Outer Zone   -   Aviation News and Features from around the local area and beyond.


Middleton St George Memorial Association annual Remembrance Ceremony

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With the impending closure of the St George Hotel at Durham Tees Valley Airport the Middleton St George Memorial Association held what could be it's last Remembrance Service there on Saturday 10 November 2018 and there was an excellent turn out of both veteran's and serving RAF personnel . 

The Address was given by the Reverend Colin Lingard and wreaths were laid by representatives of the Air Cadets , the Royal Air Forces Association and Shaun Woods on behalf of Durham Tees Valley Airport. 

Wreaths were also laid by the Royal Canadian Air Force representative Captain  Stuart MacWilliams, a CP-140 Aurora pilot currently on an exchange posting with 56 Squadron at RAF Waddington and Squadron Leader Phil Stewart of 100 Squadron at RAF Leeming . 

Personal tributes were made remembering those that had 'Failed To Return' .

David Thompson

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Rededication of the Cheviot Memorial

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A new memorial to allied airmen who lost their lives in the Cheviot Hills of Northumberland in the Second World War, and the shepherds who tried desperately to save them, was unveiled by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Gloucester in one of the final events to mark 100 years of the Royal Air Force.

The memorial, set against the stunning backdrop of the Northumberland National Park, was overhauled as an RAF100 legacy project, with fundraising led by the Alnwick and Rothbury branches of the RAF Association. Originally unveiled in 1995, the polished granite and bronze memorial has been updated to recognise the courage of the shepherds who rescued and cared for some sixteen airmen who survived air crashes.

A moving ceremony was attended by the Duchess of Northumberland, Civic Dignitaries, Senior Royal Air Force Officers, veterans, local farmers and shepherds. A guard of honour was provided by personnel from RAF Boulmer , whilst a Hawk jet from RAF Leeming’s 100 Sqn flew through College Valley for a poignant a low-level flypast.


Wreaths were laid by Air Force representatives from New Zealand, Canada, Australia, America and Germany. Lieutenant Colonel Stefan Kershner from the German Air Force said: “I really appreciate the friendship that has been shown to me today and that our loss has been included.”


There were several stands for those attending to visit, including Royal Air Force Association and the Mountain Rescue Team based at RAF Leeming, members of which took part in the ten-mile Cheviot Bomber trail race raising funds for the memorial earlier this year.


The Duke concluded the event by unveiling a commemorative plaque in Cuddystone Hall, He said: “I congratulate you all for restoring and rededicating the Cheviot Memorial and for including a memorial to those who were not part of combat.”

September 2018




A recent visit to Newcastle Airport unearthed another aviation gem which might interest FLAG members. For civil aviation photographers the Brunswick Industrial Estate, just east of the airport, provides the perfect location for taking shots of the aircraft on finals to runway 25.

Located among the many industrial units is the Flight Sim Centre, recently set up by aviator Neil McCarthy. Neil learned to fly when 17 and is now a fully qualified aerobatic display pilot with ten years experience of displaying at UK and European airshows. His specialty is flying classic jets such as the Jet Provost and Hunter. The Flight Sim Centre is unique being the only centre to offer three simulators. Flight Simmers can experience flying the Boeing 737-800 airliner from a fully functioning cockpit to anywhere in the world. Alternatively you can have a fast jet experience in the new F-35 fighter. The software models the F-35 in having touch screen controls for operating the aircraft. The cockpit is also universal so can be configured to almost any aircraft you choose. Finally, a classic Spitfire experience is offered which uses the latest 3D goggles headset.

Yours truly opted on my initial trip for flying the heavy metal of the 737 airliner out of Newcastle en route to DTV and then Leeming. Passable approaches and landings were made (on the "walk away" definition at least) but it demonstrated to me how different flying heavy metal is from a single engine piston aircraft. The FMC flies the aircraft much better ! Pleased after successful landings, I followed the advice of my Training Captain, Neil, and opted for something more demanding - landing the 737 at the old Kaitak Airport, Hong Kong. A very difficult approach was followed by a sharp right turn onto finals with Kowloon Bay looking extremely forbidding. A misjudged final turn which left the aircraft too high presented a dilemma for this novice 737 pilot - go for it or overshoot. Passenger safety took priority over gung ho and full throttles enabled an overshoot with no one getting wet in the Bay. In compensation for the "pigs ear" approach and landing, Neil allowed me to successfully fly the 737 under the Victoria Harbour bridge at very low level, en route to the new Hong Kong International Airport, which would not have amused the CAA ! After such heroics we ended the sortie by flying from DTV to Newcastle on a westerly track making our approach and landing on runway 07.

