Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me

TOPIC: 50 years ago: a Proctor's wonderful journey...

50 years ago: a Proctor's wonderful journey... 4 years 8 months ago #31278

  • Okami
  • Okami's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Posts: 36
It's December 24th, 1960, and at Baginton airfield in Coventry, UK, a small Percival Proctor is made ready for a journey.



An awful lot of planning has been made for this trip, which has an as yet unmentioned destination (just you wait and see ;) )



At 12:35 local time, the small plane takes off. It has had some delays, as the fuel carnets for 1961 hadn't arrived yet, but after the pilot and his friends collected them at the Shell House, the plane is ready for its trip.



Moments after its take-off, the pilot turns to a heading of 125 magnetic, setting it on a course for Southend airfield. He has submitted a VFR plan: the Proctor has little navigation equipment on board. Unlike some aircraft, it lacks an ADF, which will make its trip somewhat more difficult.



As it passes RAF Cranfield, the Proctor suddenly finds itself in a somewhat persistent bank of fog. The lack of navigational means aboard the Proctor means this makes the flight somewhat more challenging, especially as the aircraft still has to cross the Luton and Stanstead airspaces.



Suddenly, while crossing the Luton airspace, the controller warns for a Dakota at 10 at 2300 ft. A quick glance learns the pilot his plane is at 2500, however he's unable to see the Dakota. A feeling of dread crawls up his spine. And all of a sudden, he glances something, a momentary movement partly hidden by the window frame. Just some 300 feet below, and about a mile away, the Dakota appears in sight. Quickly the pilot gains some altitude, separating the two aircraft. (See if you can spot the Dakota in the picture above..)



Luckily, the Stansted airspace crossing proves to be far less adventurous. Once past this airport, Southend is just a couple of miles...



With the runways in sight, the pilot contacts the tower, and gets a clearance for a runway 24 approach. As he turns onto his finals, a British United flight radios in for clearance to land, however it is still 20 miles away.



Minutes later, the Proctor taxis from the runway onto the parking. It is directed to the GA stands past the terminal building, where the pilot parks it up and shuts down the engine.

To be continued...

Flight:
Leg 1: Coventry (EGBE) to Southend (EGMC).
Type: Percival Proctor Mk.II
Take-off: 12:35:10
Landing: 13:26:15
Flight time: 51 minutes
Fuel used: 60.2 lbs
Last Edit: 4 years 8 months ago by Okami.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: 50 years ago: a Proctor's wonderful journey... 4 years 8 months ago #31279

  • Okami
  • Okami's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Posts: 36
About an hour later, the fog has lifted, and the Proctor has been fuelled up for its second leg. After receiving clearance from the tower, the small plane and its three occupants takes off out of runway 24 on its way to Calais...



Just after take-off, the plane heads East towards Dover. As it turns over the Thames, the lights of the aircraft coming out of Heathrow are clearly visible. Moments later, ATC warns them about a Lufthansa Viscount right overhead.



Soon they are on their cruising altitude and pass RAF Manston and Dover. As they start heading out over the Channel, two Freighters tune in onto their frequency: one heading out of Southend to Ostend, and one heading out to their destination, Calais.



Like the waterways below them, the airspace over the Channel is rather busy. They are twice warned about aircraft in their vicinity: once for a Cessna which is crossing our route at 2500 feet, and once for a Bristol Freighter coming from dead ahead: the air ferry coming out of Calais.



Soon, though, they find themselves on their approach into Calais. After a short righthand approach, the Proctor touches down at the small coastal airfield...



And as they head towards the parking, the Freighter which took off behind them radios Calais tower, announcing its approach.



Here at Calais they have a nightstop, the first of many.

To be continued...

Flight:
Leg 2: Southend (EGMC) to Calais (LFAC).
Type: Percival Proctor Mk.II
Take-off: 15:49:10
Landing: 16:18:48
Flight time: 30 minutes
Fuel used: 56.6 lbs
Last Edit: 4 years 8 months ago by Okami.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: LeifH

Re: 50 years ago: a Proctor's wonderful journey... 4 years 8 months ago #31280

  • LeifH
  • LeifH's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Just an old shepherd
  • Posts: 8228
Marvellous Nikko

Its a joy to see people having so much fun with the aeroplanes available here -- I am sure Keith is thrilled
are you going to fly it all the way to Japan?


