Author Topic: Out of the Blue (Into the Fire)  (Read 3336 times)

Offline von hitchofen2

  • Newly Joined - Welcome me!
Out of the Blue (Into the Fire)
« on: December 05, 2015, 05:37:59 AM »
Version 2.1

I'm a man
Without a soul,
Honey, yeah
Who lost it
While parading it
In a town full of thieves
Y'see I didn't wanna be with any people I know.
But god knows, I didn't wanna be alone
I thought if I acted like someone else
I'd feel more comfortable with myself

Alex MacCarthy looked into the Hardened Aircraft Shelter, at the four aeroplanes in his collection , and smiled ruefully. He'd owned the P-51D for twelve years, the de Havilland Venom for nine years, and flown it for six, the Hawker Sea Fury for seven years.

The distinctly non-standard Sea Fury FB11, still powered by a Bristol Centaurus, but driving a Rotol six-bladed contra-prop, had been sold to a French airline pilot, the P-51D would be going back home to the US in the autumn as soon as the export license was sorted and the FAA were happy., but the Venom was still unsold , and would be hard to shift. The glossy Yves-Klein-blue jet “Sierra-Sierra” or just “Sara”, built under licence in Switzerland in the 1950s, had cost the least to buy and cost the most to run, but he was loath to part with it.

Hopefully his brief time as a warbird owner and pilot was not quite over, yet. Ah, the smell of burnt Jet A-1. Only the smell of burnt 100LL beat it.

Part of the divorce settlement with his ex-wife Ana had meant the two most valuable warbirds had to go, but Alex hoped he could hang on to the Venom, and the Reims-Cessna Cardinal. The Enstrom 280F Shark helicopter was being collected by its new owner at the weekend, well tomorrow, and would be flown to Sywell.
t least Ana McCarthy wasn't aware of quite how much he had squirrelled away in the Cayman Islands and the Channel Islands. Even with the 'tax efficient investments' he paid over £100,000 in tax. He knew a Griffon Spitfire (reduced to only US $1,995,000!), Curtiss P-40E, and a P-51C were on the market. Time for a change.

He checked his emails, replied to some tweets, added some photos to his flickr stream, and tried to watch the results of the General Election. He suspected that Cameron might win properly this time. If the SNP taking most of the seats in Scotland actually happened, Labour would probably lose badly, which was a shame as Milliband was the party leader he disliked the least. Still didn't make him want to donate any more money to the Labour party. He was rather more concerned that PA474 hadn't been badly damaged by that engine fire.

Eight hours later he woke up. He made a mug of Kenya tea, and switched on the laptop, and went to the BBC website. “Unable to connect – Firefox can't establish a connection...” <sigh> fucking mobile broadband! Going to switch ISP soon. He looked at his iPhone 6. No service. He held down the power button, and the phone restarted. No service. “Safari cannot open this page because it could not connect to the internet”.

He checked the control box from the photovoltaic panels on the roof, and the mini wind turbine, still producing power, and still receiving mains electricity too.

He looked out the window.


Bentwater Parks was gone. Much of the old airfield infrastructure had just vanished. Carolyn's HAS where she kept ML407 was gone. He went outside in chilly, misty Suffolk air and something felt very wrong. Whitmore wood had taken over more of the airfield than it used to. Most of the tree weren't conifers either. Silver birch, and Elm by the looks of things.

The F177 was still there, the HAS was still there, the aeroplanes inside were still there and Runway 07/25, all 8,940 ft of it, taxiways and peri track were all still there. His Overfinch Range Rover had gone, but the rental Volkswagen Crafter was still there. What?

McCarthy felt dizzy and nauseous. He sat on on the damp concrete. Some weird shit had happened around these parts but this took the biscuit. The entire biscuit aisle at Tescos.

He didn't feel hungry. He got into the Reims-Cessna F177 and taxied onto the runway. Opened the throttle and took off. He would not usually fly over the Army Air Corps base at RAF Woodbridge, but he suspected the NOTAMs didn't apply in this case, as it wasn't there!

The roads looked different, as did the cars and vehicles on them, which were few and far between.

He flew over Sutton Hoo, and looked down at the digging. Digging? Earthworks? Archaeology? A sliver of ice slid down his spine and lodged in his stomach. The cogs in his brain turned.

A de Havilland DH-9A flew underneath him, a look of absolute wonderment visible on the pilots face. For five minutes the two aeroplanes flew in formation with each other. Private individuals flying ex-military aircraft had a long history, it seemed.

MacCarthy banked the F177 and headed back to Bentwaters. He felt clammy and disorientated.



He landed the F177, and got something to eat. <Maybe it was a waking dream. Hypnopompic state of consciousness, they call it,> he thought.

He got in the VW Crafter. Hopefully I'm dreaming. Maybe it's a nightmare. He drove. The roads were similar but strange, the towns and the oncoming traffic weirder still. Nothing seemed the same. He drove through Hadleigh, Sudbury, Clare and Haverhill, occasionally having to stop and reorient himself, and just take in the surroundings. The roads were called the A1071, A1092 and A604, but they didn't bear any relation to the roads he was used to. If he could get to Saffron Walden, he'd be OK. There was no M11 but he finally got onto the A11 at Audley End, the house itself covered in ivy and looking sorry for it itself. He passed a Pretlove's removals van. Some things don't change.

Finally, Great Chesterford! He turned into Rose Lane with trepidation, fairly expecting to see a house he did not recognise, or a patch of grass, but there it was, his home for the last eighteen months. Easter House which had been built in 2002, bought for £482,000, and rented out to a city worker and his academic wife for £2,500 per calendar month. For eleven years. Nice family. He didn't have the heart to put the rent up. They went back to New York eighteen months ago, and when Ana and he separated, it became his new bolt-hole.

Just one part of a burgeoning property empire.

