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THE TALE WITH NO CATS

  THURSDAY 26 JULY 2012 ON THE ISLE OF MAN

 
 

 

   
 

As a very kind collective 50th birthday present from my family, I enjoyed a day trip to the Isle of Man from Gloucestershire Airport on Thursday 26 July 2012 - this day being chosen for the more intensive timetable and Festival of Transport on the Isle of Man Steam Railway.

 
 

 

   
  As a very kind collective 50th birthday present from my family, I enjoyed a day trip to the Isle of Man from Gloucestershire Airport on Thursday 26 July 2012 - this day being chosen for the more intensive timetable and Festival of Transport on the Isle of Man Steam Railway. 

However, having written up their fleet and the background to the aerial relationship between my county and the Isle of Man in Dorniers over Gloucestershire, it was a bonus to be flying with Manx 2, also marking my first flight in a turboprop airliner.

 
 

 

   
 

Taking me both across the Irish Sea - as Manx 2 flight NM601-  and back again - as NM610 - was D-ILKA, largely as pictured in Dorniers Over Gloucestershire but with its tail now advertising Isle of Man based online betting firm Celton Manx.  As well as generating income in this way. Manx2 maximises passenger space by not including toilet facilities for the 65 minute scheduled flights from Staverton and minimises costs by not offering refreshments beyond boiled sweets (with advertising on the wrappers) to mitigate the effects of changing air pressure on landing.  However, although advertising had replaced D-ILKA's German tail flag the flight was still operated by Kiel based FLM Aviation with German pilots.

 
 

 

   
  Taking me both across the Irish Sea - as Manx 2 flight NM601-  and back again - as NM610 - was D-ILKA, largely as pictured in Dorniers Over Gloucestershire but with its tail now advertising Isle of Man based online betting firm Celton Manx.  As well as generating income in this way. Manx2 maximises passenger space by not including toilet facilities for the 65 minute scheduled flights from Staverton and minimises costs by not offering refreshments beyond boiled sweets (with advertising on the wrappers) to mitigate the effects of changing air pressure on landing.  However, although advertising had dislaced D-ILKA's German tail flag the flight was still operated by Kiel based FLM Aviation with German pilots.  
 

 

   
 

Having passed through security checks, the departure lounge at Gloucestershire Airport afforded me good views of baggage being unloaded from the nose and rear fuselage holds of D-ILKA while a trailer mounted generator provided an electrical power supply while the twin turbines rested.  The passenger were then invited to board the aircraft for its 0905 departure and I strapped myself into a seat close to the port engine.

 
 

 

   
 

Having passed through security checks, the departure lounge at Gloucestershire Airport afforded me good views of baggage being unloaded from the nose and rear fuselage holds of D-ILKA while a trailer mounted generator provided an electrical power supply while the twin turbines rested.  The passenger were then invited to board the aircraft for its 0905 departure and I strapped myself into a seat close to the port engine.

 
 

 

   
 

One of the joys of flying rather than merely visiting an airport is the chance to see other aircraft on the ground close-up, and on this occasion D-ILKA queued behind G-TEKK, the Tecnam P2006T described in the 2012 Gloucestershire Airport Charity Open Day article, to use Staverton's 1419 metre long Runway 27.  Sharp eyed readers will also have noticed the Jet Age Museum's Gloster Meteor F8 WH364 in the background of the picture at the top of this article.

 
 

 

   
  One of the joys of flying rather than merely visiting an airport is the chance to see other aircraft on the ground close-up, and on this occasion D-ILKA queued behind G-TEKK, the Tecnam P2006T described in the 2012 Gloucestershire Airport Charity Open Day article, to use Staverton's 1419 metre long Runway 27.  Sharp eyed readers will also have noticed the Jet Age Museum's Gloster Meteor F8 WH364 in the background of the picture at the top of this article.  
 

 

   
 

The passengers having been pushed back into their leather seats by the acceleration of take off, NM601 then took a north westerly course from Staverton, allowing me to take the picture above of Junction 2 of the M50 motorway, looking west towards Ross on Wye with the A419 approaching from the South and then leaving the frame towards the top right hand corner.  Also visible from this altitude were the large areas of crop being cultivated nearby under glass.

