A couple of weeks back I heard from a friend of mine that the Swedish Rescue Training Center in Skövde was going to close down and that they were holding an auction for all kind of cool stuff. I immediately jumped on the interwebs and found the auction. Among the thousands of very mixed items such as firetrucks, CPR dolls, miniature models, projectors, chairs and such I found a Hunting Percival P66 Pembroke C.Mk 52
After some research i found that the P66 Pembroke was mainly used as a light transport aircraft and was by the Swedish airforce to transport high ranking officers and personell between bases. In all Sweden had 16 in service. It was chosen over the DH Beaver and the DH Otter due to better specs, but the airplane was far from ideal. This Pembroke with the tail marking of 86 was made in 1956 by Hunting Percival Aircraft, Luton in Great Britain. It was taken into service in the Swedish airforce 1956-02-09 at the F14 military base. During it’s 3160 hour service it was moved between F8, F3 and finally F13M. It was decommissioned 1977-10-24 after it’s full service time and was moved to F7 to be used for fire and rescue training, then to SRTC in Skövde where it was used for the same purpose.
At 18:30 my wife and I were sitting in front of the glowing computer screen anxiously waiting. The online auction was set to end at 19:00 and we had just put in an offer. Just a few minutes later the website refreshed. We had been outbid. We raised and we were outbid again. A bidding war ensued. The auction was extended by 5 minutes every time an offer was placed and it was now 19:30. Our pain threshold was reached 2 bids ago. The time counted down. Only a few seconds left and then it was over. We had lost. Downcast and disheartened we had to accept that we wouldn’t be the proud owners of a beautiful derelict plane from the 50’s.
As a shot in the dark I sent an email to the auction master, asking if he could contact the winner for us, to see if he would consider selling us the wing that was separate from the fuselage. We didn’t expect to get a reply but it was at least worth a try. Maybe the winner just wanted it for it’s scrap value. 2-3 tons of aluminium would fetch a pretty penny for sure.
The next morning I wake up from my phone ringing. It’s the winner of the auction! Sure I’ll sell you the wing he said. Elated I started running around. So much to do! The wing had to be picked up on one of two days only. No other dates were possible. How the heck do you transport a 6 meter long, 3 meter wide and 3.5 meter tall airplane wing? A car trailer? Nope, not wide enough. It’s not legal to drive a trailer with something sticking out more than 20cm to each side of a trailer/car in Sweden. What then? I need a truck! But where do one get a truck with a truck driver? I started looking for companies. Sent some emails, tried making some calls, but I couldn’t find anyone that wanted to do the job. So I made a post on Facebook. 10 minutes later a guy knew a guy which called me. He could do it, no problem!
And so the day of the big airplane wing migration arrived. The guy I bought the wing from just happen to have a huge excavator so moving the wing was no problem.
While the excavator was trundling along I talked a bit with the guy asking what he would do with the beautiful Pembroke? Scrap it, he replied. I cried a little on the inside.
Loading the wing was surprisingly easy and quick. Just a couple of minutes and we were on the road heading towards my house.
The truck had this awesome crane that was remote controlled. It had a really cool controller as well. Lifting the wing was easy for the crane as it probably only weighs 200-300kg.
And here it sits. In my front yard. Looking beautiful.
No one is going to miss where my house is now!
I wish I could have saved the whole aircraft, but at least a piece of it and it’s history will now be perserved as a beautiful piece of art.
Before I found this gem on the auction site I saw something that got me really, really exited: They had a helicopter for sale! Clicking the link, this picture loaded:
I guess we have a different view of what constitutes a helicopter… They also had another airplane for sale! Check out this bad boy:
Complete with 2 turbines and one windmill engine. I guess with a bit of imagination they could work for rescue training, and that is what they were made for soooo…