Monday, 29 July 2013

Dumfries Aviation Museum Open Day

The Bawbee folk club in Dumfries laid on a one day extravaganza with a festival day last Saturday. I turned up on Sunday! As it turned out my trip to Dumfries wasn't wasted as the Dumfries Aviation Museum was having an open day on the Sunday, so I went to that. The museum is centred around the control tower of the old World War II airfield.

Their best looking aeroplane is this English Electric Lightning F53. This one was owned by the Saudi airforce from 1968 till 1984, after this it spent a few years mounted on a plinth outside Ferranti's building at the South Gyle in Edinburgh (here it is). She has been repainted in the colours of the RAF 111 squadron.

This curious beast with one propelor in front of the other is Fairey Gannet AEW.3. It flew from 1960 til 1978 (here's a picture of the very same aircraft off the ground). It served some of it time on board the HMS Ark Royal.

This is a Hawker Hunter F4. It was used as an instuctional aircraft.

This is a Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star, which was used by the US air force as a jet training aircraft.This particular one belonged to the Belgium air force.

SAAB are  known over here for making motor cars - their uncompromising approach to quality has recently led to their bankruptcy. Being the only car manufacturer also to make jet aeroplanes, they certainly took advantage of it in some of their adverts (here's one from the 80s). This one belonged to the Swedish air force (only right I suppose since SAAB are Swedish) and might be the pointiest aeroplane I've seen.

Here we are up in the control tower. In a time of national crisis these chaps have left their positions in garment display to fill some vital roles in air traffic control. Blimey it was hot up there - I was glad to get out. I should return on a cooler day to look at the displays that are in that building.

As befits any British office situation, there were plenty teacups in evidence.

This model of a biplane (I saw no information for it) was flying over a selection aeroplane engines. It reminded me of a visit to Fort Perch Rock at New Brighton a few years ago, where, amongst other exhibitions, a large amount of air crash wreckage was displayed. It was more obvious in New Brighton, but also applied to most of the engines here in Dumfries, that they are on display as a direct result of somebody being killed (usually while training for, or actually, trying to kill somebody else).

There was a good deal of military vehicles and equipment on display out side the ground. I'm afraid I found it all a bit gratuitous.

Being a mainly country area , you'll often get a display of vintage tractors at any event in Dumfries and Galloway. I don't know how old this Fordson (tractors made by Ford from 1917 till 1964) is, but the roof is similar to the sort you often see on ald traction engines and gives it some added vintage appeal.

Ferguson made tractors from 1934 till 1953. They didn't dissappear but merged with the Massey Harris company in the '50s and still exist as Massey Ferguson. These little grey Fergies seem to appear often in vintage tractor events. Somewhat more glamourously the company's founder Harry Ferguson was involved in building racing cars and his P99 was driven by Stirling Moss  who would have won the 1961 British Grand Prix in one had it not been for a rule enfringement. Here's Sir Stirling having a better day, this time in a Lotus, the same year in Monte Carlo. There is a little film of a P99 here. Maybe I'm deviating a bit here but, while look for film, I found this little bit of Stirling Moss getting his own car cleaned in 1961 - now if Tesco's carwash gave that service, I'd be round there with my E-type right away.

This rather snazzy red number is a Bristol motor car. I don't know how old this one is (one of these perhaps?) but I do know that Bristol started making cars after the war to take up the manufacturing slack in it's aeroplane company. SAAB it seems are not the only plane manufacturer to make cars (although on a slightly smaller scale - Bristol have made around 20 cars a year in recent years). Alas, SAAB are also not the only ones to have problems with bankruptcy - I believe somebody has since bought Bristol. 

 A little further back in time, 1914 to be exact this Arrol Johnston is only a mile or so away from where it was made nearly a century earlier. When Arrol Johnston opened it's car factory (now the Gates rubber factory) at Heathhall in Dumfries in 1913, it was already a fair way into it's history since their first car was made in 1895.

If you think that looks old fashioned, it had come a long way since their  1895 car. This picture was stolen from Glasgow University's site which has a pile of interesting information on Mr Johnston and the car.

 My little red motor is a bit more up to date than that, still it might benefit from a bigger engine - do you think I could get this fitted?


Shundo said...

Looks like a beautiful day for wandering round looking at planes - most of which I recognise from childhood fantasies... Nice to see a clip of Shelsley Walsh, which my dad probably still goes to regularly; I used to get dragged, not always willingly, to many such events.

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

I did not know Saab went under until reading it here. We had a 900 and it was a really fine automobile and a pleasure to drive. Wonderful post.

Sandy's witterings said...

Shundo - there's seems to be a bit of the small boy in me just ready to surface, I had an Airfix Lightning hanging from my roof so I was quite excited to see one in the flesh. My trips to motor sports were rare enough to keep them quite novel.

John, I've heard good things about Saab too, but it's just not good enough to be good at building cars these days it seems and the business head didn't match.
Looks like the name's not about to disappear just now as there is a Saab website which states,"On August 31, 2012, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB acquired the main assets of the Saab Automobile bankruptcy estates." Looks like you can look forward to electric vehicles bearing the SAAB name soon, though I doubt it'll not be the same as your Saab 900 John.

The Glebe Blog said...

A good day out Sandy. I reckon I've come across that tractor up the Bankend Rd a while back. I must be getting old, I remember an old Arrol Johnston bus that used to trundle around Cupar when I was a lad. I think it might have been an antique even then.

Sandy's witterings said...

Jim, I had to have a wee look for an Arrol Johnstone bus and funnily enough the most obvious reference to one was also in Fife, but surely, a young man like yourself.....

Rustic Vintage Country said...

Wow, what a fabulous day out! It's great to see how the control tower would have been.

Sandy's witterings said...

Thanks Suzanne. It was a good outing - found by accident but it would have been well worth going to even if I hadn't been passing.