Mar 27

Minor setback

The project was dealt a blow this afternoon. We received a phone call from the Estate Agent regarding the commercial property that we were hoping to move in to very soon. We are/were three weeks into the legal proceedings, yet today we were informed that the landlord has “done a deal” with a tenant of his, who rents the adjacent unit.

This puts us back a step regarding the home we were hoping to establish in the coming weeks, but have no fear. As a team we are strong, in less than 5 months we have established a Supporters’ Club approaching 300 in numbers, and have a total following of over 18k across social media. We will not let this minor setback knock us down just yet and we will get right back to business with regard to finding a suitable unit that can serve as our home until the main Heritage Centre is planned, designed and built.

 

Remember this project has been going, in one way or another for 17 years, yet only in the last 2 has momentum and support reached the level where we can even be considering renting a unit in which to exhibit the aircraft, RB396, all together, along with the many other parts that will aid the restoration. This location will also serve as a visitor centre and hub for Supporters’ Club activities and events, until we move in to our purpose built Heritage Centre.

Luckily, our own solicitors have been decent in this situation and have not charged us for any of the work they have completed so far, if only all parties were as decent as that.

So, back to the drawing board, onwards and upwards, and you know what they say, “every cloud”……

Feb 19

Official Engine Unveiling

Sunday 19th February saw the official unveiling of the Napier Sabre engine acquired by the project that will go on to power RB396’s return to flight. On a smaller scale than our project launch event held in October 2016, but at the same location – Boultbee Flight Academy’s exquisite facility based at Goodwood Aerodrome, West Sussex. Places were limited at this Supporters’ Club Members only event and safe to say the fifty guests who managed to secure a place were all very happy to be there.

Before the main event began at 1300, the trustees and project team were lucky enough to host a very special guest, just a day ahead of his 93rdRB396_unveiling_A.Gilbey_cake birthday. Following the project launch event in October 2016 and coverage in the local paper, the Chichester Observer, the project was contacted by the nephew of H.A. Gilbey, or Alex as he likes to be known. Alex flew the Typhoon during the latter stages of WWII and his nephew, Richard, wondered if it might be possible for him and his family to come and meet the team. This small event to unveil the engine was the perfect opportunity, and it was one day before his birthday. We met Alex and his family at 1130, he enthralled us with stories from the War, including when he flew his Typhoon back to Lasham for the last time, before the aircraft were scrapped and the squadron disbanded. We surprised Alex with a cake and some candles, which went down very well, as well as giving him a sneak preview of the engine and a good look round the hangar where he fondly remembered his time training on the Harvard, before moving onto the Hurricane and then the Typhoon. We look forward to keeping Alex involved with the project and hope to see him again soon.

RB396_unveiling_crowd

The main unveiling event began at 1300, with guests naturally arriving early, after tea, biscuits and some excellent project cupcakes made by Suzie, the guests squeezed into the reception room at Boultbee to be briefed about the engine, the story behind finding it, and finally how we managed to acquire this complete, and potentially never-run engine, something of a rarity. Following that we all moved into the hangar where the engine was waiting, under wraps. It was unveiled by Dave, the project founder, and then it was over to the guests, to look, take pictures, ask questions, and we even noticed a few cuddles being given to the engine – or were they trying to take it away?! Good luck, because at over a ton, the engine is an impressive bulk of engineering, comments still being made though at ‘how small’ it looked considering its power output. That is one of the interesting things about the Sabre, its power output vs its size, quite a masterpiece of engineering. After an hour or so the guests started to disperse and make their journeys home, some had come a very long way, leaving enough time for the team to tidy up and take stock of the day. Another very successful event, just going to show the benefit to the members of being in the Supporters’ Club, and the level of support that is out there. We very much look forward to the next event, and we look forward to letting you know when that is, with, naturally, Supporters’ Club members finding out first. If you would like to join the club, you can find out the details here.

