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Rothmans Aerobatic Team (& Others)

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Rothmans Aerobatic Team (& Others)

Old 17th Dec 2003, 07:53
  #61 (permalink)  
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Sad to hear about Iain Weston.

When last year did he pass away?
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Old 17th Dec 2003, 11:11
  #62 (permalink)  
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Stumbled across this thread today and brought back many, ahem, childhood memories! I recall Perrin as a hangar rat at Sportair, learning his aerobatic craft in the RF4s. Flew some pairs displays with me dad, who was then the CFI (kind of precurser to the infamous & fabulous Unipart displays).

Many ex Sportair names cropping up in this thread! Though sadly some departed...

Merry crimbles to all

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Old 17th Dec 2003, 17:02
  #63 (permalink)  
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This one hasn't - yet!

Perrin's aero training was actually done on RF5's because he wasn't old enough to fly solo - all dual with Robby Dorsey and one or two others, including me!

On his 17th birthday he arrived at Biggin and flew the RF4 for the first time and did a short display over the airfield - and a longer one somewhere over Sevenoaks. He was a veggie and teetotal so we had a good night for which he paid!

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Old 17th Dec 2003, 17:34
  #64 (permalink)  
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Stik: My copy of 'Man in the Sky' is currently enroute Alexis Lambert, thence to Treadders. If you want to get on the borrowing circulation list, liaise with Treadders.
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Old 18th Dec 2003, 06:09
  #65 (permalink)  
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Ref G-AXNZ, I believe the background is as follows:

G-AXNZ was built by Bert Etheridge and Wally Berry at Old Warden. Both were craftsmen working for the Shuttleworth Collection, Bert was a master woodworker and Wally was an expert engine man.

Bert had, among other projects, previously homebuilt the lovely Currie Wot G-ASBA (complete with De-Havilland fin and rudder), and with the more ‘aerobatically’ inclined Shuttleworth pilots in mind, decided to build a Pitts next. Chief targets for the aircraft were Neil Williams and John Jordan, both of whom were regular Shuttleworth pilots.

Construction started in about 1968 and was completed at Old Warden in 1972. By that time, Manx Kelly had bought the project and the aircraft was finished in Rothmans colours. I believe that Manx wanted to equip the team with Pitts, but at the time the type was not in production and as Stampes were more readily available, he went with Stampes. Later, when the Pitts factory started to build the S2A on a production line, he changed to Pitts.

G-AXNZ was used as a practice machine and followed the team around, flying in for static display. It was eventually sold to Peter Cadbury (‘Air Pegasus’), then David Parfrey at Coventry, and then back to John Jordan, one of the original inspirations for the project. John still owns it.
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Old 18th Dec 2003, 19:28
  #66 (permalink)  
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Alan Dix

Re Alan Dix, I'm very priviledged to know this guy, he was a brilliant plot (sadly he no longer flys) his stories and anecdotes are amazing as are his log books.
He was with the Rothmans team for the 78-79 team and flew with Brian Lecomber.
His career started in the Raf, he soloed in a jet provost at around 13Hrs , Ive seen the entry!
He flew Hunters and moved into commercial aviation with amongst others Dan Air BAC 1-11's and latterly was chief pilot for Inter european on A 320's.

Great bloke
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Old 19th Dec 2003, 05:31
  #67 (permalink)  
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I was with AD in the Middle East whilst he was on his first tour with the RAF - after which he was an usher at my wedding. Or maybe he simply pitched up with his (then?) delicious wife to add spice to the occasion. Rotund bxxxxr with a Fry sense of humour?
Old 19th Dec 2003, 18:06
  #68 (permalink)  
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Sorry, doubleu-anker, post 17 Dec, I can't be more specific about when Iain Weston died, but I think it was sometime before last Christmas. His daughter let us know, and I wrote to Jean, but have no record of the date.

He and I were contemoraries at Cranwell in 1950, and I first met him in Nocton Hall RAF Hospital when he had fallen foul of a motor bike, and I had been ignominiously ejected from an aerobatic MG of the way back from the local.

Then, much later, to the Rothmans, where it was his misfortune to have to teach me all he knew on the magic art of formation slow rolls and inverted formation flying; some of it must have rubbed off!

I know he flew a 125 for some time, based largely in Cairo, then on to CSE, where he was, I think, when he died. A great mate.
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Old 19th Dec 2003, 18:57
  #69 (permalink)  
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Many thanks for your efforts.

happy christmas
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Old 23rd Dec 2003, 06:28
  #70 (permalink)  
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Thumbs up


John Conner was the ex F-4 guy; also ex-Air Europe 737's if I recall.

