Stuff to enjoy
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