Vintage fighter airframe to be restored in U.K.


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A crucial piece of Commonwealth aviation history is flying from Brandon to the United Kingdom as part of a restoration project.

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A crucial piece of Commonwealth aviation history is flying from Brandon to the United Kingdom as part of a restoration project.

An airframe for a Bristol Bolingbroke that was at Brandon’s Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum (CATPM) is heading to the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre in East Kirkby, England, to be rebuilt and restored to running condition.

This plane was a trainer fighter plane utilized to get pilots and crews ready for combat in the Second World War for the Allied Forces. There is a similar model aircraft on display outside the Comfort Inn on Middleton Avenue, explained museum president John McNarry.

A rebuilt Bristol Bolingbroke sits outside the Comfort Inn on Middleton Avenue. An airframe for the same type of trainer fighter plane is being sent to a heritage centre in England to be part of a restoration project. (Karen McKinley/The Brandon Sun)

The Lincolnshire centre purchased the pre-Second World War airframe from the museum, which already has two restored, but not running, planes in its collection.

“They are quite anxious to have one in their museum,” McNarry said in an interview on Friday. “We found this one stored on a farm and brought it to our museum. The likelihood of us doing something with it is small, so we decided if they want to take it on, it would be a good home for it, so we let them purchase it.”

The cost for the airframe wasn’t disclosed.

Currently, the airframe is still at the museum. The deal was made in 2019, but the pandemic hit shortly after, meaning the Lincolnshire centre was unable to pick it up. Plans are in the works to have it shipped, McNarry said.

The parts will be assessed for usability to become part of a restored Bolingbroke that will be able to run, but not fly, according to the website. The Lincolnshire centre had worked with the Pima Air and Space Museum in Arizona, as well as the CATPM.

Currently, there is only one running Bristol Bolingbroke in the world.

The Lincolnshire centre already had significant pieces of an existing Bolingbroke, but the CATPM was able to provide a selection of Bolingbroke parts and components surplus to their own restoration needs, the website stated.

The Bristol Bolingbroke was used by the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. It was manufactured in Canada as a modification of the Bristol Blenheim and served many uses in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.


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