Thruxton Jackaroo


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Thruxton Jackaroo

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Comments1-20 21-40
Wyndham Ward, e-mail, 12.06.2021 18:17

I learned to fly a Jackaroo at Thruxton as a result of a RAF sponsored Flying Outward Bound Course in 1963. I had just finished boy entrant training and as a youngster was impressed with the swashbuckling instructors. A great bunch. One of them used to have a cigarette leaning back on the ‘no smoking sign’ and blow the smoke down the homemade gosport tube attached to my leather flying helmet whenever I flew a good approach. IMC training!


Peter Lester, e-mail, 20.08.2020 23:33

I have just found this site after looking up John Heaton on line. I was an apprentice aircraft engineer at Thruxton from 1957 to the early 1960s and what I have been reading brings memories flooding back. I remember all the people and the aircraft mentioned. I was also involved in the building of Shelia Scotts Jackaroo which got named Myth and invented the metallic blue paint ( by mixing Oxford blue and Silver together ) that it was painted to create a metallic finish which did not really exist at the time. But going back to John Heaton I remember the day he took a tiger moth for a test flight after it had been overhauled. He arrived at the hanger after a lunchtime in the bar. After taking off he proceeded to put the poor Tiger through every aerobatics known to man with the result that the port lower mainplane started falling apart making it necessary to do quick landing. I think it was when he was doing what I think is called a tailslip is when it happened as I was watching it all at the time. I also remember a staff Christmas do when we would visit several local pubs and end up at the control tower bar when the pubs closed. On arriving in the bar John was serving behind the bar and refused to serve us and proceeded to put up the bar shutters. After a while he suddenly appeared on our side of the bar and said that this was not good enough to close the bar when a staff do was in progress and with that smashed down the shutters from our side and declared the bar open. Happy days. I aslo remember John had a Borgward Hansa car which I always loved at the time. There are so many stories I can remember and I wish I had the time to tell you now.


BERNARD RUMBOLD, e-mail, 18.02.2018 03:11

to all my fellow students - what a lucky bunch we were! It was all 'magic' to a 17 yr old air cadet, but many happy memories such as being woken at 0630 by John Heaton bouncing the wheels of a Tiger Moth on the roof of the Nissen hut where we lived, swinging the prop - HSE at HQAC would have a fit these days!, Gp Capt Brisk was my instructor - being a mere FS air cadet he was scary!, he also made me try to land on the runway when I asked why we always used the grass - I couldn't get it to 'sit down' - ground effect on a hot August day I suppose!, leather helmet and goggles in the Tiger Moth - just like Biggles :), ah well ....... 74 now, but I would go back for another go like a shot!! Greetings to all my fellow Flying Scholarship students and yes I flew with John Heaton too - I'm sure we got extra lift off his moustache!!!


Chris Spencer-Smith, e-mail, 13.01.2018 03:33

Rex Hailstone was killed in a plane crash in the Alps in Oct 1961, I also have the accident investigation report for this event, having been named after him.


Chris Spencer-Smith, e-mail, 13.01.2018 03:28

Having just recently cleared my parent's house D M Spencer-Smith (Sprocket) I have come across the original design paperwork for the Jackaroo and a share certificate from 1957 for 5000 worth of shares.I am not sure as too how many copies of these are still in existence? My god mother was also Sheila Scott.


John Smith, e-mail, 03.12.2017 16:19

Further to my last, a few names I remember from those Thruxton days as follows: Charles Ogilvie-Forbes, John Collins, Maurice Goor, Martin Peal, Norman Hallmark, Julian Harrison, Bill Bale, Peter Assinder, Peter Turner, Graham McConnell and Ted Clowse ... fond memories of all.


John Smith, e-mail, 03.12.2017 16:12

My only trip in a Jackaroo was with Norman Hallmark (on his annual Easter visit from Alderney). This was 1968. I completed an AFI course at Thruxton that year, and returned in 1971 as Air Taxi pilot /QFI (Bill Bale was CFI). Going back a few years (1965) I made 2 para jumps at TX from a Rapide (piloted by Ramsay Smith), before going to Saudi with Airworks and the fondly remembered Ted Clowse.


