Situation Report, August 2011

With the final edition of 'Intercom' now printed and distributed, there remains a need to record our activities and other news for the benefit of members and other visitors to the website. Although there has been welcome coverage in various local newspapers, this is inevitably patchy across the wide area of our membership and this and succeeding reports will consolidate the press releases and other news over a quarterly period. They will also supplement the excellent newsletters edited by Laurie Taylor which is distributed by post to members not on the email address list.

The summer season has enabled members to break new ground in their travels. A group was given a glimpse into the world of business aviation during a conducted tour as guests of TAG Farnborough Airport in June. Also that month a larger party, including ladies,, filled the narrow boat John Pinkerton on a relaxing trip along the Basingstoke Canal at Odiham. Branch member David Jackson, a volunteer crew member of the boat, recounted the story of the canal during the journey to King John's Castle at Warnborough. This replaced our traditional 'Flying Evening', an event which, sadly, is no longer viable, and the monthly meeting for June.

More recently we joined with the Woking branch of the RAF Association for a coach trip to the Shoreham Airshow to view some spectacular aerobatic, formation and wing-walking flying. This, together with the Red Devils and Falcons parachute display, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the collection of vintage aircraft assembled and other exhibits made for a memorable occasion.

Guest speakers at our monthly meetings have continued to give us entertaining evenings. Retired British Airways captain Terence Henderson recounted, in most riveting fashion, his experiences commanding the supersonic Concorde. Capt Henderson's mentor when he first joined the airline many years ago was veteran ACA member Ted Dunford DFC and both were delighted to be reunited for the evening. Another speaker was Roger Annett, a former RAF pilot who has written a book describing the work of Argosy transport aircraft engaged in supply-dropping to ground forces during the Indonesian 'Confrontation' of the early 1960s.

Other committments forced the United States Air Attache to postpone his scheduled talk, but Colonel Blinkinsop still hopes to come to Fairoaks at a future date. Tony Rest bravely stepped in at very short notice to fill the gap by telling of his experiences as a pilot of Beverley and Hercules aircraft in paratroop and supply dropping operations in various parts of the world.

Members not attending this last meeting may not have heard that past branch chairman 'Jimmy' James has been admitted to hospital. We all wish Jimmy a speedy recovery and return to health.

Bill Bawden, PRO