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Rothmans Aerobatic Team (& Others)

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Rothmans Aerobatic Team (& Others)

Old 9th Jun 2004, 06:53
  #121 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: South Germany
Posts: 38

Hallo to all,

the Pitts S2S, G-SOLO is based in southern Germany,
Neuburg-Egweil, EDNJ.
It was stored several years, but this year the owner
has changed and the plane will fly again this summer.

Best wishes,
Morane is offline  
Old 13th Jun 2004, 13:44
  #122 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Kenley
Posts: 142
I found this advert today whilst flicking through some old mags.

Will the moderator have to put the new goverment health warnings across it.

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Old 13th Jun 2004, 16:10
  #123 (permalink)  
Per Ardua ad Astraeus
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 18,581
As we used to say in the Reds - " looks like a load of fags"

.....only joking.............
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Old 14th Jun 2004, 09:46
  #124 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Gone.........for good this time.
Posts: 510
I remember a fairly in depth article about the Rothmans team in a mid-1970s issue of Aircraft Illustrated. Anyone got it?
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Old 18th Mar 2006, 10:29
  #125 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Swindon, Wiltshire
Age: 71
Posts: 275
Rothmans Aerobatic Team

I have just won a Rothmans Aerobatic Team brochure on e.bay in mint condition when the team flew Stampes, but I can't find any date in it.
I have scrolled through all the postings trying to find a formation date for the team, but the earliest date mentioned is 1970. I believe the team was formed in 1968 or '69 - can anyone confirm this?

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Old 18th Mar 2006, 14:21
  #126 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2001
Location: up North
Posts: 661
Amazing what you find if you have a little dig around..

G-BADY, June 1979

G-SOLO, Sept 1980.

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Old 20th Mar 2006, 00:20
  #127 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Sydney
Posts: 397
fantastic stuff, it was Kelly and Williams doing the slow rolls and inverted spins in the Stampes (Wind in the Wires) & Perrin in the pitts that made me want to learn to fly.

My two year old son snuggles up most nights before bedtime in my arms and we watch the mirror stampes.. just magic stuff.

and I hasten to add, "Wings in the Sun" , the Nile low level transit trip is a special favourite with the kids (2+4)

Last edited by 7gcbc; 29th Mar 2006 at 09:19.
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Old 21st Mar 2006, 08:05
  #128 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Herefordshire
Posts: 153
Smile Rothmans Aerobatic Team

To all interested parties:-

My name is Bob Lee. I was the chief engineer for the team and the No. 5 Display pilot from 1977 until 1980 when the team was disbanded. Reading through the material there seems to be alot of garbage about. I might not be able to supply all of the answers but what I know will probably be more acurate than alot I have seen writen on this subject so far. We can start with the fact that Geoff Masterton was not the Chief engineer, because I was! as far as I know he was never in the team. Marcus indeed is no longer with us, he died suddenly at his home in South Wales. Rod Rea was my best man - haven't seen him since! John Mclean and Andy Walbridge were the two pilots who collided at Blackpool - as the Vixon Two. Very Tragic. Andy Had just joined the Vixons, I gave him his very first flight at Lasham in a Chipmunk, years eariler. George Smith was the pilot killed in Lanzarote's first air fatality, caused by the failure to recognise and recover from an inverted spin he had entrered following an unscheduled manouvre. The last I saw of poor George was literally his foot as it was placed beside him on the stretcher! Our last season was the tour of Malaysia, led my Marcus No.1; Rod Rea No.2: Alan Dix No.3 and the man who paid for my wedding night - Thank you Brian! our very own Brian Cucumber (Lecomber). I flew as No.5 in the No.2 position and Rod flew inverted over the No.4. The formation was known as the wedge. There was a second team that year;- with Andy Legg, Bob Ruskell, Mike Cairns and another who's names escape me right now - sorry. Altogeter 9 x Pitts S2A (both teams), 1 x Pitts S2S G-Solo that I had built myself with the help of Dave Fenton, Les Scattergood and my faithfull deputy John Brobyn. Yes the Islander as well, our trusty truck, flown by Norman Rhodes.
Regarding the pictures; The Pitts without the yellow cheek lines on the fuselage are all pre 1978. We painted in the white cheek line with yellow for the summer season 1978.
There is so much to tell not enough room. If any of you wish to know more you can E-mail me [email protected]
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Old 21st Mar 2006, 08:45
  #129 (permalink)  
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Come on Bob, you have a mint to tell. Take your time but let us know more of inside stuff that few get to hear of. We have met a few times at Biggin. Get that pen of yours scribing Bob.