The engine will be subject to a complete strip down, assessment and rebuild; that is the only way to ensure that when it runs, it will be running safely. The team are currently in discussions with and making visits to all the potential engine rebuilders in the country, and when a decision has been made regarding who will rebuild the engine, then it will be announced. The major task ahead regarding the engine, is fundraising. It is estimated that the strip down and assessment will cost in the region of £50-80k. the Sabre is not a particularly complex engine, it is just different from a normal poppet valve type, however it is not a common engine, so the process will take longer, and be more labour intensive than a ‘normal’ engine, hence the cost. We do urge you to support the project, if you have not done so already the Supporters’ Club is the perfect way of doing that. Soon, we will be actively seeking sponsorship for various sections of the rebuild, the engine being one of those sections. More details will follow soon, but if you, or your company would like to discuss various options for sponsorship then please do get in touch via this form here.

We are currently in the process of creating a gallery of images for this engine, we aim to have that completed very soon, so do make sure to check back regularly!

DSC_0096-01

Jan 29

Napier Sabre Engine Secured

Working closely with Cranfield University, the Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group (HTPG) are delighted to announce the securing of a Napier Sabre IIa aero engine, serial number 2484, for use in the restoration of Hawker Typhoon MKIb RB396 to flight. There are only a small number of Napier Sabre engines remaining around the world that could be restored and it is believed that this example has only ever been used as a teaching aid making it the perfect power plant for rebuild and returning RB396 to flight.

Napier Sabre IIa destined for RB396

Until the 1st January 2017 the engine has been based in Derby. Plans are now being drawn up to transport this engine, which weighs in excess of a ton, to its new home at Goodwood, formerly RAF Westhampnett, where it will form the basis of a fundraising campaign. At a suitable time, the engine will be subject to a strict assessment and rebuild in line with Napier and RAF overhaul manuals by an approved restoration facility in the UK.

The extreme rarity of this type of engine means that to be able to secure this resource, after 10 years of research and discussions, is a huge boost to the project. Not only is it likely be the only running Napier Sabre outside the US but it also makes RB396 the only Typhoon outside of the RAF to have ever secured a suitable engine.

The Napier Sabre is synonymous with the Hawker Typhoon and very early on the trustees concluded that no other engine could be used for RB396. Many years of research, negotiation and almost all available manpower has been utilised to reach this point, such is the significance of this example. The Napier Sabre is a horizontally opposed, 24 cylinder, sleeve valve engine. Incredibly powerful, yet compact, it was the pinnacle of piston engine performance during WWII. In service the engines were rated to approximately 2,200hp from 2,238 cubic inches (37 litres) powering the Typhoon to a maximum speed in level flight of over 400mph. Its type remains almost unique in the world today where internal combustion engines are dominated by poppet valve types.

A Supporters’ Club members only unveiling of the engine has been planned for mid February, which is being held at the engine’s new home. The event is fully booked, with spaces, understandably, being allocated within a few hours of the members being given advanced notice of the engine acquisition. After this event we will be running regular sessions where it will possible to come and view the engine, one of only two un-sectioned examples accessible in the country, spaces are likely to be limited and will be offered to members of the Supporters’ Club first. If you would like to join the club to receive this, and other benefits, check out our Supporters’ Club page.

DSC_7728The HTPG are incredibly thankful to the assistance and support given by Cranfield University, to the previous custodians for taking such good care of the engine and to all of its supporters so far. It is emphasised that this restoration is being funded entirely through public support, donations and sponsorship.

Typhoon squadrons wreaked havoc before, during and after the D-Day landings and flew countless sorties in support of the Allied advance into occupied Europe in 1944-45, where the aircraft came into its own as a potent fighter-bomber. Typhoons tore low across the countryside attacking armoured vehicle and troop concentrations with four 20mm Hispano cannons, rockets and bombs and it was in this role that the Typhoon achieved legendary status. It was, however, a costly campaign, with more than 150 Typhoon pilots losing their lives in combat over Normandy alone, and a further 36 becoming prisoners of war.

Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower sang the praises of RAF Typhoon squadrons during the aftermath of a failed German counterattack in summer 1944: “The chief credit in smashing the enemy’s spearhead, however, must go to the rocket-firing Typhoon aircraft…The result of the strafing was that the enemy attack was effectively brought to a halt, and a threat was turned into a great victory”.

The Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group is a registered charity in England and Wales, number 1167143, and has been established to oversee the rebuild of the only genuine combat veteran Hawker Typhoon MkIb in existence. Once airworthy the aircraft will fly in remembrance of the 666 Typhoon pilots killed during the course of WWII – a living memorial, finally, to a forgotten brotherhood. The return to flight is being planned to coincide with the D-Day 80th commemorations in 2024.

www.hawkertyphoon.com
www.facebook.com/hawkertyphoonRB396
www.twitter.com/project_typhoon

Jan 01

New Year Message

rb396-hawker-typhoon-plan

As we move forward into 2017 the team here would like to say a huge thank you to all our followers, particularly to those who have taken the step of joining our Supporters’ Club.

2016 was a momentous year for the project, we successfully made the leap into the ‘public eye’ with our Launch Event hosted at the Boultbee Flight Academy on 29 Oct 2016. This was only possible due to the years of hard work put in by the project founder, and in more recent years by the two other founding trustees.

The launch event, made even more special by the attendance of three WWII Typhoon veterans, was only possible due to the trustees’ hard work in establishing the project as a Charity in May 2016. Weeks of paperwork and email exchanges resulted in the application being accepted by the Charity Commission in one working day. This Charity status has allowed to team to surge forward with plans, not least, launching the project to the public.

We have now attracted coverage in several of the country’s, and indeed the world’s leading aviation publications and more of that is still to come in 2017. Our combined social media following is now over 14k, with the Facebook page passing 10k just a week before the public launch, such is the level of interest and excitement about the project.

The event at Boultbee, was also the launch of our Supporters’ Club. The Supporters’ Club is the best way you can actively engage with, and support this project as we move forward. As a member we will keep you up to date with the progress, ask your opinion on certain matters allowing you to be involved in decision making processes, you will receive advanced notice of events, we are also developing a schedule of Members’ only events, you receive a discount code for use on our merchandise, plus, and this is maybe the most important part – you can be sure that your subscription, be that for Life or on an Annual basis, is going towards the restoration of probably the most important WWII aircraft restoration happening right now. At the launch we held a raffle to be the founding member, #0001, won by Jason Gore and we hope we will see his support for years to come.

Earlier in the year we also carried out two successful recoveries in deepest, darkest Scotland. These recoveries were carried out with due regard to the law in the UK, involving landowner and MOD permissions, and all parts recovered from these two sites will yield valuable information that can be utilised in the rebuild, but also, it will ensure the stories of the two pilots who were flying the aircraft will have their stories told. You can read about their stories in the “In Remembrance” section of our website.

We have also published a new and updated website:

http://hawkertyphoon.com

This involved many, many hours of hard work by all of the team ensuring that the look, content, layout and general feel of the website was correct. It was a lot of hard work, but a website is the most important portal for a project like this, and we feel it is exactly what we were after. You can read all about the project, recent news, find out the background of the team, read our FAQ, find out how to help, browse our gallery, take a look in our shop and also join the Supporters’ Club. It is all there, and we will be updating it regularly.

The team started of as one, then it became two, and then there were three to found the charity. As a result of the launch that team is now expanding and we welcome Richard Spreckley and Suzie Leadbetter aboard. You may have seen Richard’s modelling skills already, as he has offered to make 1:48 scale custom Typhoons initially, and soon he will be adding 1:24 scale custom Typhoons to that, with all proceeds going to the Charity. But Rich and Suzie are also going to begin taking over the role of Membership and Events secretary as that side of the project is growing at an incredible rate. In the coming months and years the project will grow still further and we welcome expressions of help from anyone interested. Notice of openings will of course be given to members of the Supporters’ Club first.

2016 finished with the “Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group”, the name under which the charity was formed, owning the largest collection of Typhoon parts outside of the RAF Museum, that is something quite special, and an achievement that we are all justifiably proud of. The Supporters’ Club is larger than we had ever imagined, with today, 1st January, being an equally strong day for sign ups. Santa also confirmed for us an early Christmas present, but, due to the size of it he couldn’t fit it down the chimney! As soon as business resumes in January we will have an announcement to make regarding this, and we will also be hosting a members’ only event to come and be the first people to see this wonderful piece of engineering! It will be free, but if you wish to attend you must be a member of the Supporters’ Club.rb396-life-badges

As we move forward into 2017 the project is set to grow and grow. You can look forward to seeing us at as many air shows as we can possibly get to, we are in the process of having our stand designed so that we are ready to go, and are in discussions with a number of individuals about sponsorship for that stand, and also for transport. We hope to have updates on these very soon.

