Important Notice

Bruntingthorpe has been the home of the Cold War Jets for the last two decades or so. During recent years, the CWJ aircraft collection, along with a number of independent aircraft owners have been able to display their aircraft on two Open Days held on the May and August Bank Holiday weekends each year. In more recent times, the airfield (runway and taxiways in particular) has been used as a giant parking lot for cars associated with the very lucrative car and auction business on site. Early in 2020, Bruntingthorpe Airfield was leased by its owner the Walton Family to Cox Automotive. The new tenant unfortunately made it quite clear that their car business would take priority, much to the detriment of the aircraft collections parked around the various hardstandings on the airfield. They required all aircraft within a newly defined airfield boundary to be moved by the end of 2020. This defined area included all taxiways, runway and hardstandings housing resident aircraft at Bruntingthorpe, with the exception of the Lightning Preservation Group aircraft and QRA Shed facility located on a strip of land on the north side of the perimeter track.

This strip of land on the north side of the airfield adjoining the Walton residence provided an opportunity at least for parking of most of the small jets associated with the CWJ collection. With the generous help of Mr David Walton and family, the area of land around and to the side of the LPG compound has been cleared to make available more aircraft parking. The hardstanding is temporary at the moment, but has been sufficiently suitable to receive the small jets for safe keeping. The future of the Canberra, Iskra, Delphin, Jet Provost, T7 Hunter, GA11 Hunter, Starfighter, Sea Vixen, Gnat, Meteor, and Venom alongside the Lightning interceptors of the LPG has thus been secured for the time being. At Cox Automotive’s direction, a 6’ fence has been erected between the northern edge of the perimeter track and existing LPG site, which effectively cuts any access onto the taxiway for the aircraft. Any future operation of the jets onto the airfield proper has thus been prevented for the foreseeable future. At least a new road has been opened to the north of the site where the original crash gate enabled direct access to Bath Road. Movement through this gate will be controlled, and is currently available for use by those personnel directly involved with the management of the CWJ Group. In time, it is hoped that in time, public access may be available to the collection in a similar way to that in years gone by.

The matter of the 4-jets (Victor, Nimrod and Comet in particular), not to mention a VC-10 (not actually part of the CWJ collection) and the Guppy was a different matter. The area next to the LPG Q-Shed was not sufficiently large to accommodate any of the bigger aircraft. A solution has been found at least for 3 of these aircraft which have recently been re-located to another airfield hardstanding which also sits outside the airfield footprint of the Cox Automotive acquisition. Again, it has been largely thanks to the generosity of David Walton and his sons that the Victor, Nimrod and Comet have been ‘rescued’ and towed to the new site. Over the winter months, (Covid-19 permitting of course), Terry Stevenson together with David and Amanda Dacre have coordinated closely with David Walton to facilitate the eventual removal of the aircraft into the new compound. The area is reasonably generous in size, which will permit some movement of aircraft for ground servicing purposes. Any operation in the future as regards engine running has yet to be decided. Equally, access to this hardstanding is currently via the Main Gate only, and Cox Automotive will continue to exercise strict control over that facility. Eventually it is hoped in time to provide a direct access to the new park for the volunteer group who look after the jets and visitors.

The take-over of the main airfield has brought to an end any hope of resurrecting the Cold War Jets Open Days as we used to know them. In the meantime, the future of the majority of the Cold War Jet aircraft and other associated aircraft at Bruntingthorpe has been protected as far as possible. We are fortunate that Mr David Walton has a continued personal interest in the long-term retention of these iconic aircraft. The personnel associated with this collection of aircraft remain dedicated in ensuring the future of the aircraft, and it is hoped the aircraft will be maintained in a condition which has long set the CWJs group aside from many other similar collections.