Merry Christmas by the way

Leif
<<In the early morning rain, with a dollar in my hand>>
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Okami

Re: 50 years ago: a Proctor's wonderful journey... 4 years 8 months ago #31297

Nice storyline and pictures!

Looking forward to reading of further adventures ;)

Happy Holidays,
Scott
KJMS (or thereabouts)


"...now let's get this thing on the hump - we've got some flyin' to do!" ~ Major Kong
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Okami

Re: 50 years ago: a Proctor's wonderful journey... 4 years 8 months ago #31298

  • Keith Paine
  • Keith Paine's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Posts: 1982
  • Thank you received: 4

Attachment Proctor IWA.jpg not found


Doubly interesting for me as in later life IWA was owned by Robs Barraclough & with whom my father worked to retrieve a Harvard in Belgium as well as conducting a C of A on IWA when she was in silver paint scheme & her R regn - will look for a photo he took in '76 or '77.
Keith

[edit] Here it is - taken at Blackbushe. K
Upside Down In Cloud.....
Last Edit: 4 years 8 months ago by Keith Paine. Reason: photo added
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Okami

Re: 50 years ago: a Proctor's wonderful journey... 4 years 8 months ago #31302

  • Okami
  • Okami's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Posts: 36
Hi all,

Many thanks for the kind replies.

Well, Leif, I'm not planning to fly her that far, though I guess the trip wouldn't be any less epic.;)

And Keith, first of all, many, many thanks for the Proctor! ^^ She is a real beauty to fly (I have to admit, though, I'm more used to the Convairliners, Douglasses and Connies, they're all I seem to fly nowadays...)

IWA was a lucky choice for this flight. The actual journey I'm replicating was flown by IEH, a Coventry-based Proctor: www.abpic.co.uk/photo/1180545/ She was a Mk.2 Proctor, which led me to chose IWA in her civvies for my own flight.

Anyway, here's part three of the journey, with the events of December 26th, 1960.

It almost speaks for itself that the trio didn't fly on the 25th of December. Instead, they headed into Calais and had some celebrations.

The day after that, however, was an entirely different affair:

After having rested from the previous day, the Proctor crew heads out to the airport. There something unexpected happens: the controller refuses permission for the aircraft to take off. After some fierce discussing, it becomes clear why: the controller does not want to grant them permission to land at the major Paris airports. So the three men concede, and submit a flight plan to Beauvais airport.



Once all of this is cleared up, the trio checks their Proctor. It has been refuelled. The Met warns for some reduced visibility after Le Touquet, but still within bounds. At about 10:35, they step into their Proctor and close the cockpit. They start up the engine, and taxi towards the runway, being second in line for take-off. After the previous plane, an Ercoupe, takes off, the tower clears them to line up, and minutes later they're finally airborne.



The first part of the flight goes without a hitch. Even after the Proctor passes Beauvais, the weather remains fine. It is only as the trio passes Abbeville that things begin to deteriorate.



The small plane runs into a ridge of clouds, with a cloudbase at about 2000 ft. As the airport is just about 30 miles away, the pair decides to descend to just below the cloudbase, otherwise they might overshoot their destination. However, as the Proctor starts its descend, the predicted fog rolls in...



While there are still a couple of miles visibility, the situation isn't really ideal. Three pairs of eyes start to scan the horizon, looking for the runways of Tille airport, and about 5 miles out, the airport is finally spotted. An approach is made into runway 22, and minutes later the Proctor is firmly on the ground...



To be continued...

