Paul Filmer’s retrospective series continues with a look at Biggin Hill from 1978 to 1986.
I visited Biggin Hill on a very spotty schedule, usually only if I heard of something worth traveling all the way across London for, which wasn’t very often. The airfield was basically a large general aviation haven, but odd things did pass through from time to time.
My first visit was in June 1978, most likely with my late father. The only shot I took was of T-28D N99160 and that was on a compact 126 camera. In the scan I’ve cropped it from the usual square to the standard 3:2 ratio. It’s a little out of focus, but passable as a record shot.
This aircraft came out of N’dolo in the Congo as an ex-Zaire Air Force machine, and Biggin Hill was on route for its delivery flight to the USA. The ferry flight was performed by Ted White, who later went on to purchase B-17G ‘Sally B’.
Anyway, Ted was tasked with preparing three T-28s, two of which would be de-militarised in the USA, and the third, N99160 ex FG-634, would be his payment for the job.
For almost a month, between 29 November 1977 and 16 December 1977, he flew this T-28 via Abijan, Monrovia, Freetown, Dakar, Rabat, Tanger, Valencia and Le Touquet to Biggin Hill. Unfortunately it was later revealed that the aircraft wasn’t allowed to be kept in the UK and could only be de-militarised in the USA.
I’m sure that was quite the journey!
The aircraft now flies out of Virginia Beach with the same registration and is flown from the Fighter Factory collection.
A couple of Lightning F.3 shots from the Air Fair in 1980. XR751 is now preserved privately in Cornwall.
The next shots are from the Biggin Hill Air Fair on 14 May 1983. First up, Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130H NZ7002. To say this was a rare appearance for the time would be an understatement. This aircraft is still in active service, albeit in the rather boring grey scheme of today’s air forces.
RAF 111 Squadron Phantom FG.1 XV574 is seen here on the ramp, and was scrapped at RAF Wattisham in September 1991.
237OCU Buccaneer S.2A XT284, based out of RAF Honington, ended her life at RAF Abingdon as a Battle Damage Repair airframe and was scrapped in 1998. The nose section survived and is being restored in Felixstowe, Suffolk.
Euroair BN-2A Islander, G-BHXI, was one of a pair that the airline flew. This airframe survives as J8-VBI in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
On to 1984 and just a couple of shots of RAF 226OCU Jaguars on 19 May 1984. GR.1 XZ367 still survives at RAF Cosford, and T.2 XX846 was scrapped at RAF Coltishall in August 2005.
C-47B 6V-SAG was an ex-Senegal Air Force aircraft, and former RAF KJ864. It’s a shame that it’s a black and white photo, as the tail carries the red, yellow and green stripes of the Senegal flag. It ended up in the USA as N19HA with Hogan Air in Ohio and later as N79HA with Miami Valley Aviation, also in Ohio. It’s presumed to have been scrapped in the ’90s.