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Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA. Complete Story!!

Warbirds, Replicas and Nostalgic photos in here please.
Northolt Nobbler
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Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA. Complete Story!!

Post by Northolt Nobbler » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:48 pm

Some of you may know that Phil has had one or two interesting jobs in his lifetime.

In 1978 he was involved with the transfer of a pair of ex-Royal Moroccan Air Force T-28s to their new owners, the Honduran Air Force. After flying out to Morocco via Madrid in the company Beech 18, he and his team set about preparing the two aircraft, 51-3528 and 51-3565, for the flight across the Atlantic.

I've already posted some pics from his time at Meknes and Rabat at the start of this thread: http://forums.airshows.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=65020, so here are some of the preparations for the flight. Neither aircraft was fitted with drop tanks, so was part of the pre-flight work carried out.

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Hand fuel pumps being moved from the Beech to the hangar.
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For all lovers of classic French cars, here's a Renault 12 being used as a tug...
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Whilst in Morocco, Phil and his team also took over an ex-Moroccan Government Dove - CN-MBB - and prepared this for its customer...

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Things got a little hotter in the North African sun when the port engine caught fire during an engine run
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The fire burnt away the fabric ailerons and damaged some of the engine's internals. The ailerons were replaced by using bed sheets from the Hilton hotel where Phil and co. were staying...
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For those of you that have flown into Malaga airport, this is the aircraft that now sits looking very sorry for itself having been used by the local fire station for practice.

In the next thrilling instalment, we'll follow the aircraft on their perilous journey across the North America and meet a surprise visitor along the way...
Last edited by Northolt Nobbler on Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:10 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Richard B
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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA

Post by Richard B » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:59 pm

Excellent stuff, just love old stories and adventure like this.

rh226
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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA

Post by rh226 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:36 pm

Funnily enough, I saw three ex-Moroccan AF T-28 Fennecs at Blackbushe in November 1978:
N9857A/ex CNA-ER/ex AdlA Fennec conversion No 4/ex 51-7730
N54612/ex CNA-ET/ex AdlA Fennec Conversion No 42/ex 51-3690
N54613/ex CNA-EW/ex AdlA Fennec conversion No 48/ex 51-3554

Did Phil have anything to do with these??

I remember that old Beech D18S - saw it several times way, way back - and it is still current on the FAA register!!!
Cheers, Bob

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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA

Post by jem60 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:43 pm

Thanks NN. Passed through Malaga Airport a few months ago, and saw the Dove, but didn't know it's history. Many thanks.

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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA

Post by Ridge Runner » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:02 pm

If I recall there was a Dove, a Mitchell and a couple of B18s at AGP.......

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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA

Post by NickC » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:03 pm

Very interesting NN, what an adventure. Can't wait for the next installment. Is that Phil painting the reg on the Dove?

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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA

Post by Ridge Runner » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:07 pm

and that B18 is ex G-AYAH, a regular around the airports in the 1970s

And who remembers these?

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and at least two others

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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA

Post by rh226 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:41 pm

Yes, indeed, Martin. Saw them at Biggin Hill April 1978.

N99141 T-28C ex Zaire AF, ex Bu. 140576
N99160 T-28D ex Zaire AF, ex 49-1634
N99163 T-28C ex Zaire AF ??, ex Bu. 146266
N49308 T-28C ex Zaire AF, ex Bu. 146255
Cheers, Bob

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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA

Post by Ridge Runner » Tue Feb 23, 2016 4:25 am

They are the ones :).... Did you know that "N49308" was actually wrongly painted? It was N94308.

I also came across the handful of ex-Haitian AF machines at Tucson in 1979. No photos now as I am travelling. They were all going to the US register as warbirds too.

Martin
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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA

Post by paddyboy » Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:30 am

Great memories there :thumb:

Renault 12 as a tow tug :lol:

Thanks

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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA

Post by Sparts99 » Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:35 am

Was John Hawke involved in this? anything to do with the T-28s that appeared at Biggin Hill in the mid 70s ?
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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA

Post by steved » Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:01 pm

Great stuff. Looking forward to the next instalment. :clap:

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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA

Post by Graf Zeppelin » Tue Feb 23, 2016 8:25 pm

NickC wrote:Very interesting NN, what an adventure. Can't wait for the next installment. Is that Phil painting the reg on the Dove?
Yep :D

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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA

Post by alanp » Tue Feb 23, 2016 8:37 pm

I'm surprised Phil didn't mange to include some swear words in the reg. :whistle:
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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA

Post by Graf Zeppelin » Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:20 pm

alanp wrote:I'm surprised Phil didn't mange to include some swear words in the reg. :whistle:
:roll:

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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA

Post by Northolt Nobbler » Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:38 pm

Graf Zeppelin wrote:
alanp wrote:I'm surprised Phil didn't mange to include some swear words in the reg. :whistle:
:roll:
We were trying to think of an appropriate one today and N989-FOUR-Q was about the best we could come up with. (It sounds better if you say the last bit with a bit of venom...)

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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA. Pts. 1 and 2

Post by Northolt Nobbler » Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:40 pm

On to the first leg of the flight across the Pond...

Both T-28s pictured at Rabat-Sale before departing for the Azores. Note that both have different drop tanks fitted. 51-3565 (nearest) has tanks originally fitted to a Vampire T.11 while '3528 has those of a Meteor NF.14. The tanks were wired to the armament switch in the cockpit and as the pilot pressed (previously to drop his bombs or fire his guns), the fuel would be pumped from the tanks into the wings!
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En-route to Santa Maria, Azores. Most of the flight was flown at an altitude of around 1,000ft, but some portions were up in the clouds.
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Santa Maria. Time for a fuel stop...
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The same applied to the Air France Concordes on their way to Caracas.
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From Santa Maria, it was to Horta where an overnight stop was made.
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After a decent kip, and a shower, here's a fresh-faced 25-year old Graf Zeppelin posing with his T-28 before setting off for St John's. Note the rather fetching shark's mouth applied to the Meteor fuel tanks...
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The second leg will follow in due course.

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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA. Pts. 1 and 2

Post by paddyboy » Thu Feb 25, 2016 3:24 pm

What a great story :thumb:

Thanks for posting :thumbs:

Paddyboy :clap:
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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA. Pts. 1 to 3

Post by Northolt Nobbler » Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:13 pm

And so to the third part of our journey with Phil and his Fennecs from Morocco...

The next leg took the aircraft from their overnight stop at Horta in the Azores to St John's in Newfoundland

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At Horta, both aircraft received a names with 51-3565 becoming "Kindred Spirit"
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The weather wasn't always blue skies, however...
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On the run in to St John's
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Phil's newly-christened aircraft "Broken Promise IV" on the deck at a very chilly St John's
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I'd hate to see the size of the bird that redecorated the guy on the left's jacket... (the white blob on the nose of the underwing tank is ice which had formed on the inbound flight which didn't subsequently melt due to the low temperature)
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A Canadian Tracker taxying out at St John's
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Finally, a very nice Orion, 149667 "El Coyote" involved in the Project Seascan programme
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Part 4 will follow soon.
Last edited by Northolt Nobbler on Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Graf Zeppelin's Trojan Horse to the USA. Pts. 1 to 3

Post by Sparts99 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:18 am

That sea looks very uninviting, brave to cover all that ocean on one engine. Fascinating pics, is there a written account of the whole journey anywhere ?
In this world there's two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig.

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