Portrait of R. J. Falk and F. Bassett, pilot and engineer repectively, in the cockpit of an Avro Athena advanced trainer.

FALK, R. J. & F. BASSETT.

From Krul Antiquarian Books (Hoofddorp, Netherlands)

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Manchester, A.V.Roe & Co, Ltd., 1950. Original photograph, silver print, 16,5 x 22 cm. Registered G-ALWA, an Avro Athena advanced trainer (Rolls- Royce Merlin 35 engine), piloted by Mr. R. J. Falk, and with Mr. F. Bassett as engineer, returned to Woodford on May 15th after a 3^ months' demonstration tour of India and Middle East countries. Of a total flying time of 135J hr, less than half was spent in transit and positioning flights; the bulk was devoted to flights under service conditions by Royal Indian Air Force officers and to aerobatic demonstrations. Especially gratifying was the record of serviceability: the only replacements, it is reported, consisted of a canopy panel (accidentally broken) and a new set of tyres. In point of fact, the tyre life obtained was exceptional, totalling 211 landings. Trainers now operating in India normally require tyre replacement after only 24 landings. For fighters the figure may be doubled. The flight to India was made in eight stages at an average speed of 210 m.p.h.; the distance was 5,530 miles and the fuel consumption (at 10,oooft) averaged as low as 37 gall/hr. Almost immediately on arrival the Athena was handed over to the Royal Indian Air Force, so that pilots could form their own views of its capabilities. Day after day it remained serviceable, apart from inspection periods, and these served as an ideal medium for engineering instruction. Numerous Indian pilots flew the aircraft solo after a single clearance flight with Mr. Falk, and thereafter the machine was subjected to service trials, including dive-bombing, gunnery, aerobatics, night flying and pupil tuition. For much of the time rising dust was penetrating wheel bays and other parts of the airframe. Having remained just over nine weeks in India, the Athena made its longest single-day flight when it flew from Palam to Baghdad on April 23rd. A distance of 2,550 miles was covered in four stages,: at an average speed of 220 m.p.h. On the return journey demonstration flights were made for several air forces The demonstration Athena was similar to those of the pre-production batch now nearing completion for the R.A.F. These machines will be used as dual gunnery trainers at the R.A.F. Flying College, Manbv. Lincolnshire. KEYWORDS:AVRO/photo. Bookseller Inventory # 40129

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Title: Portrait of R. J. Falk and F. Bassett, pilot...

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