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"The Plane Makers"

fightingirish

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"The Plane Makers" is a British television series between 1963 and 1965.
More info about the series at Wikipedia.
The "Scott Furlong Predator" is a fictional prototype of a VTOL fighter, built for that TV series. It looks very like the real French VTOL fighters e.g Dassault Balzac V or Mirage III/V.
It has two seats also. Maybe some British members have more info and pictures. :)

Some info:
Peter Norris also supplied the following info:There was another film & TV program made at Northolt in 1964. The film involved using a Derby Airways Argonaut repainted in old BOAC colours and a palm tree on the apron. The TV series was called 'The Plane Makers' , a drama series about, would you believe, an aircraft manufacturer and involved a mock up of a "prototype" fighter. It arrived on the back of a lorry with an authentic RAF serial and caused a good deal of excitement for a couple of hours until we saw them bolting it together!

John Davison has kindly supplied more information on this subject:
In the TV and film section of your Northolt website you make reference to an "aircraft" that appeared at Northolt for filming parts of the TV series called "The Plane Makers". This full-sized taxyable model of a vertical take-off aircraft looked rather like a fat Fairey Delta and had a natural metal finish. In the series it was known as the Scott Furlong Predator. The 1980 BARG book "British Military Aircraft Serials and Markings ISBN 0 906339 03 0 includes, at page 411, a monochrome photograph of this model taken by B.Stainer at Biggin Hill in "the early 1960s". It carried the drone serial XS341. There are marquees in the background and portable railings in the foreground, so I would presume that this photograph was taken either at an Air Fair or a "Battle of Britain" display of that era. If I find a date for this model aircraft being at Northolt in my early logs, I will write again. The local press probably featured a picture of it hoisted by a crane to simulate flight, but until we can narrow down the date it would be impractical to search their archives. (photo thanks to BARG)
The first picture I found today at Key forums, the second one at the following website.
Sources:
http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showpost.php?p=1515425&postcount=549
http://website.lineone.net/~landair/movies.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Plane_Makers/The_Power_Game
 

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Nik

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Seeing that gave me the shivers-- I'm sure us kids spent a lot of time doodling it when we should have been listening to the deeds of Henry IV or such...
 

Dynoman

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The Scott Furlong airliner was the Sovereign. Here are some more photos of the Predator coutesy of Air-Briton Photos.
Also, Handley Page was the technical coordinators for the show.
 

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overscan (PaulMM)

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From Tony Buttler

I was intrigued to hear that the subject of 'The Plane Makers' had been raised. The programme was first screened when I was about 8 years old, and I understand went to something like 58 episodes. It was really an aviation company soap opera, with troubles with unions, etc, all featuring. I think Patrick Wymark was one of the main actors.

Items were published about the programme in Flight and a search of the Flight Global archive for 1963 to 1966 using 'Scott Furlong' and 'Sovereign Jet' as search words will reveal some background. There were at least 3 series and the first covered the Scott-Furlong company's efforts to produce a short-haul airliner called the S.F.200 Sovereign. Handley Page had a hand in the design and one photo shows a mock-up of the swept wing aircraft at Hendon.

It was in a later series that the firm got into the fighter market and here the aircraft's design was made more authentic. The two-seat V/STOL Predator fighter was built of wood and tubing and was fitted with a 500cc motorbike engine to enable it to taxi around the airfield at 40mph, which presumably was why it could be displayed at Biggin Hill. I assume jet noise was added in the programme. The fighter was 48ft long and had a span of 34ft and, apparently, the shape would have flown had it been built properly in metal. I have no idea what happened to the Predator after the series ended in 1965 or 66. I never did see any of the episodes.

I found the attached photo at an Air Fair. The van to the right has 'Associated Television' written on the side - ATV - which was the company that made 'Plane Makers'. I have no idea if the programmes still exist. Would love to see some of them.

Hope this is of interest.
Very best wishes to all.
Tony.
 

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Barrington Bond

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Did a quick search on "The Mausoleum Club" forum and found this...

"ATV's archive seems to get worse and worse during the 70s. They appear to have one of the best archives of 60s programmes particularly in drama. Ok nothing on video tape but they kept huge numbers of telerecordings of drama series and one off plays.

Watching Network's release of The Power Game really got me interested in what else there might be in the archives. Using the Kaleidoscope website we can see that there are complete runs of the Ted Willis anthology series 'Knock on Any Door', a complete series of the Fleet Street newspaper drama 'Front Page Story' (with a very young Patrick Mower in the cast and stories edited by Wilfred Greatorex), plus 100 episodes of the early 60s drama 'Probation Officer', quite a lot of 'The Plane Makers' and decent runs of other similar and equally rarely seen series."

Regards,
Barry
 

bercr

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A few color photos on Getty Image :

http://www.gettyimages.fr/photos/scott-furlong-predator?excludenudity=false&sort=mostpopular&mediatype=photography&phrase=scott%20furlong%20predator#license
 

Dynoman

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If interested in an episode by episode review of the "Plane Makers" complete with a few pictures of their aircraft designs, check out the website below:

http://www.wymark.org.uk/planemakers.html
 

Graham1973

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Good find. I would also be interested to know if anyone did 3-view images of either plane.
 

TsrJoe

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id love to see ga drawings of the 'Predator' and 'Sovereign' (the latter looking very much like a jet Herald type with laminar flow wings ?)

I have compiled what I can find in an FB album on the designs ...

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10208631696051327&type=1&l=ffb228890a

cheers, Joe
 

uk 75

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What is especially poignant about the mockup is that it
is similar to a vstol variant of the Fairey Delta 2 which many
thought could have been the UK Mirage. The French Balzac
prototype was flying when the Planemakers aired. The
airliner looks like a Valiant mockup.
At the same time the Gerry Anderson puppet shows were
featuring guest aircraft initially based on US designs like the
B58 and F5 and then on Concorde as Fireflash and the
VSTOL P177 carrier plane
 

uk 75

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have just posted a link to the you tube of The Saint episode "Flight Plan"
which features the P1127 (see The Bar Roger Moore thread)
and remembered that the mockup of the SF Predator is used for the
cockpit scenes close up. Always wondered what it was.
 

Hood

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Looking more closely at the fuselage of the 'Sovereign', its clear that the window line is too low. Its situated along the centre of the diameter, most airliners have them a bit higher. Taking allowances for where the floor is etc. when the passengers sit down inside the windows would probably be at shoulder height or lower. Its evident when you compare it against other fuselages like the Herald and Viscount.
 

TsrJoe

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A3 profile print of Scott Furlong Predator ... https://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/A3-Print-of-Scott-Furlong-Aircraft-Profile-from-TV-series-The-Plane-Makers/183320608005?_mwBanner=1&_rdt=1
 

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Archibald

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Note that the Balzac was nothing less than the first ever Mirage III, the 01 prototype from 1956 - that was completely butchered to swallow eight RB-108 liftjets. Room for them was found two ways a) drastic cut of the internal fuel and b) Atar 9 replaced by an Orpheus 1/3 the length.
If Dassault could eviscerate a Mirage III this way, Fairey might do the same with a much similar size and shape FD2.
 
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