 
 

 

   
  The passengers having been pushed back into their leather seats by the acceleration of take off, NM601 then took a north westerly course from Staverton, allowing me to take the picture above of Junction 2 of the M50 motorway, looking west towards Ross on Wye with the A419 approaching from the South and then leaving the frame towards the top right hand corner.  Also visible from this altitude were the large areas of crop being cultivated nearby under glass.  
 

 

   
 

Further north was the bag-shaped Herefordshire town of Ledbury, defined at its northern edge by the railway from Worcester running towards Hereford and disappearing out of the frame half way up the right hand side

 
 

 

   
  Further north was the bag-shaped Herefordshire town of Ledbury, defined at its northern edge by the railway from Worcester running towards Hereford and disappearing out of the frame half way up the right hand side.  Although not visible from this height, Ledbury is famous for its half-timbered buildings and also as the home of John Masefield, Poet Laureate from 1930 to 1967, whose poem Sea Fever includes the lines:

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking

 
 

 

   
 

All too soon however the patchwork quilt of the rural Welsh Marches disappeared as D-ILKA reached her cruising altitude of 13 000 feet and the sky, rather than lonely, was filled with ever shifting ramparts of cloud - whose ethereal beauty would really require a time-lapse film to capture.

 
 

 

   
  All too soon however the patchwork quilt of the rural Welsh Marches disappeared as D-ILKA reached her cruising altitude of 13 000 feet and the sky, rather than lonely, was filled with ever shifting ramparts of cloud - whose ethereal beauty would really require a time-lapse film to capture.  
 

 

   
 

Having crossed the North Welsh coast near Colwyn Bay however, Flight NM601 then encountered the rain that enfolded the Isle of Man that day - in contrast to the fair weather that Gloucestershire was enjoying.  Despite this however - and my ears feeling like they had been stabbed with Stanley knives - D-ILKA touched down at Ronaldsway Airport ahead of schedule, permitting views of G-LNKS, BAe Jetstream 31 "Connie May" of Humberside based Links Air Service (above, from inside D-ILKA) and of Aer Lingus's ATR 42-300 EI-CPT (bearing the Franco-Italian constructor's number 191). Also pictured below from the Arrivals side of the terminal was De Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q Dash 8 G-FLBA of Exeter based Flybe, Europe's largest regional airline which evolved from Jersey European Airways.

 
 

 

   
  Having crossed the North Welsh coast near Colwyn Bay however, Flight NM601 then encountered the rain that enfolded the Isle of Man that day - in contrast to the fair weather that Gloucestershire was enjoying.  Despite this however - and my ears feeling like they had been stabbed with Stanley knives - D-ILKA touched down at Ronaldsway Airport ahead of schedule, permitting views of G-LNKS, BAe Jetstream 31 "Connie May" of Humberside based Links Air Service (above, from inside D-ILKA) and of Aer Lingus's ATR 42-300 EI-CPT (bearing the Franco-Italian constructor's number 191). Also pictured below from the Arrivals side of the terminal was De Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q Dash 8 G-FLBA of Exeter based Flybe, Europe's largest regional airline which evolved from Jersey European Airways.  
 

 

   
 

Having crossed the North Welsh coast near Colwyn Bay however, Flight NM601 then encountered the rain that enfolded the Isle of Man that day - in contrast to the fair weather that Gloucestershire was enjoying.  Despite this however - and my ears feeling like they had been stabbed with Stanley knives - D-ILKA touched down at Ronaldsway Airport ahead of schedule, permitting views of G-LNKS, BAe Jetstream 31 "Connie May" of Humberside based Links Air Service (above, from inside D-ILKA) and of Aer Lingus's ATR 42-300 EI-CPT (bearing the Franco-Italian constructor's number 191). Also pictured below from the Arrivals side of the terminal was De Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q Dash 8 G-FLBA of Exeter based Flybe, Europe's largest regional airline which evolved from Jersey European Airways.

 
 

 

   
 

a 1/72 scale representation of WS622, the Armstrong Whitworth assembled Meteor Night Fighter 12 of 25 Squadron RAF which, on 29 October 1954, became the first jet aircraft to land at Ronaldsway.

 
 

 

   
  Although a bus had been laid on to take us from D-ILKA to Ronaldsway's Arrival Hall, I set off as planned on foot south from the airport buildings along the main A5 road to Castletown and the Isle of Man Steam Railway's 1132 departure West to Port Erin.  Beforehand however I was able to visit the Manx Aviation and Military Museum with plenty to see in almost an hour and a quarter.

