The Anonymous Widower

Plane Surveying Cornwall For Minerals

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

These are the first two paragraphs.

A low-flying 1940s plane doing survey work will be a common sight over mid and west Cornwall during the next two to three weeks.

The geological mapping plane is hoping to identify where lithium and other minerals may be located underground.

But the most interesting thing about the project is the aircraft that does the surveying, which is a 1943 Douglas DC3.

It is being flown by Bell Geospace and the aircraft has been upgraded into a Basler BT-67, with turboprop engines, an improved airframe and modern avionics.

Having flown aircraft at the sort of height mentioned by the BBC, I’d love to get a lift on one of their survey flights.

December 19, 2021 - Posted by | World | , , , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. Ask if you can have a flight – these people are often willing to take people up. It might cost charity donation to somewhere, but it is worth as ask.

    They could probably make a lot of money selling flights. A few years ago I bought a gift package for Neil to go up in a Spitfire for 30 minutes, he has always loved them, and I knew he would love it. And we had had a few years of major hassle dealing with illness, death, and estate problems with members of my family, and he had been so good – including “nipping down” to Folkestone for meetings with the managing agent of the flat my late aunt owned, because he was in a much better position to make sensible comments in the meetings.

    So the day my inheritance from parents came through, I ordered the flight voucher. The pilot took off and then let Neil fly it down to the coast, and then the pilot took control to turn it around over the channel, and then Neil flew it back to the base, and the pilot landed it. He loved it, it was something he wanted to do for years, but never expected to be able to do it.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | December 19, 2021 | Reply

  2. We went up in a Dakota flown by Air Atlantique(they have a few) from Coventry. The flight went up and down the Severn Valley whilst the SVR was operating. Brilliant.

    Comment by Maurice Reed | December 20, 2021 | Reply

  3. “Upgraded by Basler”

    If you look at their website to see what they do, it is more like a rebuild. Complete strip out to bare metal, patch/replace as needed, potentially add extended parts/sections, then refit with almost everything that moves being replaced with new, new engines, new avionics.

    Only worth it because of the unique way the DC3 fits many rules. “The only thing that can properly replace a DC3 is another DC3” (or a Basler). Unfortunately not enough of a market for a clean sheet new design for the use case.

    The BAe146/Avro RJ is starting to get a similar reputation for niche use cases and conversions to freighter/water bomber (it is one of the few nonmilitary jets certified for gravel runway with a cheap gravel kit, and STOL also usrful). Likely to replace aged 737-200 with gravel kits (and some uses of DC3).

    Comment by MilesT | December 20, 2021 | Reply

  4. For a time, I worked for a company owned by Lockheed. I got to know some of the design teams for the Hercules and the Galaxy.

    They felt that replacing the Hercules would be difficult.

    Comment by AnonW | December 20, 2021 | Reply

    • With your mention of the Hercules, I’m reminded of the de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou first built in the late 1950s and still flying today. It is mentioned on Wikipedia and makes up part of a series on PBS America. The US Army used them in Vietnam in places where they couldn’t get in and out with a C130 and needed an aircraft that would take heavy fire.
      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Canada_DHC-4_Caribou
      BTW , an excellent video on YouTube about rebuilding and recovering a crashed Basler BT-67 in Antarctica

      Comment by fammorris | December 21, 2021 | Reply


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