A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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17 May 2019

Young People Today!

Sixteen years ago, Counsel asked me if I would take his 11 year-old son Harry for a trip around the houses in my Jodel.

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It was Harry's first flight in a small aeroplane and it was clear from the start that he was a natural. As soon as we'd got air under the wheels, I just sat back and enjoyed the view until we came home and were 6ft off the ground on short finals to land. Harry subsequently joined the local branch of the ATC and was a keen participant in all its activities - especially flying.

Harry, at an age when I was still wet behind the ears, has now got one of the two best seats in the 737's that he flies for a freight airline.....

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.... and the other day, Counsel and I slipped off to Little Gransden to see him compete in his first aerobatic competition in which he gained a very respectable 6th place. Years ago, a friend of mine who also flew for an airline, successfully landed an A340 on only 3 sets of wheels, keeping the wing off the runway until the very last second. He was also a keen aerobatic competitor - the kind of pilot that it's good to have up front when things don't go according to plan.

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More progress on Mr Slightly-Strange's Model T tub. Things aren't going quite as quickly as he'd hoped because....

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.... there's a bit of a leak in the nearside corner of his Bedford bus. As a trip away was imminent, a repair scheme was set in progress, but as is often the case, the further he got into the structure, evidence of earlier bodges was revealed and getting back to sound framework took some time.

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This De Tomaso Vallelugga took my eye on the way back from Norfolk. I thought that I might stop at Roudham Industrial Estate which from 1916 to 1920 was the site of the RFC (Royal Flying Corps) airfield, 'Harling Road'. The attraction was a 1st World War pattern General Service Hangar, just visible from the road and which boasts a Belfast Truss roof support structure - a wooden lattice affair resembling the geodetic pattern of a Wellington fuselage. I couldn't get near the hangar, but I noticed a lot of people milling around some MG's and drove in to see what was going on. An MG specialist company was hosting a stage on an MG Car Club run and all the stores and workshops were open for viewing.

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At the end of a line of Midgets and Frogeyes awaiting restoration was this pretty little coupé. I don't think it's a Lenham, but it could be a WSM with a Sprite bonnet?

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A few days later I tripped over this very rare chassis. The tubular construction hinted at something German, but I was surprised to learn that it was a Connaught Grand Prix car. There's not a lot of information on Connaught's individual models, but my guess is that this is a 'B' type and possibly powered by an DOHC Alta engine. I could be wrong; my file retrieval isn't as good as it was in my younger days.

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