Reminding me very much of Staverton's Skyfame Museum of the 1960s and 70s with its homely, practical atmosphere, the Manx Aviation and Military Museum serves as a memorial both to those lost in over 200 Wartime flying accidents in and around Man and also to the Manx Regiment, arguably the finest light anti-aircraft unit of the Second World War with almost 300 enemy aircraft damaged or destroyed.  However, there was so much to take in that another visit is definitely on my bucket list and hopefully will be on yours too!

Despite being spoilt for choice, I had to take a picture of one particular inhabitant of one of the many splendid model cases - a 1/72 scale representation of WS622, the Armstrong Whitworth assembled Meteor Night Fighter 12 of 25 Squadron RAF which, on 29 October 1954, became the first jet aircraft to land at Ronaldsway.

 
 

 

   
 

Recognisable from many an old Airfix catalogue was the desert-camouflaged Bofors gun  pictured above, the standard light anti-aircraft artillery of the British army - and thus also the Manx Regiment - from 1939 to 1945.  Like its larger rival, the German 88mm gun, the Swedish designed 40mm Bofors - licence built in Britain, Canada and the USA - could be used against targets on the ground as well as in the sky with a seven man crew able to fire up to 120 rounds a minute.  It is hoped that when funds allow, this Bofors gun will move under cover and be joined by a 1939 vintage Morris Commercial CDSW six wheeled gun tractor.

 
 

 

   
  Although entrance to the Manx Aviation and Military Museum is free, donations and purchases from the gift shop are welcome - not least as some exhibits are still outside and in need of shelter from the extremes of the elements: as witnessed by both the abundance of palm trees on the island and the drizzle I experienced, which also seemed to be keeping all the Manx cats indoors!

Recognisable from many an old Airfix catalogue was the desert-camouflaged Bofors gun  pictured above, the standard light anti-aircraft artillery of the British army - and thus also the Manx Regiment - from 1939 to 1945.  Like its larger rival, the German 88mm gun, the Swedish designed 40mm Bofors - licence built in Britain, Canada and the USA - could be used against targets on the ground as well as in the sky with a seven man crew able to fire up to 120 rounds a minute. 

It is hoped that when funds allow, this Bofors gun will move under cover and be joined by a 1939 vintage Morris Commercial CDSW six wheeled gun tractor - an even rarer Morris Commercial C9/B self propelled Bofors gun used by the Manx Regiment after D-Day already being safely indoors.

 
 

 

   
 

In 1982 the very first flight of Manx Airlines Ltd was made by Embraer Bandeirante G-RLAY, leased from Genair.  However, despite using G-RLAY until 1984, the Brazilian built twin turboprop only ever carried Manx Airline's early livery, as commemorated by G-BGYT, pictured above, rather than the full corporate scheme later applied to it Vickers Viscount and Fokker F27 Friendship fleets.

 
 

 

   
  In 1982 the very first flight of Manx Airlines Ltd was made by Embraer Bandeirante G-RLAY, leased from Genair.  However, despite using G-RLAY until 1984, the Brazilian built twin turboprop only ever carried Manx Airline's early livery, as commemorated by G-BGYT, pictured above, rather than the full corporate scheme later applied to it Vickers Viscount and Fokker F27 Friendship fleets.

G-BGYT was built in 1979 with constructor's number 110-234 as an EMB 110-P1   Bandeirante powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 engines and was initially registered as PT-SAA.  From 11 October 1979 until 15 February 1983, GBGYT was owned by Norwich based Air Anglia and in these markings also flew for Air Shetland.  After two months with Air UK at Redhill, the Bandeirante joined the US civil register as N104VA before returning to Britain as G-BGYT on 8 October 1985 with Jersey European Airways.

From 1987 G-BGYT operated with a number of small British companies until mid 2005 when an engine failure on takeoff from Ronaldsway grounded it on the Isle of Man.  However its then owners, London based Thornhill, donated the stripped hulk to the Manx Aviation Preservation Society before it was officially de-registered on 8 September 2006.

 
 

 

   
 

 I made the most of my 50 minute wait at Castletown and was pleased to see the enamel sign pictured above, somewhat rusty but making a link between the railway, Westland, English Electric and Folland aircraft as well as Dursley based Lister-Petter inside the wider Hawker Siddeley group of companies

 
 

 

   
  Although reluctant to leave the Manx Aviation and Military Museum I moved further along the A5 first south and then, at a roundabout, east in time to catch the 1132 train from Castletown station to Port Erin. 

