Wikipedia puts the Beverley landing run at 310 yards - which is pretty short! a "wheel touch" touch and go would be a lot less. It the strip was one of the wide, open ones that exist around the central plateau it would be entirely possible. Would be nice to have independent verification though.
If it was supposed to be easy. everyone would be doing it...
Extracts from a letter written by Group Captain F.C. Griffiths Blackburn Beverley, XM104 RAF Transport Command. " ......... . I touched our wheels and off we went to Rotorua. I'm not exactly sure where this place was as we were a bit lost at the time but at least there must be someone who will remember the incident....."[/quote]
First saw this extract in the late 1980's popular opion at the time was the touch & go could have been at any airfied in the district. ie any grass strip may have been in GC Griffiths eyes a farm strip. Be really good if someone came forward and said "I was there"
I do indeed have that very book, and will look it up. I should mention that I once spent two years with 30 Sqn RAF which had Beverleys at the time, in Kenya, and I can believe the story told here because the aircraft is more than capable of doing a touch and go as described, in fact it was a daily occurrence for the squadron in Kenya where virtually none of the strips they used were sealed.
This from that book by Bill Overton: Verbatim from Gp Capt Griffiths who was flying the aircraft at the time."We were at about 4000' flying north east from Ohuira: I was flying the aircraft as first pilot at the time and so took full responsibility for subsequent events. It was fairly mountainous country and we were flying along in good visibility when, way ahead of us in a deep valley we suddenly saw a plume of white. A couple of minutes later the plume reappeared and this time we could see an aircraft crop-dusting so I thought we'd drop down and take a look at the operation. We circled well downwind and the began the approach. We saw the crop-duster fly back, land and taxi to the fill-up taxi point where in a matter of seconds, a lorry filled refilled the crop-duster which immediately took off again. The ground party had driven the lorry well to one side and they were still watching the crop-duster climbing away when they noticed the Beverley. Although I say so myself, it was a beautiful approach and we did a touch and go landing, rumbling our wheels for about a 100 yards. The expressions on the faces the crop dusting crew just had to be seen to be believed and I'm sure that XM104 was the first four-engined aircraft ever to touch down on that strip. We then continued on to Rotorua. The Beverley could easily have operated from that strip". There is a full page from the Rotorua Post for October 23 1959 in the same book.
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Post by No longer identifiable on May 4, 2013 9:34:31 GMT 12
Well, all this talk about the Beverly has certainly put me in my place! Phil, thanks for your very interesting posts about the old girl, and I now hold the aircraft in a lot more respect than I did when I first mentioned her. (But the name still makes me snigger ;D). Interesting to hear that it was quieter than a Bristol Freighter - they had the same (or almost the same) engines didn't they? When I was growing up our house was in the western hills above Lower Hutt, and the noise of a Bristol Freighter could be heard long before it was seen. They seemed to fly almost over our place on a direct route to Wellington airport.
Off topic here I know, but some of my earliest aviation memories are of American helicopters, painted bright orange, flying up the Hutt Valley at about the same altitude as our place in Belmont. They were from the US navy icebreakers (Glacier mostly, I think), supporting operation Deep Freeze. At the time (probably late 1950's to early 1960's) helicopters were an extremely rare sight in NZ, and these were the first ones I'd ever seen. They all had piston engines, and the bigger Sikorskys made a hell of a racket - you could hear the exhaust rattle coming for miles. I think there are some photos of these choppers in Shorty's "Some photos from my stash" thread.
The Beverly attracted much adverse comment in its time, largely because it tended to be utilised in roles it was never intended to do, but its party trick at air shows of a very short landing and disgorging of troops and vehicles, then a back-up to the take-off point and airborne again in the same length taken by landing tending to shut the critics up!
Beverley incidentally is the name of the town near Hull in Yorkshire where it was built.
There was a lot of humorous comment around, especially in the unofficial version of the Pilot's Notes for the aircraft. Such as:" The aircraft is extremely versatile and may be employed in many roles, particularly those which do not include flying or movement of any kind. It is also highly amenable to to modification in that wind tunnel test have shown that the wings could be placed at the bottom and the wheels at the top without any appreciable drop in performance". Then there was:" Spinning of this aircraft is not recommended, as the torque reaction involved cause the Earth to rotate in the opposite direction to the spin, to the accompaniment of terse notes from Greenwich Observatory".
It was slow of course, 135 Knots which in the 1950s was slower than a Dak! The engines were also a problem in that,while the Bristol Centaurus was the ultimate in sleeve valve design, by contemporary standard it was archaic!
