Saturday, 1 February 2014

Newsletter for February 2014.


Well here we are well into the New Year now in this issue we continue with team profiles this time it’s our Chairman Mike Eastman. I don’t apologise for printing this in full, I did think about trimming it down a bit but found that it would detract to much from Mikes life in aviation so here it is printed in full, also a day spent at the Aviation Bookshop meeting Whirlwind Pilots and digging out a Peregrine.

The thanks this month goes to David Atkins, for a selection of photographs that he has sent me regarding F/O A Torrence of 137 Squadron, some of which will be in next months mini news also for the offer of his help with the search for parts, needless to say we have put him to work already.
I have also heard about a new book coming out in the Spring by Professor Glynn Davies of Imperial Collage London and this will be the first biography about Teddy Petter.
Also it’s time to get the begging bowl out again, There is a gorgeous print of the Prototype Whirlwind for sale also you can find T Shirts and Mugs along with other items for sale in the forum shop. Further details are at the bottom of the page.
Chris Hayward.

Team Profile
Mike and Liz
Mike Eastman and his wife Liz.
I am married to Liz and have two grown up children (a son and daughter) and two adopted boys one grown up and one a teenager.
I left school at 15 in 1969 and joined Hawker Siddeley Aviation at Woodford as an apprentice. The Woodford factory being the ex AVRO plant that during the war built the Lancaster bomber and the Avro Anson communications and nav trainer.
My first recollections of walking through the door where of a Shackleton at the end of one line and a full production line of HS 748 and Andover’s. On the other line in front of the Shackleton where two De Havilland Comets later to become Comrods XV147 and XV148 the flying test beds for the under fuselage panniers and other airframe humps and bulges for the HS 801 later to be known by one and all as the Nimrod.
I started in the apprentice training school and one day a week went to Macclesfield Technical College for basic airframe training at that time they had amongst other things a De Havilland Vampire.
My first involvement with aircraft preservation came when along with some other apprentices and some of the line guys we founded a small aircraft preservation group and our first aircraft was a de Havilland vampire WZ518  one of 36 vampire jets then in storage at the MU at Woodford, these aircraft where the remnants of 75 aircraft held from RAF storage for the abandoned mystery jet project. This being to take a vampire keep the engine, wings and twin boom tail but ditch the fuselage and change it for an all metal 6 seat business jet. The company heading up the project folded and we (HAS) ended up with the aircraft to dispose of, and they ended up going to schools and colleges around the UK.
During my time at Woodford I came across many different types including HS748, HS780, HS801 (Nimrod). And AEW. HS 146 (later to become RJ70 ,RJ80,RJ100. Victor Tanker conversions, Argosy, Canberra etc.  During this same period my involvement with the preservation movement grew and we ended up with as well as the Vampire, An Auster J1n (The Setty Murder Auster), the parts of three Miles Gemini Aircraft, as well as a Miles Messenger. An Auster B8N Agricola and a ground running taxiable Piston provost. And we were privileged to be part of the early days of the British Aircraft preservation Council as it was then.
With the downturn in the industry during the early 1980’s I took a break from the aircraft Industry and preservation but still kept an interest from afar. During the late 1980’s I again got involved with aircraft as I became manager at Barton aerodrome near Manchester and we started up a group of enthusiasts again this time with a jet provost, another vampire T11 ,and a number of WW1 replica aircraft as well as a Nord 1101 Noralpha(ME208).
At the same time I was asked to help out in Malta with a guy who had found the remains of a Spitfire, this led to 18 months of involvement hands on and the rebuild of mk9 spitfire EN199 and an association I have still today having helped with their Hawker hurricane, Sea Hawk and fiat G91 Jets as well as carrying out repair schemes and re fabric covering of their Vampire T11.And advising them on becoming a fully fledged museum that has today resulted in them having one of the leading collections in the Mediterranean area.
During my early involvement with Malta I changed jobs and found myself working for the embryo Classic collection at Coventry working on the Prentice rebuild and the Twinn pioneer amongst other types such as DC3 etc. This work came to an abrupt end after the company did a reshuffle and put the classic side on the back burner for a while so back north I came, I unfortunately lost my wife and went into hibernation for a couple of years until a new wonderful lady came into my life I started a company up manufacturing small fire vehicles for light aviation use and converting ex RAF 6x4 Range Rover fire vehicles to 6x6 and to meet CAA requirements this lasted 6years then the big boys no longer liked the competition and we where pushed out of the market effectively. At around this same time I started to get problems walking etc and one day could not move this ended up with me having to have spine surgery as discs in my back had started to fall apart. Not being a person who likes to sit still in a corner I kept an interest in things aircraft and acquired  an Auster and a Soko Kraguj as rebuild projects and also started a group up in my new home in North Yorkshire rebuilding some aircraft for museums and Private collections.
You all must be getting bored by now with me rambling on but suffice to say today we have an organisation of dedicated volunteers (Aircraft restoration Group) we currently have on the blocks .A Spitfire MkII a Spitfire MK 5, a spitfire mk9 replica, A vampire T22 , A Flying Flea, the only Thurston Tawny owl ever built and of course we are the main engineering support for the Whirlwind Fighter project. On the latter, who cannot be drawn to the sleek lines and obvious powerful look of the Whirlwind. I have for many years thought that if we ever got the chance it would be an aircraft to build . After all we have been scratch building Spitfire and other aircraft so why not a whirlwind with the team of guys that are currently coming around the project and the support we have from members we must be onto a winner, then when Westlands invited us down to the factory and offered us support it had to be the right time.
As you can see I have over 40 years experience with aircraft and association with so many different types of aircraft some I can mention and some I can’t that I forget myself how many but suffice to say many more than above listed from film work ,to small collections to major museums to individual projects.
I am very proud to be involved with the project and hope to see many of you at our first AGM in the new year.
Mike E