Cold War Jets Open Day 25th August 2019

After weeks of preparation the day arrived – with baking temperature above 30C. The Nimrod displayed first and behaved very well.  Prior to the run Miss Leicester and Miss England arrived to encourage the team and go for the ride.  (They are in the middle, Bob and Stu in green – to avoid confusion!!)  Looked after well by Al in the rear of the Nimrod although he went dark for a while.  Miss Leicester had to exchange her briefs and bra for a brown grow bag but there were plenty on hand to assist.

Miss Leicester and Miss England- posing with two very pretty ladies

Tux getting the phone numbers down before he forgets them

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The team were visited by Etienne Verheist who attended CWJ all the way from Antwerp.  Bob showed him the cockpit and Etienne provided some photos – glad you had a good time.

After the normal preps it was the turn of Teasin’ Tina to show off.

The check for any missing ground crew before start up

Intake check for debris- and bodies

 

 

 

 

Centre of attention and warming up. © Mark Suffield

 

 

 

 

 

715 behaved very well again with Bob, Stu and Terry in the cockpit.  The good run was appreciated by the big crowd and made all the hard work by our engineers worth it.  Big smiles all round.

The run – acknowledgement to  maffie587

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12aLb1Nm_SA

Happy 80th Birthday Lawson

On Monday 22nd July Lawson Siviter celebrated his 80th birthday.  Lawson had been in the RAF, twice.  Once for his National Service and subsequently rejoined later.  Lawson was an aircraft engineer and had spent his service time at RAF Gaydon servicing Victor B1s.  His son, Adam, wanted to give him a birthday treat to remember, so on Sunday 21st July he drove him to a secret “present” – a visit to Teasin’ Tina at Bruntingthorpe.

Mike Beer arranged the visit set up some months in advance to coincide with a scheduled maintenance day.  Mike was on hand to host the family and Lawson was whisked around the peri track to the Victor.  Accompanied by his family, he was told the history of Tina followed by a cockpit visit and family photographs.

A small birthday presentation to commemorate the occasion took place in front of the aircraft before a final visit to Nimrod XV226, something his son, Adam, was especially looking forward to after his earlier ATC days.  A good time was had by all – and the team was happy to facilitate it for Adam and Lawson.

 

Mike presenting Lawson with some birthday gifts from Tina’s team

 

 

Lawson, centre, surrounded by his family
Lawson, centre, surrounded by his family

Cold War Jets Open Day 26th May 2019

After intense preparations post winter maintenance, the day dawned with the threat of showers, unlike the last event which saturated everyone.  Teasin’ Tina looked resplendent after a wash and brush up and the systems checked out fine.  A few problems with the ground power set but overcome.  Albeit a late run to close the show, but the team retired happy and the many spectators content.  Now looking forward to the next open day on Sunday 25th August.

Photos provided by Colin Collis, copyright retained – many thanks again (click to enlarge).

 

Open Day Fast Taxy Sunday 26th May

Preparations are going well for the next fast taxy demonstration at the Cold War Open Day at Bruntingthorpe on Sunday 26th May.  There will be demonstrations from a variety of heritage aircraft and the opportunity to walk the flight line before the action starts meet the crews and hear the aircraft histories.   Teasin’ Tina is scheduled to run in the afternoon and our merchandise tent will be open all day in the franchise line for purchase of Victor souvenirs and memorabilia.  We hope to see you there and chat.

Happy Anniversary 19th November 1993

Happy 25th Anniversary.

On 19th November 1993 Squadron Leader Steve Jenkins, former 55 Squadron Flight Commander, flew our Victor XM715 from RAF Marham to Bruntingthorpe and handed over the aircraft maintenance log, the Form 700, completing the purchase by the Walton family and adding to the Cold War Jets Museum.

XM715 is unique. Over the thirty year operational life it served in all roles assigned to the Victor Mk2 – bomber, missile carrier, reconnaissance and air to air tanker. It equipped Nos 100, 139(Jamaica), 543, 55 and 57 Squadrons and No 232 Operational Conversion Unit. 715 took part in two wars, Operation Corporate flying from Ascension and Operation Granby based in Bahrain, providing vital aerial refuelling support.

