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Life Begins at 40

Counting them out and in
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Shoreham Historics
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At 3pm on Easter Sunday (8th April), a formation of Scottish Aviation Bulldogs and Beagle Pups flew over the hangers and terminal building at Shoreham Airport in Sussex. The event marked the 40th Anniversary of one of the most popular british light aircraft types. Even with the demise of Beagle at the end of the 1960's it wasn't the end of the types story as the RAF took a more powerful deriative, the Bulldog.  All Photography copyright Paul Johnson/Flightline UK.

Puppy Dogs!
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Modern GA
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The Beagle Pup first flew on the 8th April 1967 at Shoreham airport. It was instantly hailed a great success for excellent handling qualities and excellent performance. It was fully aerobatic and was engineered to be safe and thus was in great demand for the flying schools at the time. Brilliant - a British Engineering triumph. So where is Beagle now? Sadly the firm lasted just two more year before getting into financial difficulties. It was no fault with the aircraft itself, but the costs involved in making it simply were more than it was selling for. The factory at Shoreham closed in 1969 though some more pups were made at Elstree Aerodrome from parts rescued from Shoreham. With parts and technical knowledge hard to find, Pups started to be withdrawn from flying school fleets kick starting interest from private owners and sine the 1980's the aircraft has seen something of a revival becoming a popular type.

The Pup also was developed into a military trainer by Beagle as the Bulldog first flying at Shoreham on 19th Mat 1969. After Beagle want under, the aircraft continued development and production with Scottish Aviation at Prestwick Airport  This aircraft featured a 200hp engine (twice the power of the original Pup) and a increase in size yet still retained the same basic layout and shape. The Bulldog proved to be a popular trainer and has served with several air forces around the world, notably the Royal Air Force, Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force and the Swedish Air Force. The Bulldog could even go to war in a counter insurgency role fitted with four 7.62mm machine guns, rockets and 28lb bombs. The Bulldog was retired from service with the RAF and Swedish Air Forces in 1999. Since then it has been a popular addition to the civil scene.

The formation head in over the River Adur

To mark the 40th Anniversary of the first flight this popular series of aircraft, the Beagle Pup and Bulldog Club organised a fly-in of Pups and Bulldogs at the popular Shoreham Airport, site of the first flight and spiritual home for both Pup and Bulldogs. The fly in saw plenty of Pups and Bulldogs interspersed with the normal Shoreham traffic.

However, the highlight of the afternoon was a flypast of seven Pups and Bulldogs over the hangers that were once home to Beagle Aviation. Headed by the SkyHawk Formation Team the formation got airborne in a streamed take-off. With so many Bulldogs in the formation you could have been forgiven for think you were back in the 1980's watching a University Air Squadron getting in to the air! Once in the air, the formation formed up in route around the airfield before approaching over the River Adur and infront of the airport buildings. The aircraft then flew back down the runway for a run-in and break for a streamed landing. A perfect way to celebrate 40 years of a great British design.

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