View Full Version : MH434 Under the bridge! (Now includes photograph)

Aileron Roll
28th Jan 2004, 17:11
All of us enjoyed Ray Hanna giving us this little display in Piece of cake afew years back, if im not mistaken almost the opening scene on episode one.

...... Must have required a stack of CAA paperwork

....anyone in the know to the full story behind how they pulled this one off ?

28th Jan 2004, 17:56
Even better because it was seen live by those fortunate to be there was his run down the pit straight at the opening of the first Goodwood Motor Circuit Revival Meeting in 1998.

28th Jan 2004, 18:35
Ray Hanna did it again at Goodwood this year.... Not quite as low this time:{

As for the bridge, yes he did have CAA permission.

astir 8
28th Jan 2004, 18:38
I've seen a wonderful video clip of a TV person doing a presentation on the anniversary of the first flight of K5054, followed by an extremely low pass from behind by a Spit.

All said presenter could say, repeatedly, having got up off the ground was F*** me!, while clutching his heart.

Even the cameraman said something very similar but heroically kept filming.

Anyone know the Spit/pilot?

PPRuNe Pop
28th Jan 2004, 18:52
That particular clip was removed from PPRuNe due to possible copyright infringement. It will not re-appear.

28th Jan 2004, 18:55
Z: <<Not quite as low this time>>

Still spectacular though! Indeed the annual OFMC displays at the Goodwood Revival Meeting are some of the best I've seen in 40+ years of airshow watching which has otherwise left me pretty blase. Maybe it's the natural amphitheatre that Goodwood provides, aided by the proximity of the aircraft if you stand on the banking at Madgwick Corner under the 33 approach.

The presenter in the video clip was Alain De Cadenet (another Goodwood track regular), and the pilot was, I think, the late Norman Lees, operating very much in Hanna mode.

28th Jan 2004, 20:33
The full story of the bridge shoot is told in Herbie Knott's book 'How they Made Piece of Cake' - excellent, worth searching out, and (incidentally) Aerohack contributed to the book- didn't you, A?

IIRC, the bridge was in Ireland. The idiot director used a close wide angle lens which made the achievement seem the less, rather than a long lens which woul've tightened it together... Classic error.
James K

astir 8
28th Jan 2004, 20:36
Pity about the possible copyright infringement - but I've got a copy and it's very useful whenever I need cheering-up

28th Jan 2004, 20:58
<<and (incidentally) Aerohack contributed to the book- didn't you, A?>.

So I did! Forgotten all about that.

28th Jan 2004, 23:12
Hope you got paid too. It was very readeable anyhow!;)

29th Jan 2004, 00:43

In the office at Goodwood Flying Club is (was?) another picture of a Spitfire head-on to the camera, which is even lower than the famous Alain De Cad clip...


I think the bridge in question was somewhere 'oop north in England - yes, just checked my book and it was 'Winston bridge' in County Durham.

29th Jan 2004, 01:39
Zlin: Could be a shot taken at the Goodwood Revival press preview, when Lord March and the Marilyn Monroe lookalike were posing on the starting grid and MH434 made a very low pass over their heads.

I have a shot of Ray and MH434 coming head-on which I took at a Biggin Air Fair probably 25 years ago. All you can see of the Spitfire is a pair of wings sticking out either side of the silhouetted head of my then editor who was standing just ahead of me. Tall chap, I'll admit, but...

29th Jan 2004, 04:19

The picture in the GFC office is a Spitfire low over the grass...I've seen the pics from last years Revival meet press day (and the 'unofficial' low pass Ray did a few years previously!) and it's not that one.

ISTR it was a fairly old picture, but judging by the height of it, almost certainly Ray Hanna:ok:

29th Jan 2004, 05:44
There was a picture taken by the Producer during the Alain de Cadanet/MH434 "encounter." This shot actually makes 434 look lower than on the video.

Might be a copy of that, I know there are a few in circulation.

29th Jan 2004, 17:30
Dear Zlin,
Thanks for the correction - it's the 'County' bit that threw me!
James K

29th Jan 2004, 21:52
I've seen a wonderful video clip of a TV person doing a presentation on the anniversary of the first flight of K5054, followed by an extremely low pass from behind by a Spit.

All said presenter could say, repeatedly, having got up off the ground was F*** me!, while clutching his heart.

Even the cameraman said something very similar but heroically kept filming.

Anyone know the Spit/pilot?

It was Ray Hanna in MH434 taking off at the Spitfire anniversary airshow. It only looks so low as it's the take off run.

