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Sywell - 1970's.

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Sywell - 1970's.

Old 14th May 2011, 01:24
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GQ2
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Sywell - 1970's.

I often visited Sywell in the 1970's. Many excellent shows with the Red Arrows (With the lovely Gnats!), the Red Devils, Rothmans, Barnstormers et al. Halcyon days. I also remember many times meeting a very affable young guy there with dark hair in about 1975 (Plus or minus a year) who was flying a red Pitts Special S1. Sadly I'm buggered if I can remember his name now...but I have a vague recollection that he was killed a year or two later.
I'm hoping that one of the many very knowledgable Ppruners on here will fill-in this annoying gap in my memory...

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Old 14th May 2011, 13:53
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Ex Pitts pilot...

.....could it have been Ian? Maclean a former Nimrod pilot?

The Ancient Mariner
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Old 14th May 2011, 17:11
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Possibly David Perrin..?
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Old 14th May 2011, 18:44
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That's a teezer.

Red Pitts?

The only Pitts on the circuit in 1975/6 were Rothmans (white and blue), Philip Meeson's G-BBOH (red and still very much around) and one of the Aerobatics International aircraft (Neil Williams, perhaps, they did fly a red one for a while).

David Perrin was flying with Rothmans in the 70s.

Roy Legg used to fly his Jungmeister (which was white, orange and blue).

Tony Harold (used to fly a red Tiger G-ANOH).

All great people.

Difficult one!

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Old 16th May 2011, 00:48
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GQ2
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Sywell 1970's.

Many thanks for the replies so far. I'm 100% sure it was a Pitts S1 and red. The pilot would have been about 22-23 I guess, so pretty young. I wonder if anyone has any photos of the shows at Sywell in '75? I recall the Red Devils having a tangle and a guy dropping and pulling his reserve which only just opened, literally at the last second above the car-park, but he was OK. That day the red S1 was parked at the very end of the flight-line at the control-tower end.
There was also an epic binge on the night, but that's remained a blur...
I wonder if anyone has any piccies of Sywell shows from that summer, especially of the flight-line aircraft....?
G-KEST man was there doing his handkerchief trick.....
Dave Perrin flew the White and blue S2A's as I recall.
Phillip Meeson's G-BBOH may be a possibility. If only I hadn't lost all my snaps from that period...!!
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Old 16th May 2011, 08:31
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The red Aerobatic International Pitts was G-BDXZ which I can recall watching Neil Williams display at Biggin Hill in 1976. Checking G-INFO, that's the year it was registered.

I also recall Phil Meeson's G-BBOH arriving outside the Surrey Aviation hangar at Biggin in probably 1977 or '78, flown by a young guy with longish dark hair - I reckon he was either David Perrin or Brendan O'Brien. Thinking further about it, it probably was Brendan as he kept his Stinson in that hangar.
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Old 16th May 2011, 14:17
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I think you will find the Aerobatics International Pitts that Neil Williams flew at Biggin Hill in '76 was 'ZPH,as that was the only one they had!The Red Pitts at Sywell was Phillip Meessons 'BBOH,which he had just bought from Ken Harness of Boston Aero Spraying.Colin Woods did the test flying for the Permit to Fly,which I also did a bit of as I had 'XNZ at the time.Also in 75 I was flying at the Expo at Sywell Jungmeister 'XNI,so can confirm that Phil Meeson was there only just after he bought it.For your information the BBC TV Flim of the '76 Biggin Hill Air Day starts with Neil in the Pitts performing his famous "Cartwheel",which John Blake has some very humourous comments about.
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Old 16th May 2011, 14:30
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Ah sorry FAStoat, should have made that clearer - it was the Battle of Britain Day in September '76 rather than the Air Fair (which I missed), I'm sure it was 'DXZ with Neil Williams in command. I didn't ever see 'ZPH until some years later for some reason.
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Old 16th May 2011, 21:02
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GQ2
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Nearly there....