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Old 22nd Mar 2006, 17:39
  #130 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Herefordshire
Posts: 153
The Rats

There really is too much to say! I was with the team for three years and in that time we toured West Africa, The Canaries, Spain, Greece, The Middle East, Malaysia and Borneo; interspaced with Tours of the UK and taking in the major shows in Paris and Belgium. Someone should write a book, alas there are better people than me for that job. Brian perhaps, or Bob Thomson since he was not only team leader but the team manager for both teams.
I have stacks of pictures, if I knew how to get them onto the site I could let you see a choice few.
As for personnal memories, one of my favorites is when we were in Agadir. Marcus and I head for the lift in the Hotel, Marcus decides to break wind just before entereing the lift. Unbeknown to him there was a little alcove the other side of the corridor in which two old ladies sat. We were both unaware of this until we entered the lift and turned round. Realising he had just left them with a nasty prospect, Marcus began to turn red, I was by this time turning red trying to suppress my laughter and the two old ladies began to turn red I guess from trying to hold their breath! The lift door seem to take an age to close.
Then there was the time we arived in Sino in West Africa. It was a refuelling stop. We came accross the airport in close formation, smoke on, for a run and break. Having all landed there was no-one there, and I mean not a sole! Where was the fuel? After a while and a few cigarettes, I noticed an eyeball peeking throught a crack in the door of a thunderbox. I went up to the eyeball and said "excuse me I am looking for the airport manager", what else does one say to someone in a toilet? He replied "I am the manager", "where is everyone?" I asked. "they have all gone!", "what do you mean gone? Where have they gone?". After a pause he said "they all ran away, we thought we were under attack!"

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Old 22nd Mar 2006, 18:37
  #131 (permalink)  
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I'm pretty sure Graham Rutson was there in the mid 70's too? Possibly left just before you arrived?
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Old 22nd Mar 2006, 22:28
  #132 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Herefordshire
Posts: 153
The Rats

It's been nearly 30 years! I believe I first met Graham out in the gulf in Dubai. He was flying some SF 260s for the airforce out there. He wasn't on my team but he might have been on the second team I would have to check. I could be wrong on both counts. Mike Cairns took over from George Smith. Mike owned the Clevland Flying Club at the time, the only place I ever know that had draught 'throwing beer' for those outrageous parties he used to have. One night we made a bazooka from Beer cans. We had seven cans with the tops and bottoms cut off, taped together. The last can still had the bottom on but a small hole was made at the end. A tennis ball fits perfectly in the tube. With a small amount of lighter fluid and a match at the little hole, the first shot dissapeared accross the bar and smashed the window on the far side of the club. Mike was not too pleased and banished us outside with it. The second shot we lost the ball, it went clean over the hangar and dissapeared to the other side of the airport!
I remember in Cairo at some special doo, with all the dignitaries present, Mike finished his wine got pissed off with waiting for a refill so he ate the glass ate the roses on the table, then proceeded to suck up about 10 cream caramels in the same amount of seconds! During the display over the Nile in the centre of Cairo someone thought it would be a good idea to start the fountain in the river which shoots up to about 200 feet, straight into the middle of the display area!
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Old 23rd Mar 2006, 10:07
  #133 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: ...back of the drag curve
Age: 58
Posts: 558

PLEASE tell us some more stories! And if you have the pictures too, then I'm sure somebody will help you to put them on this thread for all to see..
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Old 23rd Mar 2006, 11:58
  #134 (permalink)  
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Welcome Bob, and keep the stories coming!

I'd be pleased to help you post the pics - PM me to discuss how we can go about it

I've just had the pleasure of watching "The Airshow", "Wings in the Sun", the Rothmans promo film, as well as another chnace to see "Man in the Sky". Superb! Looked like the trip to Cairo was fun!


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Old 23rd Mar 2006, 12:15
  #135 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: uk
Age: 46
Posts: 627
Anyone that fancies a go in S2A G-WREN should ring up NSF at Sibson - the aircraft has been on the school fleet for a while and does great trade... Sadly not in her Rothmans colours any more but she still has the diesel tank for the smoke...

I work for the (now merged) Rothmans organisation. Shame we can't sponsor anything like an aeros team any more, though there are still a number of posters etc round the office.
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Old 25th Mar 2006, 09:15
  #136 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: uk
Posts: 40
Hi Bob - Norman,

I heard about this thread from one of my colleagues today. 'Glad to see you are still around. You forgot Dave Fenton in your roundup of engineers from '77, is he still about? ;-) I hope that John Brobyn still walks the earth with his unique take on life. There can be few who understand aeroplanes as 'JB' does. Happy days in the CFC before we kicked of for Africa and I will never forget the ride on the back of your Harley!
It is a great shame we all never stayed in touch better than we did, I missed David and Marcus' farewell and regret it deeply. 'Tempus' does indeed 'Fugit' and maybe we all ought to get together before too long; there are many interesting faces still around and to miss the opportunity would be a shame.
You are right, there is an enormous archive of material buried in dusty cardboard boxes and I would love to collate the stories or even write the book, perhaps a collaboration? The material would make for an excellent read if it were stitched together in the right way.

Historical gap filling:- Teeside - formed late 1977

Team 1
Bob Thompson, Marcus Edwards, George Smith (Finn), David Perrin.

Islander Support Aircraft/Team Manager - Me

David Fenton, Bob Lee (spare A/C Pilot), John Brobyn, Dilip Patel, Frank Wykes. Les Scattergood.
Home Team at Anvil.
Mike Dent was Chief Engineer for Anvil Aviation, he was in charge of the Flying Club servicing that Bob Thomspon had started and support for both teams while they were away.

