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Flt Sgt Copping's P-40 From The Egyptian Desert

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  • Whitley_Project
    If in doubt apply heat..
    • Jan 2000
    • 2842

    Thanks for that Mark12. I'd be very interested to know your estimation of the value of the exchanged Spitfire. I'd also be very interested to see the costings of the recovery, although I doubt they will be available. Funny that. I would be very interested to compare the two, because I cannot see how they would be comparable.

    Can you add any more facts please?






    Originally posted by Mark12 View Post
    After the event I was privileged to see all the costings of the recovery from this difficult country on the one side, and on the other had been commissioned about four years back by the RAF Museum to inspect and value all the remaining Spitfires at Stafford. I can assure you the numbers were uncannily similar.

    There has been some comment of the the UK losing an invaluable 'National Icon' here with Spitfire PK664...but let us look at the facts. PK664 was the very lowest order of all the dozen or so Spitfires the RAF Museum has traded over the past forty years. It has no engine and auxiliary gearbox. Firewall systems forward zilch. Cockpit gutted and the rare 20 series undercarriage legs sans brakes/wheels discarded when it was pylon mounted at RAF Binbrook. It was last seen complete in public there in 1988, twenty-eight years ago, while individual component parts were put on display at the Science museum in 2005-7.

    So now like DX based EP120 and BM597 before it, and I don't remember any complaints there, PK664 is in private restoration hands in the UK within an established facility at North Weald. As a bonus it will provide reverse engineering technology to restore a Seafire 46 to full flying condition, along side it. It will take time, but take your pick, two late Mark Spitfire/Seafire examples to airworthy in the UK or stored out of public view at Stafford for another 'x' years.

    Mark





    .

    Comment

    • jeepman
      infrequent poster now
      • Apr 2004
      • 1982

      Originally posted by Mark12 View Post

      ....... now like DX based EP120 and BM597 before it, and I don't remember any complaints there, .
      Why would there be - the deal included the receipt of airframes from MARC to fill gaps in the RAFM collection. The Sahara P40 deal resulted in................fresh air (and perhaps not even that)
      JM

      Comment

      • Junk Collector
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Aug 2006
        • 1465

        Originally posted by David_Kavangh View Post
        That's a shame. The Americans will probably restore it to flight and lose all historical integrity, rather than conserve a WW2 time capsule.
        That is the usual case.

        If someone wants a flying example as a memorial etc, then just paint one of the existing fliers up in the same markings, by the end of a restoration there won't be a lot of difference between the two
        Officially now a pensioner

        Comment

        • Bruce
          Independent analyst
          • Jan 2000
          • 10224

          Originally posted by John Green View Post
          Setting to one side - with some difficulty - the emotional connection with F/Sgt. Denis Copping, which, in this particular instance, might make all the difference, none whatsoever. Stephen Grey's P40 would perfectly represent the period of history in question during WW2, and because it is an 'alive' artefact would convey that connection to hundreds of thousands of people present at numerous aerial displays up and down the country.
          Precisely - so, as there are already aircraft available that could provide the same connection to the Desert RAF, and to Denis Copping in particular, there is no need to restore this one.

          Comment

          • Bruce
            Independent analyst
            • Jan 2000
            • 10224

            Originally posted by jeepman View Post
            Why would there be - the deal included the receipt of airframes from MARC to fill gaps in the RAFM collection. The Sahara P40 deal resulted in................fresh air (and perhaps not even that)
            Actually, I do recall some grumbles at the time - as the value of the restored Spitfires were being equated to the value of the airframes received for RAFM. Clearly, a comparison that should not have been made. As Mk12 indicated, PK664 is not in the best of states, and is missing a large number of high value items. It was, incidentally, the first airframe to be inspected by Tim Routsis and his team before setting up Historic Flying, and having done so, he came close to giving up his dream on the spot. 'They are all like this', he was told. Fortunately, that proved not to be the case.

            Comment

            • jeepman
              infrequent poster now
              • Apr 2004
              • 1982

              Originally posted by Bruce View Post
              Actually, I do recall some grumbles at the time - as the value of the restored Spitfires were being equated to the value of the airframes received for RAFM. Clearly, a comparison that should not have been made. As Mk12 indicated, PK664 is not in the best of states, and is missing a large number of high value items. It was, incidentally, the first airframe to be inspected by Tim Routsis and his team before setting up Historic Flying, and having done so, he came close to giving up his dream on the spot. 'They are all like this', he was told. Fortunately, that proved not to be the case.
              Bruce (and Peter A) please don't get me wrong - I'm not getting exercised on the use of PK664 (or any other spare/surplus Spitfire airframe to be honest) as currency - simply the use of an/any asset with some value (however diminished) in a deal that ultimately seems to deliver nothing. There is a difference.

