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243. Shuttleworth Navy Day

04/06/2016

Today started out unpromising – the weather was altogether too murky for any sort of flying, and even the Royal Navy Merlin helicopter was delayed getting the Old Warden from Brize Norton, the weather was so bad.

Merlin

We had hoped to get some air-to-air video footage, but it was immediately apparent that wasn’t going to happen; even getting 1264 out of the hangar was complicated by the fact that there were a couple of other machines in front that needed to be moved first, and there were no engineers available to help.

But eventually things started to perk up; the weather cleared a tad, the Merlin turned up, and engineers became available to help us get 1264 outside.

John Lawrence from the Daily Telegraph was first in the queue, and was very professional, patient and huge fun getting stills for the article which should be published next weekend. And then the RAF, in the form of Andy Pawsey and Tim Morris started on their story, involving Lionel Rees, who obtained his VC on the morning of 1 July 1916, when all hell was let loose on the British Army below. A student from his old College (Eastbourne) who is hoping to pursue a career in aviation had come all the way up with his family, and we introduced him to 1264. We stood him beside the fuselage as we ran it up to full power, and he just about managed to hang on and not be blown away. He sat in the cockpit and was interviewed, I sat in the cockpit and was interviewed, the archivist from Eastbourne College stood by the aircraft and was interviewed, and we taxied 1264 up and down and were filmed doing that.

It was thoroughly enjoyable, and the student, George, was very interested and intelligent, and we hardly got any castor oil on his ATC uniform…

By the time this was all done, it was a bit late to start on the titivating work we’d intended to do on 1264, so we put her back and sat outside while the Sea Hurricane, Swordfish, 5 RV8s, the DH60 Moth and a visiting Hawker Nimrond arrived or practiced their display routines in the steadily improving weather.

By the time we got to our evening meal in the Hare and Hounds in Old Warden the sky was gin clear, and the forecast for tomorrow’s display is looking excellent.

Fingers crossed!

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One Comment
  1. daftasabrush46 permalink

    Well if was dodgy weather it was good piloting that got you there at all Biggles! I remember one year with iffy UK weather my natal Northern Ireland was only part of UK with good weather. Heard on the airband the RN Historic Flight Stringbag had to pull out of the show, as while transiting the Irish Sea, due to the wind it was flying backwards over the Isle of Man! Absolutely love reading the dual history of the old girl now and the Great War diaries. Keep up the fantastic work guys. Oh if only a good breeze would blow her over my new home in northern France (Valenciennes- Prouvy/Charles Nungesser Aerodrome, if yer available)! Bon weekend biloutes.

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