Flight:
Leg 3: Calais (LFAC) to Beauvais (LFOB).
Type: Percival Proctor Mk.II
Take-off: 10:47:18
Landing: 11:43:18
Flight time: 56 minutes
Fuel used: 60.2 lbs
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: 50 years ago: a Proctor's wonderful journey... 4 years 8 months ago #31303

  • Okami
  • Okami's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Posts: 36
About 3 hours later, the trio receive clearance to their next destination, Meaux airport near Paris. The met promised improving weather and visibility, but as the Proctor takes off these predictions seem to have been quite mistaken...



It is only a short hop from Beauvais to Meaux, but there is quite some risk connected with it: the direct path takes them right underneath the approaches into both Paris Le Bourget and Paris Orly airport. Only minutes after take-off, the men are warned about a BOAC DC-7C which is crossing their path on its approach into Orly...



And just minutes after that, it's a Tarom "Crate" (Ilyushin Il-14) which is flying into Le Bourget.



By the way, earlier that year, on May 19th, 1960, another light airplane pilot found out the risks of crossing the approaches into these airports the hard way - he was flying a light Stampe biplane from Chelles into Toussus-le-Noble, when he strayed into the approach into Orly, and into the path of an Air Algérie Caravelle.

Here are some images of the results, courtesy of British Pathé:
www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=67651

And here's the official report (in French):
www.bea.aero/docspa/1960/f-ni600519/pdf/f-ni600519.pdf

That said, our Proctor made it safely, although the bad visibility is forcing the pilots to fly at about 1000 ft AGL. They're now just 10 miles out of Meaux-Esbly, but as this is a grass airfield, it is quite more difficult to spot...



However, moments later, the airfield is spotted, and the Proctor lands without any problems. After having taxied off the runway, the pilots park up the plane and shut its engine down. With such bad visibility, and about 1 1/2 hours of flight in their carnets and about two hours of daylight remaining, they decide to call it a day and start looking for some local accommodations for the night...



To be continued...

Flight:
Leg 4: Beauvais-Tille (LFOB) to Meaux-Esbly (LFPE)
Type: Percival Proctor Mk.II
Take-off: 14:45:38
Landing: 15:15:15
Flight time: 30 minutes
Fuel used: 34.1 lbs
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Molyned

Re: 50 years ago: a Proctor's wonderful journey... 4 years 8 months ago #31311

  • Okami
  • Okami's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Posts: 36
The next day, December 27th 1960, our trio board their Proctor at Meaux. Unlike the day before, the weather has improved and the skies are clear as they take to the sky.



Soon, the Proctor has climbed to its cruising altitude of 5500 feet. This leg sees her fly from Meaux to St. Yan.



Navigating on sight is relatively easy, though, as there are a number of rivers to be followed. Following the Seine and the Yonne, the Proctor reaches Auxerre, where it turns south towards Nevers.



Halfway between Auxerre and Nevers, though, they notice the clouds begin to build, with a ridge towards the East. Luckily, these are only light clouds, so they quite easily navigate their way through.



Past Nevers, the crew follow the Loire. In the distance, they can already see the snow on the tops of the Alps. About a half hour later, they spot their destination: the airport of St. Yan.



They radio in, and the tower clears them for a landing on runway 33 Right. And so the Proctor lands about one and a half hours after their take-off out of Meaux.



Flight:
Leg 5: Meaux-Esbly (LFPE) to St. Yan (LFLN)
Type: Percival Proctor Mk.II
Take-off: 12:50:34
Landing: 14:22:46
Flight time: 1 hour 32 minutes
Fuel used: 92.0 lbs
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: 50 years ago: a Proctor's wonderful journey... 4 years 8 months ago #31312

  • Okami
  • Okami's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Posts: 36
Little over an hour later, our trio board their Proctor again, and after the tower clears them, they take off for Lyon.



Météo-France predicted some local fog which will improve later on, with a cloudbase over 3000 ft and a minimum visibility of 6 miles guaranteed - good enough for them to decide to continue their journey. After following the Loire to Roanne, the trio seeks out the railway linking the city to Lyon and start to follow it.