              If the RAFM is as bereft of funds as it seems to be - then with the best will in the world it surely shouldn't have been chancing (or even allowed to chance - where are the checks and balances - ie role of the Trustees - in this sorry tale???) it's limited tradeable assets on a deal that wasn't focussed enough to actually deliver an airframe to the converted art gallery at the top of the stairs in Hendon.
              Last edited by jeepman; 6th January 2016, 15:29.
              JM

              Comment

              • Bruce
                Independent analyst
                • Jan 2000
                • 10224

                And as I say - did anyone expect regime change in Egypt, having negotiated in good faith for the aircraft?

                Comment

                • Lysanderlover
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • May 2015
                  • 82

                  If the Copping aircraft has indeed 'flown the coop', one would hope that the RAFM will redouble their efforts to obtain a proper P-40 for exhibition at Hendon. The gutted aircraft currently displayed is surely an embarrassment and not of the calibre of artifact that should be presented to the public.

                  Comment

                  • jeepman
                    infrequent poster now
                    • Apr 2004
                    • 1982

                    Originally posted by Bruce View Post
                    And as I say - did anyone expect regime change in Egypt, having negotiated in good faith for the aircraft?
                    It seems so..........................
                    http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.u...gs/after_egypt

                    but geopolitics are way beyond the scope of this discussion
                    Last edited by jeepman; 6th January 2016, 16:11.
                    JM

                    Comment

                    • TonyL1962
                      Rank 5 Registered User
                      • Mar 2014
                      • 84

                      Couple of things...

                      1. Moggy - does your information about the aircraft being in the US come from any sort of reliable source? Or are you yourself just fishing?

                      2. Mark12 - you suggest that you have a source that placed the container in Egypt within the time it would take to get it to the US by sea - how reliable is this source?

                      3. In my opinion this aircraft should not leave Egypt and should go to the museum at El Alamein. A far more fitting and poignant location than either the RAF museum or the US. It would almost certainly cost less to create a small building to house it there than to ship it out of the country.

                      Comment

                      • Moggy C
                        Moderator
                        • Jan 2000
                        • 20534

                        Originally posted by TonyL1962 View Post
                        Couple of things...

                        1. Moggy - does your information about the aircraft being in the US come from any sort of reliable source? Or are you yourself just fishing?
                        Tony, I have no particular special interest in this topic whilst I do have an interest in keeping this forum quiet. peaceful and free of disruptive discussions, so you can rule out any piscatorial motive.

                        The story reached me third hand so is effectively hearsay - strangely reminiscent of stories about subterranean fighters.

                        Hence you see why I was at pains to stress "unsubstantiated"

                        Moggy

                        IMHO: The discussion about possible futures for the aircraft should it eventually emerge is far more interesting than any further speculation on the location of the container. Just accept it for the rumour it si for now would be my advice.
                        "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

                        Comment

                        • TonyL1962
                          Rank 5 Registered User
                          • Mar 2014
                          • 84

                          Understood Moggy. It would be a sad state of things if has been spirited off out of Egypt.

                          The Alamein memorial is of course where Dennis Copping is remembered. It would perhaps be most appropriate to display his aircraft there.
                          Last edited by TonyL1962; 6th January 2016, 17:01. Reason: Cross posting

                          Comment

                          • Thunderbird167
                            607 Squadron & NELSAM
                            • Sep 2005
                            • 1008

                            In my opinion, the RAF Museum was in a no win situation with regards to the Copping P40 from when it was discovered.

                            They could have simply expressed no interest in the aircraft as they were already financially committed with other projects.

                            They were not to know or could have predicted the Arab Spring and its consequences.

                            We would all be applauding their actions if the aircraft had arrived in the UK as planned but plans can go wrong and I think as a community we have become a little carried away with the perceived value of unrestored incomplete Spitfires.