We have been working for some time on a recovery on the continent that, if substantiated, could advance the project by a matter of years. Naturally we will update the Supporters as soon as we hear more, but work on that is ongoing and it is probable that we may have some news this year.

As soon as business resumes we will be in discussions with various locations about a home for RB and the Heritage Centre. Criteria for this are that the location must be an airfield and that the airfield should have Typhoon history. That narrows the field down considerably, but further criteria are that the location must be accessible to members of the public, and that we must be able to make the location ‘our own’. A corner of a hangar will not do, the Heritage Centre will be free standing, and an attraction in its own right. Work is ongoing and we hope to be able to make an announcement on this in 2017.

We will be adding more to our range of merchandise as we grow the project, in an effort to try and cater for everybody’s needs and wants, we will be adding products steadily throughout the course of the year to come, but if you have an idea for something, then please do get in touch.

We have made some huge advances in the CAD required to build something of this scale, with Jonathan working solidly on this, cutting down the eventual cost of the build by a huge amount. Such is his level of work that we aim to begin manufacture and restoration of the airframe this year. It is a huge step and one which we cannot rush into, everything must be considered and we must, of course, make sure that the finances are in place before anything is commenced. The project does not have one sole backer providing funds, but it is going to be funded by its supporters.

You may feel that £4-6 million is an unachievable figure but it is not. Take the higher estimate of £6 million. If that was divided equally between every follower on our social media channels, then that equates to just over £400. Still a lot? Well, then divide that out across the seven years that remain until our aim of D-Day 80th and then you arrive at a figure of just under £60. Divide that still further into months, and you arrive at a figure of £4.90 a month. That’s approximately the price of a beer or large glass of wine. How many people have made the resolution to give up or cut back on alcohol this year? That just puts it into perspective as to how affordable this project is, if EVERYBODY who has an interest in it gets behind it. Don’t forget that if you were to donate that money, then as a registered charity we can claim GiftAid on your donation, meaning we only have to raise about 75% of the total figure, the rest can be claimed back from the government. That makes it approximately just £3.70 a month!!

As we move forward we thank all those who have supported the project so far, and those who will support it in the future. Without the supporters this project wouldn’t be where it is today and we would not be on the verge of seeing a Hawker Typhoon take to the skies for the first time in over 70 years. This project is truly going to make history and you too, can be a part of it. Imagine the sense of pride you will feel, when on that 80th Anniversary of D-Day you can stand there and say “I have been a part of this since the beginning”.

Happy New Year everybody!

 

rb396-typhoon-rockets

 

 

Dec 30

RB396 movement details discovered

Logbook

Image © Polish Aviation Museum

After contact through our website, we are pleased to be able to add one more piece into the jigsaw of RB396’s life. With thanks to Darren Pitcher for spotting the image on a Polish website, charting the wartime flying career of ATA pilot Anna Leska-Daab, we can confirm that RB396 was delivered from RAF Lichfield to RAF Westhampnett on 09 Dec 44. The image, found in amongst a sea of logbook photos and scans on www.muzeumlotnictwa.pl shows in some detail the amount of ferry flying, and the variety of aircraft being flown, by Anna and clearly depicts her arrival at RAF Westhampnett.

RAF Westhampnett is now known as Goodwood Aerodrome and is the base of charity trustee Sam, whose own Grandfather was based there in May 1944 flying the Typhoon, before succumbing to enemy fire over Holland and becoming a POW. Goodwood Aerodrome is being investigated as a possible base for RB396 and to find out that the aircraft physically flew from here during the hostilities is something very special. It could be a case of “RB396 coming home…”

Sam said of the discovery “to have recovered parts of my Grandfather’s aircraft that could potentially form part of the rebuild which I could then fly from Goodwood is something very special. But if those parts were incorporated into the aircraft that actually flew from this airfield all those years ago then she flew from here again, that would be something incredibly special. We would be closing a loop in history, bringing the aircraft full circle.”