Unfortunately, due to a tree falling on the Isle of Man Steam Railway earlier in the morning and concurrent telecommunication problems, this did not leave until 1220 and the trains ran haphazardly from then on.  As a result I had to abandon my planned visit to the Port Erin Railway Museum and take the next available train to Douglas where, I was to find, a car crash had resulted in the cancellation of all the Horse Trams.

Being positive however, I made the most of my 50 minute wait at Castletown and was pleased to see the enamel sign pictured above, somewhat rusty but making a link between the railway, Westland, English Electric and Folland aircraft as well as Dursley based Lister-Petter inside the wider Hawker Siddeley group of companies and a well worn joke.

 
 

 

   
 

Immaculately kept in the manner of all Isle of Man Steam Railway structures, Castletown was one of the larger stations on the line and even boasted a goods shed, behind which was plinthed the frames of Beyer-Peacock built locomotive number 7.

 
 

 

   
  Immaculately kept in the manner of all Isle of Man Steam Railway structures, Castletown was one of the larger stations on the line and even boasted a goods shed, behind which was plinthed the frames of Beyer-Peacock built locomotive number 7.  
 

 

   
 

All the original 3' gauge Isle of Man Railway locomotives - and Manx Northern Railway number 3 "Thornhill" - were built to an adaptation of an 1866 2-4-0T design that Beyer Peacock had supplied for the Cape Gauge (3' 3") sections of Norwegian State Railways. The first ten Manx locomotives - supplied from 1873 to 1896 - comprised IOMSR numbers 1 to 9 and MNR  3 / IOMSR 14 "Thornhill" with relatively small  2'11" diameter boilers pressurised to 120 psi. The cylinders were 11" diameter by 18" stroke, and the driving wheels 45" across.

 
 

 

   
  All the original 3' gauge Isle of Man Railway locomotives - and Manx Northern Railway number 3 "Thornhill" - were built to an adaptation of an 1866 2-4-0T design that Beyer Peacock had supplied for the Cape Gauge (3' 3") sections of Norwegian State Railways. The first ten Manx locomotives - supplied from 1873 to 1896 - comprised IOMSR numbers 1 to 9 and MNR  3 / IOMSR 14 "Thornhill" with relatively small  2'11" diameter boilers pressurised to 120 psi. The cylinders were 11" diameter by 18" stroke, and the driving wheels 45" across.

Locomotives 1 to 3 had 320 gallon water tanks, round cab spectacle plates, and "C" shape feed pipes; 4 to 6 were built with 385 gallon tanks, square cab spectacle plates, and "C" shape feed pipes; and 7 to 9 and 14 with 385 gallon tanks, square spectacle plates, and "S" shape feed pipes due to the sandboxes now being placed just ahead of the water tanks.  The "S" shape pipe entered the boiler between the smokebox and first cladding ring, rather than between the first and second cladding rings.

 
 

 

   
 

Built in 1880 (Beyer Peacock works number 2038) and named after the Manx Parliament, IOMSR 7 "Tynwald" had the dubious honour of being the first locomotive withdrawn from service, as early as 1947.  This followed a collision with locomotive 10 "G.H. Wood" in 1928 which caused the frames to be buckled beyond economic heavy repair.

 
 

 

   
  Built in 1880 (Beyer Peacock works number 2038) and named after the Manx Parliament, IOMSR 7 "Tynwald" had the dubious honour of being the first locomotive withdrawn from service, as early as 1947.  This followed a collision with locomotive 10 "G.H. Wood" in 1928 which caused the frames to be buckled beyond economic heavy repair.

Having limped on until just after the Second World War, 7 "Tynwald" was stripped down to its frames, coal bunker and buffer beams, which were then stored in a siding at Douglas, the tanks and cabs stored separately and scrapped in 1974.

After Nationalisation in 1978, by which time the present Isle of Man Steam Railway was just running from Douglas to Port Erin and the Peel-to-Ramsey Manx Northern and Foxdale 3' gauge steam railways of the island had closed, the frames of 7 "Tynwald" were purchased by what is now the Isle of Man Railway & Tramway Preservation Society and, after being stored off-site for a number of years, were plinthed at Castletown in November 2009.

