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Jessie The Jeep

My Flying Control Jeep

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There was a replica Spitfire MkIX, which looked fairly good except for the propeller blades, which were attached twisted the wrong way. With the blades installed like this, it would accelerate backwards when the throttle was opened! They've all been attached with negative pitch, and it seems to be a regular occurrence where this Spitfire is displayed. Never mind, other than that, it looked quite good along with the RAF Hillman staff car and bomb/aircraft tractor.

 

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The Twisters aerobatic team were back again, displaying each day. Just a couple of months ago, we were in doubt whether the Twisters Aerobatic Team would be able to appear at Croft. Back in May, Chris suffered an engine failure and heavy forced landing during a display. Thankfully he made a full recovery, and the team gave us a great display on each day of our show. Here's a few shots of the walkthrough of the routine, start up and the display itself. So many thanks to Chris and Pete for pulling out all the stops for us.

 

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For many, the star of the show was the BBMF Avro Lancaster. We've tried for many years to get the Lancaster to appear, and were frequently frustrated by our show falling on the one Summer weekend that the BBMF crews have free of flying! 2017 was finally our year, and it was fantastic to see the Lanc back over the former RAF Croft, a sight that would have been an every day occurrence 73 years ago.

 

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Sounds like a great show.

I've seen the Lanc over the Netherlands back in 1998 and a few times at W&P.

Would love to see it again.

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Northumberland Wings & Wheels Festival, Eshott Airfield - August 19/20th

 

There was some confusion amongst the organisers and a lack of space in the military area when Chris ( WC51 driver ) and I arrived at Eshott, having met up north of Newcastle and convoyed up the A1. Eventually, those with no need for camping were moved to a different area. We then had space to set up camp, with another friend arriving later on Friday afternoon. After setting up, I had a bit of a wander with the camera and spotted "Echo Sierra" the Eurostar aircraft I flew in three years before at the Great North Fly In.

 

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For me, the star of the show wasn't even a real aircraft, but a full scale model of a Messerschmitt BF109E shown below. There was a good selection of military vehicles and dioramas, though most of the pictures i took show the WW2 era displays, as that's where my main interest lies.

 

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A surprise visitor who flew in was Nick Lee, bringing his Miles Messenger from Breighton. There were many classic cars, trucks, and tractors on show further down the field too, plus the N.E. Land, Sea and Air Museum Morane Bullet replica, gradually turning from raw materials into a recognisable WW1 fighter aircraft. The weather held out fairly well, apart from one brief but heavy shower that resulted in a very nice rainbow over the Spitfire replica. That night, the search light was shining over my Jeep and the Messerschmitt.

 

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N.A. Harvard "Wacky Wabbit" was back up North from Duxford, giving rides to those who pre-booked. Thirteen flights of around 20 minutes each, were squeezed into Saturday alone.

 

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Malcolm's Chaffee replica was giving demonstrations along with other vehicles in the arena.

 

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Some of the Luftwaffe kit on display with the Messerschmitt.

 

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Chris left around mid afternoon on Sunday, but I waited a bit later to follow another friend back on the A1(M). Here's "Jessie" and "Jessy B" awaiting the convoy home.

 

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The following day, we spotted the Messerschmitt heading home on the motorway.

 

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That Chaffe is magnificent. I hadn't realised its a replica looking at the photo.

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The night before the Beamish "Dig for Victory" event, we went to fill up 'Jessie' and a jerry can. Lynne wanted to drive, but on the return journey, lots of revs and very harsh use of the clutch snapped the long rear half shaft. When I heard the bang, I instantly knew what she'd done.

 

We were only half a mile from home, so returned in front wheel drive. I stripped the remains out that night, draining the oil and removing the diff cover to check that out before putting the Jeep away. I wasn't amused. It took a week to get a replacement half shaft, which arrived on the afternoon of September 8th, though they forgot to include the gasket I'd asked for. I made a temporary card gasket to get the Jeep back on the road. The shaft and gasket were fitted later in the afternoon.

 

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End of Season Barbeque - Sept 16/17th

 

Actually, almost the end of the season! I've still got a couple of visits left to do. However, this end of season garden party was held near RAF Topcliffe, close to Thirsk, North Yorkshire, and organised by Patrick Smart. Patrick is the guy who brought the Bristol Hercules aero-engine to Croft and Breighton earlier in the season.

