A FARM seems an unlikely place to find grounded planes that once carried atomic bombs.
However, at one peaceful patch of North-East countryside in the shadow of Durham Tees Valley Airport, jet engines, wingless aircraft and cockpit carcasses are exactly what you’ll find among the cow sheds.
Farmland in the tiny village of over Dinsdale, on the outskirts of Darlington, has become the permanent home to ageing cockpits that once belonged to Vulcan, de Havilland Vampire and Gloster Meteor jets.
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The collection is the life’s work of the Harkers, who own the farm where the plane pieces are stored in sheds, under tarpaulin or simply out in the open.
After years of restoration work carried out inside the disused aircrafts by the Harker family, the prized planes are set to go on show as part of the Skylive Airshow 2017.
However, event organisers have arranged to begin the delicate task of transporting each cockpit from the farm to Durham Tees Valley Airport one month before the site hosts the airborne spectacular.
Chris Petty, Skylive Airshow organiser, said: “It was my friend that actually spotted all of these planes on the farm so I Googled and phoned around to find out more.
“The first farmer I phoned said it was him who had all the planes and so I explained who I was and that it would be great to feature them as part of the airshow so they’re there for other people to see.
“We came down and had a look and we’ll be having the Vulcan, Vampire and Meteor all on display.
“Once you get inside you get a real feel for what it must have been like for the pilots and we’re going to be running a competition during the airshow for a family to get inside and have a look around.”
Mr Petty revealed that a former Vulcan pilot who flew the fighter jet during the Falklands conflict will be returning to his roots for the Skylive Airshow.
Martin Withers, who also flew the Vulcan on her final flight, will deliver a talk on his time in the sky – including an 18-hour Vulcan mission in the Falklands War.
Alongside the Avro 698 Vulcan B2, the Harkers are loaning their Gloster Meteor NF-11 cockpit and de Havilland Vampire cockpit to the airshow due to take off on May 27.
The heart of the Vampire aircraft has been the first cockpit to make its journey from Over Dinsdale to Durham Tees Valley Airport secured to the back of a low-loader lorry.
However, farmer Anthony Harker revealed there is a more ambitious plan to manoeuvre the bulky camouflaged cockpit of the Vulcan over to its new airport base.
He said: “We’re planning on towing it on with a tractor over the river and up into the airport.
“The river turns into a little Ford a bit further along so hopefully, when the river is down, we can get it across that way.”
The line-up for this year’s airshow already include a Eurofighter typhoon, Spitfire, Lancaster and aerobatics displays, as well as a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.