The experience of being in the cockpit of an airliner while flying is now one that post 9/11 is no longer available to ordinary mortals. A 737 Sim of the type at Flight Sim Centre allows one to learn from and enjoy the experience of being a 737 trainee for a modest outlay. On leaving the Centre an Easyjet Airbus passed very low overhead on finals to the airport. For a moment I looked up and thought - "I have just done that !"

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For further information visit the Flight Sim Centre websitetheir Facebook page or contact Neil McCarthy (below) directly

You Tube video of Neil flying the Hunter Mk T7A WV318/G-FFOX c/s Firefox

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International Bomber Command Memorial Spire unveiled in Lincolnshire

A memorial spire 30 metres high, which is the wingspan of a Lancaster bomber, has been unveiled in Lincolnshire. its steel walls displaying the names of the 55, 573 Bomber Command aircrew who lost their lives during WW2. Hundreds of people, many of whom were Bomber Command veterans, attended the ceremony, which was marked by a flypast which included the Vulcan which is nearing its final flight. The photo below shows the shadow cast by Sqn Ldr Alfie Hall from Leeming on some of the names of those aircrew who sacrificed their lives.

Credits - ITV News, The Telegraph, John Robertson

October 2015

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Great Yorkshire Airshow 2015 - photos by Mick Britton

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Icarus Simulation takes off  in Langley Park, nr Durham City

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FLAG members might be interested in a new venture launched at Langley Park, near Durham City.  Icarus Simulation was conceived by Edward Jackson, an APTL Commercial Pilot and flight instructor with over 2000 light aircraft hours and over 1700 instructional hours in his logbook.


A recent visit to the facilty demonstrated the high quality of the simulator cockpit which reproduces that of a typical modern light aircraft. Indeed, from personal experience, I can state that it exceeds the quality found in many real if rather tired light aircraft used in the circuits.


With large multi screens for stunning visuals and using MS Flight Sim software, the sim gives the pilot the option to fly anywhere in the world in all kinds of weather.


In talking to Edward, he explained that the Sim can cater for a wide variety of customer needs. These can range from fun flights to the more serious business of persons using the facility to enhance their real flight training at a fraction of the cost of using club aircraft.


Multi-engine operations are possible as is interaction with the outside world of ATC etc. Control of the flight can be monitored and manipulated by the external flight controller using the sim software.

Personally I can’t wait to try my hand at flying the sim and find out how much I’ve forgotton !


For further information visit the    Icarus Simulation     website or their Facebook page.


2015 Sunderland Airshow weekend 

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Photos by Mick Britton - Wildcats, OV-10 Bronco, Sea King, Typhoon and Vampire duo at the 2015 Sunderland Airshow.

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Down to the wire - the Vulcan was not at the airshow but Martin Withers gave a vigorous flypast at the North East Air Museum on 27 June

Photos - Leeming Aviation

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Mynarski Lancaster visits Durham Tees Valley Airport 2014

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Thursday 28th August 2014 was a special day at Durham Tees Valley Airport, formerly the wartime RAF Middleton St George aerodrome. A record number of visitors made their way to the airport to witness the Memorial Service to the wartime Canadians who served at the airfield and later enjoy the sights and sounds of a special visitor, the Mynarski Lancaster bomber. 

The morning was dedicated to the Service held in the RCAF Memorial Garden outside the St George Hotel, formerly the wartime Officers Mess. The service was led by The Reverend Colin Lingard and included a very moving recording made by a Canadian Squadron chaplain some years earlier in which he paid tribute to those Canadians who lost their lives during Bomber Command operations. Wreaths were laid at the Memorial by various representatives which set the scene for what was a truly emotional tribute to those young men from Canada.

The afternoon was given over to the events organised by the Airport which included such static exhibits as a Leeming Hawk, police helicopter, locally based aircraft, vehicles and even working piston engines including the famous R R Griffin of Spitfire fame. Despite the uncertain weather there was even a charity skydiving event undertaken by four military veterans aged between 45 and 79 years. 

However the star attraction that everyone had come to see was the Mynarski Lancaster bomber and it certainly didn't disappoint in any way. On the ground it was possible to get up close and even look inside the aircraft and hearing four Merlins in full sound was something special to visitors and veterans alike. But it was the amazing flying display in the hands of Chief Pilot Don Schofield that really thrilled the crowds. It included some very low level passes and afterwards Don was quoted as saying, "we don't usually fly so low, but if we can't do it at the home of the RCAF, where can we do it ?"

