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THE BLENHEIM AND THE DORNIER 17
while since I reported on these two special aircraft and much has happened
since my last note dated in December 2011.
previous note was somewhat optimistic in suggesting that the Blenheim would be
‘in the air in a few months’. For some time thereafter work continued on her
whilst raised on trestles, very unladylike for such a grand old lady and it was
to be only this year that she actually took to her wheels during the re-build
and started to look like a real plane.
Aircraft Reconstruction Company carrying out the work at Duxford has been
pushing ahead and during the latter part of 2012 items covered included the rudder,
elevators and ailerons, also control and trim cables. The engine nacelles are
now coming back together and work continues on the reduction gear and push rods
making them ready for fitting back in the engines.
have been manufactured for the hydraulic systems enabling work to continue on
the flaps and undercarriage workings. During 2012 The Blenheim Society, of
which I am a member, raised the sum of £17,000 that will all go towards the
many costs associated with the rebuild.
THE DORNIER 17
watching the news during early May 2013 will have seen the reports about work
going ahead to finally raise this historic aircraft.
cage is currently being assembled around the airframe some 60 feet down on the
bed of the English Channel and subject to weather conditions work should be
completed by the end of the month.
aircraft, which weighs in at around 5.1/2 tonnes, will then be raised to the
surface, landed and transported to RAF Cosford where cleaning and preparation
work will be undertaken. This will take between two to three years when the
Dornier 17 will then form part of the Battle of Britain display at the RAF
Museum in Hendon.
recognition of the assistance I and the dive team have given them the RAF has
invited me to be on board the recovery vessel on the day of the actual lift and
after studying video footage and pictures taken by our divers it will be a
remarkable day to see her above water for the first time
in over 72 years since being shot down by a British Boulton Paul Defiant
John E Franklin -
Istead Rise - Gravesend - May 2013.
The Dornier and the Blenheim – an update for members new and old
At the ISTARA Christmas ‘do’ I was asked for the latest info on these two projects.
For those members hearing about these two WW11 aircraft for the first time, some background. I am a member of the Blenheim Society and at Duxford we are coming to the end of a five year re-build on a Blenheim bomber. The Dornier 17 is a different matter, since April 2010 I have been working with a dive team diving on what is now known to be the only remaining example anywhere in the world of this iconic aircraft. So to the latest news.
Blenheim. Some months ago I gave a talk to ISTARA and donated the £50 speaker’s fee to the Society. This was used to purchase electronic fuel gauges for use in the re-build.
In the latest Society newsletter our Membership Secretary John ‘Smudge’ Smith reported good progress over the summer. The old girl is now, at last, sitting on her own wheels after years on trestles and boy does she look good!
It now resembles a Blenheim once again although there are several month’s work before she will finally once again take to the air.
Dornier 17. Our dive team completed a total of six dives between 22 April 2010 and 22 September 2011, in the most recent series collecting information and video footage for the RAF lads up at Hendon. Engineers from the organisation contracted to undertake the raising of this one-off aircraft recently spent four days out diving the aircraft to finalise details as to how they we proceed with the work.
Effectively winter has now set in in terms of diving in the English Channel and it will be next Spring before further serious work is undertaken. Long term she will be raised and delivered to RAF Cosford. There they have the expert facilities to clean up the plane, work that will take between two to three years.
Once cleaned up the Dornier 17 will join the other WW11 aircraft in the ‘Battle of Britain’ display at RAF Museum, Hendon. Just as an aside the total cost of all this work is in the region of £600,000 of which some £374,000 has already been raised. I wonder how much a Dornier cost to build in 1940?
John E Franklin
Gravesend December 2011
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