Brian Lecomber's SV4B G-AYWT spent some time in the early 90's as the Daily/Sunday Express "duo"? & certainly John was flying it at that time. I'm fairly sure that John Harper was flying the Pitts G-IIII & Extra occasionally at that time although the majority of the 'Microlease' solo was by flown by Alan Wade.

Great thread !
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Old 23rd Dec 2003, 15:09
  #71 (permalink)  
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John Conner, that's the chap I was thinking of! Well done Reg! But now I'm confused as to whether it was Jaguar or Express that I remember - I do recall Harpo flying with Brian's team, though solo in the Extra 230 - those knife edge spins were awesome!


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Old 24th Dec 2003, 00:32
  #72 (permalink)  
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I've dug out an old log book; the Stampe & Extra 230 were operating as the Express team in '91/92. I'm sure Jaguar was after that.
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Old 24th Dec 2003, 18:16
  #73 (permalink)  
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Just read this excellent thread (been away for a bit). To get back to the Rothmans theme:

I seem to recall a pair of Pitts S2s doing the rounds as the Vixen Two/Pair/Duo (can't remember which) in the late 70s or early 80s. I was only a kid at the time but I'm sure they were in Rothmans colours. Saw them display at Doncaster and I think they also gave a few aeros rides to the public. Anyone else remember?

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Old 27th Dec 2003, 17:44
  #74 (permalink)  
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IIRC the late Marcus Edwards was involved with Vixen Two. I believe that I am right in saying that the late Geoff Masterton had something to do with them, too. He had been the Rothman's engineer and ferry pilot.

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Old 28th Dec 2003, 17:09
  #75 (permalink)  
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The Vixen Two team was Marcus Edwards (G-BDKS) and John McLean (G-BECM), both previous Rothmans team members and aircraft. The team expanded to three aircraft with Andy Walbridge flying G-BADY, and offered solo, pair or three-ship formations for airshows, as well as aerobatic training flights.

I met them a time or two when they used to borrow a Pitts S2 from my local airfield when one of their own aircraft went unserviceable.

Sadly, the team came to an end in 1984 when John McLean and Andy Walbridge lost their lives in a mid- air collision at Fleetwood, Lancs during a display practise when an opposition-looping manoeuvre went wrong.
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Old 2nd Jan 2004, 22:31
  #76 (permalink)  
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I remember meeting Marcus Edwards and John Maclean in September 1981. They had come up to Blackpool for the stag night of Andy Walbridge who was shortly to marry Nicky Benson?
I was doing my PPl at the time with the long gone BATS, Andy was one of the instructors there.
I still regret not being able to afford a trip with one of them in the Pitts.

The opposition looping maneouvre was it called The Tread Needle?

Happy days
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Old 4th Jan 2004, 03:33
  #77 (permalink)  
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The THREAD NEEDLE from my Rothmans programme 1976 appears to be a pairs crossing manouvere followed immediately by an intertwining join up into box. Perhaps later teams used the same name for a different manouvere -havent we had an ex Rothmans member on this thread? - more info there perhaps.
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Old 21st Jan 2004, 20:55
  #78 (permalink)  
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Saddened to see in this month's Flyer that Brian Lecomber's Firebird Aerobatics is closing down due to lack of sponsorship - also that John Taylor was seriously hurt in a road accident early last year. Hope that Brian will keep performing aerobatics (and perhaps get around to writing some more books and articles!) and that JT is fully recovered and flying again.


FYI, video has arrive safely with me (thanks chaps!) and will be in the post to you after the weekend, Stik!


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Old 21st Jan 2004, 21:03
  #79 (permalink)  
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I remember Brian arriving at Barton in the Stampe on the day before one of the early '80s airshows. All pre-show activity on the field stopped as he gave us an 'arrival show' which was absolutely breathtakingly superb. When he finished, sponateous appluase broke out all around the airfield.

I'm surprised he can't get sponsorship, but maybe retirement from display flying will allow him time to return to writing.

I certainly hope so.

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Old 21st Jan 2004, 23:51
  #80 (permalink)  

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Thread the needle - opposition pairs of Stampes, one (2/3) abreast and one (1/4) line astern - after crossing the line abreast pair looped and the line astern pair did a half cuban with a box join up on the exit. Looked good from the ground and was occasionally exciting from the air. Halcyon days indeed.
Tragic that Firebirds are no more - especially as the sponsorship pot is milked by the odd person who really is skating on thin legal ice - totally unlike Brian's outfit which always kept to the rules, occasionally to its disbenefit. Right back to Biplane Club days Brian has given his all to both aerobatics and to the airshow world. His like are rare indeed.
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PS - Please see my thread and campaign on the Historics forum concerning the honours list. All contributions gratefully received.
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