Stuff to en­joy

Pilot - - PREFLIGHT -

While there’s some bad stuff go­ing on with air­fields and air­shows – ac­cord­ing to www. cam­bridge-news.co.uk Mar­shalls is threat­en­ing to re­lo­cate, al­low­ing 12,000 homes to be built on its Cam­bridge Air­port site, and ‘Old Timers’ re­ports the end of Abing­don’s Air & Coun­try Show air dis­play – I am not go­ing to dwell on it here.

The storm clouds are gath­er­ing, but un­til they break – or per­haps the wind changes in our favour – there are still many plea­sures to be found in light avi­a­tion, and this is­sue of Pilot cov­ers a num­ber of them.

First – and this is some­thing you would not have be­lieved pos­si­ble, years ago – not only are pay­ing rides in war­birds avail­able, but you can fly not just in a Spit­fire but a P-51 Mus­tang and now one of the ‘Messer­schmitt 109s’ (OK – His­pano Buchóns) that ap­peared in the orig­i­nal Bat­tle of Bri­tain movie. Sub­ject to much leg­end- and myth­mak­ing, the 109 is one of the most fas­ci­nat­ing aero­planes of them all. It is rather won­der­ful that now you can go and find out what it is re­ally like to fly for your­self, pro­vided you have a cou­ple of thou­sand quid to spare…

Which brings us to the rather more eco­nom­i­cal to op­er­ate Sherwood Scout, man­u­fac­tured by The Light Air­craft Com­pany (TLAC). The for­tunes or oth­er­wise of the Bri­tish air­craft in­dus­try have been the sub­ject of much dis­cus­sion in this col­umn and Pilot’s lively ‘Air­mail’ pages. TLAC MD Paul Hendry-smith has been flying the flag for home prod­ucts for some time, but get­ting the Scout, Flight Test Ed­i­tor Dave Un­win and pho­tog­ra­pher Keith Wil­son to­gether has been frus­trated by fac­tors be­yond our control, not the least be­ing a freak road ac­ci­dent that dev­as­tated TLAC’S fleet of prototypes

and demon­stra­tion air­craft while they were on their way home from the Popham Mi­cro­light Fair a cou­ple of years ago. Hap­pily, when men and ma­chine were at last as­sem­bled in one place, in fine weather, the Scout proved ev­ery bit as nice as you might hope (Flight Test, p.56). We wish TLAC ev­ery suc­cess in find­ing cus­tomers for this ver­sa­tile lit­tle aero­plane.

Else­where – and rather at the risk of ap­pear­ing to write most of the mag­a­zine - Bob Grim­stead finds joy in flying aer­o­bat­ics in the world’s tini­est man-car­ry­ing jet (p.36) and great sat­is­fac­tion in restor­ing his Fournier RF4 (p.64).

I re­alise that few of us might get to fly a Cri-cri, never mind en­joy­ing aer­o­bat­ics in a jet one. Nor are there that many pi­lots keen – or maybe broke enough – to con­sider re­build­ing their own aero­plane. How­ever, Bob writes about these things so vividly that you feel you are in the cock­pit or sweat­ing in the work­shop along­side him. And this is what Pilot is all about – not just telling you stuff, but shar­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence with you. So, as the

Philip White­man, Ed­i­tor

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