I did quite a few flights in the Beverley, all in the tail boom, and it was much quieter up there than anywhere in a Bristol Freighter.
Because of its size, the Beverley wouldn't fit into the standard RAF Hangar, until some genius of a Ground Crew guy came up with the idea side-loading trolley which fitted under the main undercarriage. They then jacked the nose up, the tail went down, and the aircraft could be pushed sideways into the hangar!
Post by errolmartyn on May 4, 2013 17:57:38 GMT 12
A lovely story about the Beverely, possibly true, is that on taking off on its maiden flight the pilot asks his co-pilot - "My side's up, how about yours?"
Author: Swift to the Sky – New Zealand’s Military Aviation History Author/publisher: For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 & A Passion For Flight - New Zealand aviation before the Great War. Publisher of Gp Capt C M Hanson’s By Such Deeds - Honours and Awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999
Group Captain Frank Griffiths was my uncle that flew the Beverly at Rongatai airshow. I have photos of him landed at Rotorua aerodrome(Fenton St) to visit us, my dad having left England about 7 years previously. When the plane did a circuit over Rotorua my dad piled us all in to a family members car and we all headed to the aerodrome, great excitement as most of the town was there.
Seems that the origins of what ended up as the Beverely were in North Africa in 1943, as the victorious Allied armies came across the remains of various German aircraft abandoned on airfields. The British officers in particular were intrigued by the Messerschmitt (did I spell that right?) 323 six-engined utility transport. Ability to operate from relatively short and barely prepared airfields; big enough to transport really large and heavy loads for reasonable distances, including moderately heavy vehicles (including small AFVs) and field guns. Also simple and rugged structure with not too many complicated systems to cause unwanted field maintenance. Seemed like a dream aeroplane in their eyes. "Why cannot our people build an aeroplane like that for us?" they cried. So "our people" were asked and said, yes, they could build such an aeroplane, but it would have to be of more modern design as the German aircraft was VERY primitive, and rather underpowered, and they don't build aircraft like that any more. When asked how soon such an aircraft could be delivered they were told that it would be several years into the future, as designing and getting such an aircraft into production was a big job which could not be rushed. It certainly was a big job. Note, this account has been regurgitated by myself entirely from memory! I believe the original source was "Testing Aeroplanes in Wartime" by Air Commodore Allen Wheeler, 1963, but on checking my photo-copied version, I discovered that I only have it complete up to page 229 - can anybody else check their copy of this book to clarify my belief that the Beverley's origins truly lie in North Africa? David D
Last Edit: Jul 12, 2014 13:48:55 GMT 12 by Peter Lewis: spelling
If you're wondering about my fixation on the Beverley, it's because I remember it clearly, and also because my wifes uncle was an RNZAF loadmaster, and we always have a good larf about the big, lumbering, almost-getting-in-the-way-of-itself BEVERLEY (even the name makes me snigger ;D). [/quote]Extracts from a letter written by Group Captain F.C. Griffiths Blackburn Beverley, XM104 RAF Transport Command. " ......... on our way to Rotorua [in the vicinity of Ohakune] we saw a plume of white smoke in a deep valley. As we got nearer it manifested itself as a cropdusting [topdressing] operation. I took the power off and we watched from about two miles away as he dropped his load, landed on the small farm strip and picked up another load and took off. It was the first time I'd seen cropdusting and it was a very slick operation, maybe only four minutes between take-off's. We'd been briefed to fly low and show the Beverley to the inhabitants so here was an opportunty! I don't think either the pilot of the cropduster or the loading party on the ground had any idea we were standing off at reduced power and I judged it nicely. The Beverley is a superb aircraft though large for landing in small places at low speed. As the cropduster took off we came in just behind him to the utter astonishment of the party on the ground. I don't suppose four engined aircraft often came into their farm strip. I touched our wheels and off we went to Rotorua. I'm not exactly sure where this place was as we were a bit lost at the time but at least there must be someone who will remember the incident....."[/quote]
This story is 100% TRUE it is in the book "Blackburn Beverly" By Bill Overton on pages 99 and 100 a visit to Ohura and the visit to Rotorua is also covered.
I remember observing the Beverly in my youth. I was in a physics class at Manurewa High School, when some aircraft roared past and in the background was a Beverly. Half an hour later it "cruised" overhead. I'm not sure why I recall this as physics wasn't one of my best subjects.