FLAG members who attended this event all agreed that it was something very special and an occasion unlikely to be repeated any time soon.

Photos by Colin Fawcett

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Wartime relic returns to Darlington, almost 70 years later than planned

A PIECE of a Second World War bomber shot down over Germany is to return to the region, almost 70 years after the plane took off from a North-East airfield.

The Lancaster bomber left RAF Middleton St George, now Durham Tees Valley Airport, near Darlington, on the evening of February 20, 1945, never to return.

It was shot down over Dortmund, killing two of the seven-man crew. Those who survived were captured and spent the next two months as prisoners of war.

Among them was flight engineer Stan Instone, who was flying his final mission with 419 Squadron. Now aged 89, he is one of only two of the seven still alive today.

Mr Instone was presented with a piece of the wreckage from his Lancaster when he travelled to Germany to visit the crash site last summer.

He will bring that fragment of the Lancaster to the Middleton St George memorial weekend at the end of the month, so it can finally ‘touch down’ back at the airfield set off from back in February 1945.

In what are sure to be emotional scenes at the memorial weekend, Mr Instone will be joined by his son Mark and grandson Sam, who were both with him on his trip to Germany last year.

It remains to be seen whether a Lancaster named after celebrated Canadian airman Andrew Mynarski, who is memorialised at the airport, will be coming to Middleton St George when it visits the UK in August.


But thanks to the Instones, who live in Berkshire, a small, yet significant piece of the North-East’s wartime heritage will be returning to the region and put on display during the memorial weekend.

The recovery of the piece of Mr Instone’s Lancaster came about after his son contacted a local history society in Germany, seeking information about where the plane crashed.

Mark Instone said: “The society did an archaeological dig and did not find very much at the crash site.

“But the farmer who owned the land remembered a lot of aluminium being used to mend hen houses.

“The piece Dad was given was identified by its serial number as being part of his Lancaster.”

Mr Instone and his crewmates were hit by flak in the early hours of February 21, 1945, just a few minutes before they were due to reach their intended target.

The starboard fuel tanks were set alight, causing a fire in the bomb bay. Captain Larry Blaney gave the order to abandon, but had no time to jump himself.

He and warrant officer Don Hanna, both of the Royal Canadian Air Force, were killed and are buried at the Reichswald Forest war cemetery, in Germany.

Mark Instone said: “Dad was badly wounded in the crash. He was in the aircraft when it exploded and it took him a few years after the war to get back on his feet.

“He spent most of his working life as a technology teacher and retired at the age of 84.

“There are only two members of the crew left, Dad and a man in Canada called Phil Owen, who he has kept in touch with over the years.”

:: The Middleton St George Memorial Association (RCAF/RAF) will be holding their annual reunion over the weekend of 31 May. A Memorial Service will take place at 10-45 hrs on Saturday 31 May. All are welcome to attend, being in place by 10-30 hrs. Other events include a concert by the Band of the RAF College (Friday evening) at Darlington Civic Theatre and a Dinner at the St George Hotel (Saturday evening).


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Sgt Stan Instone during the war and today, together with his son, holding the recovered piece of the crashed wartime Lancaster bomber.

St Georges Day 23 April 2014 brought Russian Bears close to the UK again in a rerun of the Cold War days. The Tu 95H bombers were tracked and intercepted by Typhoons on QRA at Leuchars.

FLAG member Bernie Hinds was present at Lossie to capture these images. More are shown in the Members Gallery section of the website.

Tucano Display Team ready for the new season

The Linton Tucano Display team have now received their Public Display Authority from AVM Mike Lloyd, AOC 22 Training Group. The display pilot is Flt Lt Dave Kirby supported by display manager Flt Lt John Trueman. The photo below (LeemingAviation) shows the display Tucano at Linton recently after a practice sortie.

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CWHM Lancaster Events Log

On Thurs, 21 August, RAF Waddington was the scene for a unique gathering of bomber aircraft  

Read more about this event     view the Planes TV Video      view BBC Lincs

                                                                             Copyright planes TV

Cobham News

Cobham has announced the transfer of its flight inspection services from Durham Tees Valley Airport to Bournemouth with consequent redundancies although its MOD work using the Falcons will continue operating from the airport.                                          

Cobham Flight Inspection Services.


