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September’s Light Aircraft Association Rally broke new records, attracting 958 visiting aircraft and over 4,500 aviation enthusiasts to Sywell over the weekend. At one point on the Saturday afternoon there were over 400 aircraft parked on the Northamptonshire airfield’s grass.
An enlarged exhibitor area also set a new high in the number of companies and organisations present, with everything from a Caa-backed ‘drone zone’ to a themed display dedicated to classic racing aircraft that included two Percival Mew Gulls, a collection of Miles King’s Cup racers, a replica Travel Air Mystery Ship, Le Vier Cosmic Wind and a 1938 Chilton DW.1, making its first appearance after a forty-year restoration.
Among the visitors was Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg, who entered into the homebuilding spirit by ‘pulling rivets’ to help assemble a Zenair fuselage, as well as meeting members and exhibitors. Stars of the packed aircraft park included the latest Verhees Delta from Belgium, a minuscule Colomban Cri-cri, a Jodel D.9 Bébé flown from Spain, and Phil Burgess’s immaculate Pitts S-1S Special G-OSIS, which was awarded the Prince Michael of Kent Trophy for ‘Best Aircraft In Show’.
“We came oh, so close, but didn’t quite crack the 1,000 visitor target, said LAA Chief Executive and Pilot columnist Steve Slater. “Still, it gives us a target to aim for next year!”
Aerial view of Sywell on the Saturday afternoon. We’ve counted 429 aircraft in the photo, but it will be interesting to see whether you can find more!
ABOVE: Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg (right) being coached on riveting techniques by Patricia Mawuli Porter of Metal Seagulls LtdBELOW: Phil Burgess’s Best in Show Pitts Special