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Title:FIRST TAKE OFF AND LANDING OF THE TSR2 (PART 1) [Main Title]
Film Number:DEC 2
Summary: The prototype of the TSR2, designed to satisfy an Royal Air Force requirement for a low-level supersonic strike aircraft, makes its maiden flight from the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) airfield at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, on 27th September 1964.
Description: START 10:00:00 Camera #1 (located at some mid-point along the runway at Boscombe Down). High-speed slow-motion film showing the prototype of the British Aircraft Corporation TSR2 supersonic strike aircraft, XR219, in all white anti-flash paint scheme common to all RAF nuclear strike aircraft at this time, heading down the runway to take off with test pilot Roland Beamont at the controls. Visible in the background are the A&AEE's administrative buildings and hangars and a miscellany of British military aircraft types, including several Vulcans, Victors, Canberras and a lone Valiant, a Gannet, an Argosy transport, a Shackleton and a Valletta (in red). A Westland Whirlwind helicopter hovers nearby in case Beamont has to eject from the aircraft. At 10:00:48, the nose wheel lifts off and, powered by two Bristol Siddeley Olympus jet engines, the TSR2 takes off at a steep angle with its undercarriage still lowered. An unknown object obscures the view as the camera follows its climb.
10:03:18 XR219 is seen coming into land at Boscombe Down at the end of its maiden flight, with an English Electric Canberra and Lightning flying alongside as chase planes. It touches down at a steep angle and drops its nose wheel onto the runway at 10:04:26. As it rolls down the runway, it deploys a braking parachute at 10:04:36 which slows it down. A large shed blocks the view before the aircraft has reached the end of the runway.
10:06:47 Camera #2 (looking down most of the length of the runway at Boscombe Down). High-speed slow-motion footage. With the Canberra and Lightning chase aircraft flying along the length of the airfield at low altitude, XR219 rolls down the runway and takes off on its maiden flight. It makes a steep climb with all its undercarriage legs in the lowered position.
10:08:07 Accompanied by the two chase planes, the TSR2 prototype comes into land at a steep angle and touches down. As it rolls along the runway its braking parachute is deployed. Once the aircraft has slowed down, the parachute is jettisoned at 10:08:41. The cameraman accidentally dislodges his camera before XR219 has come to a stop.
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 1
Footage: 831 ft; Running time: 8 mins 52 secs
Notes: Summary: TSR stands for Tactical Strike and Reconnaissance. The reason why the TSR2 prototype flew with its undercarriage in the lowered position was the difficulty BAC was having in devising a fully-functioning undercarriage retraction system in time for its maiden flight.
Remarks: excellent textbook views of this remarkable but doomed aircraft, cancelled by Harold Wilson's Labour government in April 1965 owing to pressure from the Americans who feared the challenge it presented to the potential export sales of its F-111 'swing-wing' bomber as well as some remaining teething problems that looked costly to remedy. As the veteran aircraft designer, Sir Sydney Camm remarked, "All modern aircraft have four dimensions: span, length, height and politics. TSR2 simply got the first three right".