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G-AMSV Returns to Coventry

An old friend returned to Coventry yesterday when G-AMSV, in her striking Indian Air force livery, landed here for extensive maintenance by our engineers. Sierra Victor was part of the Air Altantique fleet here for many years. She'll...

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Baginton Air Pageant

The initial details for the Baginton Air Pageant are up on the website! As we don't have the space for a full-on air show attracting 20,000 or so people, we're aiming for low-key, themed days like this. A couple of thousand people,...

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Newquay Pleasure flights

We promised we'd be back to fly in Cornwall, and here we are. We'll be heading south with a Rapide and Chipmunk to spend a week at Newquay from 25th July, with a further visit planned in August. The flights are bookable in the normal...

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New Dakota Book

Geoff Jones just told me that his new book on the DC-3, released to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Dak's appearance, is now available. The cover sports a lovely shot of G-ANAF, shot by Simon Westwood before her radome goiter was...

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Nimrod Engine Run

We've just confirmed plans by NPT to run all four of the Nimrod's Rolls-Royce Speys on Saturday 9th May. We expect the thunder to start just after lunchtime. Come along and enjoy some audio power - and please dip into your pockets...

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From the Blog Header
Become a member of the Classic Air Force
Chipmunk G-APLO
Chipmunk in formation Chipmunk at night Chipmunk rear cockpit Chipmunk looping Chipmunk engine run Chipmunk in formation with Rapid
Status: Flying
Owned by: The Classic Aircraft Trust
Current location: Coventry
Available for pleasure flights: Yes

Classic Air Force’s Chipmunk was built at the de Havilland factory at Hawarden, Chester in 1950 and given the RAF serial WB696.

The aircraft was accepted into the Royal Air Force on 19 September and immediately issued to RAF Perth in Scotland. Here it was allocated the unit code RCR-C and later re-coded as 61. WB696 only stayed at Perth for a year as it moved to Dyce airfield on 30 November 1951 to serve with Aberdeen University Air Squadron. Again it was a short stay and exactly a year later it had been reallocated to RAF Scone. It continued to serve at Scone until 5 June 1953 when it was delivered to 9 MU (Maintenance Unit) at RAF Cosford, Shropshire and transferred to ‘non-effective-stock’ on 17 August 1955.

WB696 was eventually offered for sale on 20 February 1956 and struck off charge on 27 June the same year. It was subsequently registered to D. Montgomery in Ireland as EI-AHU and delivered to Ireland via Liverpool’s Speke Airport. No record of its service in Ireland survived, but its stay was a short one as it was sold on 21 January 1958 and ferried back to the UK on 3 March. Its Irish registration was cancelled on 21 April and it was placed on the British civil aircraft register as G-APLO with Derby Aviation of Burnaston, Derby on 1 May.

This history of short term ownership continued over the next few years as it was registered to Bahamas Helicopters on 2 March 1959 and then to Andrew Roberts of Strathallan Castle on 13 May 1960.

Its nomadic lifestyle came to an end on 10 October 1960 when it returned to Perth once again, now under the ownership of Air Service Training (AST). It would spend the next nine years being used to train budding BOAC, BEA and BUA airline pilots, including Air Atlantique’s Mike Collett!

G-APLO was sold again in October 1969, going to the opposite end of the country. A variety of Jersey residents owned the machine over the next decade including latterly, the Jersey Aero Club.

However by late 1980 the aircraft was becoming comparatively expensive to operate and it was put up for sale. There was some opposition to this amongst the club membership and to counter this, an arrangement was made whereby a group would be set up within the club to raise a certain amount of money each year specifically to cover the aircraft’s operating and maintenance costs.

The opportunity was taken at this time to refurbish the Chipmunk and change its livery. After much research, it was decided to paint the aircraft in the 1950s scheme of Cambridge University Air Squadron. No expense was spared to ensure a good finish; real gold leaf was even used to create the university crest on the engine cowlings! In this guise, over the next few years G-APLO was flown to many airfields and events throughout the UK and Europe. Unfortunately, as the aircraft grew older so did the costs of operating it and a decision was taken in 1991 to offer the aircraft for sale again and it was purchased by Mike Collett, Chairman of Air Atlantique.

In recent years the decision was made to repaint the aeroplane to represent a Chipmunk of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. It was painted black with white training bands and RAF roundels and fin flash. Sadly, permission to fly in the scheme was later refused as the Chipmunk “is still a current RAF aircraft”. The roundels and the fin flash had to be removed and the aircraft now carries its civil registration in large white letters.

Today, Chipmunk G-APLO is available for aerobatic pleasure flights.