Robert Atkinson, e-mail, 23.09.2017 17:48

I made several jumps from the Thruxton Jackeroo 1964 also from the Rothman Rapide.There is a Thruxton Jackeroo in Ontario Canada which came from Thruxton which was restored I have pictures


Knut Vahl Meyer, e-mail, 25.01.2017 09:33

My wife stumbled across this site when researching our history in relation to my involvement in flying. I trained at Thruxton in 1962 (January 20 to June 25) for the CPL and flew the following Jackaroos; ANFY, AOEX, AOIR, AOIW, AOIX, APAI, APAJ, APAP. Fond memories of those days and extremely saddened when my instructor Rene Hadley was killed during a charter flight not long after I completed my training at Thruxton. The memorial service held at Thruxton was a moving event for me. John Heaton was a character I shall never forget either. I was convinced he
must have been blessed with 9 lives and lots of luck. One of his favourite "tricks" after a few at the bar, if there was a good moon, was to take a willing para jumper up to 3000' and then spiralling down round the descending parachutist. The incident of him spinning the Tiger to "a hard landing" in the field across the lane by the club house came about because several of us trainees complained that one of the DH 82's was difficult to get out of a spin (cannot remember whether it was a left or right). He claimed it was our ineptitude and took off to prove nothing was wrong with the aircraft. He never did recover from that spin demonstration. The reason was that his foot got caught behind the very rudder bar needed to stop the spin. It must have been a week-end because the traffic on the A303 was bumper to bumper and one car pulled out and went roaring down the lane towards the stricken aircraft. The driver turned out to be a doctor who met John walking towards him cursing as only John could do. The only damage, other than that to the Tiger, was a small cut on John's forehead.
I found myself back at Thruxton in July 1964 instructing Air Cadets for a period of about 2 weeks. Those were the days!!
Nowadays I fly AOEX and APAJ with my FSX flight simulator.

reply, e-mail, 19.12.2014 02:23

I did my first parachute jump from a Jackeroo (G-APAM)
in 1966 at Thruxton. I went on to do many more jumps mainly from Rapides but I did one more jump from a Jackeroo. The jump required you to stand up and step up over the sill onto the wing facing the front in the slipstream and jumping back. I can remember it clearly even today.


Philip Van Langenberg, e-mail, 03.10.2014 00:26

Father suggested I took some flying lessons in 1960 at Thruxton and I was duly enrolled for some dual at 5 per hour in the Jackaroo. Owing to the rudimentary communications in the aeroplane, the command to carry out a climbing turn to port sounded like a gliding turn to port and I was often rewarded with a clout over the head with a piece of speaking tube for a wrong manoeuvre! Amazingly I soloed after 12 hours. One of my instructors was named Clowes,had a full RAF handlebar moustache and arrived at Thruxton in an Austin Healey. I,however,arrived on an LDB Lambretta. Good times!!


Keith Fuller, e-mail, 12.07.2013 15:50

Apologies, but after all the waffle I notice my Email address is wrong!!
Should be:-


Keith Fuller, e-mail, 09.07.2013 00:01

Hello Folks!
The blessed machine cut me off at that point (Above) without any instruction (Knowingly) from me.
I was going to continue; but reading it through for the first time makes me realise that Enough is Enough!!
Apologies and thanks for raising the memories.
Keith Fuller.


Keith Fuller, e-mail, 08.07.2013 23:54

Hello, Please forgive my somewhat disjointed rambling about Thruxton, but it unlocks (my) memories as it goes along - and may do the same for others - The Jackaroo features in places!
I first parachuted from a Jackaroo on a "Suitability Trial" on May 1st.1960, flown by Rex Hailstone - no Reg.No.recorded for some reason. I remember that only the Starboard half of the canoopy shell was removed, but someone clambering about on the starboard wing in flight upset the aerodynamics, so the next one I did was with both shells removed. This satisfied someone, and it was possible to have 2 parachutists aboard - and indeed out on the wing at the same time during the run-in - without obvious problems.
I did a "Parachuting Endorsement " jump with Sheila Scott on Aug.15th.1960 from T.Moth G-ATJJ - she refused to let her precious 'Blue Myth' (or whatever it was called) Jackaroo to be used!
I did 19 Jackaroo descents between May 1960 and Dec.1962.
They were all from Jackaroo G-A..IX ! I never did get round to filling this in - no idea why!

