A bit of a Spotter

Yes, it’s true.  I’d probably describe it as an interest in all things engineering as you will just as easily find me getting interested in ships (Navy in particular), trains or aeroplanes.

On this occasion its planes, specifically Tucanos and, more specifically RAF Linton on Ouse.

Now I’ll admit that despite living in York for many years, apart from seeing the road signs, I knew little of RAF Linton on Ouse and never made the diversion off the main roads to investigate.

That changed in a typically sideways move. A friend of Annie’s was Lord Mayor of York and as part of the charitable stuff they did there was a “good grub” club. We had a Ghurka curry night at Imphal Barracks in York and then a dinner in the mess at RAF Linton on Ouse in the RAF centenary year. This evening featured drinks in the officers mess, our own flying display by the Tucanos and then insights in the RAF and Linton on Ouse’s history during dinner.

This all got me interested and I got involved with the `spotters’ group. Despite the slightly derogatory title this group is acknowledged and supported by the base and the staff. It has resulted in some fantastic opportunities.

One was a display by the Red Arrows in April.  The display at Linton was something of a tradition as the first training display they do away from their base at RAF Scampton.  As their first display away from base it was a bit ragged, they were a man down and the weather meant it was the flat low altitude display.

Another  splendid  night was being invited on to the base when one of the courses was doing night flying and getting right on the flight line and finishing in the control tower

The base is home to 72 Squadron  which teaches basic fast-jet training on the Tucano T1

You might have noticed a bit of a past tense in some of the above. RAF Linton on Ouse is to close. Tucano’s get retired and fast jet training moves to RAF Valley using Beechcraft Texans.

Why am I going on about it now? Because the Tucano T1 goes out of service on Friday with the graduation of the last course taught on it. Grads usually include some formation flying and often some visiting aircraft so Friday would be a good day to go to Linton but I can’t – the weather forecast is poor anyway.  However, today, Wednesday 23rd October 2019 was practice day for the formation flying and the weather was superb.

I had loads I should have been doing today but its all still there whilst the Tucanos won’t be. When I arrived there were 14 Tucano and 4 Tutors on the flightline. ZF448, the anniversary liveried one went off solo early on. At 10:30 ten Tucanos started up, taxied out and took off.  Nine were the formation and the tenth, the boss I think, was flying around observing (and from his twitter – photographing).  As a nine they flew a number of circuits before splitting into a four and a five. The four, speculating that this was the four graduates, did some more formation stuff before flying directly towards us and performing a break in all directions.   They then joined up for another circuit before breaking into a landing pattern. The five then did some flybys before breaking to land. Lastly the boss landed. The last two in got the water salute from the base fire service.


Unless there is some magic reprieve or a disaster cancelling ExpoNG I think that was my last Tucano photo excursion and without the Tucs there isn’t going to be much to see at Linton until it closes next year


009 – New For Me (not really)

I don’t model 009!

So, explain how I seem to own three Manning Wardle 2-6-2’s, have two more on loan and have a Peggy hiding behind the pack?

Truth is I used to model in 009 but way back in my teens when it was rubbish with locos that didn’t run and was not very reliable. I exhibited a 009 layout when I was 17! I then got into finescale 4mm, working suspensions and all that jazz.

Why am I writing about it now? Well, after many distractions, some of which are explained below the sound project I have been promising for ages for the 009 Heljan Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Manning Wardle 2-6-2’s is at a stage where it could go ahead.

Paul Chetter recorded the sound quite a while ago. Lyd on a run up the Festiniog Railway was recorded as well as while it was shunting around light engine.

I was able to arrange this and drive the train as a regular FR driver. We had the microphone in a stick up by the chimney, another strapped to the injector feed pipe to capture motion sounds and a third in the cab. The cab one was also used to rove around for catching other sounds.  Lyd gave Paul a hard time with some of the sounds. The aim for a DCC decoder is to capture the individual sounds, store them separately on the decoder and let it assemble them as required dependant upon what the model is doing. That doesn’t really work with Lyd because its vacuum braked only which means that for pretty much any movement, even light engine, the vacuum ejector is on resulting in a roar of steam at the chimney.

Why has it taken so long? I don’t model 009 – did I mention that? – so the reason to do this wasn’t to match Heljan 009 delivery schedules but for my own 7mm scale kits (which are epically late but that’s another story).

The other reason is that I drive Lyd. Don’t get me wrong, its wonderful that its been built but there are a few things about working with it that make you treasure your days on a Fairlie or Penrhyn engine. It has an ability to kill enthusiasm (and as I write this I am driving it next Saturday).

I do now have the bit between my teeth on the 7mm version with CAD now well advanced and the first new valve gear parts due shortly. There will be further news on that subject shortly with pictures, explanations and progress reports.

Lets keep the 7mm project as a separate item for now and get back to the sound for 009 loco’s.

009 Sound Project

I admit my distraction and delay may well have cost me a lot of orders. It may well have rendered the project to no longer be viable.

That last sentence makes is something I am not prepared to take a gamble on nor do I have the money to speculate.  The sound install kit for 009 uses speakers, decoders and interface boards that I don’t normally stock so I need to know of the demand before I order them.  I’ve already committed quite a lot of funds to this with commissioning Paul to do the sound project and buying three Manning Wardles with which to develop the sound installation and I have gone as far as I can go with the funds I have.

Orders to Make It Happen

Here is where I get some idea as to whether we carry on

  • The Website is now there to take orders Here
  • Your card will be charged the amount shown
  • I will set the monies aside until 20th October 2019
  • If we have twenty orders then I will use the money to order the parts
  • If we don’t have enough then the project doesn’t go ahead and all monies are refunded.

If its close I may stand the difference and have some for stock. If the project gets enough backing then I aim to ship w/c 27th October 2019. If at all possible I would like to try to have some for delivery/collection/sale at ExpoNG but that is tight with the delivery timescales for the parts.

So what’s in the kit

  1. ZIMO next 18 decoder – With a genuine Paul Chetter sound file on it recorded on Lyd
  2. Next 18 interface board
  3. A cube speaker
  4. Some very fine wire
  5. Instructions on how to do it in the knowledge that we’ve made the cock ups so you don’t have to.


The instructions will be Here shortly