RAF Church Fenton closes

The New Year of 2014 brought with it another Air Force reduction as long established Church Fenton officially closed as an RAF Station. FLAG member and writer Mick Britton summarises Church Fenton's history in his article for Key Publishing who we thank for their permission to reproduce it on our site. An abbreviated version of Mick's article also appears in February's Air Forces Monthly.

Click on the link below for Mick's article -


A website by Ian Herbert devoted to RAF Church Fenton can be found at rafchurchfenton.org.uk


Mynarski Memorial

Photo - P. Charlton

Andrew Mynarski Statue and RCAF Memorial Garden


The present Durham Tees Valley Airport was previously RAF Middleton St George which operated as a bomber airfield during the Second World War. In June 1944, Lancaster KB726 of 419 (Moose) Sqn, RCAF, part of 6 Group Bomber Command, was taking part in an attack on the rail junction at Cambrai. It was fatally attacked by a Ju88 which left the aircraft burning and rear turret jammed, trapping the gunner, F/O George Brophy. Delaying his orders to abandon the aircraft, the mid upper gunner, P/O Andrew Mynarski attempted to free his fellow gunner, Brophy despite his own clothes being on fire. After unsuccessfully attempting to move the turret, Mynarski was told to jump by Brophy before it was too late. In a final gesture to his friend, Mynarski stood to attention and saluted the trapped George Brophy. By now his clothes and parachute were burning fiercely and sadly Andrew Mynarski died from his injuries shortly after being found by French civilians. All the Lancaster crew survived,  including George Brophy, remaining in the rear turret which had stayed intact in the crash.

On the crew’s return to England after the war they told of Mynarski’s amazing courage for which he was awarded the VC on 11th October 1946.  In recognition of his courage, a statue of Pilot Officer Andrew Mynarski was erected in the RCAF Memorial Garden at the St George Hotel following a successful campaign locally. The photographs were taken at the Rememberance Ceremony in June 2008, attended by veterans, local groups and officials, the Canadian and Royal Air Force, friends and members of the public. Following the ceremony and marchpast by veterans, a Hawk from our host 100 Squadron at Leeming, made a salute flypast in clear bright sunshine.


For more information follow the links below.




rememberance veterans
419Sqn RCAF
rememberance ceremony

CAS /FLAG members visit Scampton Heritage Centre and BBMF Visitors Centre - Mon 24 March 2014


FLAG members with CAS membership, visited the Scampton Heritage Centre and the BBMF Visitors Centre at Coningsby with CAS. The Heritage Centre has moved from 1 Hangar into 2 Hangar which was the home to 617 Squadron at the time of the dams raid in May 1943.The added historical bonus is the opportunity to visit not only the grave of Guy Gibson’s pet labrador outside the hangar but also the office of the man himself on the first floor of the hangar annex.


The Heritage centre moved into their new premises in February 2012 with the annex undergoing a complete refurbishment before being officially opened on 22 June 2012 by Wg Cdr Richard Turner, the very same date that Wg Cdr Gibson went to Buckingham Palace to be presented with his Victoria Cross.


The heritage collection incorporates a huge number of artifacts relating to both

RAF Scampton and 617 Squadron as well as a Red Arrows museum; also displayed are examples of some of Barnes Wallis’s weapons designs and aircraft cockpit sections. If you should be lucky enough, as we were, twice, the visit also offers the opportunity to see the Red Arrows aerobatic team conducting one of their practice flying display sessions or if not flying then perhaps on the ground and also a visit to their home of 4 Hangar to view their Hawk ‘gate guardian’.


The Heritage Centre has several airframes in its keep but they are presently in a state of flux due to the refurbishment of 1 Hangar with it’s contents being transferred into the Centre’s 2 Hangar. It is hoped that this is only a temporary move but as yet the situation has not been clarified.


Our thanks to the heritage centre staff for a very informative tour and in particular our guide Tom Evans. The centre has a small café and rest room with hot drinks on sale in lieu of a donation plus various fundraising items for sale and toilet facilities.


Admission to the Heritage Centre is free but any donations made go to the Guide Dogs for the Blind and the upkeep of the Heritage Centre. 

