TBAG’s Crew

Francis Wallace
Chairman, Executive Director, Chief Engineering Lead, Owner of Cockpit XW550

Full-time Job: Electrical Design and Controls Manager.

How I got Involved with TBAG: A chance conversation in early 2004 regarding the restoration of Buccaneer XX894 and my ability to work on electrical systems saw me join the team late in 2004. This was prior to the formation of TBAG in 2010, by which time I had expanded my skill set to hydraulics, pneumatics, engines, and fuel systems. Being an electrical and mechanical engineer by trade had come in handy in the restoration to fast taxiing condition of both XX894 and XW544.

What I get Involved with at TBAG: All things engineering, troubleshooting and general care and maintenance. I also hold the privileged position of being able to ground-run the Buccaneers as and when required. Aside from on-site aircraft care and maintenance, my role sees me refurbishing parts away from the airport in my small workshop. These are typically electrical, hydraulic, engine, and fuel system-related parts.

Dave Webber
Director, Joint Owner of XW544

Full Time job: Retired – Most of my time is now spent working on the Buccaneers.

How I got involved with TBAG: I am lucky to have been involved with the restoration of XW544 from day one, it’s been a very long job but what the group have achieved in the last 20 years is remarkable. 15 years of my working life was spent in the RAF as a Fireman and was lucky to be posted to three Buccaneer units. I soon grew to appreciate how interesting the Buccaneer was. In 1980 I started a research project detailing the history of all Buccaneer’s built which is ongoing. Once the Buccaneer fleet had been retired I started to get involved with maintaining various airframes that were being preserved. As time went on my knowledge of the aircraft systems grew and I was soon restoring components from the hydraulic system the engines.

What I get involved with at TBAG: Over the years I have rebuilt the brakes on both XW544 and XX894 as well as changed most of the tyres they run on. Some of the repairs are done at the airfield but equally some are done at home ready for the next visit. I am proud to say I am part of T-BAG and one of the team that keeps XW544 and XX894 in fast taxing condition.

Andy Webber
Director, Part Owner of XW544

George Palmer
Director, Part Owner of XW544

Full time job: I work for a family run plumbing and heating supplies company in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

How I got involved with TBAG: I originally found XW544 at a Salvage yard in Shropshire and promised myself never to let her see the scrap yard.

What I get involved with: I thoroughly enjoy meeting and talking to people about the Buccaneers and the history of the group and the awesome pair of Buccaneers in our possession.

Ollie Suckling
Chief Pilot

Full-Time Job: RAF Fast Jet Pilot

How I got involved with TBAG: I saw an article in flypast in 2010 about the Buccaneers at Bruntingthorpe that had a large input from Francis Wallace. I emailed him and visited the group and that was that! I have always been interested in historic aviation and this was an opportunity that I didn’t want to miss.

What I get involved with at TBAG: Anything and everything! As chief pilot I am responsible for the operating SOP whilst on the active side of the airfield and ensuring the aircraft are operating in a safe manner. I am not afraid to get my hands dirty and will work on any system on the aircraft and enjoy the diagnostic side of fault rectification.

Nathan Hayles
Treasurer, Engineer

Full-time job: I’m a Finance Systems manager, which is a mix of Accounting and IT.

How I got involved in TBAG: I first visited Bruntingthorpe in 2014, which was when I began University in Leicester. After meeting some of the TBAG team and being asked to help out I was hooked! I had seen videos of the taxi days on YouTube, but nothing compares with standing next to a Cold War jet aircraft while it’s engines are started. I went from hearing the noise in videos to feeling the noise in person!

What I get involved with at TBAG: I get involved with a bit of everything really. I used to be a mechanic many years ago, so applying technical and mechanical know-how to the aircraft and the supporting equipment is something I take pride in to keep everything running. I will always enjoy being on the line with the jets, and getting them ready for the public shows. These days I can often be seen in the Tug towing the aircraft back and forth from our pan. TBAG is more than just a group of aircraft enthusiasts to me, it’s a family. We all work together so well, and we are the epitome of work hard play hard! It’s an honour and a privilege to know all of those involved.

Kay Bennett
Operations Lead

Full-time Job: I work within the aviation industry supporting with the recycling and movement of aircraft.

