It was a typical British summer’s day with, sunshine, showers, blustery winds and a down pour, 19 brave souls braved the elements.
We met Mark Gregory Managing Director and owner of Air Salvage international (ASI), Mark explained that his entire career had been in Aircraft maintenance. He formed ASI in 1997, with his settlement, after being made redundant when BA bought Dan Air. Initially he provided labour for aircraft maintenance, but progressed to where airlines and aircraft owners, lessors approach him to help decide the best approach to adopt when aircraft are no longer required by airlines. Many parts are recycled, some of the more obvious examples, engines, avionics, flaps, landing gear, when all items of value have been removed the remainder of the aircraft, mainly aluminium, is broken down for scrap and passed to another local company for further treatment, Smiths Commercial Waste Services. The group toured the breakdown hanger where aircraft parts are removed for recycling and returned to the original equipment manufacturer to be “re-lifed” e.g. Smiths Aerospace in Cheltenham now GE. The party then visited an area where aircraft are further broken down into sections, which are either sold for purposes such as training or cut up further and sold to Smiths Commercial Waste Services. The company is one of the world’s largest privately owned providers of aircraft disassembly and recovers of parts. Although only having around 50 key long-term employees, through its supplier and subcontractor base the Company has a substantial impact with in the County. Further details on ASI can be obtained through using the website below.
The group then looked at a Bristol Britannia XM 496 Regulus, which is maintained by a dedicated team of volunteers who are trained professional Britannia Ground and Air Crew plus enthusiasts. We met Duncan (Treasurer) of the Bristol Britannia Preservation Society, plus a number of his colleagues who gave a guided tour of the aircraft and cockpit. The Britannia was the world’s first long-range turbo prop (propeller) aircraft and was the Bristol Aeroplane Company bid to rebuild Britain’s civil aircraft industry after WWII. The aircraft saw service with BOAC, and was nicknamed the Whispering Giant. Short Brothers built the military version, fitted with the Bristol Proteus engine (turbo prop). The aircraft was named the Regulus and it is this version which is preserved at Cotswold airport. If you would like to see it fly very low prior to landing at the airport the link is below. More of the history of the 496 can be seen here: https://youtu.be/tlVdPh0pcZs