376. Westward Ho!

It’s been an anxious week trying to ensure 1264 was on her feet and fit, at least for static exhibit, in time for the trip to Devon.

But first thing on Monday morning Sue and I set off for Old Warden to load the fuselage into the trailer.

Needless to say, when we got there we were distracted by other wonderful aeroplanes. Doing slow and rather noisy circuits was this wonderful Aeronca C3 – the 1930s version of a microlight.

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Then into the engineering hangar, where WAHT’s latest acquisition, the stunningly decorated Albatros DVa is in the final stages of being erected.

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Jean-Michel Munn will be flying it next season and says he is looking forward to shooting me down!

1264 was back on her wheels with a very smart-looking tailskid, so we rolled her into the sunshine and back in the trailer.

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We set off on the long, long haul to Dartmoor, meeting up with Theo and Chill at Sedgemoor services for a cup of tea. They’d been to Stroud to pick up the propeller.

By the time we got to Chagford it was quite dark, and the fuel tank was quite empty, and while we’d been warned that the roads were narrow, the humpbacked bridge we came across was definitely too challenging!20180924_202432s.jpg

Thankfully Chagford film festival, in the person of Dean Gardner, was there to help us reverse about quarter of a mile down the windy single track road until we came to a spot we could turn round, and he escorted us back to the road we should have taken. Chagford is a tiny village and even this took a good deal of negotiating, including persuading any number of women drivers to reverse…

The entrance to Chagford house was about a foot wider than the trailer, but finally, finally we were successfully parked.

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This was the view from our window in the Globe Inn the following morning, and after a hearty breakfast we were able to examine the trailer for damage (miraculously there was none!) and our new propeller, which is possibly even better than the last, with spectacular woodgrain, 20180925_102722s.jpg

and Sir George’s signature of course (for which very many thanks).

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There was one more bit of jeopardy to negotiate. The fuel warning light had been flashing for ages last night and the nearest petrol station was ten miles away on the A30, so I headed off with as light a foot as I could manage, and reckoned there was about 5lt left in the tank when I made it!

Even here in the wilds of Dartmoor there was a continuous stream of visitors, and when the local school finished, a delightful horde of children came and saw us. We were very glad that Noel Willford had joined us to help keep some semblance of control.

They wanted to sit in the cockpit, and when told that wasn’t practical, were happy enough when I did, and was able to explain the operation of the controls.

They more or less cleared out our new stock of fridge magnets, and left happy. What a wonderful bunch!

In the evening we met up with Stephen Saunders, who introduced our film before it was shown in the church to a small but discerning audience.

It was another late night!

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