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Heston Phoenix in Greece

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    Heston Phoenix in Greece

    Hello everybody,

    I have a question about a Heston Phoenix that was sold to Greece before WW2.

    Until recently there were no known photographs of this airplane, just written descriptions and of course the serial number, SX-AAH.
    It is also known that this was previously G-ADAD, the prototype Phoenix, and that it was destroyed during german bombings in Menidi airport, Athens.

    A few days ago a photograph emerged, taken during the german occupation, showing the plane rather intact, but certainly unflyable. Then another photo I had in my collection, proved to be of the same aircraft.

    So, here is the question, in case somebody might be able to help.
    Looking at both photographs, the airplane has a different windshield as that of the G-ADAD. It is of the later type Phoenixes, with flat panels and a small triangle in front. However, I have not found a single photogrpah of G-ADAD with such a windschield. Is it possible that the airplane became "upgraded" during its career in England and prior to its sale to Greece?

    If yes, it makes sense, if not, then how could it have been the G-ADAD?

    And a second question about colors. Flight magazine of 24.10.35 gives a very detailed color description:

    "The first machine has been finished in a light green,
    picked out with a darker green, and with wider silver lines.
    The wing has a silver finish. The Titanine doping scheme
    adopted has resulted in a very attractive finish, the fuselage
    being particularly good in this respect"

    Any idea where I could find color charts of Titanine colors of the period?

    Thanks in advance for any info,

    Attached Files

    WOW.......What a fantastic find....!!! Thank you for sharing it......!!

    Have done a little bit of sleuthing which may help. Only six Phoenixes were built: three Phoenix Is & three Phoenix IIs.
    One of the Phoenix Is was registered in Australia as VH-AJM. It was bought by "Jimmy" Melrose who had competed in the
    1934 MacRoberson race (only solo competitor as I recall). He bought the Phoenix to found an airline. Melrose was killed in
    the a/c in July 36 and the a/c destroyed. Thus this a/c can be eliminated.

    The other five Phoenixes were all British registered. G-AEHJ crashed into the Mersey in February 1940. The three
    Phoenix IIs were impressed. G-AESV returned to civilian life in 1946 via one of the Kemble sales. I have looked at
    the histories and can see no periods in their histories which are unaccounted for. Everything points to a rebuild/
    upgrade of G-ADAD before its sale to Greece in September 36.

    Can't help you with the Titanine colours charts. I am sure they must exist and would be expect another
    knowledgeable follower of this forum will be along with the answers.

    Just as an aside. Wouldn't the Phoenix make a great subject for a replica build?
    Wonder if the drawings still exist? Would fit in well with the Mew Gull replica, Comper Swift replicas
    and Chilton replicas. The project would of course be of a different order of magnitude. Heston Aircraft
    Co Ltd was formed to take over the assets of Comper Aircraft co.
    Last edited by Planemike; 22nd June 2018, 13:31.


      Colour selection is something of a minefield but there are pre-war BS charts online e.g. I would say that the German source photo is taken on panchromatic film, you have the Greek national (light?) blue bands as a starting point, perhaps 'Eau de Nil' for the light green? Are you making a model?


        Thank you both for your replies.

        Mike (I assume...), that was some very helpful analysis. At least it logically confirms the known fact, despite the photographic evidence opening possible questions...

        longshot (no assumptions...), thank you for the link. Yes, Eau de Nil is the closest one would call Pale or Light Green...In case of no further information I could work with that... I do think there must be Titanine charts of the period somewhere, I will keep looking...

        No, no model yet, I have enough on my hands as it is...

        The photo only came up recently and there is no harm researching parallel to building... Of course, it is very easy to get distracted, if something interesting and fully documented comes along...



          Another question, in case anybody recognises it.

          While searching for drawings, I came across the old Aeromodeller drawings, but also a picture odf a more modern and rather better detailed 3-view by A. Granger. Unfortunately, I do not know the source. It seems to be a booklet or a magazine. Any ideas?
          Attached Files


            Hi, George,

            I cropped the drawing and zoomed in a bit. You will note that the left drawing (as configured on my computer, that is) does show two different configurations for the windscreen, as can be seen in the 'EARLY CONTROL LAYOUT' (rectangular pane at center, above the control panel) and the 'LATER CONTROL LAYOUT' (triangular central pane). In the top view (right drawing for me), there seems to be a third configuration. These are all in reference to G-ADAD, so it is feasible that an early design and build was modified to the later triangular design at some point.

            Out of curiosity, I also flipped and cropped one photo to better allow a comparison to the other's cockpit area. Each view, of course, shows the later perspex design.


            Attached Files
            Last edited by Matt Poole; 29th June 2018, 21:36. Reason: Adding a trivial modicum of clarity, maybe
            RAF LIBERATORS OVER BURMA (subtitled FLYING WITH 159 SQUADRON) by Bill Kirkness DFM and Matt Poole, published by Fonthill Media


              The magazine source of your second drawing is Planes which meta-morphed into Wingspan. I don't think that there is any great mystery about the change of wind screen. G-ADAD was probably used to test prove the new windscreen layout for the Mk ll's and the flat triangular 'bug smasher' panel changed for aerodynamic or clarity issues.



                Hi john,

                thanks for the info on the magazine... Any chance of identifying the actual issue so that I can look for it? The photograph is from a solid modeller's forum, I am trying to contact the original poster, but no success yet...

                you are quite correct, I noticed these details, that is why I like this drawing very much. It looks like a clean job by the dratftsman.



                  George , Its in Wingspan #48 Oct1988
                  And the Air Britain secondhand magazine shop/archive appear to have recently got it


                    Hi John,

                    that is excellent, thank you very much !



                      I have 6 old (1930s) Titanine color charts in my possession... 3 Canadian, 2 USA, and 1 British.
                      The Titanine British color chart is from 1935 and might be useful for your Heston Phoenix color research.
                      I don't have any scans of these color charts handy but you can find a scan of only the green colors from the 1935 British color chart on Joe Maxwell's 'Max Decals' website...
                      A number of years ago I provided Joe with a match for the green used on some of the Irish Air Corp planes.
                      The Phoenix "light green" as described by 'Flight' magazine may be the 'Green-Shade No. TE 33' on my chart.
                      In the past I have provided FS and BS color matches for the Titanine TE32, TE33 and TE35 colors in reply to color questions being asked on the Britmodeller modeling forum. A search there should find them.
                      The Grey-Green Shade No. TE 38 is much the same color as the grey-green color used in WW2 British cockpits.

                      Last edited by Tim Kalina; 28th June 2018, 19:52. Reason: spelling


                        The Granger drawing of the Phoenix first appeared in Aircraft Illustrated for May 1970 as part of an article by Peter W Moss.