I did. You still collecting stuff? I shot photos of his T-33 display at Biggin one year. Probably still have the negatives, if not prints. Sea Fury too, I think.
Treadders: Also photographed Peter Phillips in Islander and BA-4B, at a Goodwood display. As I recall, his Islander routine included some asymmetric stuff — not quite Bob Hoover with both feathered, but very impressive. Wasn't it while doing an (aerobatic?) routine in Africa with a Trislander that Peter had a bad accident? BTW, the Chilton tangent that we darted off on in the 'Significant British lightplane' thread, combined with this one, reminded me that Manx Kelly used to own 'AFSV. It was painted red/black/white at the time, and carried the name 'Barbara Ann' or somesuch. Must have been around the time he was also involved in the short-lived Owl Racer that crashed fatally into the Thames Estuary.
Flying Lawyer John Mclean was killed over Morcambe Bay practicing for the start of season, it was a three ship display and they were practising a loop with the third guy going in the reverse direction and going through the middle of the other two - unfortunately they didn't make it, John and Andy (Walbridge?) were both killed in this.
Z526: Outstanding! But who knows what treasures you may still have in the loft? Do risk Mrs Z's wrath and take a look.
News of Manx's death came during a display at Booker. I was there as writer/photgrapher and sat in on a pilots' briefing given by Neil, and I remember he interrupted the brief with the tragic news from the States.
As I recall Neil and Doug Bianchi departed this world over the same weekend — both great losses to the historic/airshow movements.
The books of Neil Williams certainly had a great influence in my future aviation career. My parents gave me 'Airborne' as a Christmas Present, and 'Aerobatics' followed on my 14th birthday. I still read them occasionally as if they were newly bought.
My first flight in the aeroplane that Neil wrote about and I now regularly fly was on the day he died.
It does make you wonder if there is enough archive film out there to make a cracking documentary. Sadly it has personnal loss but there also great escapes like the Weston 'incident' and a real story to be told about fine aviators.
Maybe it's a flight of fantasy which needs to be transfered to Hollywood and a large dose of American rewriting! I envisage a 'new' Robert Redford and team pitched in duels against an opposing team with dastardly tactics! The temptation to 'steal' the Bond Bede sequence but with three Pitts inverted through a dusty Californian hanger door really appeals!
<<And how about that other great "ouch" photo? Lewis Benjamin in a Super Tiger poised vertically about 2ft off the ground after flicking in to a spin during a crazy flying routine... both flew again>>
Can't think of that picture without calling to mind the 'thought balloon' that was added to the copy on the wall of the old Tiger Club tea room at Redhill: "If this doesn't kill me, Norman (Jones) will!".
I remember sitting on a blanket next to my dad's Messenger when I saw this happen. (was only a child). It had a lasting effect on me and I can remember it as if it were yesterday. The WW2 crash truck came screaming across the airfield, very narrowly missing us in the process..! I can still remember the silence for a few seconds as it happened.
Incidently, my 'ol man went on to organise the Avon air days at Weston for the next few years, One year we had the Reds, a Lightning and Concorde display.. not to mention all the aerobatic greats - Happy Days..
Broadening the theme a little to "others", I`m surprised nobody has mentioned the Zlin Duo of James Black and Carl Schofield, and their mirror flying.Superb to watch, as any Zlin display is/was. Bloody hard work on limited power, but graceful aerobatics--- none of this "angry bee" stuff!!
Seconded, sycamore — perhaps one of the best mirrors ever. Your 'angry bee' reminds me of the Pitts' UK debut (if you don't count Betty Skelton at Gatwick in 1949) at the World Aerobatics Championships at RAF Hullavington in 1970. The U.S. team was mostly equipped with S-1Ses, which then seemed tiny and very angry bee/wasp like, while the Russians had big Yak-18PMs and 'PSes. I think it was John Blake who likened the Yaks to grand pianos, the Pittses to xylophones — an analogy that has stuck in my mind ever since.
I remember seeing the Zlin duo at Biggin Hill one year, think it was early 80s when they got a bit too close, and banged their tailfins during a mirror formation. Not much damage, but just shows how close they used to fly!
Oh to see that type of aircraft again in displays...An aircraft that needs skill to fly accurately, not like the modern Extras etc (Move the stick around the cockpit and the world rotates).
Talking of others, anyone remember the Tiger Club Stampe duo with Pete Jarvis and Carl Schofield? Also flown by Brian Smith and Pete Kynsey. Another demonstration of how to fly smooth, graceful aerobatics in an aeroplane that wasnt exactly over-endowed with power or aerodynamics. One of their Stampes displayed at Old Warden this year.
Another excellent display that arose from the Rothmans ashtray (sorry, the puns get worse!) was the "Jaguar Duo" - or some such soubriquet that involved somebody who's name I have entirely forgotten, ex F-4 driver? in Brian Lecomber's lovely Stampe, counterpointed by Brian himself in the Extra 230.
Fantastic combination of the old and the new, lovely classic aeros from the Stampe, and cutting edge unlimited stuff from the Extra - tumbles and knife-edge spins were fairly new then and as I recall Brian was out-classing people in the ever more common Sukhois and the like.
Zlin, don't think it was John Harper as I know his reputation quite well... and think he was campaigning one of the Goode Yak 50s at the time. Fairly certain about the F-4 bit - but it wasn't John Allison!
Last edited by treadigraph; 17th Dec 2003 at 07:29.