John Allam flew it on its maiden flight from Radlett on 31st December 1962 and delivered the Victor BMk2 to No 100 Squadron, RAF Wittering early the following year. The first operational role was as a high level, high speed free fall nuclear bomber in anti radiation white livery – part of the UK deterrent, termed Mutually Assured Destruction – aptly MAD.

On delivery to No 100 Squadron, RAF Wittering

 

 

 

 
In 1963 XM715 was modified to carry the Blue Steel stand off missile with a megaton nuclear warhead, to be launched from high level beyond the range early warning Soviet radars thus increasing mission survivability.

Carrying a Blue Steel missile for high level launch

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further modifications and a paint job – to increase the chances of success, in early 1964 the tactic switched to low level penetration of air defences and a Blue Steel release from low level.

Carrying a Blue Steel missile at low level – to launch

 

 

 

 

 

Take off with Blue Steel for a low level training sortie

 

 

 

 

 

In 1968 a further modification to the payload in the bomb bay saw a change in role to strategic reconnaissance- both photographic and radar.

A mix of additional fuel tanks and/or cameras in the bomb bay

In sniffing fit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After an exhaustive refurbishment by HSA, 715 returned to RAF service in April 1975 at RAF Marham as an air to air tanker, until retirement from operational service in November 1993.

No 55 Squadron disbandment marking the end of operational service

 

 

 

 

 

 

XM715, with the nose art Teasin’ Tina gained during the 38 war missions during Operation Granby, now regularly struts her stuff at the Cold War Jets Open Days. But all flight was not over as Bob Prothero flew a very short demo in May 2009.

Oops!!

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you 715 for your service and the pleasure you give your enthusiastic support team and your aviation admirers – many more demos to come.

A Very Wet Open Day 26 August 2018

It was an extremely wet Open Day for the Cold War Jets.  Thank you to the photographers and friends who stayed to the end to capture the Victor aborted take off demo – you were heroes and produced some excellent photography.  Many thanks for sharing them with us.

The two jets had a few faults when starting up on Saturday to position down to the start line for Sunday.  No 3 on the Victor got too hot on start and was closed down.  We tugged it directly into wind, it did the trick, just, and 3 and 4 started just within EGT limits.  The Nimrod has not been moved for two years, so problems were anticipated.  The brakes seemed to be sticking on after applications.  A novel solution found after shut down involving a bungee cord to assist the the release of the pedals, assumed as the culprit, worked.

Sunday weather deteriorated around 1030 and set wet for the rest of the day.  However, both the Victor and Nimrod engines and systems behaved perfectly – testament to the work of our ground crew.   The Nimrod fix was excellent and learning from the previous days ticklish engine starts, the Victor was aligned to make best use of any headwind.  After the display they are both now put to bed for the winter.  We do hope to see you in late May.

Amanda delivering a shower and spruce up.

Angry skies during the positioning. © Craig Sluman

Waiting patiently. © Graham Green

Friends positioned for the Open Day. © Richard Wellings

Vortex from starboard engines on power up. © Adam Makewell

Full power, brakes off and rolling!! © Michelle Middleton

Into the run. © Antony Flack

Nimrod rolling. © Bradley Rogers

Damp but satisfied – flight deck happy faces.

Getting ready for Open Day 26 August

Preparations are well in hand for the Open Day and taxy demos on Sunday 26th May.  Tina has had the nose art refreshed and is looking good in the blue sky backdrop.  As usual we will have a host of goodies on sale from our tent- surplus parts, logo’d merchandise and book signings by Bob plus our friends with their excellent book series Out of the Blue, the proceeds from these go to the service charities.   At the last Open Day we were available to the public right up to the time we crewed in on the marshaling apron.  So why not come on over to meet us and ask away, we are always delighted to talk about Victors.  See you there.

Tina gets a face lift and comes up looking good. c Ray Ball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking good in the sunshine- preparing for Open Day. c Ray Ball