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307. Making History

15/06/2017

1264 has been in the trailer at Bicester since the Shuttleworth show a couple of weeks ago waiting for the Bicester Flywheel event. One of the things we wanted to achieve in this time was to get a flight test for the Light Aircraft Association’s magazine ‘Light Aviation’. Their regular flight test pilot is Clive Davidson, second generation RAF pilot who splits his time between display flying and instructing on Tiger Moths.

This week was more or less the only opportunity to do this, fitting in between Clive delivering a huge Russian Yak 11 fighter to Finland, and disappearing off to the Czech Republic for more display flying in WWI replica machines.

Thankfully the weather came good on Wednesday, and we had a simply superb time. Theo and I had set off early in order to get 1264 rigged, and were ready by around 1300 when Clive, together with Neil Wilson (photographer), Chris (Tiger Moth owner) and Annabelle Burroughes (display pilot and instructor on Tiger Moth and Bucker Jungmann).

I made a short flight to confirm everything was in order, and we strapped Clive in and off he went. As you would expect, his flying was absolutely crisp and he clearly enjoyed himself with a low fly-by and some vertically-banked turns.

Clive’s flyby. Note the anxious faces turned up to look at him, and the Piper Cub waiting to be camera ship.

He does seem to be enjoying himself.

When he landed, he said that he couldn’t stop laughing on the takeoff, because the performance was so amazing, and on his return he couldn’t put into words how wonderful the flight was.

But there was no time to stop. Steve Slater fired up the Piper Cub, and they went off for the air-to-air photoshoot.

All of this went absolutely fine, and it was a real pleasure to be able to share 1264’s amazing flying qualities with an expert pilot.

But what made the day of historic importance, was that for the first time in – well, we don’t know how long – a rotary-engined WWI machine was flown by a woman. Annabelle Burroughes owns and flies a Bucker Jungmann, and instructs in a Tiger Moth. She also received an award from the Royal Aero Club for her heroic recovery of a four-seat TB10 aircraft which started a fire in the engine compartment on take off. She had two passengers on board, and she managed to land the aircraft safely in a field, by which time her feet were starting to get very warm, safely evacuate her passengers, and then put the fire out with the extinguisher.

So when it was suggested she might like to have a flight in 1264, she jumped at the chance, and, as you’d expect from such an experienced pilot, she managed it flawlessly. 

 

 

One happy lady!

We had to de-rig 1264 and get her back in the trailer, but Theo and I were very, very grateful for the help that all of the team gave to clean 1264 and put her to bed.

It was a long day, but very rewarding!

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One Comment
  1. Clive permalink

    Thank you David and Theo for a such a memorable experience and day! Clive and Annie.

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