The venue for the RHAG tour
Setting off from several
Some arrived an hour or so
earlier than others so the Presidential Limo was ready and waiting upon my
arrival. Sat-Nav’s engaged we set off from
We were all issued with
high-viz vests and off we set at a cracking pace. Not much has changed at
Casement since the last RHAG visit in 2006 except that they too have the
contractors in digging up the place.
Our first stop was at
Hangar four, which is also the home of the Museum and that was to be our last
port of call. In the same section of the hangar two Cessna FR.172’s in what can
only be described as deep maintenance.
Hangar three next; two
AW.139’s resident in the northern side of this hangar. A voice called to me
saying “I recognise you, you’ve been here before on a visit” well I was shocked
to say the least but I suppose with an ugly mug like mine once seen never
forgotten. I reacquainted myself with Corporal Wayne Withero who then asked if
we’d like to see the aircraft in the south of the hangar. Not wishing to turn
down such an offer I’m rather pleased that we accepted as there were six stored
Alouette III’s two more AW.139’s and an EC-135T2.
We had to move swiftly
along as the IAC were expecting a troop flight in from foreign soil by 1300
local time and our visit had started at 1100.
Sitting on the operational
ramp were an EC-135T2 of the IAC same type from the Garda, an AW.139 and the
Garda BN-2 Defender. Further along and outside of hangar one were three PC-9’s
one of which had just been washed. Two more PC-9’s languished inside hangar 1
one of which was receiving a lot of polish and TLC.
Moving swiftly on once
again our next stop was hangar two south; here a collection that included a
PC-9, Magister, and an Alouette as well as the star of the show an Avro 631
Cadet that had been bought all the way back to
Hangar 5 was our
penultimate stop on the visit; secreted inside was the top prize in the shape
of a LearJet serial 258 thus completing my Irish Air Corps fleet, a certain Tom
McGhee was also rather pleased at seeing this aircraft. Also in the hangar was
a CASA.235 of the Maritime Wing Irish Air Corps. Outside of the hangar were two
further aircraft a Beech King Air and a Cessna FR.172.
Our final stop was in
Hangar 4 into the
A volunteer in the Museum
offered the information that the first aircraft he ever worked on was a
Spitfire serial 161; this aircraft can now be seen on a regular basis at the
Aircraft Restoration Company Duxford wearing Dutch Air Force markings coded
H-98. Hopefully one day Mr Kevin Maye will be reunited with this aircraft.
In just under two hours
we’d completed our visit and were on our way to our next destination(s).
Our sincere thanks to
Commandants Eamonn Murphy & Seamus McCormack for authorising the visit, to
Sergeant Wayne Fitzgerald for conducting the tour and to all other Officers and
NCO’s that made it possible to visit Casement-Baldonnel.
Footnote: Unless we are
fortunate to catch it on delivery a new AW.139 will be delivered to the IAC in
just two weeks time, seems like a very good excuse to go back to
List Owner - RHAG