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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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Become a member of the Classic Air Force
Percival Prentice: OK, what's all the hurry?
Status: Flying
Owned by: The Classic Aircraft Trust
Current location: Coventry
Available for pleasure flights: Yes


There's an unkind saying that the Prentice doesn't so much climb as trundle along the runway until the curvature of the Earth makes the ground fall away. There's no denying that she's a leisurely old bird with a distinct disapproval of rush, but she's immensely strong, reliable and the cockpit is bigger than a London taxi.  All of which makes her a perfect pleasure flying vehicle and hundreds of passengers have experienced her gentle manners.  She might not get there fast, but she'll never let you down.

Designed to meet Air Ministry Specification T.23/43 the Prentice was unusual in having the capacity for a second student sitting in the rear of the aircraft and looking over the shoulder of the instructor and student who were side-by-side in the front seats. Simulated night flying could also be conducted by wearing special tinted goggles. These combined with the orange tinted Plexiglass cockpit to simulate night conditions!

The aircraft first flew on March 31, 1946 but was found to have inadequate yaw control, so later aircraft had a large rudder and cut-outs in the elevators to allow it to move further. In service it was also rare to have a crew of three due to performance limitations related to the 251hp Gipsy Queen engine.

The aircraft went on to serve the RAF as a basic trainer until 1953 when it was replaced by the Percival Provost. It also, however, find a niche as radio and navigation trainer and the last examples were retired in 1957.

In 1956 some 252 Prentices were acquired by Freddie Laker’s Aviation Traders for conversion as civilian aircraft. Most were eventually scrapped but 28 were converted into four seat aircraft. Performance with four people aboard was ‘dubious’, especially in high temperatures.

Today our Prentice is one of just a handful still flying and the only one in the world certified for passenger flying. Some people question why we've saved an aeroplane such as the Prentice, which has limited capabilities and a far from exciting career. The answer...? Because nobody else is saving one!