George crashed from a spin which he entered from the inverted on base. It didn't happen on display but during the recovery to land after a Feathers (upward) Burst. I (we) believe that the spin was deliberate and used to position himself as he was high after the burst. I saw it as a positive flick entry and believe he cocked up the exit having missed the line one too many times. I had dinner with George the night before and we talked at length about his plans post RAT. Anyone who knew him would testify to the fact that he was unique, he certainly had talent and a bundle of qualities. Was it really twenty eight years ago?
'Finn', (Mike Findlay) replaced George in Lanzarote at short notice from his 'day job' in France renovating cottages with the occasionally flit to the Sudan to spray crops. The last time I heard from Finn he was with British Aerospace teaching where I understand he was very highly thought of.

Team 2. 1978-80
Mike Cairns, Rod Rea, Alan Dix, Brian Lecomber (Andy Warbridge - spare a/c pilot)
Bob Ruskell, Andy Legge, Pete Jones.

As I remember Mike Cairns Joined Team 1 for the Greek and first Middle East Tour. He flew as No.3 Dave Perrin No.4. When the second team was formed he took over as team leader team two, and Alan Dix became No.3 team one. Mike Finn flew in the No.4 position working up in Dubai during the first ME Tour.

I was trained to follow into the team but sadly I missed a chance whilst away on tour and never took my place as Rothmans sponsorship ceased in '80; any slot that I might have taken evaporated. Following Mike C in the '2 slot' was a riot; I almost lost control several times laughing at his 'twitch'. What a character and talent, he could turn his hand to anything; we met for the occasional sherbet in the mid eighties when he was in the Prestwick area spraying detergent on the sea. I gather he lost his license (it must have due to something he ate) and worked for British Aerospace (Prestwick) as a simulator instructor helping the next generation on it's way. I have flown with a number of them and they speak with respect and fondness for the skill and the kindness he showed them during their time in his care. Mike departed this life in the US, I believe from a heart attack. I doubt we will see his like again.

I left RAT 1 in Cairo in 1980 toward the close of the Middle East Tour after training my replacement. I joined the Royal Oman Police Air Wing in Muscat for three years and after a circuitous route through the Charter world, joined BA in '89 onto the Tri-Star. The -400 and a spell on the 737-400 followed and I am now back in LH enjoying the 777. I write this in the early hours of Saturday morning in the 'Inn at the Ballpark' in Houston before the ride home this afternoon.

Take care Bob, what an excellent thread! Probably the most memorable years of my life.

[email protected]

PS: I edit this as old info floods back into an addled brain (or my pals remind me).

Last edited by hotstart54; 29th Mar 2006 at 07:28.
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Old 25th Mar 2006, 09:21
  #137 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: uk
Posts: 40
PS: Graham was from the 'Pre-Anvil' era, he may have been on the team during the latter part of the Stampe or the Pitts. When we met him he was instructing in Dubai for the UAE Air Force flying both the -260 and the Macchi. He was instrumental in the arrangements for our 'hosting' by the Air Force in Dubai. I have no idea where he is now.
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Old 25th Mar 2006, 19:43
  #138 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: End of 27L
Posts: 88
I used to work with Graham Rutson at Oxford about 6 years ago. Iain Weston (sadly departed) was there as well.
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Old 25th Mar 2006, 22:14
  #139 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Herefordshire
Posts: 153
Welcome aboard Norman

Welcome aboard Norman, thanks for helping me out. Rmember Guinea Bissau? We were flying up the coast of Africa and we didn't have a clearance to overfly Guinea Bissau. It was quite a problem since they were reputed to be hostile. A decision was made to fly around it out to sea. However, we were still concerned that they might attack us since our formation may have been mistaken for an airforce. What Norman may not remember or even know is that those of us with a Pitts to fly were not too concerned, we rekoned that we could outmanoeuvre most of what the Bissau airforce could muster, our concern was very much for Norman and the Islander with the rest of the support crew on board. We figured that if we were to be attacked it was most likely they would go for the big prize! neadless to say we made it OK without incident.
I am deeply sorry to hear about Mike Cairns, RIP Mike. If there was ever a naughty boy in the team it was Mike, he was naughty! I remember that the Sheriton Hotel in Dubai had this water feature which cascaded water down from the seating area in the lobby. The water eventually dropped a whole floor level to the restaurant by way of a waterfall. One night Mike emptied a whole packet of soap powder into it. The consequences were spectacular. Most of the hotel staff were suddenly employed to repel a wall of soap suds from entering the restaurant. Eventually someone turned it all off and it had to be completely drained and re-filled.


Last edited by On-MarkBob; 31st Mar 2006 at 07:52.
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Old 25th Mar 2006, 22:25
  #140 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Herefordshire
Posts: 153
To Treadders

Hi Treaders,
If you could help me gets some pics on, it would be nice to do. If you can send me an E-Mail to my mailbox listed above (previous string) I could send you some picture files. I would also give you some idea what each pic is about and what was going on.

kind regards,

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