Information about the Heritage Centre is available at their website

Aircraft noted during our visit were -


2 Hangar

XN185                        Sedbergh TX 1 dismantled, arrived 3/14 from Stafford

XR571                        Gnat T1   ex-RA gate guard and destined for display outside SHQ

XR757                        Lightning F6  cockpit only

XX320                        Hawk T1A          ditto 


The Red Arrows  

Performing two full practice flying displays were -

XX177                        Hawk T1

XX219                        Hawk T1A

XX227                        ditto

XX242                        Hawk T1

XX244                        ditto

XX245                        ditto

XX264                        Hawk T1A

XX322                        ditto

XX323                        ditto


XX325                        Hawk T1A      spare aircraft parked outside hangar


XX253                        ditto                Red Arrows gate guard outside their HQ in 4 Hangar


Parked out

XF995/HHA   Hunter T8B                Hawker Hunter Aviation *2

G-AWGK       F150H                         parked under a lean-to between

G-BRIV          TB9 Tampico Club     2 and 3 Hangars


*1 The Red Arrows carried out one further full practice flying display after we had left.

*2 The Hunter took off later in the afternoon and was noted carrying out two overshoots at Coningsby.  


With the double bonus of summer like weather and a very helpful bus driver, on departing Scampton we nipped down to RAF Coningsby where some members elected to visit the BBMF Visitors Centre whilst the other hardy few elected to go to the mound . I was one of the former and inside the hangar noted -


P7350/EB-G               Spitfire IIA

LF363                         Hurricane IIc               dismantled and stripped down

MK356/5J-K              Spitfire IX                   Kay

PA474/KC-A              Lancaster I

PM631                        Spitfire PR19

PS915                                ditto

PZ865/EG-S               Hurricane II

TE311/4D-V               Spitfire XVI

WG486/G                   Chipmunk T10

ZA947/UK                  Dakota III


Afterwards a short walk down the road found the following parked out on the

29 Squadron dispersal at 16:30 -


ZA600/EB-G              Tornado GR4              special 95th anniv c/s for 41 Sqn

ZJ803/BA                   Typhoon T3                29(R)Sqn

ZJ810/BI                     ditto

ZJ801/BJ                     ditto

ZJ813/BL                    ditto

ZJ804/BM                  ditto

ZK383/BN                  ditto

ZJ927/BO                   Typhoon FGR4

ZK322/BR                  ditto

ZJ910/BV                   ditto


A flight of four Typhoons also returned around this time but no serials were noted as they taxied to the HAS areas after landing .


Our thanks to member David Thompson for compiling this report and Colin Fawcett of CAS for organising the visit.

25 March 2014

FLAG members visit RAF Linton on Ouse  - 20 November 2013


Some FLAG members joined with colleagues from the Cleveland Aviation Society on their arranged visit to RAF Linton on Ouse.


We were welcomed to Linton on a clear but very cold day. Visits were made to hangars during the morning where we had the opportunity to see Tucanos close up.  Our host was a student pilot on 72(R) Sqn. who gave us an excellent brief followed by the opportunity to be 'hands on' with the Tucano. This was followed by a visit to the Linton Memorial Room in the Halifax Block where the curator, Wg Cdr (Rtd) Alan Mawby, briefed us on the room's contents and the history of RAF Linton on Ouse.


After a cold morning, a good lunch in the Officers Mess was welcome, which set us up nicely for the afternoon session.  This included visiting the Tucano engineering hangar where aircraft in various states of assembly were being serviced and undergoing modifications. All this work was undertaken by Babcock as part of the present arrangements at Linton to deliver aircraft to the flightline.


A visit to the old tower then followed enabling us to watch the flightline and circuit flying. Apart from the usual Tucanos there were overshoots by Typhoon and Tornado as well as a visiting Chinook. The final destination took us across the active runway to the new tower complex where we were briefed on ATC operations, both in the visual circuit and beyond. Of particular interest in the radar room was watching the controller use the PAR to talk down a student pilot onto the runway.


Thanks to Dave Thompson of CAS for arranging this visit hosted by Flt Lt Mike Lumsdon, MCO at RAF Linton on Ouse


Details of Aircraft observed during the visit can be found in the Resources Zone.


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CAS members David Thompson and Colin Fawcett are briefed on the Tucano cockpit by our host.

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Cleveland Aviation Society

Cleveland Aviation Society is another local aviation group which currently meets every second Tuesday of the month at Middlesbrough Municipal Golf Club 8 pm.


Their website is:


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Most of the Memorial Room deals with the WWII  role of Linton on Ouse.  An annexe however, shows memorabilia from Linton's post war history including  the flying kit and ejector seat both seen here.

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