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199. Show Time!


This has been an utterly unforgettable weekend, so forgive me if this is a bit prolix.

Dodge Bailey wanted to practice his display flight routine with 1264, and we arranged to do that on Saturday, when the weather looked suitable.

It’s happened a couple of times now, but every time we open the doors of the hangar at Shuttleworth to find our own machine parked up with the Sopwith Pup, Bristol Fighter and Bristol Monoplane there’s a shiver down my spine . She even had her own label telling everyone who she is.

We rolled her out and onto the grass, and got her oiled up and ready to go. Dodge had asked Jean Munn if he would be happy to provide the camera ship so that we could get some air to air photos as well. The wind direction meant we had to take off from 03, which is a long haul, and 1264 was towed down by the Shuttleworth tractor.

I found a secure mounting for the GoPro camera on the strut, and Dodge declared himself happy with it.

We are getting pretty slick at starting now, and Dodge got in as we primed, and as we swung the prop, Jean taxied up in the Cub. As soon as Dodge got away, I jumped into the back of the Cub, only to find the battery was flat and I had to get out again to swing that as well!

We took off, looking for 1264, which by now seemed to be imitating the proverbial homesick angel, and caught up with her as Dodge tried to find some holes in the cloud and to get the sun on the right side of 1264 so she would look her best. I snapped away, and as soon as we were done, we kept clear and watched from above as Dodge ran through his routine for Sunday.

When we were all safely back on the deck, we cleaned 1264 up and checked her over ready for the Sunday display. The photos weren’t bad for an amateur, and we headed off to the hotel feeling very tired and very, very happy.

The forecast for Sunday was a little worrying – the wind was forecast to increase in the afternoon, though it should remain dry and sunny.

We arrived at 0800 and found there was already a long queue of cars waiting to get in. Happily we were allowed through the tradesmen’s entrance and managed to park in pole position!

1264 was rolled out onto the grass alongside the other Bristol machines, and at 1100 the public was allowed through to inspect all the machines close up. From then on, we never had a moment to ourselves.

2015-10-04 Bristol Scout Shuttleworth Display 018 (800x600)

2015-10-04 Bristol Scout Shuttleworth Display 020 (800x600)So many people came to see us, and said they’d been avidly following the blog, or wanted to see the unsynchronised gun, or appreciated the oil staining(!) that Theo and Sue and I were on our feet and talking the whole time, and when it came time to haul the WWI aircraft across to the other side of the field ready for their display, there were still masses of people there to talk to.

2015-10-04 Bristol Scout Shuttleworth Display 024 (800x600)

The display got under way, and this was the time for us to relax. Rick and Marian turned up, and we sat down to watch the show, mindful that our slot was at 1605, and we’d need to be over there well beforehand to get her started.

The three of us wandered across an hour or so early and went through everything – yet again – to make sure there were no silly mistakes.

2015-10-04 Bristol Scout Shuttleworth Display 131 (800x581)

It was fine, and Dodge turned up as cool as a cucumber to get himself sorted out and strapped in while the Fauvel tailless glider did its amazing routine, performing loops at only about 50ft above our heads. At precisely 1605, as the glider tug touched down, we swung the prop and she started first time. Dodge went through his usual routine and taxied out to the runway and was away.

The le Rhône was running well, and he had a couple of passes on his own before being joined by the Bristol Fighter, which quickly formated on him.

The Bristol Monoplane fired up shortly after, and also joined the circuit. The 110 le Rhône will only really run at full power, so it wasn’t possible for it to form a three-ship formation, so the plan was to try and get it to overtake the other two as they came down the crowd line. This they would have achieved with another pass, but there is no flexibility in the day’s programme, and Dodge landed on at 1618, precisely as scheduled and got his round of applause, followed at two minute intervals by the other two. And that cleared the way for the Vulcan, on its last public appearance.

The weather had stayed absolutely perfect; so perfect that they rolled out the Edwardian aircraft, and we were able to get a picture of the Boxkite (in which Grandad soloed) with the Scout.2015-10-04 Bristol Scout Shuttleworth Display 190 (800x596)
So many people came to congratulate us afterwards on our achievement and one or two said that they, like me, had a lump in the throat. Facebook and Twitter are full of the photographs taken on the day. Darren_Harbar_Photography_Aviation_OW_OctAS_2015_055Darren_Harbar_Photography_Aviation_OW_OctAS_2015_058


On Monday morning we packed 1264 up again and Alan Turney arrived, just as we were closing the trailer door to tow it back to Bicester. What a star that man is.

Sue and I set off home, and just down the road we came across something we’d never seen before – a black squirrel. Wikipedia tells us that they are a genetic variation local to Bedfordshire, and we’d certainly never seen one before.


From → Flying, Shows

One Comment
  1. Such a pretty little aircraft: what a delight to see the photos.

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