 
 

 

   
 

the eventual 1220 departure to Port Erin was hauled by 12 "Hutchinson", one of four "medium boiler" Isle of Man Railway locomotives - numbered 10 to 13.  Compared to 7 "Tynwald",  their boilers were enlarged from 2'11" diameter to 3'3" and pressurised to 160 psi giving a 20% increase in power output. Locomotives 10-13 were also built with 480 gallon water tanks although cylinder and driving wheel dimensions were unchanged.

 
 

 

   
  In contrast, the eventual 1220 departure to Port Erin was hauled by 12 "Hutchinson", one of four "medium boiler" Isle of Man Railway locomotives - numbered 10 to 13.  Compared to 7 "Tynwald",  their boilers were enlarged from 2'11" diameter to 3'3" and pressurised to 160 psi giving a 20% increase in power output. Locomotives 10-13 were also built with 480 gallon water tanks although cylinder and driving wheel dimensions were unchanged.

Three small boiler locomotives - 4, 5, and 6 - were rebuilt to medium boiler standard, complete with 480 gallon water tanks, in 1907-11 while 1926 saw the introduction of the last and most powerful of the Beyer Peacock 2-4-0Ts. With its 3'6" diameter boiler pressurised at 180psi and supplying steam to 12" by 18" cylinders, 16 "Manin"was the solitary large boiler engine and sported 520 gallon water tanks.

12 "Hutchinson" was built in 1908 with Beyer Peacock works number 5126 and was named after company director W. A. Hutchinson.  Delivered to the railway with Salter safety valves and a deeper tone of whistle previously fitted, the locomotive is today second in activity only to fellow medium boiler machine 11 "Maitland".  Since 2001 it has largely restored to 1950s condition, complete with Indian Red livery in contrast to the blue that was combined with  a squarer cab and larger water tanks in the late 1970s. 

12 "Hutchinson" was also only the second Isle of Man Steam Railway locomotive to be rebuilt with a Hunslet boiler and one of only two engines ( the other being 5 "Mona") to carry its brass fleet number above the name plate on the the tank side as opposed to the chimney or cab side - a feature lost prior to its 1981 rebuild but reinstated for 2009 and visible in the picture below taken at Port Erin at the end of the journey.

 
 

 

   
 

12 "Hutchinson" was also only the second Isle of Man Steam Railway locomotive to be rebuilt with a Hunslet boiler and one of only two engines ( the other being 5 "Mona") to carry its brass fleet number above the name plate on the the tank side as opposed to the chimney or cab side - a feature lost prior to its 1981 rebuild but reinstated for 2009 and visible in the picture below taken at Port Erin at the end of the journey.

 
 

 

   
 

In my desire just to get aboard a train heading west from Castletown to Port Erin I did not stop to look at any of the Birmingham or Swansea built carriages, or indeed to realise that I was aboard my first car-carrying working!  This unique Manx approach to "Motorail" involved a suitably small automobile in the shape of a locally produced three wheeled Peel P50 coupe 9759MN.

 
 

 

   
  In my desire just to get aboard a train heading west from Castletown to Port Erin I did not stop to look at any of the Birmingham or Swansea built carriages, or indeed to realise that I was aboard my first car-carrying working!  This unique Manx approach to "Motorail" involved a suitably small automobile in the shape of a locally produced three wheeled Peel P50 coupe 9759MN.

Designed by Cyril Cannell - owner of car, boat and motorcycle fairing company Peel Engineering - along with Henry Kissack, the P50 was launched at the 1962 Earl's Court Motor Show and with a 49cc 4.2 bhp engine allied to an automatic three-speed gearbox could offer 100 miles to a gallon of petrol - almost cheaper than walking with a purchase price of between 179 and 199.  Mainly made of the then new material of fibreglass, the one-door one-headlight 54" long P50 could be parked widthways in just 3' 6" and featured a transparent panel in the petrol tank rather than a gauge and a screenwash bottle that had to be squeezed by hand.

Envisioned to take just one adult and a briefcase, only 50 of the original 40mph Peel P50s were made before production ceased in 1964 and of these only 27 are known to exist, making the P50 one of the World's rarest cars.

