Foxy’s (Beagle Pup Prototype, G-AVDF, c/n 001) Press Day, Turweston

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The original plans for the 2020 ceremony to be conducted at Old Warden (which would allow us to enact a photograph akin to the original) became another casualty of the COVID / weather combination.

Luckily, Foxy’s current home, Turweston airfield, stepped in and provided a hospitable and warm environment for the occasion. Whilst the airfield people looked after the plane’s needs, David and Mandy took care of the visitors, with a rather spectacular finger buffet lunch and drinks.

Apart from the press and the BPPC hosts, a wide spectrum of guests attended. We saw representatives of ATSO (Engineering) Ltd, Performance Engineered Solutions Ltd, the LAA, BP&BC(**) (we saw a couple of Pups fly in, and at least one, albeit resident Bulldog), both test pilots: Francis Donaldson and Paul Shenton as well as numerous enthusiasts that followed and supported the project throughout, going back to Beagle days at Shoreham.

Anne Hughes kicked off the proceeding by greeting and introducing the guests. Joined by David Collings, Anne gave a broad overview of the project. In Anne’s words:

“We are pleased to share this unique British aircraft and she is now poised to enjoy the fame and glory she received in the 1960’s. The five year restoration is also a tribute to all those who were involved in the early days including John Larroucau, ‘Pee Wee’ Judge, Sir Peter Masefield and all involved in her design, build and testing at Shoreham who are not able to enjoy this moment.”

Introductions were followed by Alan Turney and Steve Slater, who elaborated on the difficulties and issues involved in the restoration. Being the first prototype, a pre-production and built mostly by skilful engineering hands, Delta-Fox is unique – as was proven on several occasions during attempts of reusing donor aeroplane parts. The infamous quote coming from the ATSO hangar: “oh, that’s just a five-minute job” will be a long lasting memory of the days. Of course, many of those “five-minuters” turned out to need five days|weeks|months (select as required).

Steve Slater explained the LAA’s involvement in the project, which has been instrumental in the restoration by allowing simpler LAA rules to be applied in sourcing or reverse engineering parts. Ultimately, this converted into the pinnacle of this restoration: sending Foxy where she belongs – into the skies!

For the time being, Delta-Fox will be the only Pup operating on the LAA Permit To Fly (hopefully issued by the time this goes to press), whilst the rest of Pups will remain on the CofA.

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