                            Let us not forget that some bold and expensive decisions were taken under the previous director

                            These include the purchase of the Bristol Brigand, the move by road of the Nimrod and VC-10 to Cosford and the Dornier recovery all of which I believe the previous administration would have not contemplated

                            Not all deals go as planned, are we any nearer seeing the arrival of the Havoc which I believe was part of the previous Spitfire swap ?

                            Time to move on
                            Dave Charles
                            Historian 607 (County of Durham) Squadron
                            Chair North East Land Sea Air Museums (NELSAM)

                            Comment

                            • John Green
                              Rank 5 Registered User
                              • Mar 2011
                              • 6643

                              Originally posted by Bruce View Post
                              Precisely - so, as there are already aircraft available that could provide the same connection to the Desert RAF, and to Denis Copping in particular, there is no need to restore this one.
                              Except for my original point and the theme of my comments, which many conveniently overlook. If an aircraft can be flown, then fly it, don't bury it in yet another dessicated museum where by its passivity, it fails utterly to provoke the imagination. How can it, in comparison with the sight and sound of a live aeroplane thundering along the flightline ?

                              Whether one has just one or fifty flying examples matters not. What is important is that they are flying, in full view of the hundreds of thousands who make up the spectator numbers at displays. Thus, in all their incomparable beauty, they are exhibited for the greater good. Now tell me that that is a bad thing.
                              Last edited by John Green; 6th January 2016, 17:06.

                              Comment

                              • Southern Air99
                                Rank 5 Registered User
                                • May 2015
                                • 558

                                ' it fails utterly to provoke the imagination. How can it, in comparison with the sight and sound of a live aeroplane thundering along the flightline ?'

                                I beg to differ slightly. Yes. 'live' aircraft 'thundering along the flightline' are stunning and very exciting for many including myself, I love seeing airshows and displays. However in it's current state it is my opinion it would be more hard hitting and representative of the sacrifice of a war which although decades ago must be remembered by not just 'us' but also generations to come
                                Last edited by Southern Air99; 6th January 2016, 17:22.

                                Comment

                                • David Burke
                                  Rank 5 Registered User
                                  • Jan 2000
                                  • 10028

                                  The Arab Spring started in 2011 and by the time the P-40 was discovered there was a government in place . That government was deposed in 2013 . So whilst the recovery happened in 2012 - there is little documentation so far that suggests that ownership was transfered in any way in 2012.

                                  Comment

                                  • Mark12
                                    MEANS MOTIVE OPPORTUNITY
                                    • Jan 2000
                                    • 10863

                                    Originally posted by Whitley_Project View Post
                                    Thanks for that Mark12. I'd be very interested to know your estimation of the value of the exchanged Spitfire. I'd also be very interested to see the costings of the recovery, although I doubt they will be available. Funny that. I would be very interested to compare the two, because I cannot see how they would be comparable.

                                    Can you add any more facts please?
                                    I am sure you would be 'interested'...sorry but you will just have to take my word for it.

                                    PM sent.

                                    Mark

                                    .
                                    Last edited by Mark12; 6th January 2016, 17:53.
                                    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney"

                                    Comment

                                    • trumper
                                      Rank 5 Registered User
                                      • Aug 2003
                                      • 6724

                                      Originally posted by TonyL1962 View Post
                                      Understood Moggy. It would be a sad state of things if has been spirited off out of Egypt.

                                      The Alamein memorial is of course where Dennis Copping is remembered. It would perhaps be most appropriate to display his aircraft there.
                                      How safe would it be there in this political climate?

                                      Comment

                                      • TonyL1962
                                        Rank 5 Registered User
                                        • Mar 2014
                                        • 84

                                        As safe as any other Egyptian historical artifact - and despite government changes the Egyptians do value their historical stuff and many of them rely on the income from tourists. There's already a spitfire at Alamein that has not been stolen or sold for a data plate rebuild!

                                        Comment

                                        • DaveF68
                                          Rank 5 Registered User
                                          • Jun 2004
                                          • 1790

                                          I have no objection to the RAFM swapping a Spitfire for the services rendered to retreive the P-40 from the Desert (In the past, RAF crash and smash would probably have done it, but that would not have been possible politically here even if the service was still available to RAFM).

                                          Where it seems criticism can be made is in not securing that they then had title to the P-40 - at the very least it would then mean that they would have a legal claim to title if the P-40 was then sold on to someone else.

                                          Comment

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