However, once they cross the hills into the Saône Valley, the weather predictions turn out to be entirely wrong. Much to the trio's horror, it turns out that the cloudbase is at 1000 feet and less, and there's barely two miles forward visibility, with patches as bad as one mile.



With the cloudbase further deteriorating to barely 200 foot above ground level, the pilot skilfully drops his plane into the valley down to 100 foot above the ground. Luckily a road appears right in front of them: this turns out to be the highway into Lyon.



Once they reach the outskirts of Lyon, their map tells them that the airport is across town. Flying low enough to keep in touch with the ground, they manage to find the airport after a couple of nailbiting moments.



Minutes later they touch down at Lyon airport, in conditions bordering on a total QGO. As they taxi towards the apron, the three men breathe a sigh of relief. They decide it's too dangerous to carry on for the day, especially as their next leg would see them crossing the Lower Alps...



To be continued...

Flight:
Leg6: St. Yan (LFLN) to Lyon/Bron (LFLY)
Type: Percival Proctor Mk.II
Take-off: 15:19:09
Landing: 15:55:01
Flight time: 36 minutes
Fuel used: 40.4 lbs
Last Edit: 4 years 8 months ago by Okami.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: 50 years ago: a Proctor's wonderful journey... 4 years 8 months ago #31314

  • Molyned
  • Molyned's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Posts: 1999
  • Thank you received: 6
Great flight Okami :)
Enjoying seeing the journey as it unfolds.
Cheers
Dave M(oly)
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Okami

Re: 50 years ago: a Proctor's wonderful journey... 4 years 8 months ago #31328

  • Okami
  • Okami's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Posts: 36
Hi Dave, thanks! ^^

One day later, the 28th of December, 1960, our three intrepid adventurers board their Proctor at Lyon, intent on reaching Nice. The weather around the airport has cleared, but Météo-France has warned for some local patches of fog in the Alps.



The first part of their journey is relatively simple: following the Départementale 518, 502 and 502 into Grenoble, a relatively simple task, even with just a Shell road map as a guide. (Just to avoid any possible confusion: they were using million-series Stanfords maps. I'm using the 1960 Shell road map for Central Europe, scale 1:1500000.)



Once past Grenoble, things become slightly more complicated, as the Proctor heads into the Alps. They follow the D85 into the Drac valley.



Once into the Alps, the visibility steadily decreases as predicted, but remains over 6 miles. The Proctor remains below the cloud base, inching its way up the valleys inbetween the massive Alpine mountains. Past Gap, the trio navigates their Proctor into the valley between the Cheval Blanc (7628 ft) and the Pelat (10013 ft), following the Verdon river.



Once past Castellane, the trio picks up the D85 again. It leads them straight out of the Alps, right up to the Mediterrean coast.



Their Proctor finally emerges over the coastline at Antibes, just West of Nice airport. Tuning in to the tower frequency, they are immediately cleared for landing.



To be continued...

Flight:
Leg 7: Lyon/Bron (LFLY) to Nice (LFMN)
Type: Percival Proctor Mk.II
Take-off: 09:54:19
Landing: 11:41:08
Flight time: 1 hour 46 minutes
Fuel used: 99.7 lbs
Last Edit: 4 years 8 months ago by Okami.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re: 50 years ago: a Proctor's wonderful journey... 4 years 8 months ago #31329

  • Okami
  • Okami's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Posts: 36
After a quick lunch at Nice airport, the guys board their Proctor once again, this time for their next leg into Ajaccio.



The controller clears them for a take-off from runway 04 for a VFR flight to the French island of Corsica, and minutes later they're airborne.



The small plane climbs to 5500 feet and levels off. As they leave the shoreline behind them, the weather gradually improves...



... until they arrive over the Corsican coast in near-perfect conditions. They even decide to open the windows... only to close them just as quickly. Despite the sunny conditions, it is rather chilly. Especially at 100 mph at 5500 feet... ;D



As they make their way along the coast, the trio glance at the hilly landscape of the island - quite a far cry from the rather flat geography of Coventry. They can't help but wonder about the landscapes they will see later on in their voyage, or the marvels...