How I got involved with TBAG: I’ve always been into aviation and having attended the Cold War jets days at Bruntingthorpe I got the bug. I started attending the maintenance weekend back in 2012 and haven’t looked back really!

What I get involved with at TBAG: I’m currently responsible for overseeing all the running activities that happen at Cotswold Airport. I plan who will be doing what on any given weekend. It’s also my responsibility to ensure the team are trained in all jobs that are required. There is a lot of planning behind the scenes so that we can make sure everything runs as smooth as possible on the day

Mike Overs
Secretary, Events Management, Buccaneer Buddies Manager

Full-Time Job: Retired but working harder than ever as a TBAG back office volunteer.

How I got involved with TBAG: I came to TBAG at Bruntingthorpe in 2015 via a call for Shackleton volunteers a few months earlier. Progress had halted on the Shackleton and wanting to keep busy, Andy Webber suggested that I might like to help on VC10 ZA149’s forward fuselage in TBAG’s Rubb. From there a few months later, I moved on to helping on the Buccaneers and joining TBAG. Many unimagined adventures later, a tow bar claimed “Bambi” and now activities are confined to Back Office.

What I get involved with at TBAG: Nowadays its external facing activities as Group Secretary, TBAG’s letterbox, Events Manager and Buccaneer Buddies I find great satisfaction in raising funds for the group and interacting with all TBAG’s many great supporters, including many of the incredible aircrew that flew and looked after the Buccaneer.

Charlie Hewitt
Events Management, Website Admin

Steve Hancock
Shop Operations (ShOps)

Jake Wallace
Buccaneer Buddies Admin

Full-Time Job: Plant & Machinery Sales and Marketing Assistant

How I got Involved with TBAG: One of my first ever aircraft-related trips was a family day out to Bruntingthorpe on a grim, wet August open day in 2008 which my Dad (Francis) invited us to. At just 4 years of age, I distinctly remember having a taxi ride on the Comet, watching the Canberra roar down the runway, and seeing XX894 having its hydraulic systems exercised. From this day on I was hooked on vintage jet aircraft preservation with my first maintenance weekend visit just weeks later, I’ve been a regular member of the team ever since!

What I get Involved with at TBAG: From 2020, I spent almost two years creating TBAG’s maintenance posts on the social media pages. I also assisted Charlie with website administration and the Buccaneer Buddies Magazine and Newsletters during this time. I’ve also done other bits and bobs such as designing the new CF and cockpit vinyls, along with the artwork on TBAG’s new mugs. Currently, I have stepped back from the media posts and have now taken on Buccaneer Buddies – TBAGs Supporters Group.

Carolyn Cordran
Visitor Briefings

Full Time Job: Freelance consulting engineer, property manager and Mum

How I got involved with TBAG: I’m passionate about aircraft, especially Cold War Jets. We enjoyed occasional visits to Bruntingthorpe on the running days and watching the Buccaneers was always a highlight. In 2019 my daughter was displaying instrument panels at Newark Cockpitfest. My son Marcus spent most of the day talking to TBAG constantly asking questions having read the Buccaneer Haynes manual at length – and sitting in 550. TBAG really encouraged him and was patient with his many questions at this and all subsequent events and days. As a volunteer at a more local museum, and being involved in a team ground running another jet, it is great to support Marcus’s dreams and to be hands-on helping TBAG.

What I get involved with at TBAG: Anything and everything I can! It is useful working on other aircraft to improve my skills, so much so that we were offered, and took, the chance to buy a Buccaneer cockpit to restore over time when we’re not at Kemble! I’m now helping with some admin when we can’t travel down due to other family commitments. I’m really enjoying the hands-on ground crew training with the Buccaneers.

Andrew King
Volunteer Engineer

Full-Time Job: Signaller – Network Rail

How I Got Involved With TBAG: It’s all Ollie’s fault… I have a lifetimes interest in all things aviation thanks to my Grandfather, who served in Bomber Command in the RAF during the war. His stories and his enthusiasm for aviation lit the spark in me at an early age. As a result, I joined the RAF as an Armourer and served for 22 years, working on various aircraft types and in a specialist role within the trade. My final role within the RAF was delivering Flight Line Operations training to the new generation of RAF aircraft engineers. Because of my interest in aviation, I have volunteered and helped out at aviation museums and with numerous projects since I was a teenager and still continue to do so. One day many years ago, Ollie asked me if I fancied a trip down to Bruntingthorpe to see the Buccaneers. And the rest is history!