 
 

 

   
 

Carrying Peel P50 9759MN was M78, one of a 78 strong class of six ton two plank ballast and goods wagons and one of the first restoration projects undertaken by the Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporter's Association in 1997.  The frame timbers were financed by the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Trust, based at the Talyllyn Railway's Wharf Station at Tywyn, Gwynnedd.

 
 

 

   
  Carrying Peel P50 9759MN was M78, one of a 78 strong class of six ton two plank ballast and goods wagons and one of the first restoration projects undertaken by the Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporter's Association in 1997.  The frame timbers were financed by the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Trust, based at the Talyllyn Railway's Wharf Station at Tywyn, Gwynnedd.  
 

 

   
 

Carrying Peel P50 9759MN was M78, one of a 78 strong class of six ton two plank ballast and goods wagons and one of the first restoration projects undertaken by the Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporter's Association in 1997.  The frame timbers were financed by the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Trust, based at the Talyllyn Railway's Wharf Station at Tywyn, Gwynnedd.

 
 

 

   
 

I reached Douglas by returning from Port Erin at 1255 through Port St Mary, Colby, Ballabeg and Castletown and then continuing through Ronaldsway Halt, Ballasalla, Santon and Port Soderick behind "medium boiler" 2-4-0T 13 "Kissack", named after Company Director E.T. Kissack and delivered by Beyer Peacock in 1910 as their works number 5382.

 
 

 

   
  I reached Douglas by returning from Port Erin at 1255 through Port St Mary, Colby, Ballabeg and Castletown and then continuing through Ronaldsway Halt, Ballasalla, Santon and Port Soderick behind "medium boiler" 2-4-0T 13 "Kissack", named after Company Director E.T. Kissack and delivered by Beyer Peacock in 1910 as their works number 5382. 

Sometimes referred to as 12a by superstitious railway staff, "Kissack" spent 1993 to 2006 dismantled after a boiler failure but is now back in Indian Red although its brass safety valve bonnet is now carried by 11 "Maitland".

 
 

 

   
 

I made sure of turning up early for the 1505 train back to the airport however as guards only stop at Ronaldsway on request, although I did have time for the picture above, showing the typical carriage livery, semaphore signals and wooden signalbox among the dense forest of the middle of the eastern side of the Isle of Man as well as the more exotic trees that also grow in  more open southern areas.

 
 

 

   
 

I made sure of turning up early for the 1505 train back to the airport however as guards only stop at Ronaldsway on request, although I did have time for the picture above, showing the typical carriage livery, semaphore signals and wooden signalbox among the dense forest of the middle of the eastern side of the Isle of Man as well as the more exotic trees that also grow in  more open southern areas.

 
 

 

   
 

Having crossed a northbound train double headed by locomotives 8 "Fenella" (the sole operational "small boiler" engine) and Spring Green liveried 10 "G.H. Wood", I alighted at the minimalist Ronaldsway Halt at 1542, climbed over the stile and  walked toward the airport terminal building, designed by architect T.H. Kennaugh and opened by His Excellency The Lieutenant Governor Sir Ambrose Dundas Flux Dundas on 24 June 1953.

 
 

 

   
  Having crossed a northbound train double headed by locomotives 8 "Fenella" (the sole operational "small boiler" engine) and Spring Green liveried 10 "G.H. Wood", I alighted at the minimalist Ronaldsway Halt at 1542, climbed over the stile and  walked toward the airport terminal building, designed by architect T.H. Kennaugh and opened by His Excellency The Lieutenant Governor Sir Ambrose Dundas Flux Dundas on 24 June 1953.  
 

 

   
 

Other Manx related aircraft immortalised in the etched glass of the airport windows included the de Havilland Rapide biplane, Avro Anson and  the high winged, twin tailed Short 330 aircraft I remember watching fly to the Isle of Man from Staverton.

 
 

 

   
  Like the island it serves, Ronaldsway celebrates its proud history - not just with a dedication plaque but with others recalling No 1 Ground Defence Gunner's School, which was based at the then RAF Ronaldsway from July 1940 to June 1942 when the unit moved to Douglas to allow the construction of a Royal Naval Air Station, operational as HMS Urley from 1944 to 1986 and used to train Fleet Air Arm crews in the use of Fairey Barracuda torpedo bombers.

Other Manx related aircraft immortalised in the etched glass of the airport windows included the de Havilland Rapide biplane, Avro Anson and  the high winged, twin tailed Short 330 aircraft I remember watching fly to the Isle of Man from Staverton.