  Recovery of P6966’s two Peregrine engines.
According to the rules of restoration you sometimes have to start with a very messy and very heavy lump of mud within which is contained an engine, the lump of mud in the left hand picture  belonged to P6966 as in this case the Peregrine dug up in Scotland by Steve Vizard and his team. Once cleaned up it  looked like this one in the centre picture which is believed to be one of only two in existence and both are held by the Rolls Royce Heritage Museum in Derby but when it gets to the CAD team all sorts of miracles happen and thanks to Rene Peters it comes out looking like the drawing on the  right.
Andy saunders whirly dig c rightPeregrine copyrightperegrine copyright (2)  

The Aviation Bookshop   
On the 14th of December I attended the launch of Rob Bowaters new book called ‘137 and 263 Squadron’ I was lucky enough to also meet George Wood, Johnnie Shellard and Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown along with the author himself.
The Aviation Bookshop was kind enough to allow me to stand to one side and rattle my collection box which raised £25.00 towards the build, I was also able to meet up with Jim Munro and Patrice Moreau who were two of the other team members whom I had never met. It was also good to meet up with forum members and have a good chat with them about the project.
g.woods, r bowater,johnnie shellard, eric brown.         Aviation Bookshop 14Dec13 059

Eric Wood, Rob Bowater, Johnnie Shellard with Eric Brown standing.                                
Can anyone spot the mistake in the sign!

Aviation Bookshop 14Dec13 CJM
Eric Brown getting a playful punch on the nose from Eric Wood because of some of the things he is supposed to have said about the Whirlwind. 
At the end of the signing Patrice presented both George and Johnnie with framed pictures of a Whirlwind.

Whirlwind kits and detail sets
      Just been announced by Trumpeter of China a new tool 1/48 scale Whirlwind
                                                 trumpter ww 
The Airfix 1/72 Whirly is now available in starter kit form
airfix ww 

The Cooper details kit is quite old and would have to be searched for.
cooper ww

Airwaves detail set for the 1/72 scale Airfix kit

Classic Airframes.
Classic ww
Special hobby

Special Hobby
Shouldn’t have started this, just had to buy the Special Hobby Whirlwind!

And finally some sales pitch.

We have for sale a number of Prints from a painting by Dave Gibbings MBE of the Prototype Whirlwind in flight. These are signed by the Artist and also by Henry Davenport, H Penrose and W Petter all well known names to do with Westlands.

The prints retail for £25.00 which includes P&P and can be obtained from me,  if you want one please contact me via email at or the contact me on the blog, all proceeds will of course go to the project.

All other items can be purchased from the forum shop.




I really am not ashamed to get out the begging bowl ask ask our members for financial help even if it’s only a pound, it will all go towards building our Whirlwind, so please raid your piggy banks and see if you have a few coppers to spare.

If you wish to send donations please make them payable to ….The Whirlwind Fighter Project, and send them to The Secretary, 57 Bramblefield lane, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME102SX.

Copyright Whirlwind Fighter Project 2011/2014

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