 

Work with the restoration is ongoing, with an incredibly busy year planed for 2017. The team is working hard to meet the D-Day 80th anniversary in 2024 and needs all the support possible. Joining the Supporters’ Club is the best way to stay up to date with and follow the progress.

Dec 12

Pro-built models now available

image012We are extremely pleased to have Richard Spreckley of mancavemodels.co.uk supporting the Hawker Typhoon RB396 Restoration Project. Richard is an established award winning scale modeller whos outstanding work speaks for itself! He specialises in quarter scale aircraft but has been known to build larger models and also stray into the wold of ships and science fiction. He is one of only a dozen modellers, hand picked by Airfix to build models for their publication, such is his level of ability.

Richard was also at our launch event with a stunning array of work including multiple Typhoon models.

Richard has offered his services to build 1:48 Typhoon model kits for our supporters. This model can be built to a bespoke specification to the buyers requirements (including specific aircraft/squadron/armament); or it can be built to the standard model kit specification.

Built using a leading plastic scale model kit and enhanced using photo-etch and scratch building upgrades this model is an excellent representation of the mighty Hawker Typhoon MkIb which will come presented on a hand made display base. Collection on completion is preferred, but delivery can be arranged via a specialist courier however, please be advised that plastic scale models are fragile; everything will be done to package and ship the item so it arrives safely, however some small parts may need re-attaching if they have been dislodged during the delivery process.

Models will be built to order and could take up to 3 months to complete.

To order and discuss your individual requirements please contact sam@hawkertyphoon.com or visit our webshop.

All profits will go to the RB396 Typhoon Restoration.

Dec 03

New Website and Webstore

After a lot of hard work behind the scenes by the team (and a lot of late nights), we are proud to present a new webpage and shop for RB396 merchandise. Please browse the new features available which should give a more indepth view into the project, its roots and the future. The Webpage is in constant development with new features and articles being added all the time, all updates will be posted here on the NEWS page so check back often. We hope you enjoy the new look hawkertyphoon.com

Oct 29

Project Launch – Boultbee Flight Academy, Goodwood

The 29th October 2016 saw the public launch of the Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group’s exciting project to restore Hawker Typhoon Mk.1b RB396 to airworthy condition in time for the D-Day 80th anniversary in 2024. The event featured three guests of honour, wartime Typhoon pilots Flt Lt David Ince DFC, Flt Lt Derek Lovell and Flt Lt George Wood and was held before an audience of over 150 media representatives and supporters at the Boultbee Flight Academy Hangar, Goodwood Aerodrome.

The Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group aims to restore a Napier Sabre powered Hawker Typhoon Mk.1b aircraft to flight using the substantial remains of serial number RB396, and demonstrate the aircraft to the public as a living memorial to the Typhoon crews who flew in support of Allied air operations during the invasion of occupied Europe.

RB396 was one of 3,317 Typhoons manufactured during the early 1940s. The aircraft saw combat with No. 121 Wing of the Second Tactical Air Force’s No. 83 Group, and survived a forced landing on 1 April 1945. This airframe will form the basis for a major restoration project, which will be carried out by professional organisations and individuals across the country. Once complete, this will be the world’s only airworthy example of the Typhoon, and the first Typhoon to be operated in private hands.

Read the rest of this entry »

May 18

Charity Status – Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group

typhoon_sepiaWe are truly proud to announce that Typhoon RB396 will be restored and owned by a Registered Charity here in England.

Our charity name is the Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group (1167143), our mission is not just to restore RB396 to flight but also to bring to light the efforts, daring and sacrifice of Typhoon crews during World War II. It was very important for us to become a Registered Charity as it allows the project and Typhoon RB396 to have a definitive outlook.

The aircraft can never be sold or used for any other purposes other than to benefit the charity, this means any donations and support we receive will be only ever be spent on bringing this aircraft and all of its background and history back for the public.  Find out more by clicking here to view the Project page.