The 600 quid aluminium and wood model of a Spitfire Mk V was still in the living room window.

He turned the key in the door.

When people come into money, lots of money, they usually buy flash cars made in Italy, yachts, houses in the south of France and the Caribbean. Not so Alex McCarthy. He indulged his passion for aeroplanes. McCarthy had started a record label in 1993, which did not have a distribution deal, and dealt directly with customers via the internet, or out the back of a van. This morphed into one of the earliest online businesses selling band merchandise buying stock from record labels and merchandisers too terrified to do it themselves. Soon his website was stocking and selling merch for Oasis, Blur and Robbie Williams, as well as bands he actually liked and admired, and his own music and related stuff still sold well, with 100% of the net profits going to him.

McCarthy could forsee the records labels wanting the business for themselves, as the margins from selling recorded music shrank, and shrank yet more. His business became a hot property and he held out for the best deal. The business changed hands several times during the dotcom boom, with his slice of the company increasing in value as it decreased in size, to the point when bankers and executives would invite him into a room and give him money just to go away. The final payoff came when Sony-BMG disintegrated in 2008, just months before the financial crisis hit hard, and the housing bubble burst.

He spent some of the money on flying lessons, and before long he had stick time on Cessna Skyhawks, Tiger Moths, Harvards, and was IFR-rated, with experience on helicopters and warbirds. He bought a DHC Chipmunk, then an Aerospatiale Gazelle 341G helicopter. Both had since been sold on.  He had planned to buy a Harvard, on which was type rated, and be satisfied with that - but then he saw the P-51D. He bought it, and quickly got type-rated on that, too.

Flying aircraft was not a problem for McCarthy. Instructors called him a natural pilot perhaps, being a musician and DJ might have helped. McCarthy would have given up if he hadn't been any good at it. Buying and flying aeroplanes was an expensive hobby for sure, and there were far less dangerous ways of enjoying yourself.

With his first £5 million McCarthy bought a nice house in Belsize Park, at the same time as the P-51 . The Swiss-made Venom he found lying forlorn at Bournemouth airport. It's civil registration made him laugh, He bought it for £25,000, sold as seen. A $1million restoration in Switzerland and it was airworthy again.

He got married. He invested some money in a husband-and-wife's “social networking” site, whatever that was. In 2008 AOL-Time-Warner bought that company, making his share of the company worth £40million, after tax. He bought the overpriced Sea Fury in the US and some property in London, Kent, Essex, Cambridge, Dubai and South Africa. He had the Fury and overhauled and shipped to Britain, and pilots far better than he displayed it and the P-51D at airshows, while he flew them for his own pleasure. He bid on a two-seat Spitfire Mk IX at an auction in 2009 and some other smug c*** beat his highest bid. Still, P9374 was coming up for auction in July...oh bugger!

No wonder Ana was divorcing him. Rich ugly blokes married to gorgeous foreign birds never works out in the long term. Too many expensive toys. Never again.

“You love those aeroplanes more than me!”

The aeroplanes hoovered up his wealth as effectively as a bad cocaine habit. With the money he'd spent could have bought a Gulfstream G650 new, maybe even two of them.



Not that he didn't have any money left. Ana would keep the house in Belsize Park, his mum her £350,000 house that she rented from him for £10 a month. And he would keep the money from the 204 other properties he owned, plus the income from numerous paper investments he had.

Or he would, had he not been thrust back in time precisely seventy-six years.

Whichever pitiless BASTARD had done this to him may have left all his money and property with his wife, alongside the now worthless £108,000 in 2015 £Sterling, Euros and USD. But bags of farthings, ha'pennies, pennies,  thrupenny bits, sixpences, shillings, two bob bit, half crown, 12 ten bob notes, 20 pound notes had been left in a drawer in his kitchen of his Essex home.

Along with a wad of white fivers. Once he'd counted them he realised he had £2025 18s, and Christ alone knows how many pennies.

In the drawer there was: a copy of birth certificate, claiming he was born in Chelmsford in 1900;A US passport in his name, complete with photograph;  a telegram saying his father had been killed on the 27th October 1917; rather cruelly a death certificate for his mother, who had apparently died of bacterial pneumonia almost exactly a year later; the title deeds to the land this house stood on and the entirety of the land at Bentwaters.

Whoever had done this was very thorough, and had done this before.

There were also two .45 calibre Glock 21s, and ammunition. One appeared to have a .50 GI barrel. There was also a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard in .380.

McCarthy was reasonably proficient shot, for a civilian at least. He had had some unofficial training by an ex-member of Surrey Police Armed Response Unit in the past, who was now an instructor at Bisley and a aeroplane enthusiast, in what was now laughably known as 'the future'.

He hoped he'd never have to use them

In one of the spare rooms was his book collection. McCarthy hated the idea of ebooks, their evanescence. Cardboard box after cardboard, books ranging in price from £2.81 to £700. Mostly non fiction about aviation, or warfare.

The power supply was erratic, and the gas central heating didn't work at all. No gas. You could have the television and blu-ray player on or the lights, but not both. The washing machine, the tumble dryer or the lights, but not all three. The fridge and freezer still worked. The PVs on the roof here still heated the water and provided some power.

He reset the burglar alarm, and the security lights, and headed back to Bentwaters, hoping to get there before the sun went down.

He searched every inch of Bentwaters for useful, and found the ERF avtur tanker, and the Iveco avgas tanker, and 950 ltr bowser with avgas in it. He also found the Carmichael 6x6 Range Rover crash tender.
He went to park the red Carmichael, in the large hangar he now appeared to own, and found a cornucopia of stuff. The main doors were padlocked, but he walked tried a side door. It opened. He walked inside.

There was one aircraft, and disappointingly it wasn't a Griffon Spitfire. It was a Slepcev Storch, three quarters the size of the wartime Storch, but room for one passenger inside as well as the pilot, and the powered by the same Lycoming O-360 that was in his helicopter, and the Cardinal.

