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Flying sideways

I snapped this phone photo of Dakota G-ANAF getting airborne at Coventry earlier this week. This was the day when the roads were littered with branches and wheelie bins, so the old girl needed a bootful of rudder to keep her tracking the...

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Membership' information...

Members. If you are a member and based in Cornwall, you may be wondering what will happen now that Newquay is closing. Well a group of volunteers are attempting to maintain a facility at St Mawgan, Newquay. We are trying to create...

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The English Electric Lightning rescued from the scrapyard with the help of our friends at Gateguards UK and the generous cooperation of BAe Systems has moved into the main hangar at Newquay. As you can see from the photograph, there's...

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Lovely to see so many people at Newquay yesterday when we ran our mini air show to round off a great season. Jon Corley put on a series of magnificent displays and the planes seemed to have a great time - the Meteor and Vampire were certainly...

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Back in the Hot Seat

A powerful moment on Wednesday when Meteor veteran Hal Taylor was reunited...

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Vickers Varsity - A New Kind of Wellington
Status: Static Display
Owned by: The Classic Aircraft Trust
Current location: Newquay
Available for pleasure flights: No

The latest addition to the Classic Air Force fleet will be no stranger to aviation enthusiasts as it has been on display at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford for nearly forty years.

Vickers Varsity WJ945 was originally built at Hurn Airport (Bournemouth) in late 1952 under contract number ‘6/Acft/5946’. The aircraft made its maiden flight on February 23, 1953 was delivered to 527 Sqn at RAF Watton in Norfolk on March 11, 1953.

She went on to serve with 115 and 116 Sqns at Watton before passing to Central Flying School and serving at RAF Tangmere and Little Rissington. Later in its career it served with the Electronics & Air Engineers School at RAF Topcliffe and 5 FTS at RAF Oakington before finishing her military service with the Central Flying School at RAF Cranwell.

Upon its retirement the aircraft was acquired by Don Selway and Anthony Battersby and on October 27, 1974 she was flown to become part of the fledgling collection of aircraft being formed at Duxford. Two years later, on July 26, 1976 the aircraft was registered as G-BEDV and returned to the skies as an airshow ‘act.’ It was flown for a number of years before it passed to the Duxford Aviation Society and its registration was ultimately cancelled in June 1989.

The Varsity fleet was developed from the Vickers Viking and Valetta civil airliners and first entered RAF service in 1951. The type differed from its civilian cousin in having a tricycle undercarriage as well as a longer fuselage and a greater wingspan.

Originally designed as a bomb aiming and navigation trainer the Varsity had a ventral pannier to allow trainee bomb aimers to lie in a prone position. The aircraft also had a bomb bay that could carry 24 x 25lb smoke & flash bombs.

The prototype first flew from Wisley on July 17, 1949 and the type would carry out a vital role in training multi-engined pilots and navigators for the V-Bomber nuclear deterrent fleet. When IWM Duxford made it known that WJ945 was available for tender the Classic Air Force quickly took the opportunity to secure this important aeroplane for the collection. It was dismantled and transported to Newquay, where it was being reassembled when these words were written in mid-February.