|by Bill Bawden, PRO|
18 November 2014
Members of the AirCrew Association meeting at Fairoaks Aerodrome have recently been entertained by illustrated talks given by two highly-knowledgeable guest speakers from the world of aviation.
In the first, David Wilson CEng FRAeS told of his working lifetime in this field beginning with an apprenticeship with the Ministry of Supply at Farnborough and progressing through the engineering development of many aircraft including the Canberra, Harrier, Nimrod and Tornado. His final appointment was as director of the European Fighter Aircraft project – now the Typhoon. Since retirement David has been engaged in building the Cody Flyer replica of the first heavier-than-air aircraft to take to the sky in Britain at Farnborough in 1908.
This week Martin Barraclough related the fascinating history of record flights between Britain and the Cape of Good Hope. This all began in 1919 when a string of landing strips was built in then British colonial territories with the aim of linking Cairo to South Africa. Unfortunately the aircraft of that time proved too unreliable to permit a commercial route but, encouraged by a £10,000 prize offered by a newspaper, the flight was made by several aircraft flown by pioneering pilots. The record time was progressively lowered during the inter-war years by such famous aviators as Alan Cobham, Dick Bentley, and Jim and Amy Mollison. After the Second World War the record for the flight between Britain and the Cape was taken by a succession of military aircraft and is now, almost inevitably, held by a Concorde flight made in 1985. Martin managed the most recent record attempt flown by Steve Noujaim in a Vans RV7. This flight broke the UK to Cape record for its class in September 2010, but was only one minute faster on the return leg and thus failed to make the one percent improvement required to establish a new record.
ACA members took part in Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day Anniversary parades and services throughout the area. The Association’s wreath was laid was laid at the War Memorial in Jubilee Square during a most impressive and moving ceremony before a large crowd in Woking.
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