The only warlike things were a massive artillery piece, which revealed itself to be a 155mm Soltam M-68, with ammunition. On a shelf, held up by pieces of wood appeared to be a tank gun complete with mounting. It must have been four and a half metres long. It was a Ordnance QF 77mm Mk II, apparently. <Was that the one fitted in the Comet?> thought McCarthy. There was also two Hispano Mk V 20mm cannon, two aeroplane machine guns, which looked like 12.7 Ho103s, and indeed were.

There were also four 30mm Aden Mk 4 cannon. With electrically-primed ammunition in completely new calibre, a revolver chamber, god only knows how long that would take to get into production. The Hispano V and Ho103s, and the drawings and manuals for them, would get into Air Ministry hands as soon as possible,

An old New Holland combine harvester, a John Deere 2955 tractor, and three cars in tarpaulins, sat next to them. One was unmistakeably a Volkswagen Beetle, another revealed itself to be a post-war Ford V8, which would be a inconspicuous runabout. The other was far from inconspicuous. Ostentatious is the word. It was a Panther de Ville saloon. McCarthy opened the bonnet hoped it had a Jaguar XK6 V6 and not a V12. It did. There was an M38 Jeep, and 5 Bedford RL lorries

On a four-wheel trailer was a contra-rotating Rolls-Royce Griffon – looked like one from a Shackleton. The familiar shape of two Merlin 61s lay behind it and two spare Bristol Centaurus, a Rolls Royce Meteor, a Volvo D6B turbo diesel engine. Beyond those were jet engines.  Two DH Ghosts, another that was a museum cutaway, actually a Svenska Flygmotor RM2. There was also a cutaway Junkers Jumo 004.

And that was it.

Or was it?

The building still hummed with electricity. There was a trap door, with a tractor parked over it, which McCarthy started, moved and stopped

He lifted it. Stairs leading down. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Thirty two steps curving down. He came to a door. You had turn a wheel and hold down a handle to open it. He walked inside. A strip-light flickered on. An air vent and thick cables ran across the ceiling.A panel of lights caught his eye.

Main Lighting OFF
Refrigeration: ON
Ventilation: ON
Generator: OFF

He switched the main lights on. Wow. Crates. He prised the lid off – ammunition. It looked like 7.62x39, but wasn't quite. 9x19, .45 ACP and .50GI. Fridges buzzed. Cans of soup, minced beef, curry sauce with early 21st century use by dates.

He opened one of the fridges. Drugs. Prescription drugs. Anti-biotics. Lots of -ins and -oles, plus Enalapril, Propranolol, Mefloquine. Warfarin, Hydrocortisone, Digoxyin, Erythromycin, Diclofenac, Prednisolone, Hydrocodone to name but ten.

He opened one of the cupboards.

There was key on the inside, and much more besides.

There was a KRISS Vector .45 SMG, a Mossberg 500SGA pump shotgun, and what looked like a Kalashnikov, but was actually a Czech vz.58. In fact there were five of them, and five EM-2 rifles, all in British .270. There was also five Carl-Gustav M/45 and five Sterling L2A3 sub-machine guns, both firearms that McCarthy had fired before, and ten Czech CZ.75 pistols, all in 9x19mm.

"The best of the Wonder Nines" thought McCarthy

But that was not all. There were three heavy cast metal RPG-7 85mm hand-held anti-tank grenade launchers, , and two much lighter machined Airtronic RPG-7s, and most importantly, there were 50 PG-7 HEAT rounds.

There was an R-POA Shmel, rocket-propelled flame thrower.

<No need for the PIAT, then! Every German tank is toast>

“Well, if I start a Home Guard unit, we won't be short of weapons” said McCarthy to himself. "If I can't these into production and use I might as well use them on myself!"

He drove into Woodbridge in the Volkswagen Crafter. [Does it take leaded fuel? God only knows]. He sync'd up the iPhone to the stereo, and played the first three tracks of a Shpongle on the drive down. It calmed him down.

He bought eggs, bread, as much bacon as the butcher would sell him, and a copy of the Daily Mirror, and The Times. Even in a grey T shirt and chinos he felt horribly conspicuous. He went in the post office to post a letter to 

Mr Roy Fedden
President, Royal Aeronautical Society
4 Hamilton Place
London W1

with photographs of the Bristol Centaurus fitted in the Sea Fury, and a letter requesting they meet.

The Times newspaper were all backwards, classified adverts first, then sport (Grimsby Town and Brentford were in the top flight of English football, and Everton were about to win the league, so this must be an alternate universe), then the news. The King (George VI, thank fuck) and Queen were going on a tour of Canada. How lovely. The 1939 Worlds Fair had opened in New York.

Hitler still ran Germany, Stalin still ran Russia, no overt signs of them attempting to cuddle up to each other as yet. The papers were reeling still from the German renunciation of the Anglo-German Naval Treaty, and the German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact The editorial of the Times railed against Chamberlain's stance on Poland, effectively saying “We should not needlessly threaten Herr Hitler in a game of brinkmanship we cannot win”

Who's this 'we'? When a Tory paper slags off a Tory leader you know they are doomed.

All so very predictable.

If this was a dream, it was stunningly vivid. He slumped into a slough of despond, enlivened only by a picture of Winston S Churchill. Thank heavens.

It was a small story in a column called “Cassandra” in the Mirror, that made his blood run cold, and sit with his head in hands.

Former cabinet minister Winston S Churchill
is back in London to promote his latest novel,
“The Gathering Storm”, the follow up to the
best-selling “While England Slept”.

Not that the Wellesian fantasy needs any
promotion, that is. Known for his trenchant
opinions, the current Government will be
relieved to know he plans to return to his
home in New York on the Queen Mary
in August


Offline von hitchofen2

  • Newly Joined - Welcome me!
Re: Out of the Blue (Into the Fire)
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2015, 05:41:27 AM »
I haven't made a plastic kit since 1989, and I can't draw profiles worth a damn, but I can write things!

Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
  • Much older now...but procrastinating about it
Re: Out of the Blue (Into the Fire)
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2015, 07:22:55 PM »
Enjoying this, can't wait for the next part.

Offline von hitchofen2

  • Newly Joined - Welcome me!
Re: Out of the Blue (Into the Fire)
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2015, 08:17:29 PM »
Quote from: Volkodav
Enjoying this, can't wait for the next part.

Thank you!  :)

All contributions and suggestions will be gratefully received - and probably ignored because this is the second iteration of the story, which first appeared on, which will cease to be in January.

But mention it nevertheless!

Offline von hitchofen2

  • Newly Joined - Welcome me!
Re: Out of the Blue (Into the Fire)
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2015, 08:28:36 PM »
McCarthy's iPhone rang. He picked it up and realized it no longer worked, an no-one could be ringing him on it. He dropped it as though it was white hot.

It kept on ringing.

He pressed the green 'Accept', on the screen. A voice growled at the other end. "How d'yer like it? How d'yer like my Sweet Revenge"

He threw the iPhone at the wall...

and woke up screaming...

What the fuck was he supposed to do, now? The Second World War was won by a cripple, a depressive alcoholic and a paranoid mass murderer. Now only the paranoid mass murderer remained, and he was weeks away from inking the deal of the century with the other paranoid mass murderer.

Churchill hadn't been in parliament for seventeen years, and Vera Lynn stood a better chance of forming a war cabinet than he or Churchill did.

Who the hell was John N Garner, anyway? And why is he President of the USA, and not Roosevelt?

If you want to save the world from the scourge of National Socialism, you send the Israeli Air Force back in time, or a handful of ICBMs, not a one-eighth Jewish internet millionaire with three poxy warbirds, the wings of which are likely to fall off if you try and dogfight a 109 in them.

<Still, might be able to add a genuine 109E to the collection>


The French are going to cave, Chamberlain is going to quit, Halifax will negotiate a peace, Mosley will form a Government of National Salvation while rimming Hitler, and anyone even remotely Jew-ish will be shipped off to Treblinka to become industrial pollution and lampshades and your precious Sea Fury, Mustang and Venom will be handed over to Willy Messerschmitt, Kurt Tank et al to shred the Red Army to pieces.

"Today Germany, tomorrow the world!"

McCarthy sat down, eating his breakfast and tried to work out how much fuel he would need to fly the Passion Wagon* from the UK to the USA.

Well, Ed Shipley did it in Miss Velma, going the other way.

357th Fighter Group, Leiston, Suffolk, 1944, flown by Capt Charles Weaver.

There was a knock at the door. McCarthy answered it.

"Good morning, I do hope I'm not disturbing you" said a man in a dog collar

"No, not at all. Come in"

"I'm Reverend Percy. It's a lot bigger than I thought it was. Your house, I mean"

"<As the actress said to the Bishop> I'm Alex McCarthy. Is Percy your Christian name, or surname?"

"Its my surname. Well, I always like to welcome new arrivals to the village - "

"And exhort them to join the flock?"

"Well - "

"I believe all gods are man made. In fact I know they are. I worship gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. if anything"

"I see. Are you an academic, Mr McCarthy?"

"I'm a pilot"

"You didn't seem the type"

"Didn't I. So I'm a new resident, am I?"

"Great Chesterford is close knit community, Mr McCarthy. You have been the subject of much speculation"

"Really. How long has this house been here, Reverend?"


"I know when this house was built. What was here, on this site, before this house?"

"I, er, can't..."

"Your God, Jehovah, Adonai, the big I AM - can he send human beings, and inanimate objects back in time?"

" He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end."

"Is that a yes or a no? This is The Times newspaper for Tuesday, 9th May 1939. Printed recently. Not yellowed. Yet also I have the The Times newspaper, dated Tuesday May 5th, 2015. Colour pictures. All the news on the front pages. Adverts for products you have never heard of. Coverage of an election that hasn't be called, featuring politicians of whom you have not heard. You can't have two Tuesdays within four days of each other."

"I think you have been the victim of an elaborate hoax, Mr McCarthy."

"You ain't kidding"

The man of the cloth and the man of the air backed nervously away from each other.


McCarthy had hoped the RAF would beat a path to his door. Not a bit of it. He'd heard nothing back from Fedden. An RAF plane, something that looked like a turretless Defiant, had flown over Bentwaters. Dressed in a high visibilty jacket, he'd waved at the pilot, who flew on. A snub nosed Blenheim Mk I had done the same, while McCarthy was driving the ERF avtur tanker to the HAS. Time for a bit of free advertising. He fuelled the Venom for an engine test and forty five minutes flying time.

Time to wake up the neighbours, wake up England. McCarthy did all the pre-flight checks, including the tyre pressure. He climbed into the wooden pod that housed the pilot, the cockpit, and the de Havilland Ghost Mk 48, and strapped himself in. Once the checklist was complete he pressed the cartridge starter


A large black cloud shot out the fuselage pod. About 2 feet of orange burning kerosene shot of the Ghost engine. Birds flew from the trees. The explosion was heard as far away as RAF Martlesham Heath, on the other side of the River Deben, which sent up a Blenheim IF to investigate.

This was normal procedure for a de Havilland Venom.

A high pitched whine was emitted as the Ghost engine spooled up.

McCarthy taxied the jet, testing the engine at various power settings, before taxying to the end of the runway. It rolled down the runway, the nosewheel lifted off the concrete, and leapt into the air. The Venom was over Martlesham Heath before the Blenheim had even taken off. Several startled RAF airmen looked up in stunned shock as the Venom flew overhead. McCarthy was oblivious to its presence. He tuned the VHF radio to 120.625.