What I Get Involved With At TBAG: Anything and everything to help keep the aircraft running and serviceable, along with all the equipment to help us continue to do so. From painting ground equipment, to removing an engine from one of the aircraft – I get involved with it all

Haydn Jakes MBE
Volunteer Engineer

Full-time Job: Aerospace Engineering Student

How I got involved with TBAG: I got involved with TBAG in 2014 after attending an Open Day at Bruntingthorpe. At the time I was in the early stages of my Aircraft Maintenance apprenticeship at Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group where I worked on the C-130 Hercules, so it was great to get some experience on something much faster and louder! Not to mention the team were very welcoming from the start and the camaraderie between the team would be difficult to find anywhere else, which is important when Tristars need towing in the dark after a night-shoot, VC-10 wheels need changing at 3am or Buccs need paint touch ups the day before an Open Day! We are our own little family operating in a professional outfit which makes every weekend at Kemble one to look forward to.

Things I get involved with at TBAG: I seem to have become “Mr. Fuel” since we moved to Kemble. I was unfortunate enough to have “narrow shoulders and hips” during my apprenticeship meaning I spent a lot of time carrying out fuel tank maintenance and repairs. This experience has been put to good use recently carrying out repairs to leaky fuel tanks and pipes on the Buccs as they begin to show their age. Other than that I help with all aspects of the airframe and engine maintenance where needed and carry out ground crew roles when running and taxiing the jets.

Jack Hawkins
Volunteer Engineer

John Andrews
Volunteer Engineer

Full time job: B1 Engineer at Airtanker, RAF Brize Norton on the Voyager KC-30 fleet, and RAF Sponsored reserve.

How I got involved in TBAG: I am the Airframe engineer on Tornado ZA326, which was at Bruntingthorpe, one of our team also works closely with TBAG and that’s how I got to know them, a very helpful bunch.

What I get involved with at TBAG: Anything I’m told! I never worked Buccaneer in the RAF, but I hope my 35+ years in Military aviation maintenance will be a help.

Kelvin Turner
Volunteer Engineer

Full-Time Job: Section Leader, Avionic Technical Author with BAE Systems

How I got involved with TBAG: Buccaneers are in my blood as I was working on them in the RAF from the age of 18 in the ‘70’s, as a Flight Line Mechanic and later a Flight Systems technician, on a front-line squadron and did 10 years on them. Attended several Cold War Jet days at Bruntingthorpe and met some of the team. I dropped in at Brunty a couple of times as the ex-Boscombe Down Tornado was initially there and was helping out with that, but my heart is really sold out to Buccs. I was already a volunteer engineer looking after 3 examples at the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington, so joining TBAG was the right thing to do, even though they moved to Kemble.

What I get involved with at TBAG: All things engineering and being ‘ex-pan trash’, I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty (not difficult on Buccaneers) and help out on anything that needs doing, keeping the jets ship-shape and Bristol fashion, as they are getting long in the tooth now. Being ex-Buccaneers at the sharp end of operating and maintaining them in the dim and distant past, these skills are never forgotten and familiar ways of doing things come back to haunt me! I can still put my finger on most of the switches and controls in the cockpits without even looking.

Marcus Cordran
Volunteer Engineer

Full-Time Job: School and working on Buccaneers!

How I got involved with TBAG: We enjoyed occasional visits to Bruntingthorpe Cold War Jets days and watching the Buccaneers and sitting in the cockpit of 550 was always a highlight. TBAG really encouraged me and were very patient with my many questions at this and other events. I also volunteer at a more local museum, I help with restorations there and other bits. It is great as I really appreciate everyone is supporting me to help me follow my dreams. I joined the ground crew in late 2019 on a very rainy day! I joined aged 9 learning things like how to top up on engine oil and engine stripping.

What I get involved with at TBAG: Everything I can! I love the atmosphere and how everyone is so encouraging and involving of me. I have been learning how to bleed the brakes and fuelling up XX894. I also put on and take off blanks and help with pre-run checks. I love showing visitors the cockpit of 550, 544 and 894. I am keen to encourage other young ones to pursue their dreams and get their hands dirty! When I leave school, I would like to go into engineering, probably aircraft.

