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The Air Touring Club - Biggin Hill: History Sought

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The Air Touring Club - Biggin Hill: History Sought

Old 21st Oct 2020, 11:32
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ashwell
Posts: 378
Thanks treadigraph. The search continues.
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Old 31st Dec 2020, 17:04
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Looking for the signals square at LHR
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Originally Posted by VictorGolf View Post
Did the Air Touring Club ever use the Victa Airtourer? I'm helping an Australian friend who is trying to update the history of the Victas and I seem to remember that the ATC might have had one or two.
Only just discovered this thread - I was searching for info on Colin Dyne with whom I did my multi GFT many years ago and was directed here.

During my time at Biggin, there were only two Victa/Glos Airtourers on the field. These were G-ATCK and G-AWOZ and both were operated by the Biggin Hill Flying Club. The club also ran an old MS880B that might have come from Air Touring. I remember taking Gordon King to Headcorn in CK in one of my more hilarious flights in the days before flying became swamped with regulation and professionalism. Sadly, both Airtourers as well as Gordon and Lillian King no longer are with us.

It is a cruel irony that Tim Doyle's Chipmunk, often borrowed by Air Touring for spin recovery training, was lost a few years later in failing to recover from a spin over the Dartford Marshes. Tim and his son Richard also have flown west - I'm beginning to feel a bit lonely.

Last edited by Gipsy Queen; 31st Dec 2020 at 17:17.
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Old 1st Jan 2021, 09:57
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Thanks for your input, Gipsy Queen, and a Happy New Year to you. I only have the dates of the accidents to 'TCK (25/8/74) and 'WOZ (7/6/75). Do you happen to have any more details such as where and how they happened?
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Old 1st Jan 2021, 10:38
  #24 (permalink)  
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VictorGolf, a bit more detail about their losses in this thread...
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Old 1st Jan 2021, 11:49
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Oh dear thank you "treadigraph" for the very sad update on the Airtourers. There is reference to a Lady Bracknell being upset at the news. What was her involvement?
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Old 1st Jan 2021, 17:10
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
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VG

Sorry, I can't help with any further detail - I'd gone from Biggin by 1974, although I knew Barry Hodson quite well.

And another apology if the reference to Lady Bracknell was unduly obscure. In Wilde's entertaining nonsense The Importance of Being Ernest, Lady Bracknell when being told that another character in the cast has lost two parents, responds; "To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness." It was to the loss of both Airtourers that this reference was made. At the time of writing, I was unaware of the loss of life involved, so perhaps I should have avoided the flippancy.

And a happy New Year to you too. Let's hope that the deadly duo of Boris/Covid allow some reasonable prospect of this.
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 08:37
  #27 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Thanks GQ, that makes it clear. It's a long time since GCE O-level English Literature so I missed the reference
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 21:43
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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VG

I've sent a PM.
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Old 3rd Jan 2021, 10:42
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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HI GQ. Roger, reply sent.
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Old 19th Apr 2021, 19:37
  #30 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
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I last flew with Airtouring on 10/12/1988. That was my last flight before family and career took over. The aircraft was a TB9 G-BIZR I used to fly both TB9s and 10s and I remember the club being very professional but also extremely friendly. Im glad to see Roger Pattinson is still around he was the CFI in those days and he was very accepting of me having crossed over from BHSF where Id crashed one of their AA5s! My instructor was John Sutehall at BHSF whom Im still in touch with and hes a captain with DHL these days. Happy times and a great place to fly
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Old 21st Apr 2021, 05:44
  #31 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Never go back it is always a shock

Many years after doing my 'short' PPL there I had cause to obtain some Rallye spares from the club whilst Pat Patel was still around. A few years after that I called at Biggin whilst visiting the nearby Kenley (an even bigger shock).
ATC had only just been vacated so it was the same as my PPL days but no people or aircraft. However it also bought back very fond memories of the place which started me off in the 'power' dept after years of gliding. Biggin itself was a complete change, and certainly not for the better. It brings home how lucky we were to experience both the club and Biggin in their heyday (Dillows Cafe) Coby and co, JM keeping it all going. Jock had 'enabled' it in 59 when Croydon closed, and what a GA centre it became, plus starting the careers of hundreds of pilots and engineers. When I called in to find a club for my 'conversion' there were over a dozen to choose from and the sky was dark with machines in the circuit, with non radio using the grass.
The fact that most people at the time were trying to fly on a budget only made the place more friendly so all in all it was a great gift of aviation for those starting off.
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Old 21st Apr 2021, 08:27
  #32 (permalink)  
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I first visited Biggin in '75 with the Scouts for a ride in a Rallye (G-BAOI) from ATS. During school holidays there were very few weeks I didn't bus, cycle or occasionally walk (14 mile round trip!) up at least once, often two or three times in the late '70s and early '80s. Nearly always something interesting to be seen and if 29 was in use, I'd sit with my back against the blast pen wall close to Sportair's hangar and watch the comings and goings... security guard would do his rounds and stop to say "hello". None of this access road business, if you wanted to go to ATS, you went round the peri-track.

Looking at Google Maps now, I see the eastern end of 29 and the grass to the north of it is now becoming a vast apron, and I assume hangars will appear.

The first Tobago at ATS in '79 was a complete surprise, I'd never heard anything about the type! I reckon every TB-9/10/20 that joined the UK register went through their hands for at least 10 years. Looking at Flight Tracker, I still see the familiar registrations pop up occasionally! Now it's full of Spitfires which is perhaps a good replacement - but a shame ATS and Sportair disappeared...

No, you can't go back...

Do we need a Biggin-specific thread?
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Old 26th Apr 2021, 07:13
  #33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Biggin was 'THE PLACE' to be in the 60's for anything aviation south of London. Apart from the growing clubs many aircraft used the custom facilities for the French connection, and it was here that I saw my first real Turbulent close up when the pretty little machine (with canopy) dropped in on its way back from the continent.
As I recall it was getting rather late and the machine popped in onto the runway by the GA apron and the driver taxied 'tail up' and parked up followed by a hasty run across to do the paperwork thing. A few minutes later he reappeared (I am nearby) and still wearing a LJ hopped in saying he was in a bit of a hurry to get to Redhill before dark. He then bent forward and pulled the cable operated (lawn motor type) starter and headed towards the downhill taxiway, which then became the convenient runway for his departure !!. For me this was a pivotal moment in deciding that gliding around the Kenley circuit was not to be my only aviation involvement.
I was in the same place some time later when my eyes gazed upon a beautiful RF3 going past (wings rocking on the hoops) which only confirmed that with its VW engine powered flight was affordable even for me. Biggin was a mecca for anyone who aspired to fly, and formed part of an aviation triangle together with Croydon and Kenley, that not only served the Country well in two conflicts, but provided a continued boost to the 'air minded' youth in peace.
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