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Fairflight Biggin Hill

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Fairflight Biggin Hill

Old 15th Oct 2014, 13:27
  #61 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: north downs
Posts: 1
Fairflight Biggin Hill

Hi all,

I worked at Biggin Hill when Fairflight was very new, left in 1981 to join B.Cal but was the first " hostie"
Still see Ian and Jan Faggetter, Ed Murton, and hear about Pete Morgan through the Faggetters. Saw Nicky a few years ago but lost touch again.
My brother learnt to fly with Barrie Lawless when he was instructing at S & K ( brother now with T.Cook on airbus)
More names to remember:
Gordon Burdess ( left UK to live in Barbados)
Reg Mulligan
Paul Mulligan
Had the best laughs in the former years of Fairflight - everything done by the seat of our pants and such a great community at Biggin Hill - Marks Bar and Kingair Bars on Friday nights - soo much fun!!
Annette Sheen ( now Watson)
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Old 17th Oct 2014, 12:56
  #62 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Cloud 9
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Working for Air UK back in the day, operating a number of Bandits and then Sheds, I recall, with humour, just what a shambles Fairflight were.

Our contact man, I'm sure, was a "Mike", his family name is on the tip of my tongue but for the life of me I can't remember it.

It was common that Fairflight would rob bits off one aircraft to keep other aircraft flying but then came the day when they were preparing USAF Sherpa's for transatlantic travel.

The USAF didn't take too kindly to bits of USAF aircraft flying around on Air UK, Eastern Airways, GenAir and ConnectAir, to name but a few, aircraft and one day we were on the phone with Mike when we could hear this USAF officer losing his cool in the background and by all accounts he then started sleeping in his aircraft just to stop Fairflight robbing bits from it.

Just as well we didn't take life too seriously

Last edited by Phileas Fogg; 17th Oct 2014 at 13:09.
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Old 18th Oct 2014, 19:03
  #63 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Europe
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Paul Mulligan is at Southend of course, owning/running 24/7 Jet, just in case there's anyone who doesn't know that already. Or he was last time I looked.
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Old 21st Oct 2014, 01:54
  #64 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: canada
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Hello probationary pruner Sheene.
Those were the days for sure.
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Old 21st Oct 2014, 09:56
  #65 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Tweet Rob_Benham Famous author. Well, slightly famous.
Age: 80
Posts: 4,696
Who was the boss man who was also a BOAC/BA VC10 pilot?
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Old 21st Oct 2014, 13:44
  #66 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: downtown Toronto
Posts: 37
Gordon Burdess & Reg Mulligan were both BA.


BTW, Loose Rivets, are there any hard copies of your book available?

Last edited by Frankie B; 21st Oct 2014 at 14:07. Reason: additions
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Old 24th Oct 2014, 14:44
  #67 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Farningham
Age: 76
Posts: 21
Does anyone remember that AZTEC G-BDAX ?

Left hand engine chucked out black smoke and stopped when you most needed it !

Or was I the only one brave enough to fly it ?
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Old 24th Oct 2014, 17:51
  #68 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Wherever someone will pay me to do fun stuff
Posts: 1,083
Am I right in recalling Ziggy Evans was with Fairflight or Ecosse?
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Old 24th Oct 2014, 20:22
  #69 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: downtown Toronto
Posts: 37
Ziggy Evans

Good old Ziggy. Was planning his retirement to Spain. Died in the Ecosse crewroom in ABZ. Just went to sleep & didn't wake up. We didn't know he'd actually lied about his age until then. He was a sweetie.
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Old 24th Oct 2014, 20:47
  #70 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Wherever someone will pay me to do fun stuff
Posts: 1,083
Indeed, Frankie. Chatted to him just a day or two before he had his last doze. Was very sad to hear that he'd left us. As you say, a sweetie - I have many happy memories of hitching rides with him, on the Bandits down to Luton, I think.

Last edited by LookingForAJob; 24th Oct 2014 at 22:23.
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Old 28th Oct 2014, 18:25
  #71 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Jun 2001
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BTW, Loose Rivets, are there any hard copies of your book available?
Sadly, no. I threw it onto Kindle while preparing to head back to the UK from Texas and certain, erm, upheavals in my life, have left me unmotivated to say the least. However, I'm bouncing back and intend to pull The Perfect Code and try to streamline it before finalizing the second book. By streamline, I mean get rid of a load of overcomplicated dross.

Really, it's the absolute absence of curiosity about some of the mysteries I left dangling that made me lose heart. I don't know if the book's too complicated or so trivial that no one gives a . . . fig.
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Old 18th Nov 2014, 23:33
  #72 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Looking for the signals square at LHR
Posts: 183
A bit of deja vue here, Phileas Fogg.

Clearly things didn't change much from the shenanigans involved in keeping the DH114s in the air.

Does anyone remember those stinking day-old chicks?
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Old 19th Nov 2014, 13:36
  #73 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: France
Age: 75
Posts: 6,339
Barrie Lawless's widow is a friend of ours here in France and was considering posting an entry on the thread. However, she is a bit concerned as to whether she would be welcome, so a bit of feedback on that point would be appreciated. As many will know from earlier posts, Barrie passed away 4 years ago. He often told stories of his times at Biggin and the people he met there and even though he made Captain, he always missed the camaraderie and fun he had when working for a small outfit.