 
 

 

   
 

Nearby was a bust of an early aviator entitled "The Twentieth Century" and sculpted by Mary Pownall Bromet (1889 to 1932), exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1928.  It was presented to the Isle of Man Government by Air Vice-Marshal Sir Geoffrey Bromet, the departing Lieutenant Governor, on 7 September 1952.

 
 

 

   
  Nearby was a bust of an early aviator entitled "The Twentieth Century" and sculpted by Mary Pownall Bromet (1889 to 1932), exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1928.  It was presented to the Isle of Man Government by Air Vice-Marshal Sir Geoffrey Bromet, the departing Lieutenant Governor, on 7 September 1952.  
 

 

   
 

To the left of "The Twentieth Century" was one of the two wooden propellers of the Saro A17 Cutty Sark amphibian G-ABBC "Progress" owned by British Amphibious Airlines Limited which operated the first scheduled flights from the Isle of Man to Blackpool in 1932.

 
 

 

   
  To the left of "The Twentieth Century" was one of the two wooden propellers of the Saro A17 Cutty Sark amphibian G-ABBC "Progress" owned by British Amphibious Airlines Limited which operated the first scheduled flights from the Isle of Man to Blackpool in 1932.  
 

 

   
 

After checking in to the Manx 2 desk downstairs before the 1615 deadline, a much more modern but equally intriguing aircraft was to be found hanging from the ceiling upstairs near the restaurant at Ronaldsway.  Combining some of the moulding techniques of the Peel car with a tail-less design, the Eiderduck was an unflown composite and carbon fibre concept monoplane powered by a two stroke petrol engine with vanes moving within its rear fan duct to give directional control.

 
 

 

   
  After checking in to the Manx 2 desk downstairs before the 1615 deadline, a much more modern but equally intriguing aircraft was to be found hanging from the ceiling upstairs near the restaurant at Ronaldsway.  Combining some of the moulding techniques of the Peel car with a tail-less design, the Eiderduck was an unflown composite and carbon fibre concept monoplane powered by a two stroke petrol engine with vanes moving within its rear fan duct to give directional control.  
 

 

   
 

Among these were  BAe Advanced Turbo-Prop G-BTPH ( constructor's number 2015, one of only 64 examples built from 1986 and derived from the earlier Hawker Siddeley HS 748.  G-BTPH started service with British Airways in 1989 and after service with Air Europa was converted to a freighter by Romaero at Baneasa in October 2004 for Emerald but never used The twin engined monoplane then re-entered service in April 2009  with the merger of the British firm Atlantic Airlines and West Air of Sweden and Luxembourg and now carries a smart, business like livery.

 
 

 

   
  On finishing my plate of steak and ale pie and chips by the panoramic windows overlooking both Ronaldsway's apron and runways  08/26 (1754 metres) and 03/21 (1256 metres) I was able to photograph a range of aircraft, some of which were too large to land at Staverton before moving through security to the Departure Lounge.

Among these were  BAe Advanced Turbo-Prop G-BTPH ( constructor's number 2015, one of only 64 examples built from 1986 and derived from the earlier Hawker Siddeley HS 748.  G-BTPH started service with British Airways in 1989 and after service with Air Europa was converted to a freighter by Romaero at Baneasa in October 2004 for Emerald but never used The twin engined monoplane then re-entered service in April 2009  with the merger of the British firm Atlantic Airlines and West Air of Sweden and Luxembourg and now carries a smart, business like livery.

 
 

 

   
 

Another limited-production twin engined turboprop conceived in the 1980s and derived from an earlier design was Saab 2000 G-CDEB of British Airways.  First flown on 26 March 1992, the 2000 had a 15% greater wingspan than the Saab 340 and being over 24' 9" longer could accommodate 58 passengers.  Designed to fly at near jet speed with proved turboprop efficiency, the 2000 was also the first commercial aircraft to use 4 591 shp Allison (later Rolls Royce) AE 2100 engines driving to a slow turning six bladed Dowty Rotol propeller, the Gloucestershire company having fitted the World's first  composite propeller to the Saab 340

 
 

 

   
  Another limited-production twin engined turboprop conceived in the 1980s and derived from an earlier design was Saab 2000 G-CDEB of British Airways.  First flown on 26 March 1992, the 2000 had a 15% greater wingspan than the Saab 340 and being over 24' 9" longer could accommodate 58 passengers.  Designed to fly at near jet speed with proved turboprop efficiency, the 2000 was also the first commercial aircraft to use 4 591 shp Allison (later Rolls Royce) AE 2100 engines driving to a slow turning six bladed Dowty Rotol propeller, the Gloucestershire company having fitted the World's first  composite propeller to the Saab 340.

