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  #1  
Old 10th February 2010, 23:11
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wwiiaircraftinstruments wwiiaircraftinstruments is offline
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Exclamation Big Collection WWII Aircraft Instrument Panels and Instruments confiscated

Hello,

For years I have been collecting WWII aircraft instruments. I have built up quite an impressive historical collection.

Monday the 18th of January I had an 'invasion' of police officers & health care people in my house. The reason was a P-51 panel that was intercepted at customs (since it was sent with surface shipping...)
They entered the house at 08:30 and my girlfriend and I were not allowed to leave the building. at 14:30 they left with my WWII aircraft instruments collection.
They found my collection in the living room and confiscated everything. The reason is the luminous paint on the pointers and face of the instruments contains radium-226 which is apparently radioactive.
They told me that they will place it in concrete and dump it somewhere and that it can't pass the Dutch border anymore.

Now I have to prepare myself for a court case.
Is it legal in your country to have WWII aircraft instruments in your home?
Did you ever hear of a similar case?

I have found a good lawyer and he will request the return of the items.
For obtaining information regarding this matter I have read a lot of articles on the internet. Some are very negative about Radium-226
I called a seller in the Netherlands, the RAF Duxford Museum, Museum Speyer, 2 small aviation museums in the Netherlands, a watches & clocks dealer and a few aviation enthusiasts. Unfortunately I still don't know much more about the subject.
I have checked the law and it is not clear. If you are going to show it to the public as in a museum you need a license, but as a privat person you cannot obtain such a license.
I have bought loads of items from a lot of different countries and never had a problem. I have received most of them by post, declaring 'old used wwII aircraft instruments'
I have brought a complete Ju-87 & a Ju-88 panels from the UK to the Netherlands by plane without any problem at customs.

I feel quite helpless and that this hobby is illegal is quite shocking news for me. I would even prefer to go to prison than lose the collection this way.

An overview of the Items that were taken:

Complete Panels:

Luftwaffe:
Manned fi 103, DFS Olympia Meise, JU-87 D, Ju 88 A-4, Me 109 G-6, Focke Wulf A-8, He-162, He 219.

Allied:
Spitfire mk XIV, Mustang P-51 D
3 blind flying panels RAF early, mid and late war. I also had some very rare RAF instruments such as 2x Spitfire fuel gauge 1x Hurricane fuel gauge.

Instruments:

2 x very big Luftwaffe compass (the one under the Ju-88 panel and in the 'back seat' of the Me-110)
5 x big compass
4 x small compass fl 23334
15 Horizons
10 x Turn & bank
10 Speedometers
15 Altimeters
...etc etc etc
And a lot of very rare gauges, many in mint condition.

15 Japanese instruments.

I had 150-200 instruments!! of which 80% Luftwaffe.

I am working on a list of all the instruments that were taken, I will post it soon.

My first concern is the destruction of this unique historical, technical material. My second concern is that I am completely broke, for years I have spent every euro I had for this fascinating hobby.

Since I have to fight against the Dutch goverment I need a miracle, a good lawyer and all the relevant information I could get, so if you have any official, written information or statements from specialists that could be useful in my case I would be very grateful.

Thanks for your support!

Liad van Praag

Last edited by wwiiaircraftinstruments; 10th February 2010 at 23:54.
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  #2  
Old 10th February 2010, 23:26
Flitzer Flitzer is offline
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Re: Big WWII Aircraft Instrument Panels and Instruments confiscated

That sends my blood boiling. Ask them if there is a reward for turning in other locations that have this dangerous material. Start by giving them this address:

14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway
Chantilly, Virginia 20151

There are a lot of other museums with this stuff in plain site with thousands of people walking arms length of this dangerous material every week!

I should hope your case would be laughed out of court, but make sure you keep very close tabs on those items because they tend to "vanish".

Good luck,
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Old 10th February 2010, 23:36
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Huib Ottens Huib Ottens is offline
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Re: Big WWII Aircraft Instrument Panels and Instruments confiscated

Hi Laid,

Have you considered contacting "Hart van Nederland" or "de Telegraaf"?

They probably will be interested in presenting this case to the general public and probably nationwide publicity will be helpfull.
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Old 10th February 2010, 23:40
Andy Saunders Andy Saunders is offline
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Re: Big WWII Aircraft Instrument Panels and Instruments confiscated

There have already been issues with this in the UK, most particularly with museum collections. I think there are likely to be increasing problems with this area of collecting/dealing etc and especially when it comes to public sale or display or mailing such material through the post.

I am unclear as to the impact in the UK on private collectors, but the Health & Safety at Work Act and the Ionising Radiations Regs 1999 certainly come into play with public exhibitions. Under Section 3 of the HASAW Act there is a duty of care not to expose persons not in ones employment to any harm caused by the duty holders business/activity.

None of this helps you, Liad, and we all wish you well. However, it is not an unknown "problem" in the UK.
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Old 11th February 2010, 02:22
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chuckschmitz chuckschmitz is offline
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Re: Big Collection WWII Aircraft Instrument Panels and Instruments confiscated

I bet you can have light bulbs that contain mercury!! I'll do some checking with my son who is US Customs.
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Old 11th February 2010, 14:06
Andy Saunders Andy Saunders is offline
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Re: Big Collection WWII Aircraft Instrument Panels and Instruments confiscated

There is some interesting discussion going on here about radioactive instruments:

http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showthread.php?t=97884

You may find it worth a look, Liad.

You may also pick up some useful information and contacts to assist you.
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Old 11th February 2010, 14:12
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SMF144 SMF144 is offline
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Re: Big Collection WWII Aircraft Instrument Panels and Instruments confiscated

Yes, they are now scanning all packages at customs and even at the borders. Not for antiquities, but for the dirty stuff that could go off with a big bang. 1984 might not be that far off...
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Old 11th February 2010, 14:33
ssg keay ssg keay is offline
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Re: Big Collection WWII Aircraft Instrument Panels and Instruments confiscated

I do agree with Huib, contact the press and make this public. It will also make it much harder for parts of your collection to just vanish. I would check several of the Dutch aviation museums. I don't know if Soesterberg still has its collection of WW2 wreckage, but I know they had instruments too. Find government, or military run museums and use their exhibits as examples. Make sure you take photos of their collection. Then, go an apply for a collector, or museums license. Ask any of the small privat WW2 museums for help. You can state that you were collecting in order to put the items on public display once you had completed your collection. Good luck with that my friend. Danny
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Old 11th February 2010, 14:34
ssg keay ssg keay is offline
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Re: Big Collection WWII Aircraft Instrument Panels and Instruments confiscated

Liad, by the way...where in NL do you live? Danny
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Old 12th February 2010, 02:00
Larry Larry is offline
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Re: Big Collection WWII Aircraft Instrument Panels and Instruments confiscated

My father had a wrist watch with radium painted numbers on it that he wore during his forty odd years as a pilot in the RAF (one of their longest serving pilots) and he still has it now and he is still with us enjoying life in his 80's.

It's a shame these Health and Safety Act people do not put things in to proportion. But then this is quite typical of modern life in the EU where no one is consulted when making Laws and so the ordinary folk get criminalised while some businesses get away with dumping toxic waste.
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