“Stansted Intermediate, this is Golf-Delta-Hotel-Sierra-Sierra, just departed from Echo-Golf-Victor-Juliet, am at FL 1, over”


He retuned the radio 121.500, Distress and Diversion.


“Just me then. Climbing to FL two-five, over”, he added superfluously. No-one to talk to, no-one to squawk to.

Before long he was at 25000ft over the North Sea. The pressure cabin was working. He pushed the nose down, pulling the stick back every time the IAS read 500 knots. Don't take Sara too near to her VNE

He was back down over the Suffolk coast – and all the old visual navigation cues – the grotesquely ugly Adastral Park, the Container port at Felixstowe, and the ferry port at Harwich, and the reactor complex at Sizewell, or EG-R217 as was known to aviators – were all gone. Sizewell was built on the site of the 357th Fighter Group

He was however, being picked up by the RDF station at Bawdsey, who lost the return as he flew inland. He wasn't going to risk navigating over the sea, not without GPS. At least at cruising speed, at 20000ft, he was unlikely to collide with anything

He flew the Venom over the familiar, but smaller Ipswich, Colchester and Chelmsford – the latter resembled a large village rather than a small town. The urban sprawl of Basildon, where he had spent the first nine years of his life was gone completely, leaving only the clustered villages of Laindon, Pitsea and Basildon itself. Let's hope it stays that way, he thought. He could see the 'Fortune of War' pub, was still there where the High Road met the A127. The London-Tilbury-Southend 'misery line' was still there.

At least there was the tower on Pitsea Mount, and Thameshaven oil refinery, to use as reference points. The creeks and pools glistened in the morning sun. McCarthy made a ninety degree turn West, over the Thames, and lost height.

There were no navigation hazards ahead [no One Canada Square, no Shard, no Swiss Re building, no Tower 42, no airliners in a holding pattern over Romford]. Docklands was full of ships, not bankers. The tallest building he could see was St Pauls Cathedral, so no lower than 400 feet till I'm past that, (he thought). As he flew over Rotherhithe he could see people looking up. He pushed the nose down and Tower Bridge and the Tower of London shot past below.

He pointed the nose of the Venom towards Waterloo station, and pushed the throttle lever forward, checking the jet pipe temperature, and the fuel levels in the port and starboard tank.

People screamed and ran as the jet fighter flew over St Thomas' Hospital, Westminster Bridge, The Palace of Westminster and Buckingham Palace. McCarthy flew on, oblivious to their panic.

Over the Serpentine McCarthy pulled the stick back, and turned 110 degrees North, heading towards the unchanged green space of Hampstead Heath, then King George V Reservoir, then the Lee Valley. He sighted three aircraft flying in vee formation. He approached them from astern.


They had the codes 'JH' on their fuselage.What unit is that?

Finally, they noticed him.

They banked towards him. He wondered if they were armed. He wasn't going to chance it. He pushed the throttle forward, acclerated, climbed and left the Hurris behind.

McCarthy found the A10/Ermine Street, and followed it towards Royston. He turned east and pushed the nose down again.

The A505 led inevitably to Duxford. If the American Air Museum had been there, he would have ploughed straight into it. Three Dark Earth/Dark Green Spitfires climbed out. He passed below them. He could just make out the letters “WZ” on their fuselage. 19 Squadron.

Channelling the spirit of Ray Hanna, McCarthy flew at thirty feet over the grass airfield, past the familiar double bay Belfast hangars

Very different to how it used to be...or will be...or may be.The flight from Duxford to Bentwaters he could do in his sleep, he'd done it so many times in the Passion Wagon, RCN157 and Cardinal Richerthanyou. He landed back at Bentwaters after thirty-five minutes flying.


The law of unintended consequences

In London, the Secretary of State for Air, Sir Kingsley Wood, was in the mood to deprive someone of their supply. He had just been carpeted by the Prime Minister. Air Chief Marshal Cyril Newall, Chief of the Air Staff, knew for a fact he was in similar treatment. An aeroplane had flown over Metropolitan London, over the Palace of Westminster and Buckingham Palace - for pity's sake – and the RAF could do nothing. It had flown over two RAF aerodromes, and encountered three RAF fighters!

“The press are in uproar, Newall, the public are tense and agitated, and we've spent all this money on aeroplanes and radiolocation and whatnot, and all of it was no use at all! You've campaigned for all this spending on fighters, and when they are needed.....nothing”

“The aircraft was far too fast for our aircraft to catch, Secretary of State, we tracked it on RDF but lost it as it flew inland. There is no inland RDF coverage”

“How fast was this – thing – supposedly going?”

“At least four-hundred knots, four-hundred and sixty miles-an-hour - "

"Good God, Man!"

 " - There's not a plane in the world that could have caught it, except perhaps - ”

“Except what?”

“The German Me 109R. Or He112U”

“So it was the Hun after all?”

“Possibly, though the Luftwaffe have no twin-boom pusher-type aircraft. That we know of. The chaps at Flight and Aeroplane are equally mystified. They called us to ask us what it was, just as we called them to see if they had any ideas -  the best they could come up with is the American XP-38

"So you've no idea what it was, and your fighters cannot catch up after it. Godammit man, if we have to make and official complaint to the German embassy, we need to know – von Dirksen will run rings round us otherwise.”

“Chamberlain wants a sacrifice he can announce to Parliament to fend them off. Retire Dowding, fire whoever is in charge of the defence of London...”

“Leigh-Mallory, sir.”

“or move him to another department.

<Army Cooperation,> thought Newall

"Dowding goes. Either he goes, or you do, Newall”[/font][/size]
« Last Edit: December 05, 2015, 08:39:01 PM by von hitchofen2 »

Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
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Re: Out of the Blue (Into the Fire)
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2015, 08:48:47 PM »

Offline von hitchofen2

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Re: Out of the Blue (Into the Fire)
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2015, 08:49:54 PM »
Tizard: So Bawdsey, Walton and Canewdon Chain Home stations all picked up this aircraft.

