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The Blackburn Beverley military transporter from the 1950s is a big aircraft – huge, in fact, with a wingspan of 162ft and the capacity to carry 94 troops. Not surprising then that when the last remaining Beverley, XB259, came up for sale, the biggest interest came from scrap metal dealers.
But the Beverley has now been rescued – by Martyn Wiseman of Condor Aviation, the company behind the ‘White Lightning’ electric racing aircraft.
Beverley transporters were built by Blackburn in Brough, East Yorkshire and saw service with the RAF from 1955 to 1967. They were powered by four Bristol Centaurus 18-cylinder radial engines, each producing 2,850hp and driving de Havilland reversible-pitch 4-blade propellers.
XB259 was unusual with Blackburn registering it for civilian service as G-AOAI, including testing rocket assisted take-offs. Later, it was given the military reg of XB259 and used by the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) at Farnborough for other tests.
Martyn Wiseman said, “The Blackburn has had an esteemed history, and as a fan of radial engine aircraft, I couldn’t bear to see this go the same way as all the others.
“Working with a benefactor who shares my passion, we secured the XB259, along with a large number of artefacts relating to its history, from Fort Paull when the heritage site was auctioned off in late September.”
Martyn plans to move the plane to Birchwood Lodge, a private airfield in Yorkshire, not far from where the Beverley was built.
Condor Aviation has until June 2021 to move the huge plane, and that in itself will be a major engineering feat.
“The first stage in moving the Beverley to its forever home will be to dismantle it and move it in parts,” said Martyn.
“With a wingspan of nearly 50 metres, equivalent to two tennis courts end-to-end, and a fuselage so large you can fit a single decker bus inside, it will be an engineering feat in itself to move it. We anticipate the dismantle, move and reassembly to cost in excess of £100,000.”
Condor Aviation has launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise the funds needed to dismantle, move and rebuild the aircraft.
“Any donation, however large
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