7th Feb 2004, 01:30
I well remember the leadup to the bridge episode in Piece of Cake. I was the boss of the CAA section dealing with airshow activity and was approached by Ray Hanna to see if it might be possible to provide an exemption from the 5000 foot rule to permit the underflight. Initial reaction was - "you must be joking" however I agreed to "case the joint" at the Winston bridge. My wife and I drove up and photographed the bridge from all possible angles, dangled a weighted tape measure to check the vertical clearance and then measured the horizontal gap. Sketches were made and contact made with the local police to ensure that a brief road closure would be possible along with the owners temporarily vacating their homes along the river. All was OK and there was plenty of room to do the stunt. I agreed to provide the necessary exemption but a day later Ray's wife rang to say how much she regretted my positive decision. I then told her that I would be happy to fly a Tiger with my daughter Helen on top of the wing rig through the gap. She seemed perfectly content at that and the result seen on video and the TV was excellent. One of my prouder moments in my 14 year career as a gamekeeper with the CAA. There were many less rewarding....!!
Trapper 69

7th Feb 2004, 01:53
5000 foot rule? Blimey you were strict in them days eh ;)

7th Feb 2004, 06:23
DamianB - Sorry, its my geriatric finger tremors. 500 foot rule was what I meant. Even I could not tweak air law that much.........!!! If you ever get up to that area do take a look at the structure. It is one of the widest spans of its type in the UK and in great condition - at least it was after Ray's blast through. They did trim a few branches off trees that were spreading out into the intended flight path. No doubt they are now growing back so beware all you emulators. The arm of ARE is long indeed and the local fuzz gets really p****d off.
Trapper 69

7th Feb 2004, 15:51
Only yesterday I stumbled across an amazing article in an old copy of Pilot magazine (Dec 2002). It told the story of how nine aircraft were flown in line abreast formation through nine separate spans of a long bridge crossing a wide river in China. Were it not for the accompanying photographs, I doubt I could have believed it - in fact I'm still not sure that I do!

The pilots were a mix of aerobatic champions, and ex-mil fast jet, from France, Russia, UK and USA.

Aileron Roll
13th Feb 2004, 16:59
Thankyou G-KEST for your info, fasinating to hear the story behind these things, any other stories about this kind of thing you can share with us all !

Flying Lawyer
15th Feb 2004, 14:44
Ray Hanna flying under Winston Bridge, Co. Durham in 1988

From memory, I think Ray flew at about 200 kts.

Ray and Mark were respectively Chief and Deputy Chief Pilot.
The pilots, some sadly no longer with us, were:

Stephen Gray
Pete Jarvis
Howard Pardue - USA
Hoof Proudfoot
Carl Schofield
Brian Smith
John Watts

Walther Eichorn - Germany
Nick Grace
Reg Hallam

(Hope I haven't left anyone out.)

The two camera ships were a B25 and the Harvard which Mark and I shared at the time. I remember desperately trying to arrange time away from my 'day job' to fly the Harvard. Frustratingly, I was unable to do so and John Romaine was recruited.
The aft section of the rear canopy was removed and a camera mounted behind the rear cockpit. The cameraman faced backwards in the original seat - strapped in with a specially made safety harness. The Harvard was perfect for tail-chase shots of attacking aircraft. From that angle, the tail looked sufficiently like the tail of a Spitfire to be used as the sixth 'Spitfire' - there were only five.

Tudor Owen

Flying Lawyer
22nd Feb 2004, 23:17
PPRuNe Pop
I discussed the earlier problem about the Spitfire/Alain de Cadenet video clip with the OFMC a few days ago and I'm pleased to report they won't object if it's posted on Pprune.

I can't find my copy at the moment but if anyone else can post a link ....... :D


Not low level and not a bridge in sight, but I've always liked these two pics.

Ray Hanna leading the Arrows in MH434

OFMC fighters in the early days - mid 80's

P51 - Carl Schofield, Spitfire - Mark, P40 - Ray.
Different Kittyhawk from the one used in recent years.
Photo by Ray's brother-in-law.

With the Harvard as camera-ship, that was the entire OFMC collection of those days in the air. The fighters were cruising gently - the T6 wasn't! Air-to-air shots became easier when we sold it and bought a Yak 11 in about 1990/91. ;)

PPRuNe Pop
23rd Feb 2004, 01:51
FL, that is just fine. It is a good clip and very very amusing.

That picture of Ray leading the Reds is just fabulous. I want one!!!

23rd Feb 2004, 03:11
Hope this helps:ok:

27th Feb 2004, 04:51
WOWEEEE! Never seen that one before! Short back and sides anyone?? :))