In October 2020 we bought our own Buccaneer to restore with TBAGs advice and to fulfil another dream of mine along with working with the living Buccaneers!

Mike Birt
Pilot, Volunteer

Full-Time Job: B787 pilot for British Airways.

How I got involved with TBAG: I was a regular visitor to Cold War Jets days and one time I found that an airline colleague was taxying XX894 after her restoration. When he left to live overseas I approached the group and was appointed as their pilot.

What I get involved with at TBAG: My main role is to pilot the aircraft on Anti Det and Fast Taxi days.

Pauline Andrews
Volunteer Engineer

Full-Time Job: Ground Handler for AirTanker at RAF Brize Norton – I do aircraft see in/see outs, toilet and water servicing, and my favourite, ground moves with the tug, especially if it involves full power engine runs.

How I got involved with TBAG: I heard that TBAG was moving down from Bruntingthorpe (70 miles from where I live) to a mere 22 miles. Being a bit of an aircraft groupie, I was keen to have the opportunity to do something with aircraft in my spare time, which is more hands-on with the aircraft than the day job.

What I get involved with at TBAG: I’ve not been with the team long so I haven’t done much, but I’ve been allowed to do some ground moves with the tug (pushing a Bucc around is much more difficult than a Voyager, due to the short wheelbase and the idiosyncratic tug!). I have also turned my hand to tasks such as cleaning leaked fluids off undercarriage bays, and fitting engine blanking plates; basically, anything which is fairly menial and easily taught. I’m happy just to be involved!

Russ (Just Russ)
Volunteer Engineer

Full time Job: Electronics Engineer

How I got involved with TBAG: I knew other member Steve from working on the Southend Vulcan and he invited me along to Bruntingthorpe one day to help with the Handley Page Victor. He already knew TBAG pilot Ollie Sucking and when  introduced to him I was presented with a Bacon Buttie, so I thought this is alright and decided to keep coming back.

What I get involved with at TBAG: I’ve always been “on the spanners” with cars and Motorbikes from a young age so aircraft were a natural extension. I’ve worked with several projects over the years, Mosquito, Venom, Trident, BAC 1-11, Vulcan and worked on a few different  aircraft systems, but with TBAG I’ve probably worked on all of these in one space. Oh and then there is the ground equipment when it’s having a bad day as well.

Scud Cummins
Volunteer Engineer

Full-Time Job Shift lead supervisor Mechanical aircraft technician on C17 Globemaster 3 aircraft.

How I became involved with TBAG, When the two aircraft were transported to Kemble in 2020, I went to Kemble to watch them be offloaded from their transportation lorries, knowing one of the TBAG members (Andy King, from working with him at RIAT), saw him working he said I should come along and help, so I applied to help, had a suck it and see day with TBAG. During that day I mention what I did for a living, and having a very good knowledge of all mechanical systems within aircraft boundaries, got asked when can I start. The rest is history.

What I get involved with at TBAG. I can work on all mechanical systems on the buccaneer, often help others in a mentoring role with how to do things (with 30 years aircraft maintenance experience), straight in getting my hands dirty, having contacts that have worked with various ground support equipment that TBAG have to keep the Buccs in a runnable position. Having been a liney within the RAF, I also am a competent aircraft handler so I can be seen on a regular basis being the crew chief (in charge in aircraft start up), and doing the liney dance, this is a way to communicate with the Pilot so show them where the aircraft flying controls, wings, arrestor hook are, and indicating when to go full power during the engine run. I am also there in that role to bring up and coming inexperienced new TBAGGERS to a confident position to be able to control the aircraft start up and shut down.

Sharon Cummins (Mrs Scud)
Volunteer Engineer/ShOps

FullTime Job: Mum /Taxi /Nurse to my Children – a teen and a 24 year old & Scud

How I got involved: I was persuaded by Scud and our eldest daughter, that I’d love the Team & the Jets ; they were correct!

What I get involved with at TBAG: I will turn my hand to anything I’m asked to do, with enthusiasm. I particularly enjoy working with Dave Webber in the Shop. We work our socks off and are rewarded with lovely people spending and donating to TBAG funds.

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