The last time I saw Don Donnelly was at Cranfield in the mid-to-late 70's when he was proudly displaying Heliwork's B47 Soloy conversion. My guess is that he remained with Heliwork for a while longer as I recall my godfather meeting up with him on one occasion to discuss purchasing training aircraft. I'm sure there must be PPRuNers who are aware of what happened to him.
Well well, wonders never cease in the land of PPRuNe!
In my limited free time I enjoy collecting quality photographs of just about anything. The work of George 'Slim' Aarons is just one of many portfolio's I thoroughly enjoy. It includes priceless images such as this one featuring Clark Gable, Van Heflin, Gary Cooper and James Stewart on New Year's Eve 1957 at Romanoff's Restaurant in Hollywood:
This and other images can be seen at Bluetramontana Style: Slim Aarons
where I was browsing when I came upon the image of Heinrich von Furstenberg's Bell 206 photographed in 1977:
A couple of days after first seeing this image, in the midnight hours and in a scenario not too dissimiliar to Plank Cap's recollection of a bee on the nose of the Alouette, I recalled seeing a 206 making regular visits into Brooklands in the early 80's and which, if memory served, had similar markings.
with the revelation that Von Furstenberg's 206 was D-HJFF which became G-BTWA below:
Bell 206B Jet Ranger II G-BTWA (formerly D-HJFF) belonging to Charles Hughesdon operated by Tradewinds Helicopters (a subsidiary of Hughesdon's Tradewinds Airways) arriving at Battersea c. 1983
I scarcely dared believe that HJFF was one and the same aircraft as that belonging to Charles Hughesdon who was a close friend of my godfather (but whom, sadly, I never met) and was astonished that Charles had kept the Baron's original tail markings.
I did meet his pilot however, on several occasions at Brooklands. I recall he was a slightly tall and slender chap, politely spoken and in the early 80's was starting to grey.
Of Charles Hughesdon
here is the synopsis tendered at the launch of his book entitled "Flying Made It Happen."
"Charles Hughesdon is the epitome of a self-made man; a hunter-down of business and a pursuer of pleasure. In A Flying Life he tells his remarkable life story for the first time; a leader and innovator in the field of insurance brokerage, a talented pilot and head of the hugely successful Tradewinds air-cargo company.
As a top business man he mixed with John Paul Getty, Robert Maxwell and Margaret Thatcher. Hughesdon's marriage to film star Florence Desmond in 1937 brought him into contact with all the stars of the day and the couple's home Dunsborough Park in Surrey, became a regular retreat for the celebrity set of the day. David Niven, Jack Hawkins, Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey and Elizabeth Taylor all feature in this frank and revealing biography.
Hughesdon's relationship with ballerina Margot Fonteyn - an affair that lasted for fifteen years - illustrates his lifelong passion for beautiful women. A Flying Life is the story of an entrepreneur whose passion for his work is matched only by his passion for life."
Now for some joining-the-dots which, I know, is usually Earl's preserve but perhaps you can do that next time friend!
D-HJFF was owned by a continental contemporary of the Duke of Westminster, Baron Heinrich von Furstenberg making the two of them among the few helicopter-owning (both of them had Bell 206's) noblemen in Europe. One could therefore consider HJFF a cousin of TALY's!
The image (the only one available as far as I am aware) of HJFF under Von Furstenberg's ownership is part of the Getty Images stock. John Paul Getty was a freind of Charles Hughesdon who knew both my godfather and Ava Gardner who was a friend to my grandfather!
And .. seeing as Dennis the Menace
has become connected to practically every story on this entire thread there seems no point in stopping now. Dennis queried the whereabouts of Donald Donnelly citing his location as Ripley in Surrey which of course was the location of Charles Hughesdon's home, Dunsborough, the venue for his noteable 'fly-in' garden parties which were attended by a colourful assortment of military and civilian guests and, on several occasions, by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
Perhaps it is pushing it to expect that there is someone who can respond but .. I would be immensely grateful for any information about D-HJFF while it was in the Von Furstenberg stable.