Teesside Airshow c1976

Military Aircraft taken during the 1976 Airshow at Teesside Airport.

Photographs taken by Tony Whelan, courtesy of Nick Whelan.

7 thoughts on “Teesside Airshow c1976

  1. Have managed to find official sea level performance figures for the Sea Fury. It was actually poorer that I thought at 380 mph. As was normal for piston engined aircraft speed increased up to the rated altitude of the engine, around 16000 ft, when over 450 mph was attained. Above this maximum speed fell away, of course.

    High top speed, close to sea level was vital for a Navel fighter, as bombing and torpedo attacks on ships were low altitude operations. At the time, 380 mph would have been regarded as excellent. Another good characteristic of the Sea Furry was the claimed radius of action of 740 miles. Very important when a pilot was trying to find his way back to the aircraft carrier.


  2. The wing on the Sea Fury was a cut down version of that as used on the Hawker Tempest. There was a shortened centre section. so the wing span was two feet shorter, improving maneuverability

    As Frank Mee says the Centaurus was the most powerful British piston engine to go into production. More importantly by the early forties designers knew how to incorporate radial piston engines into aircraft without incurring a serious drag penalty.

    Just to clarify about the Meteor, what Frank is referring to is essentially an unsupercharged version of the Merlin intended for tanks. However at the same time, there was Britain’s first jet fighter, the Meteor which I have seen at more airshows than I like to remember.


    • Not quite that easy Fred. Engine rotation had to be changed, gearboxes rotate in the opposite direction, Super Charger reduction gearing removed from the sump, it was built in, the sump modified and lowered to make it level with the drive boxes. The engine was downrated to take normal fuel and the cooling system modified. It gave us freedom from underpowered prone to break down Liberty Engines although we did have some Meadows Engines, they were better although the V12 Meteor ex Merlin was a super engine, I could belt a Comet tank round the test track all day without it breaking. There by hangs a tale.
      I was regarded as a whiz at tuning the meteor, the refurbished engine would be wheeled into the test bay for me to weave my magic. Then we got a Crypton, a wall full of wires and gauges and a technical library of instructions on how to use it, finally getting the hang of the instruction books we set up an engine I had tuned and fired up the Crypton, “dear me what happened there” it was a mile out but other engines hand tuned turned out far worse. Out in the field we had no Crypton so it was still hand tune. The Meteor went into many Tanks and Vehicles making our tanks some of the most reliable in the world, We got Centurions after the Comet noted for their speed and reliability and then came the Leyland Multi Fuel engine of which the less said the better.
      I remember the Meteor Jet coming to Goosepool as we knew it and screaming across the field before you actually saw it coming, although from friends in the RAF I did hear some horror stories about it.


  3. The Sea Fury was basically a Tempest wings and fuselage with a Bristol Centaurus 18 Cylinder sleeve valve radial Engine, hence the bulbous nose. Classed as a Fighter Bomber in my time. They could be used as close cover for the Tanks among the many tasks aircraft did at that time.
    The Bristol Engine was the next level after Rolls stopped making the Merlin handing it over to Coventry engines to produce the Meteor engine for tanks and heavy vehicles such as recovery and tank transporters, we lads drove some exotic engines back then. A lot of the first Meteor engines came from crashed aircraft parts and spare engines until the Factories could get up to speed.
    During the Korean war a Sea Fury was the only propeller plane to shoot down a Mig jet and damaging another, none of the British sea furies were lost to enemy action.


  4. The aircraft are Hurricane (top left). Hawker Sea Fury (top right). Lancaster and same Hurricane (bottom left), and Jet Provests from the Royal Flying School (bottom right).

    The Hawker Sea Fury is claimed to be the fastest piston engine fighter used by the British, but with its normal engine would be limited to a maximum level speed of just under 400mph at sea level. That is at post war air displays. At the Middleton St George display, something more like 350mph would have been the limit.

    Over in the USA a greatly boosted Sea Fury, with its engine putting out nearly 4000 hp, did 485 mph. I believe this to be still the fastest “official” record for speed at sea level from a piston engines aircraft


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