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Chipmunk G-AOSK

A civilian-owned former RAF training aeroplane used to teach Scottish University Air Squadron students to fly in the 1950s, will be among the aircraft marking the Central Flying School's centenary at this summer's Air Tattoo.

Its owner for the past 10 years is a serving RAF officer who is conscious of the high standard of restoration and gives this immaculate example of one of de Havilland's finest creations the appropriate level of pampering whilst still enjoying its excellent handling and aerobatic qualities.

In its military guise, WB726 was the last Chipmunk T Mk 10 constructed at the famous de Havilland factory at Hatfield and was delivered to No11 Reserve Flying School at Scone Airfield, Perth on 15 September 1950. 11 RFS, operated under contract by Air Work Ltd, was responsible for the University Air Squadron Chipmunks of the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews and was probably the largest RFS in the country.

With cutbacks in Reserve Units after the Korean War, WB726 was placed in storage at RAF Hullavington in 1954. Sold by tender in 1956, it was registered to a Peter De Vere Stephens, an airline captain with Overseas Airways and with its new civil registration number, G-AOSK, it was flown to Southend for conversion which was completed in 1958.

After the collapse of the airline, G-AOSK was subsequently operated by a number of Flying Schools throughout England including Yorkshire Flying Club, Yeadon Flying Club and the London School of Flying at Elstree. It also took part in a number of air races until the expiry of its Certificate of Airworthiness in 1977. Thereafter it appears to have laid derelict in the open until the late 1980s when a restoration was commenced.

After a further change of ownership the aircraft was completely rebuilt to as new condition including the fitment of a zero timed engine. It is now painted in the colours of Cambridge University Air Squadron of the mid 1950s.

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Jeremy Clarkson, Television Presenter

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