Flying Traction Engines

This year's traditional Lower Brampton Steam Rally looks set to be a little different from previous years as organisers attempt to arrange a flypast of some twenty or so working traction engines.

"Getting them into the air is going to be a little tricky," admitted senior piston wrangler Kenny Spanner when we asked him if he expected any difficulties. "By and large, when these machines were first built it was not envisaged that they would need to leave the ground for any length of time, so their airworthiness has thus far not been put to the test. In many cases it is unclear whether the designs will generate lift, and attaining the speeds necessary to become airborne is likely to push many of the components beyond their engineering tolerances."

At this point, Mr Spanner rubbed his chin thoughtfully, gazed at the ground and muttered, "Some kind of ramp might be required."

Promptly emerging from this brief reverie, he suddenly appeared to be more optimistic. "On the other hand," he added brightly, "the sight of a hundred tons of iron and steel careering wildly through the skies in loose formation is one that I for one will find it difficult to forget in a hurry, and for that reason, if for no other, I for one am going to have a thumping good go at making it happen."

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