 Squadrons 1991-1993.

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