Watt: Yes. It more or less flew over the top of Bardsey itself.

Tizard: So why was nothing done?

Watt: The Signals Staff Officer, Tester, dismissed it as an anomalous return. On the basis of the return, its altitude and speed, it seemed to be the correct judgment. It was at at nearly 30000 feet over Bawdsey.

Pye: It passed overhead?

Watt: Almost directly overhead. The same with Canewdon.

Tizard: It's as though the pilot wanted to be detected. Might he have known the stations were there, and what their purpose is?

Watt: It was pure chance there were some fighters over Middlesex. It intercepted them rather than they intercepted it. Even if we had treated it as an unidentified target, it would have been over the capital and gone

Farren: This report from Flight Lieutenant….

Tizard: Malan.

Farren: ...says the aircraft had no military markings, or camouflage, but quote 'appeared to have Union Jacks' painted on its tail planes, so it might yet be one of ours…

But there are no aircraft of that configuration under test in England. Griffith and Whittle are convinced it had a gas-turbine powerplant. Fedden is convinced it was German.

To the centre of the city where all roads meet, waiting for you,
To the depths of the ocean where all hopes sank, searching for you,
I was moving through the silence without motion, waiting for you,
In a room with a window in the corner I found truth.

McCarthy got on a LNER train at Ipswich, bound for London. It arrived at Liverpool Street station, fifteen minutes late. Some things don't change, even if the station had. McCarthy managed to find the Underground station, passing umpteen archaic adverts for Moss Bros, Bovril, Westminster Cigarettes and some things called “Bile Beans” which sounded revolting.

He bought a ticket and got a Central line train to Tottenham Court Road, then changed onto the Northern line, southbound. The people looked so different, it was like a dream. Hardly any black faces, and no Asian faces at all. He put a selection of Ian Dury's hits on his iPhone. He hoped any curious people would think it was a sophisticated hearing aid. It's what he planned to tell them anyway.

He alighted at Charing Cross, and made his way towards Foyles bookstore.

The queue was outside the shop.

He joined it.

He noticed a sign advertising the “Right Book Club”.

He'd heard of a Left Book Club, but didn't know there was a right-wing equivalent. Most of the Londoners in the queue kept themselves to themselves, but some discussed the “terror-plane” that had gone over the previous day. Some had only heard about it on the six and nine o'clock news. The tiny Venom had been exaggerated into a huge, hellish and noisy angel of death by word of mouth. God help them if they ever saw a Vulcan, or an A380.

As McCarthy reached the front of the queue he caught a glimpse of the great man, sat signing books. Eventually McCarthy reached the front. He could scarcely believe he was in the presence of Winston S Churchill.

He popped the copy of “The Gathering Storm”. McCarthy suspected the book, a 1948 first edition, had markedly different content to the novel of the same name, in this universe. Churchill looked up from the unfamiliar cover.

“Its nice to know one has readers from amongst the younger generation”

“Thank you Mr Churchill, but I'm forty-two”

“Really, good Lord. You must be one of those trans-dimensional chrononauts – Wells warned me about people like you”

“I...I...what, sorry?”

“The dedication, who would you like me to dedicate it too?”

“Erm, 'to Alex, it could have been our finest hour, and sign...'”

It was Churchill's turn to do double take.

“How do you know the title of the third volume of the trilogy?”

“Erm, lucky guess?”

“It's still only a working title – it sounds more and more trite the more frequently I say it”

“It has a certain ring to it, like the others did. I like it. It's a shame you are not leading us now.”

“A thankless task. Many have told me the same, though. Alas, the electorate did not agree.”

A man stood behind Mr Churchill.

“Thank you sir, if you would kindly move along...”

“Really, Brendan, for a public relations man, you aren't very good at relating to the public!”

“I fear I may well be joining you on the other side of the Atlantic”

“England has no future if its brightest and best flee to the new world”

“The great enemy of civilization is too close for comfort, I fear. I would prefer a bigger protective moat”

“I heartily concur. Good day Mr...”


“Mister McCarthy, and good luck with your endeavours. Britain may have great need of you yet.


McCarthy electrically started the 2,400 horsepower Bristol Centaurus 18 and clouds of white smoke billowed across the runway. The engine, or rather the propeller it drove, had been a source of never-ending trouble, not all of it mechanical. It was safer, made the Sea Fury easier to fly, by removing much of the torque strain on the already strengthened airframe, the CAA had never seen eye-to-eye over the Sea Fury he owned.

It had a permit to fly in UK airspace, which had taken several squadrons of lawyers to achieve, and it had never the left the US civilian register.

Once sold, it had gone straight on the French civilian register, and got a valid certificate of airworthiness from the French authorities. Just like that.

It was only a shame McCarthy did not have the cash AND the aeroplane.

No matter.

With a VNE of 500 knots, which meant it could attain an indicated air speed of 760 kph at low level, it could easily take the piston-engined speed record from the Me209 or He112U without breaking into a sweat - the pilot however, was another matter. The aeroplane was a Reno racer before he had bought it, and it had specially strengthened and re-engined and fitted with a more effective supercharger and a water-ethylene anti-detonation injector for that very purpose.

The Venom and Mustang were stock warbirds, and never went anywhere near their designed top speeds or G-limits.

All had been squirrelled away in the hardened aircraft shelters on what was now McCarthy's airfield.

McCarthy taxyed the Sea Fury up and down the runway, when a car pulled up. He switched off the engine, and when the noised died down the man said.

"IS THIS YOUR AIRCRAF...Is this your aircraft sir, or are you testing it for the navy?"

[The Fury had NAVY written in three-foot high letters on both sides of the fuselage.]