W
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Old 20th Nov 2014, 11:55
  #74 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Apr 1998
Location: 18nm N of LGW
Posts: 6,192
Why would Barrie Lawless's wife not be allowed to make a contribution here? It is not up to anyone other than we mods who is welcome here or not. Please tell her to write to her heart's content. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. Anyway, I remember Barrie as one of the good guys at Biggin.
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Old 20th Nov 2014, 12:46
  #75 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Age: 75
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PPPop - Barrie's widow was not criticising, just a bit nervous of "diving in". I will pass on the message. Many thanks W
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Old 23rd Nov 2014, 22:34
  #76 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Looking for the signals square at LHR
Posts: 183
I worked at Biggin Hill when Fairflight was very new, left in 1981 to join B.Cal but was the first " hostie"

Hello Annette - I presume you mean when Fairflight was "very new" at Biggin.

The trading title goes back a long way, to shortly after the Berlin Airlift in fact. The original company was founded by AVM Donald Bennett to whom I applied for a position at Blackbushe in the early 'sixties - I didn't get the flying job but I was privileged to meet an extraordinary man. Subsequently Bennett sold the name to the Biggin Hill concern - I have fond (well, quite fond) memories of the Herons there.
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Old 24th Nov 2014, 09:45
  #77 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Croydon
Age: 63
Posts: 52
I note that Fairflight was hardly even "very new at Biggin" in 1981 as my introduction to (and short lived occupation within) the world of aircraft mechanics was to be employed by them about ten years earlier when, from my perspective, Fred Mulligan ran the practical side of the business in a continuum of harmony and conflict with his son Paul. I worked mostly as an assistant to two other mechanics, one from Africa (Zaki perhaps?) and an Indian whose name escapes me, under a supervisor very possibly named Wally.

These were the days of maintaining Doves and Herons belonging to other outfits as well as those of the company including Oscar India and Fox Zulu, the later which was destroyed by fire on the tarmac outside the hangar whilst undergoing a major maintenance check.

Back then, Biggin was still a small village community starring the likes of Bill Webb and his own red painted Dove, Coby with the majestic moustache living between the wooden control tower and his red Prentice (which for some reason my brain can still remember to have been be registered G-APPL!), Robin the Lord with his Red Roller and his ever present young friends and the diminutive Stan huddled over the single electric heater in the fuel hut in the company of his somewhat larger girlfriend Daisy.

Behind the hangar was a tiny welding and machine workshop, filled with equipment and stuff where Bill - could it have been Burrup? - much to my youthful fascination and amazement, could fabricate various highly complex aircraft components from plain sheets of steel or other metal stock.

Others remembered from that time were David Merritt, who had small office somewhere adjacent to Dillow's cafe and the office of Jock Maitland and I think his then assistant or colleague David Orme. At the other end of the hangar was the cleaning business of Mark Campbell (sadly lost with Ted White in Malta a few years later).

At around that time or maybe a little earlier, another most obvious presence in the vicinity was the slowly disintegrating, white painted Lancaster which thankfully was eventually preserved to become the now better known Just Jane that will - perhaps - one day be able to fly for a return visit.

Warming memories from what now feels to have been a totally different life to this one...
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Old 24th Nov 2014, 13:48
  #78 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
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Would the Indian gentlemen you were talking about be Pat Patel by any chance?
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Old 24th Nov 2014, 19:20
  #79 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Croydon
Age: 63
Posts: 52
Flightmech


Pat Patel?
It would be wrong of me to state with absolute certainty that it was not Pat Patel but I don't think that was the name.
Strangely I can visualise a face and even have a strong sense of the man having quiet and well spoken voice; late twenties, early thirties perhaps, classic Indian - or maybe Pakistani? - features. Serious and competent I recollect but certainly wishing that he was working in a rather more salubrious organisation and environment.
But maybe most of this is my imagination. It was after all nearly forty five long years ago!
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Old 24th Nov 2014, 22:20
  #80 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Looking for the signals square at LHR
Posts: 183
Back then, Biggin was still a small village community starring the likes of Bill Webb and his own red painted Dove, Coby with the majestic moustache living between the wooden control tower and his red Prentice (which for some reason my brain can still remember to have been be registered G-APPL!), Robin the Lord with his Red Roller and his ever present young friends and the diminutive Stan huddled over the single electric heater in the fuel hut in the company of his somewhat larger girlfriend Daisy.

Yes, it definitely was a close-knit community and with its fair share of characters. I was forever trying to get Robin to ask for Coby's Prentice to be moved from below his window to somehere less prominent - I thought it was just about he ugliest kite ever produced and always looked a bit forlorn stuck out in the middle. Stan dreaded seeing me arriving as he nearly always had to convey the unpleasant news that he couldn't help because this owner or that club had not paid its fuel bill. Without pockets bulging with cash, I was unlikely to get airborne at Biggin, at least not in a private capacity.

I have written on another thread of having tea and biscuits in Jock Maitland's office after disfiguring his green sward with a rather spectacular ground loop. He could be fierce and rug dances weren't much fun. Another fierce type was Douglas Bader with whom I crossed swords when tired and short-tempered after a late flight from Horsham St Faith in really filthy weather. He was Chairman of the local RAFA who used the Biggin Hill Flying Club as a meeting place. He gave me a dressing-down for disturbing their affairs and I responded in similarly unpleasant vein - in my judgment, he was a very rude man. Not long after this, the club was sold to Spooner Aviation and my chum, John Bryan, the CFI, moved on to be replaced by a Scotsman. I moved on too to enjoy Gordon King's Chipmunk and bar - in that order I hasten to point out! I was less enamoured of his Apache.

In many respects, and looking back on things some 45 years ago when I (and the Britannias) were last there, Biggin was a special place and most certainly represented a way of life totally unrecognisable by those who go there now. I've been trying to remember the name of the club which operated the Fourniers on t'other side. Colin Dyne could be found over there too.

Happy days.

Last edited by Gipsy Queen; 25th Nov 2014 at 08:25. Reason: spling mustake
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