Wednesday, 26 September 2012

My brothers new toy .....

Out of my three brothers , one has never really grown up !!! He was always buying kit cars , painting his motorbikes outrageous colours and generally being a big kid :-)

As he got older his toys have grown in size and power . He went from a mundane Ford to an outrageous TVR !! His first TVR was a Griffith . And i remember my mum and dads reaction when they first heard it . ' Think your exhaust needs fixing son , as i can't hear myself think with the noise that's coming from it ' !!!
'No mum , it's supposed to sound like that '
Which it was , due to the straight through stainless exhaust system !!

He then went on to various other TVR's , ending up with his current one . Which is a wonderful Tuscan . I will be doing a short blog about this particular one shortly .

Move on several years later .He still has a clean driving licence and the car is still in one piece . His two daughters have grown up and one is fast approaching her seventeenth birthday . And you guessed it , she wants her own car . As do most seventeen year olds . She has done loads of research . Got a spread sheet up and running , showing the various driving schools near her , a short list of cars that she would like and look cool in !! She has also found out via the wonders of the web that if she has a Black Box fitted in the car , it will bring down her insurance by a big chunk . The only issue being , how to fund the lessons , purchase of a car and the insurance ??

All the above has had my brother thinking when he was in between flying . Yes , he is a pilot for his day job . So you can again see how he really hasn't grown up , as although this is his job and livelihood , it's also another BIG toy , really . He said to myself that he was thinking of selling the car to fund a car for my niece . Which i thought was very good of him , as i know how much he loves his car . And how much time and money he has put into it to get it to be one of the best Tuscans on the road . But i could sense that he had a plan that involved something a bit special for him ;-)

A short while after this chat , we sadly lost our wonderful dad . He passed away peacefully but it was still a big shock to us all . Mum needed us all there to support her and help her out with the daily and weekly things that good old dad had always done . Like taking her shopping on a Saturday .
The week after loosing dad . Myself , my wife and my brother were in the supermarket putting things in mums trolley that she didn't want or need !! You see , none of her boys have ever really grown up .
My brother kept sneaking off and making phone calls . Then , when we were near the end of the shop , he came back with a big , no , Huuuuugggee grin on his face . He said ' don't tell anyone yet  but i have just purchased my own aeroplane !!!! He the showed me a photo of the plane on his phone . It was like looking back at one of his motorbikes , as far as the colour scheme went . It was Yellow , with Green , Red , Silver and some White in it !! But apparently , this is the colour scheme of the Persian Air force .

The plane is a 1/70th scale version of  a Hawker Fury Biplane , of which you can read about here . The plane was built by a man called Graham , who took thirteen years to build her . And you can see why it took so long , as the quality of his workmanship shines in all aspects of the build .

Graham managed to fly the plane for a couple of years when it was completed . Sadly ill health stopped him flying it . And even more sad , Graham passed away after a long illness . The plane was stored in a dry hanger . The family wanted the plane to still fly , in Grahams memory . So for a few years , the owner of the hanger would fly the plane for them and also fly her into various airshows around the country . After a few years the Fury was parked up in the hanger . The wings were taken off and a rack , which looks like a wooden toast rack was made to store the wings .

Jump forward several years and my brother was looking through the classifieds in something like airplane trader , which would be the equivalent of the car Autotrader . He saw that the Fury was up for sale and at a reasonable price too . He said to his wife 'Look , I'm going to buy this plane , when i have sold the TVR '. Her reply was ' yes dear ' without moving her eyes away from reading 50 Shades Of Grey. He had said several times before that he wanted to buy a plane , but nothing had ever come of it for various reasons . One being that he was going to have a fellow pilot as a partner in owning a plane . But this guy always pulled out at the last minute . So why would his wife think this would be any different ??

The day of our Fathers funeral and we were having a drink to say goodbye to a wonderful man . My brother asked me if my Land Rover had a tow bar fitted . My reply being 'yes' . His eyes lit up and he said ' I have a little job for you Brian ' No my name isn't Brian . But this is a quote from a Monty Python film . He wanted my help in transporting the new Toy to it's new home .