"No...this my private property"

"Are you Alexander McCarthy Esquire?"

<laugh>"Yes" He hadn't been called that before.

"And did you send this photograph of this aircraft to the Aeronautical Society?"


"We wish to speak to you, can you step down from the aeroplane"

"Is this your aircraft, sir" pointing to the photo.

"Yes. This is it"

"You are a civilian?"

"I am Mr Fedden, this is Mr Frise and Captain Uwins. We represent the Bristol Aircraft Corporation Ltd"

"At last"

"What is that aircraft?"

"It's a Sea Fury, a Bristol Centaurus powered fighter-bomber, built and operated by the Iraqi Air Force, then exported to the United States for modification. I have as full a logbook of it's movement as possible."



"And where did you obtain the Centaurus engine from?" asked an incredulous Fedden

“It was attached to the aircraft when I bought it. That is a Rotol contra-rotating propeller that it is driving”

“There are three of these engines in existence and all of them are in my possession, as a Bristol employee."

"That's a coincidence, I own three as well. Help me remove the cowling and I'll show you. You'll need some gloves, it's still hot"

“It's a copy of the Type 146” muttered Uwins

“Too big, different aerofoil.” said

“My god, it is a Centaurus! said Fedden “What is the power output?”

“2400 hp, at 30 in/hg and 2600 rpm, with a two-speed single-stage supercharger and water-methanol anti-detonant injection. You could get more power out of it with greater boost, or nitrous oxide injection, but I've only tried that once. 420 knots in level flight.

Fedden looked at him as though he had beamed down from Mars.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2015, 08:52:53 PM by von hitchofen2 »

Offline von hitchofen2

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Re: Out of the Blue (Into the Fire)
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2015, 10:30:31 PM »
And some glimpses of a possible future

all kengeorges work, apart from profile #1, modified/ruined by me

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Out of the Blue (Into the Fire)
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2015, 04:37:04 AM »
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
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Re: Out of the Blue (Into the Fire)
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2015, 03:43:48 PM »
Brilliant, keep it coming.

Offline von hitchofen2

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Re: Out of the Blue (Into the Fire)
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2015, 02:25:17 AM »
Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapour trail in the empty air,
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night

May 15th, 1939.

It had taken several days to get the Sea Fury ready. Bristol had sent some mechanics to help, but McCarthy had to do all the engine checks himself. A TR9 HF radio had been installed in place of the high-tech but useless VHF set and the Canadian roundel had been turned into a normal RAF red/white/blue one, but the RAF had expressed little interest, beyond sending the Air Member for Development and Production, Air Marshal Wilfrid Freeman, and the Director-General of Research & Development Air Vice Marshal Arthur Tedder.

“Looks like a more streamlined Skua” snorted Freeman, when he saw the so-called 'Sea Fury'

The Royal Navy had sent the Fifth Sea Lord, and Chief of Naval Air Services, Admiral Sir Alexander Ramsay to watch the test. He was pleased to see the word NAVY painted in large letters on the side. Bristol had wanted to paint over it, but McCarthy insisted it would disturb the airflow.

Fedden, despite his importance as the President of the Royal Aeronautical Society, had been unable to obtain, a civil registration, but the manufacturers code MC-1 had been assigned to it by the Society of British Aeroplane Constructors. The Terrain Avoidance Warning System still worked, without satellite data, and McCarthy set the warning signal to sound at from ground warning him he was too low, or to high.

The FAI/ Royal Aero Club course for the record had to be flown at 300 feet above sea level, and altitude higher than McCarthy was used to displaying at, but still too low to easily recover from should anything go wrong The FAI men had been setting up their theodolites, oscillographs and chronometers at Filton. They were the same team that had measured the 'Me109R' (Me209) record-breaking flight at Augsburg-Kaufbeuren in April, and the 'He112U' (He100 V8) flight at Oranienburg in March.

The were a number of Italians and Germans among them.

Bristol had allowed the press in and Gaumont-Pathe to film the flight, fearing no-one would believe the English had taken the record if McCarthy succeeded. God only knows what they would have done if McCarthy had crashed and burned in full view of the British media. For the purposes of publicity,

Finally the aeroplane was filled with the minimum necessary 130-octane fuel, and McCarthy took off. He climbed, tested the water-methanol injector. He wasn't going to take the manifold pressure above 52 inches of mercury, or the RPM above 3000, record or no record.

The radio crackled. "Ready, Monkey-Charlie 1, over?"

"Monkey-Charlie 1, ready, over. <Call me fucking monkey, would you. What was wrong with Mike?"

"Four passes between the pylons, then we'll see if the chaps got the results, over."

McCarthy pushed the nose down, and opened the throttles. SHHHHHEEEEEEYIIIIITTT!

The Sea Fury entered the circuit with the needle nudging 500 mph on the Air Speed indicator. McCarthy passed the first pylon 410 knots. 759 km/h This was the fastest he'd ever gone in her. Formula One had nothing on this. Sweat formed on his neck, eyebrows, and arms, and the heat and roar of the engine was intense. He pulled up, and opened the engine shutters, and the needles on the RPM gauge and Engine Temperature gauges flicked out of the red zone


290ft. The TAWS blipped. He ignored it. He closed the engine shutters, and he increased the Manifold pressure to 52 hg/in. Wartime power. He passed the last pylon at 419 knots. The ADI sprayed into the combustion chambers automatically


He increased the manifold pressure to 60hg/in. He kept the engine shutters open. 409 knots. He pulled up instinctively. He was breathless, the G-forces were pushing much of the air out his lungs, despite the flight suit he wearing, like the ones they flew in at Reno.


McCarthy covered the throat mic. "FUCKBASTERDFUCK!WhyamIdoingthis?<Deep BreathDeepBreathDeep Breath>

300ft. He closed the engine shutters. Oil pressure and engine temperature needles were in the red, and would not leave. He injected the nitrous oxide into the supercharger. Don't kill me, sweetie.

