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Husky Airways

Girls On Top, Ankles Up Round Their Faces

Two years ago, the Saturday of the Bournemouth Air Festival started out grey and rainy but started to improve at lunchtime to the point where I could have a swim in the sea by the end of the day.

This year's weather was identical: Howard and I rode across from Dorchester in miserable rain, then arrived in Bournemouth under blue sky. We were looking for somewhere to park when the Red Arrows began their display directly in front of us.

Parked, we hurried to the seafront to catch the rest of their display. All the clouds had cleared, and the team was obviously revelling in the chance to do their 'high' routine rather than the 'flat' show they put on when visibility's low.

The Reds were followed immediately by the Merlin helicopter, after which we fought our way along the crowded beach (some of the audience must have arrived very early indeed to have constructed such elaborate sand forts to protect their space) to meet silverwindblade and Ultrafox.

The Breitling Wingwalkers put on one of their best displays ever, causing the commentator to come out with the title quote (he would later compare flying the Tutor to 'climbing into a box of frogs after a hard night on the town doing something else'), the Blades were precision-sharp, while the history of aviation was represented by Spitfire, Lancaster, B-17 and Sea Vixen. When there was a gap in the programme, I seized the opportunity to have a dip.

A wonderful day, spoiled by news of the fatal crash involving one of the Red Arrows pilots.

He was the same age as me, which rather shocked me - though he had a far more awesome life. I'm glad I was privileged to see what turned out to be his final display. It was, as always, flawless, and I hope the Reds, currently grounded, will be gracing our skies again soon.
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It was, as always, flawless...

Apart from the fatal crash you mean?
That wasn't part of the public display!
Ahh I see.
Changed to 'his final display'.
The rumour going round (and Brian May has repeated it, so it's far from idle) is that the poor sod could have ejected safely in time, but stayed with his stricken plane to steer it away from residential areas. If true. that was… extraordinarily noble of him. Keeping my composure when I first heard that suggestion while driving down the A1(M) yesterday morning was quite tricky.
That was my mum's theory too, which I immediately adopted. I'm going to go all jingoistic and say it makes me proud to be British.
Ahhh I see.
There was an unexpected mini-display in a break at Shelsley Walsh (by a Pitts Special, I believe) and I thought of this at the time. I imagined you would have been there, and I think the way you wrote this post was just right.
Thank you. I'd be lying if I said it had ruined my day, but it was sobering and made me value what I'd seen even more.

The Pitts Special does a fab display, and is such a cute little plane too - I'm glad you got to see it!
That'll teach me to rely on the commentators! One of them is a pilot, so I naively assumed he'd know what he was talking about. Anyway, it turns out that the plane over Shelsley was apparently a Christen Eagle II, specifically G-KLAW (Not my pic, I'm afraid!)
Gosh, I wouldn't have known what that was, and would probably have assumed it was a Pitts Special too! (I see Wikipedia says it was designed as a direct competitor.)

(Anonymous)

Random find!

Hi there. I appreciate this thread is sombre in tone.It was a sad day for all those involved with the Red Arrows.

On a different note - I was flying G-KLAW mentioned above. I hope it was not unwelcome addition to the hill climb.

I just saw a field of like minded petrol heads and threw in some aero's!

Was searching for pictures of G-KLAW at yesterdays the big pull event at Goodwood. (3rd June 2012.)

Re: Random find!

Random indeed! You have a lovely aircraft there :)
the B-17 was the Sally B from Duxford right? As far as I know she's the only airworthy B-17 in Europe currently. I still feel really annoyed that my dad has been on board while she was grounded at the flying hanger at Duxford.

Very bummed out about the crash though, I thought it was a joke at first when the news broke on twitter.
That's the trouble with Twitter! There was no announcement at the show on Saturday and I found out when a friend texted me.

Yes, it was good old Sally B. She used to be a familiar sight on the airshow circuit but this was the first time I'd seen her for years.
This post is directly above one by the dead man's parent's colleague.
The world is a very connected place.

Given the later tragedy, I'm very glad the display itself went well.
Gosh, connected indeed!
It was a good day, despite the sad news. I'm glad we all had a good time and enjoyed ourselves, and the weather held out for us.
I'm hoping the Red Arrows are back in the air soon too, following the sad events, and that we don't see too many things similar in the future either.
Me too! There was a biplane crash at a US airshow that weekend too, which made me sad.

Howard and I have tickets for Leuchars Airshow in September (yay!) so I hope the Reds are back in the air for that, as long as it's safe for them to be so.