Me being me thought that the plane would be going straight from one hanger to another . But i was wrong !!! It was going to sit on his drive at home . So he could replace all the perishable parts , such as tyres , hoses and  O rings . And get her back to how she was when last flown . So his thinking was that by having her at home , he didn't have to carry bags of spanners and other special kit , like Tea and a pack of Choccie Hobnobs all the way to another hanger . Only to find that he forgot to put milk in his coffee . Having the Fury at home , he could work on her as and when he wanted . Plus it would get up the nose of Mr Grumpy , one of his neighbours :-)

After being messed around by a few trailer hire companies . He finally had a date set for us to go down to collect the plane . I would drive to the hire place in the Landy  .He would join me in his hired white van . He would be a white van man for the day !! I left home just as the sparrows where letting out their first morning farts and made my way to Harlow . Brother arrived in his white vaaaaan and we went into the hire company . Only to be told the trailer wasn't at the branch yet and was on route !!! This was going to mess up our timings !! But we had no choice but to wait . So found somewhere for a coffee and returned to the hire place as the lorry arrived with the trailer on board . We both looked at each other and said ' I hope that isn't what they have sent for us !!!! He had ordered a 20' trailer and the lady on the other end of the phone had thought that a 2000kg trailer would be just right !!!! Being as it was just over 9' , we wouldn't even get half of the plane on the trailer . Now our day was really stuffed . No apology from the hire company assistant at the till . Just a 'sign eer for ya refund mate'  We had to make plans quick to get another trailer from somewhere . Alas , no one had anything available . So we decided to go down to collect just the wings in the vaaaan . A trip to Suffolk and frantic phone calls to the hanger owner to explain and say sorry that we couldn't collect the whole plane but would be taking just the wings .

We arrived and the family who were the owners of the plane were there to greet us . All was fine about leaving the fuselage where it was for a week , which was a great relief . We had a good chat with Grahams wife and his Daughter . We began to realise that Graham was a real character . This made me realise that the plane was going into the hands of someone else who is a real character !!!!

 The wooden toast rack that holds the wings . They are suspended on straps to keep them apart .

After a chat we loaded the wings , in their wooden toast rack into the back of the vaaaan . Then it was the drive back to brothers place .
I nearly forgot !!! He had only told his wife that he had infact purchased a plane for real , the previous night !!!!

A week later we collected a trailer that was the correct size and not from the bunch of idiots who we had been to the week previous !!!
Another trip down to Suffolk to collect the fuselage with a 20' trailer behind my Landy !! I had only every towed my own trailer , which is about 4' long !! So this was a tad different and took a bit of adjusting taking tight corners and roundabouts . But i soon got the hang of it and couldn't even feel that i was towing a big old trailer . The Landy was showing what they are capable of :-) We arrived and had a chat with the hanger owner and then pushed the Fury onto the trailer . It was perfect . It fitted perfectly , so was ratchet strapped down . I took photos of the plane being strapped down and then some of the plane on the trailer , as brother wanted to document the move of his new Toy .
The journey home was interesting , in that it was the worst rain i had driven in for a number of years . And some of the roads we were driving on didn't have any lighting . But after several stops to make sure the straps were still in place, we arrived at my brothers house and unloaded the plane onto his drive . There was much ammusement from people driving past and a few comments from the local dog walkers . Which is hardly surprising , as it's not often that you see a 1/70th scale 1920's war plane on someones drive ;-) .

We covered the parts that we didn't want to get wet . Headed in for some food and a cup of tea . Then crashed into bed . Well i did but my brother sat up playing on his playstation for a few hours , shooting the enemy and blowing up enemy tanks and planes . He really hasn't grown up lol .

My brother had by now found a local hanger to store the plane once it was flyable . And the owners of the hanger were kind enough to let him store the wings in the hanger , in their wooden toast rack , for free . So when we woke up , had several mugs of coffee and a few slices of toast , it was back out to the Landy and loaded the wings onto the trailer for their trip to the hanger . This went as smooth as collecting the fuselage . Although i was a tad worried about some of the narrow lanes that we were having to drive to get to the hanger . I am sure that had a vehicle come in the other direction , i would still be there now trying to reverse this huge trailer back down narrow lanes :-)

 Standing on the Landy to get a higher view .
 Strapping the Fury down .
 Almost strapped down and ready for the off !!
 Ready to go and the stormy clouds that would later lash down on us !!!
 Another view of us ready to make the move .
 Sepia toned this one to add a bit of the old look .
 See , she fits just nicely on the drive :-)
 Brother couldn't resist a sit in and make some brrrr and ratatat noises :-)
And to stop the elements getting in where its not wanted , the Fury has her own Gazeebo :-)

I will keep you posted as and when there are significant changes to the Fury  . And am looking forward to seeing her in flight again . We are hopeing to do some air to air photography whe she is all sorted and flying .

Hope you have enjoyed my little story . Sorry for the lack of blogs for a while , but have been busy with other things .

View more of my images on my website

All the best Mark