However, due to poor sales against newly introduced regional Bombardier and Embraer regional jets of the same price, Saab ceased production of the 2000 in 1999 and itself ceased trading as part of General Motors in 2011.

 
 

 

   
 

Having recently built a 1/144 scale model of GermanWing's Airbus A319 D-AKNF I was particularly pleased to get several shots of British low cost carrier EasyJet's Airbus A319-111 G-EZEG. Carrying constructor's number 218, this aircraft first flew on 6 February 2004 under the test registration D-AVWF.

 
 

 

   
  Having recently built a 1/144 scale model of GermanWing's Airbus A319 D-AKNF I was particularly pleased to get several shots of British low cost carrier EasyJet's Airbus A319-111 G-EZEG. Carrying constructor's number 218, this aircraft first flew on 6 February 2004 under the test registration D-AVWF.  
 

 

   
 

Having recently built a 1/144 scale model of GermanWing's Airbus A319 D-AKNF I was particularly pleased to get several shots of British low cost carrier EasyJet's Airbus A319-111 G-EZEG. Carrying constructor's number 218, this aircraft first flew on 6 February 2004 under the test registration D-AVWF.

 
 

 

   
 

With the church of King William's College to the south of Ronaldsway Airport, D-ILKA made ready to form Manx 2 flight NM610, due to leave Gate 5 at 1715 - while with its tail to the camera was Manx 2's Czech built and registered 1986 vintage Let L 410 UVP-E Turbolet OK-RDA.  Bearing the constructor's number 861813, this aircraft was previously registered in Hungary as HA-YFG and is one of more than 1 100 airframes produced since 1969, initially as a replacement for the Antonov An-2 biplane for Aeroflot.

 
 

 

   
  With the church of King William's College to the south of Ronaldsway Airport, D-ILKA made ready to form Manx 2 flight NM610, due to leave Gate 5 at 1715 - while with its tail to the camera was Manx 2's Czech built and registered 1986 vintage Let L 410 UVP-E Turbolet OK-RDA.  Bearing the constructor's number 861813, this aircraft was previously registered in Hungary as HA-YFG and is one of more than 1 100 airframes produced since 1969, initially as a replacement for the Antonov An-2 biplane for Aeroflot.  
 

 

   
 

Finally, after an eventful day, my seat on NM610 - port side again but forward of the engines this time -yielded sights of the River Severn just north of Sandhurst and its splitting into East and West Channels to form Alney Island ( above) and the white walled Premier Inn at Twigworth, seen below to the bottom right of the frame on the A38 between Gloucester and Tewkesbury, south of Orchard Park caravan site.

 
 

 

   
  Finally, after an eventful day, my seat on NM610 - port side again but forward of the engines this time -yielded sights of the River Severn just north of Sandhurst and its splitting into East and West Channels to form Alney Island ( above) and the white walled Premier Inn at Twigworth, seen below to the bottom right of the frame on the A38 between Gloucester and Tewkesbury, south of Orchard Park caravan site.  
 

 

   
 

Finally, after an eventful day, my seat on NM610 - port side again but forward of the engines this time -yielded sights of the River Severn just north of Sandhurst and its splitting into East and West Channels to form Alney Island ( above) and the white walled Premier Inn at Twigworth, seen below to the bottom right of the frame on the A38 between Gloucester and Tewkesbury, south of Orchard Park caravan site.

 
 

 

   
  Then, seconds before D-ILKA touched down on Staverton's runway 09, Churchdown's Raleigh Close off the curving Trafalgar Drive was glimpsed with the red brick 19th hole and sandy bunkers of Brickhampton Golf Course beyond.  
 

 

   
 

Then, seconds before D-ILKA touched down on Staverton's runway 09, Churchdown's Raleigh Close off the curving Trafalgar Drive was glimpsed with the red brick 19th hole and sandy bunkers of Brickhampton Golf Course beyond.