Blenheim MkI Airborne

Good to see a Blenheim flying again, especially a short nose, and well done to the team who made this possible. The Blenheim remains a largely forgotten RAF type but was incredibly important in the early years of the War despite its limitations.

141120_Blenheim_First_Flight-1-11.jpg


Regards,
MM
 
I remember some years ago when the only remaining flying Blenheim at that time was stuffed in at Denham Aerodrome.

I think that it was its maiden flight, as well.
 
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Ah. The Blenheim.

Years ago, I saw an ad for sponsors for the Battle of Britain memorial.

It was £25 or something to put a name on it, and it didn't seem right not to stump up for that.

I got a letter to say that I'd paid the the name of one Victor D Gee to be inscribed and that he was a Blenheim pilot.

This is him. Oddly, it doesn't say he was a Blenheim pilot at all, but never mind.

Gee-portrait2-opt.jpg


http://www.bbm.org.uk/Gee.htm
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
Ah. The Blenheim.

Years ago, I saw an ad for sponsors for the Battle of Britain memorial.

It was £25 or something to put a name on it, and it didn't seem right not to stump up for that.

I got a letter to say that I'd paid the the name of one Victor D Gee to be inscribed and that he was a Blenheim pilot.

This is him. Oddly, it doesn't say he was a Blenheim pilot at all, but never mind.

Gee-portrait2-opt.jpg


http://www.bbm.org.uk/Gee.htm

Victor David Gee joined the RAFVR in December 1938 as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his flying training and arrived at 5 OTU, Aston Down on 22nd June 1940. After converting to Blenheims, Gee joined 219 Squadron at Catterick on 7th July and served with it throughout the Battle of Britain.
 
Victor David Gee joined the RAFVR in December 1938 as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his flying training and arrived at 5 OTU, Aston Down on 22nd June 1940. After converting to Blenheims, Gee joined 219 Squadron at Catterick on 7th July and served with it throughout the Battle of Britain.

All right, smartarse.

I meant that I assumed he'd died in a Blenheim.

Gee was killed on 21st March 1941, when Beaufighter R2070 dived into the ground at Manor Farm, Eastergate, Sussex after stalling on on the approach to Tangmere.

Like I said - doesn't matter. Whatever happened to him or whatever he flew, it was my privilege to put his name up.
 
Its amazing to see pictures of this aircraft flying again, it was the 2003 display season when it crashed at Duxford and this has been a long and careful rebuild with a conversion to a Mark 1 cockpit. It looks amazing, and am now scheduling another revisit to Duxford to try to get a closer look!
 
When I'm in Coventry I pass the Grave of a Blenheim pilot Neville Ashley (139 sqdrn) whose aircraft crashed on returning from a raid at horsham st faith on the 23/12/1940. 21 years old. Never fails to impress on me the sacrifices made in those dark days.

One of the first of the few. Is the inscription placed there by his widowed Mum.
 

S0I

LE
Nice to see it restored, but going by the track record, I'd leave it on display in a museum.
Restore, crash, restore, crash, restore.... That's what, 25 years of almost endless rebuilding now? It must be a bit like a Triggers Broom.
 
Nice to see it restored, but going by the track record, I'd leave it on display in a museum.
Restore, crash, restore, crash, restore.... That's what, 25 years of almost endless rebuilding now? It must be a bit like a Triggers Broom.

It will be ok as long as they give it to a pilot that doesnt act like a total arse like the last one.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
Nice to see it restored, but going by the track record, I'd leave it on display in a museum.
Restore, crash, restore, crash, restore.... That's what, 25 years of almost endless rebuilding now? It must be a bit like a Triggers Broom.

They were bad news for pilots if an engine failed just after take-off or when coming into land. Turn towards the failed engine and you were virtually certain to crash. Turn against the dead engine (which is counter-intuitive) and you might get down on one piece.

The Blenheim is a classic example of the pace of aircraft design in the run up to war. When it first flew in April 1935 it could outrun the biplane fighters of the day. In September 1939 it was dead meat if caught in a clear sky by a fighter like the Me 109.
 
In fairness, the Alpha-grade buffoonery was in '87 rather than on the part of the pilot in the wheels-up landing in 2003. The first one crashed at Denham after an impromptu, ill-thought out touch and go which touched but failed to go after the pilot cocked up with.... well, pretty much everything. That airframe was written off and this one is based on the replacement aircraft.

ISTR that it had taken about 12 years to get that one airworthy again, so if the Mk I appears as planned on the airshow circuit, it'll be about 30 years since attempts to get a Blenheim flying again began.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
They were bad news for pilots if an engine failed just after take-off or when coming into land. Turn towards the failed engine and you were virtually certain to crash. Turn against the dead engine (which is counter-intuitive) and you might get down on one piece.

The Blenheim is a classic example of the pace of aircraft design in the run up to war. When it first flew in April 1935 it could outrun the biplane fighters of the day. In September 1939 it was dead meat if caught in a clear sky by a fighter like the Me 109.

Indeed. The early Blenheim always looks 'old' to me but when considered against some contemporaries - open cockpits, fixed undercarriage - it's a clear advance.

Can we have a Beaufighter now, please?
 
Howsabout a Wellington ? and can you chalk up a Hampden ? Pretty please....
 
Unfortunately the Beaufighter restoration has come to a sticky end, at least for now.... The airframe and parts are all up for sale, attempts to find Bristol Hercules engines of the original type have been unsuccessful, and recent rule changes on pilot qualifications mean that there are no currently qualified pilots at Duxford who could fly this aircraft even if these major hurdles were overcome.

Without a major design change there are no engines available for this aircraft to fly, and a design change is a very big problem, as it needs someone to sign off on the changes, it would be akin to producing the marque from scratch again.

It is a sad end to a very careful rebuild virtually from ground up, which has taken place over at least 20 years.
 

Chef

LE
I always thought the Mk I was the prettier version.

The Blenheim was the only plane to fly with every command during the war.

I doubt the debate on flying restored aircraft will ever be settled, but I have to say that living close to Hendon it is nice to see the Lanc and assorted fighters on display, but watching the two Lancs earlier this year was something else and even brought a tear to Mrs Chef's eye.

I don't know about the others but I believe the geodesic build of the Wellington means it would never be granted a flying cert. A Hampden though? Yes please.
 

S0I

LE
Even if they got the proper engines, I'd be surprised if a Baeu got signed off.
Classic war design, effiective but rather flawed and a bit of a pig to fly.
 
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