 

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The forecast was for a nice dry weekend, however the weather hadn't seen the forecast! The on and off heavy rain didn't stop the Rolls Royce Griffon and Bristol Hercules turning petrol into noise on a number of occasions, and certainly didn't spoil the party atmosphere. At least there was a decent sized marquee to hide in.

 

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Overnight, the rain got heavier and heavier, banging down on my canvas tent like a snare drum, and by morning, several tents had indoor water features. Fortunately for me, the water stopped at my back door and didn't get in to where my inner tent was. Drying the canvas back home was interrupted by more heavy rain, forcing a quick move from on top of the Jeep to inside my workshop.

 

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Last Saturday on Ginkel heath we also had lots of rain, making us hide in the Dodge.

still had a good time.

3 different helicopters for the Dutch army (Apache, Cougar and Chinook) did a wonderful display which made the day very interesting.

Hopefully it will stay dry today for the parade to Eindhoven.

I want to ride the folding BSA bike and don't like it to get wet (still in its original paint), not too worried if I get rained on though. ;)

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Royal Air Force Conversion

"Jessie" is getting a new dress for the 2018 season! There's a number of events I go to, such as the Breighton Fly-In's amongst others, where an RAF Jeep would perhaps be more appropriate than USAAF. While I need to do some welding work on "Jessie" over the winter, I didn't want to do a complete, and permanent respray, especially since my other vehicles are all in US 100th Bombardment Group markings to match.

Enter magnetic plastic! I found a 2 metre x 610mm roll of motorway grade plastic on Ebay for about £16.00. This has allowed me to produce a set of RAF markings to hide the current USAAF scheme. Since they are on magnetic material, they can easily be fitted or removed, depending on the event I'm attending.

However, I needed a small roundel on the front, and I've seen wartime pictures with one on the grill. The plastic wouldn't work in this location, so a steel disc was cut and painted which will clamp around the bars of the grill.

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The first step was paper templates for the plastic parts. I needed plastic pieces cut to hide the hood star and USA markings, the stars on the side of the body, and the front rear bumper markings.

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The large star on the rear body would be covered by a metal sheet, bolted on. This was due to the reinforcing piece for the jerry can bracket not providing a smooth flat surface for the plastic. With templates made, the nine pieces were cut, and then given a light wet sand to key the surface.

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With the plastic keyed, masking and painting began. Paper stencils were printed to plot out the lettering which was drawn on in pencil, and then masked. Olive drab was then sprayed, with the masking tape protecting the plastic where I wanted white lettering. One rear bumperette was to have a roundel while the other had the Bomber Command Group.

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The roundel bumperette and side roundels were painted by hand after the olive drab was sprayed. The cellulose olive drab dried fairly quickly, allowing the front bumper markings to be revealed, utilizing the original hood number as the RAF registration.

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The 36 inch long RAF registration and Bomber Command Group code piece is complete and blends well with the original bumper colour. The large hood roundel is made in two pieces due to the size of the plastic sheet that was available. Since the hood has a seam down the centre anyway, I didn't see a problem having a join line through the roundel.

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On the back of the Jeep, the left bumperette has the RAF roundel while the right has the Group markings. I've left these white to better blend with the originals which are also white. The olive drab on the side roundel also blends fairly well when viewed just a short distance away.

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A view of the bumper markings with the grill roundel temporarily fitted. I am yet to make the clamp that will hold the roundel onto the grill.

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Attaching the roundel to the hood is quite tricky as the magnetic pull of the plastic is pretty strong. If it is placed on slightly out of position, it won't slide to the correct location, but must be peeled off again and re-applied.

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Wednesday 4th, and the rear registration aluminium sheet was cut, sprayed olive and stencilled. All done! So I now have the choice of a USAAF or RAF Follow Me Jeep.

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October 7th - Bodywork Repairs

Back in 2009, I made some temporary repairs to some rust holes around the axe handle with body filler. Those repairs have lasted eight years, but it's now time to deal with the problem properly. There were also a couple of holes forming in the drivers floor. Because both repairs were near the fuel tank, the first stage was siphoning the petrol out. Most was removed via a large hose, and once the level got too low and the siphon stopped, I used a small diesel primer pump to drain the last 10 litres. The driver's seat was next out to access the tank.

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"Jessie" was parked in "Hope's" usual spot for the winter for the work. This means I still have a Jeep to use, and when rolled out of the garage, I have a reasonable area to work in if the weather isn't too kind. After the seat was removed, the sender and earth were disconnected, followed by the fuel feed on the bottom of the tank. That was a bit of a pain due to lack of clearance around the nut for the spanner.

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