First pylon passed at 423 knots. Everything redlined.

He climbed out. The engine started to sound normal again. Everything was in the red, still.

<That's it. No more.> The heat in the cockpit was intolerable.

"Perfect, Monkey-Charlie One, over"

"I'm coming in <deep breath> NOW. BEFORE<deep breath> This Fucking Thing <deep breath> Explodes! Out."

McCarthy lined up on the runway, and lowered the undercarriage. It was a grass field so the landing was soft. The tailwheel touched down. What did that song say?
Welcome's waiting, We're anticipating
You'll be celebrating, when you're down, and braking

If he could see any fire trucks, he would have taxied towards them. He instinctively pulled the wing folding lever, as though this was an airshow. Well, probably needs a new engine, but that still works. <Well you don't get that at Flying Legends. I want a round of applause at least>, he thought.

He got one. He clambered out of the cockpit. A man shouted in his ear. He didn't hear a thing, the blood was still pumping in his ears.


"767.928 Kilometers per hour. You beat the Hun aeroplane by twelve kilometres per hour!" Four hundred and seventy seven miles per hour!

For McCarthy, everything hurt.

"Right. Where's the champagne? Taittinger Brut NV!"

"Sir Stanley White, William Verdon Smith, Henry White-Smith, this is the hero of the hour, Mr McCarthy...

"Marvellous, you're a godsend. I'll have the Krug. I'm sweating like a cunt. So, you're here to serve the drinks are you?"

"We own the company that manufactured your engine”

“Well, that'll look good on year adverts. Just don't tell everyone about the hundreds of modifications that I had to pay for to get it to do what it it just did.

"Look, you've have a drink and calm your nerves, and we'll start again"

"Ah, lovely!" said McCarthy, gulping the Krug.

<Oh God>, thought White. <I knew we should have persuaded Captain Uwins to fly it>

"I've spent nearly two million dollars on it, so you could say that"

White's' jaw dropped. So did Fedden's

"Dollars? It's American? Who are you? Howard Hughes in disguise?"

"Airframe is 100% British, engine is 100% US, but it had to restored in the US because thats where the talent is, unless you count the lovely people at Weald Aviation Services. Electrical starter, at least that was from a Bristol Hercules. Two stage supercharger, anti-detonant injector, nitrous oxide injector, negative G-valve for the oil tank, electronic fuel meter, contra-prop, powered control surfaces. All that shit. It's a one-off. Nothing in the world like it. Think that it's good? You ain't seen nothing yet!

<Oh God>, thought Fedden. "I'll be back in moment. Don't go anywhere. DON'T TALK TO ANYONE!"

"Jawohl, MEIN FÜHRER!" McCarthy raised his right arm.

"Hello, I'm Sir Stanley White, This is the man of the hour, Mr Alec [sic] McCarthy"

<Applause, cheers>

"Hello, and thank you!"

"Mr McCarthy will take questions from the press, but please be gentle with him as he is rather fragile. Yes sir."

"Gladstone Murray, the Express. Mr McCarthy congratulations, I take that you are a civilian pilot? How long have flying for?

"About fifteen years*. I started to fly when I was twenty-one^" <Just don't ask me when I got my Private Pilots Licence. Please>

"So you didn't fly in the Great War"

"No*. Too young.*"

<New questioner>"Mr McCarthy, there seems to be some doubt over the name of the aircraft you flew?"

"McCarthy M-1*. However it was designed to my particular specifications^, and fitted with an in America but the aero engines over there are bit tepid, so I had to come to the UK for some Bristol sleeve valve action*."


"Yes, civil aviation seems to be much more advanced there, than here. I like to think of the aeroplane as representing the highest technical aspirations of the English-speaking peoples."

<Smattering of applause>

"Reg Dempster, Aeroplane Magazine. Could you give our readers some indication of the performance of the aircraft engine type, horsepower etc"

“Well, it has top speed of 477 miles an hour <audience laughs> A cruising speed of 340 miles and hour, a stall speed of 90 mph with flaps and gear down. Service ceiling 34,000 feet, but you can get it to go to 42,000 feet if you are careful, 4000ft per minute rate of climb…

“I think that's enough for now Mr Mac...” said Sir Stanley

“I'm trying to sell it to the Air Ministry, or the Admiralty. I paid for all of it, after all. I need the money...<audience laughs>

“Major Stewart, Morning Post. Will you be attempting any more records?”

“Not with this aircraft, no”

“What did you think of the aeroplane that flew over London ten days ago?”

“This aeroplane stands a better chance of catching whatever it was, than anything the RAF currently have.”

* denotes truth.

^ denotes blatant lies, or economy with the truth.


On June 8th, 1939, Flugkapitän Fritz Wendel took off in Me209V1 D-INJR from Augsburg-Haunstetten to attempt to reclaim the world air speed record for the glory of the Großdeutsches Reich.

He did. 768.019 kilometres per hour. A whole 0.091 of a kilometre per hour faster than McCarthy's "M-1"

For Messerschmidt, Udet, Goering and Goebbels, this was insufficient.

On June 24th, 1939, Wendel took off in D-INJR again, to reclaim the world air speed record, by a more convincing margin, for the greater glory of the Großdeutsches Reich.

With the FAI watching, who insisted that the attempt be flown at 300 feet, not 450 feet as previously.

At 763 kilometres per hour the Daimler-Benz DB 601ARJ seized [caused by a coolant systems failure] - and it smashed into the ground. Wendel was killed instantly.

For nothing. More accurately, 0.091 of nothing.

McCarthy's record would stand until he chose to break it himself, which he did, two days later.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Out of the Blue (Into the Fire)
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2016, 03:00:42 AM »
Keen to see updates to this story...
All hail the God of Frustration!!!