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TOPIC: Alconbury

Alconbury 23 Apr 2008 18:55 #1

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Thought you might all like to see a photo of Alconbuy I took in January 2008.

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Richard

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Alconbury 28 Apr 2008 12:25 #2

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The cold war monstrosity that is "Magic Mountain" has recently acquired 'heritage status' as a listed building, along with a couple of other buildings (including the old control tower).
This was reported in the local press recently although Hunts Post won't let you access the article it can be found here -
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/a ... ge_id=1770

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Alconbury 28 Apr 2008 12:34 #3

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Hi Bob

Thanks alot for posting that link to the article up, it is good to hear this building has been listing along with the control tower there. So many times you hear of buildings like this being demolished in the name of "progress"

Does anyone know what the future holds for the airfield site there? As the USAF still use the domestic site.

Richard

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Alconbury 28 Apr 2008 12:47 #4

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I can fill in a bit - it was slated as a freight terminal but that seems to have gone very quiet of late. Initially a rail freight link into the site from the main NS mainline which runs just north of the airfield. ADL (the partnership company of BAA/MOD and a private company IIRC) also wanted to utilise the site for air freight.
This met with quite a lot of local opposition (of which I was one) and this too seems to have gone very quiet. I wonder if ADL are developing some other strategy for the site.

Right now, as you can see, it is used for storage of vehicles along with light freight distribution and warehousing.

Rumours of redevelopment as a 'new town' also seemed to be muted a while back but I suspect that other sites are now
being earmarked for those.

The USAF still occupy the remainder of the site.

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Alconbury 30 Apr 2008 16:21 #5

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On the subject of Alconbury and it's flying days I happened to find this article about one of the TR-1 Chase cars which served there.
http://www.hemmings.com/mus/stories/200 ... ure20.html
I remember these cars floating around Alconbury (I'm sure there were more than just one but I may be wrong).

They certainly could shift...

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Alconbury 06 May 2008 21:06 #6

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This is an ancient web site of mine on Alconbury:

http://www.rafalconbury.4t.com/

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You can tell a builder from an archaeologist by the size of his trowel. Mine is a small one!

Alconbury 30 May 2008 20:40 #7

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RAF Alconbury - Alternative Launch & Recovery Surface (ALRS)

The TR-1 is cross-wind limited and in order to increase the number of days the aircraft could be used during a crisis or war situation, it became necessary to provide a crosswind runway. One option under investigation during 1982/83 was to construct an entirely new runway, but this idea was rejected because additional land would have to be acquired from Lord Ramsey and negotiations were still taking place on the 33 acres of his land required for the avionics building. A cheaper alternative and less problematic option was to re-activate the wartime runway 23-05, but even this had problems. At the southern end of what was now called taxitracks 4 and 5, are five TAB-VEEs (Hardened Aircraft Shelters, Nos. 14, 16, 19 & 21) which were required for the proposed move of A-10 aircraft from Bentwaters. As these aircraft were to be stored inside the shelters with their munitions and the fact that they are well inside the clearance zone for the proposed runway, they would violate both airfield and explosive safety criteria.

Eventually the idea of re-using 23-05 restricted to wartime use (or transition from peace to war) only was adopted. The runway was therefore designed as an alternative launch and recovery surface (ALRS) and reconstruction started in the summer of 1987. Criteria governing ALRSs were normally applied to fighter aircraft only and therefore the reactivation was tailored to the unusual requirements of the TR-1. Criteria such as runway dimensions, shoulders, clear areas, lateral safety zones, overruns and approach zones were all worked out to permit safe launch/recovery of the TR-1 within the unusual circumstances of Alconbury.

The reactivation also required that the site layout (November 1984) for four semi-HAS, Nos 6,7, 8 & 9, had to be changed so that they were placed outside the clearance zone for this runway (requiring additional apron pavements). Furthermore, a runway overrun extension was built between shelters 7 & 8. The five TR-1 conversion shelters and TR-1 physiological support division & squadron operations complex were also re-sited 150ft from runway 23-05 edge to place it outside the clearance corridor.

Six months after reconstruction commenced the ALRS had been resurfaced ready for wartime operations. Even with the runway operational for wartime use, feasibility studies were carried out at the end of 1988 to determine what was required to upgrade the runway from ALRS to fully operational runway. There were two main reasons why it could not be used for peacetime use. The main one because the southern end was within one of the airfield's explosives clearance zone and compromised by the five aircraft shelters. The other being that even with a 519ft grass strip between the end of the former WW2 runway and the new overrun section built between shelters 4107 and 4108 only gave a overall maximum length of 5019ft (optimum runway length for a NATO Class 'B' runway being 6000ft). This figure was therefore well below for a contingency runway and would require the purchase of additional land from Lord Ramsey. In the event runway 23-05 was never used by the TR-1 under peacetime conditions and the shelters and the grassed area remained long after the base closed.

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You can tell a builder from an archaeologist by the size of his trowel. Mine is a small one!

Alconbury 19 Oct 2008 18:28 #8

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This was in the 90's at one of the last airshows they had there

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Alconbury 19 Oct 2008 20:18 #9

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Interesting to see the car in the photo. IIRC the TR1 was hellish to land because of the huge amount of lift from its long wings. I think the article mentioned that an Escort XR3 was part of the landing procedure - it would accelerate as the TR1 came in, and join it part way down the runway. When the car driver sensed that the aircraft was almost on the runway he would inform the pilot to switch his engine off and stall onto the ground.

Something like that ! I'm sure others will have the facts.

Graham

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Plan A is always more effective when the problem you are working on understands that Plan B will involve the use of dynamite :twisted:.

Alconbury 28 Oct 2008 23:18 #10

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See my post dated April 30th reference the TR1 chase cars - I cannot recall ever seeing an XR3 going down the runway during the time of the TR1s at Alconbury...

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