My total descents at Thruxton were 70, taken between July 1959 and March 1963; with a great deal of time spent hanging around waiting for the weather /pilot /a /c serviceability etc., and had a lot of contact with the marvellous characters there.. May I ask your tolerance in yhe following rambles?
Sqn.Ldr.Doran-Webb was feared by ordinary mortals like me and I very rarely met his gaze - let alone SPOKE to him!
Another to fear was Col.Hallmark!! Always late for the flight, had his own interpretation of the parachutist's requirement - and would not perform a 'wings level' change of heading whilst the poor parachutist was out peering over the leading edge of the wing to get the exit point right!! The 'Vertical' viewpoint was lost! It did provide me withan excuse for "missing the airfield" on several occasions!! Round non-steerable parachutes to blame y'know!!
If I list some of the names from my log book - most, if not all,instructors - I would be delighted to hear of their whereabouts, one way or the other.
I know of John Heaton, Rene Hadley and Rex Hailstone having left us - that is all.
'Sprocket'Spencer Smith later flew me at Shaftbury into fields near Melbury Abbas(FromT.MothAJHU and Auster AJYB).
Terry Perry from Petersfield, an ex-Fleet Air Arm Corsair pilot.
Brian Bennet - a 'Local Lad'.
Ted Clowse - an Airwork Ltd. 'Mercenary'the last I heard!
Brian /Bernard Leary,
Noel Lewis,
Dave Woods, RAF Britannia Captain,
Love to hear if any of them are still around.


Pete Haywood, e-mail, 26.02.2013 15:16

I too learned to fly at Thruxton--summer of 61 or 62 I think--via a Flying Scholarship through the ATC. Much enjoyed. Basic sleping accomomodation in old WW2? building halfway down toward hangars, grub and instruction at control tower. I recall being asked to ride to a nearby agricultural? merchants on a BSA Bantam belonging to one of the instructors in order to collect some spark plugs, not for the bike but larger,-- for a /c I think. Several Jackaroo used, also Tiger Moth as Jackaroo not used--or certified? for aerobatics or spin training--that was done in Tiger Moth. Some of the instructors were Middle Wallop staff, but also remember CFI Heaton. Made solo to Shoreham in Jackaroo but unfortunately lost logbook years ago somewhere in accomodation transfers during later and slightly chaotic student days.
Also recall what I think was Sheila Scott's Proctor? parked up near perimeter. Also the drop in visit of Miss V. Stewart-Woods--one of the youngest, perhaps the youngest? female qualified private pilot in GB at that time-- flying her fathers Auster I think.
Aside--I recall the name Bernie Rumbold--a previous poster on this topic--maybe from school ? (Newbury). Small world. Cheers. Pete.


Algwyn Myring, e-mail, 22.10.2012 21:42

My first flight was in Jackaroo G-APJV at Rhoose airport in 1960 when I was 16 years old.What a thrill!


Dennis Walcott, e-mail, 08.04.2012 04:20

I too learnrd to fly at The Wiltshire School of Flying in the summer of 1964 after graduating from Sadhurst. I was an Overseas Cadet from Jamaica and I was fortunate to be allowed by my Government to take part in the program which was based on the concept of training Army Officers to the Private Pilot's License level so that there would be a "corps" of trained pilots if ever they were needed like in the Second World War. I would love to hear from anybody who was there with me at the same time.


Bill Miller, e-mail, 04.07.2011 15:36

There is another Thruxton Jackaroo G-AOIR still flying. It is owned by Ken Broomfield and kept at his farm airfield at Baxterley. I have made a number of freefall parachute jumps from this beautiful aircraft.


Martin Clotworthy, e-mail, 07.01.2011 19:41

I well remember parachuting from a Jackeroo at Thruxton in 1964, and I certainly remember my instructress, a lovely girl called Helen Flambert who was I think a world champion skydiver.


Matthew Anne, e-mail, 05.01.2011 23:13

Hello to all Jackaroo enthusiasts.
I have for ages meant to look up this aircraft, because it is part of my history. Sqdn Ldr James Edward Doran-Webb was my grand father, and I remember all sorts of stories over the years regarding Thruxton, and flying etc. Sadly though I was just too young to get involved with it, and when I realised there was an interesting history, it had long since been sold.
As childeren, we had various bits given to us to play with, and I fondly remember climbing over some nose cone or other in the garden. I have in my posession a model of a Jackeroo, with removable canopy, and alternate crop dusting cock pit.This used to sit in my GP's office, and I was left it when he died. Its about 12" long, red and silver, and similar wing span. The registration I do not have to hand, as it is packed in storage whilst I am moving house...ditto the model.It is made from a very light modelling wood.
We also have an amount of pictures, some rather tatty, of things people etc which some of you may recognise? I am very interested to try to identify as much as I can, and would dearly like to meet up with one of "the family" that are left.
Please do get in touch, either by email, or by phone my number is 07966 209381.
Thank you very much.
Regards Matthew.


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