But those thoughts are soon put aside as the Ajaccio airport comes into sight. The Proctor soon manoeuvres in for its landing, and little over one and one quarter hour after their departure in Nice, they touch down on Corsican soil.



Rather than continuing their journey, the trio decides to stay at Ajaccio for the night. The journey through the Alps was quite a bit more exhausting than they anticipated, and they know they'll need lots of rest for tomorrow's leg...

To be continued...

Flight:
Leg 8: Nice (LFMN) to Ajaccio (LFKJ)
Type: Percival Proctor Mk.II
Take-off: 13:17:03
Landing: 14:33:31
Flight time: 1 hour 16 minutes
Fuel used: 72.8 lbs
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: LeifH, murnaghan

Re: 50 years ago: a Proctor's wonderful journey... 4 years 7 months ago #31331

  • LeifH
  • LeifH's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Just an old shepherd
  • Posts: 8228
Nikko.

Well thought out and written , its rather fun watching your adventures

Im going to Sticky this thread so all can continue to enjoy


Domo

Leif
<<In the early morning rain, with a dollar in my hand>>
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Okami

Re: 50 years ago: a Proctor's wonderful journey... 4 years 7 months ago #31340

Thanks for posting these flights Nikko.

I'm not going to try to find out whose flight your reproducing by Googling.

I'm enjoying the mystery.

Jon
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Okami

Re: 50 years ago: a Proctor's wonderful journey... 4 years 7 months ago #31353

  • Okami
  • Okami's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Posts: 36
Hi all,

Thanks! ^^

I just tried myself to google the journey, and much to my surprise I didn't get any results... <<

Anyway, after a good night's sleep, the trio steps aboard their Proctor once again. It's now the 29th of December, 1960, and they hope to reach Cagliari airport on the Italian island of Sardinia.



After making a swift take-off, the Proctor starts to head South towards Sardinia. Like the previous days, the weather predictions aren't too good, with predictions for reduced visibility over Sardinia, but all in all they aren't too bad either. Soon the Proctor reaches its cruising altitude.



Crossing the Strait of Bonifacio, the Proctor soon makes landvall near the city of Sassari. As predicted, the visibility at first remains excellent...



Only to deteriorate as the aircraft begins to near Cagliari. There's some fog in the valleys, but not at the cruising altitude of the Proctor. If there is one thing the trio decides they can not use, it's another repeat of yesterday's Lyon - Nice leg.



A quick check of the fuel level soon causes a change of plans - no, not a shortage, but a surplus. As his passengers make some quick calculations, the pilot asks Cagliari Tower for an update on the weather between Cagliari and Tunis. Moments later the tower confirms some slight headwinds, but nothing severe. When the passengers' calculations show there's still ample fuel aboard, the decision is made: instead of landing at Cagliari, they will head out straight to Tunis.



Out over the Mediterrean, the Proctor encounters some clouds and fog, but not of the sort to cause any kinds of navigational problems. Soon, the Tunesian coast looms on the horizon.



The Proctor makes landfall just East of Bizerte, much to the relief of the trio. Even though their aircraft is well maintained, they can't help shrug off the thought that it is nearly 20 years old and single-engined. There are still plenty of hours on the engine and it isn't even ten hours past its last inspection, but still...



On its approach to Tunis, the Proctor descends into the fog. Despite it, there's over 6 miles of visibility. Finding it isn't a problem either, as they just have to follow the coastline - and minutes later, they spot the airport beacon in the distance. After radio contact with the tower is established, the Proctor is cleared to land.



A little over three hours after taking off out of Ajaccio, the Proctor touches down at Tunis airport. As the trio hop out of their aircraft, they gesture one of the airport's tanker crews. Their day isn't over yet.

To be continued...

Flight:
Leg 9: Ajaccio (LFKJ) to Tunis (DTTA)
Type: Percival Proctor Mk.II
Take-off: 11:39:24
Landing: 15:36:15
Flight time: 3 hours 11 minutes
Fuel used: 195 lbs
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Molyned