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Vintage Glider Project

Work has started on the restoration of the Slingsby T.31B Tandem Tutor glider.

The T.31B Tandem Tutor was a tandem development of the single seater T8. For 50 years Slingsby were the main producers of gliders and sailplanes in the UK. This aircraft is a traditional wood and fabric build, with a strut braced high wing with spoilers. It was used as a British military training glider and used by the Air Training Corps between 1951 and 1986. It was also popular with civilian gliding clubs and was exported to quite a few countries around the world. Some are still flying and some are in various Museums including Hendon.

This aircraft came to us from Western Australia with no fabric, just bare bones. The log book shows an interesting history. It was built in 1951 by Slingsby Sailplanes Ltd at Kirbymoorside, York, UK. It has a works number 715 and last registration was VHGPQ. It had a bit of a hard life, with at least 3 heavy landings requiring repair work, a crash into a tree top and a collision with sheep! It was flown by the Kent Gliding Club from 1956 and cost 4 shillings a launch and 15 shillings an hour in 1957. This is the aircraft in flight in the 1960s in Kent.

On the 2nd August 1966 it was unloaded from SS Galway at Fremantle and transported by road to RAAF Base Pearce in WA. It was crashed into a gate on approach that October causing extensive damage. It continued flying with the RAAF until November 1971 when it had clocked up 1206 hours and 56 minutes flying time and a total of 19,026 landings. The last log entry is 1976 for an inspection after repairs.

A restored Slingsby T31 is displayed at RAF Museum, Hendon as XA302 - see below.

Below are photos of the tailplane components of our Slingsby that have been inspected and refurbished, they are now ready for fabric covering. Still a long way to go!

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