Ah, the wonders of PPRuNe...! G-INFO states that G-BBOH was registered new-ish from the US by Phil Meeson 25/10/1973. It was in his name until 21/02/1989. Says it was 'New, USA' ie factory-built, but the older docs seem to suggest it was built in the UK by 'AJEP Developments'......???

FAStoat;- Thanks! I remember the Jungmeister very well...! I think it must be Phil Meeson that I had in mind, as I'm reasonably sure it was '75. Yes, - 'Expo' rings a bell too..... lots of models and trade stands in tents as well.

That all fits. If it'd been Neil Williams I'd probably have remembered, as he was so well known.
What happened to Phil Meeson, is he still flying? I wonder if there are any photos of the show knocking around..? Happy days.

Thanks to TG too - were you there too...?!
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Old 16th May 2011, 23:57
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What happened to Phil Meeson, is he still flying?
Think I am correct in saying he went to found Jet2.com........ Not sure if he is still involved. Just checked, he was still Chairman in July 2010.

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Last edited by Planemike; 17th May 2011 at 00:13.
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Old 17th May 2011, 00:10
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Phil Meeson.

PM;- Thanks for that. Good to know he's a survivor then..!
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Old 17th May 2011, 07:52
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GQ2, no I wasn't at Sywell sadly, it was beyond permissable roaming distance at the tender age I was then! Didn't get there till quite a few years later, a visit enlivened by a runaway Beagle Pup!
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Old 17th May 2011, 10:05
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Thanks.

Thanks to all the above PPruners for filling in a couple of blanks in my addled brain....!
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Old 18th May 2011, 10:02
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Regarding G BBOH which was a home build by Ken Harness,as I stated before,I dont think Ken Harness ever actually flew it himself at all!He was very busy with his Crop Spraying Company and probably did not have the time or the inclination after the 15 Hours(I think it was )required to even get as far as the Permit To Fly!!Colin was a very good friend of mine,who was flying with Rothmans and still lived fairly close to Ken at Mareham Le Fenn,so was very instrumental in getting it airborne.Phil Meeson would definitely have been the first owner with the new Permit,so that might explain it!!I definitely remember him appearing and was trying to display it at Sywell,but the organisers thought he had had too little time in it,to perform safely!!Regarding 'DXZ,I dont even remember that Registration at all!!Neil and Mike Reilly ran 'ZPH as the Aerobatics International Aeroplane in the championships with James Black,until Neil's untimely death,and I am sure they all had to fly the one aircraft!!I was at most Airshows throughout the 70s,so must have seen it,but it is lost in the memory banks.A bloody good and riotous time though!
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Old 18th May 2011, 13:19
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'DXZ was registered to Aerobatics International in May '76, sold to Philip Meeson in August '78 and cancelled by the CAA in '87.

Pretty sure it was red, but God knows, it was a long time ago! For a 12 year old listening to John Blake's commentary and only used to loops and rolls, words like "flick" and "lomcovak" were a whole new vocab and I can still recall it tumbling end over end.

Think Philip Meeson and Brian Smith were also part of the AI team later weren't they?

I can also recall G-BBOH in red with Jaeger titles doing a display just to the east of Purley around '75 or '76 - possibly for Micro Consultants who were based at Caterham and had several aeroplanes at Biggin.

Happy days - things just aint the same, eh, FAStoat!
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Old 22nd May 2011, 10:26
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I think Phil Meeson started the Marlboro Team with the then New Red one with Nigel Lamb and another-?Ian or John Taylor??,but not Brian Smith I think.Brian flew the occasional seat with the Jarvis/ Scofield Duo team ,when one or other were Airline Flying so could not do the odd Display.I think Brian was also Flying with Tradewinds so again vacant slots were filled by all 3 in the Stampe or Zlin Duo.The other Pitts S1 at that time was the BlacK/Yellow Katabatics one of John Harper,Ian Senior and Pete Kynsey.Here I think Pete Kynsey was the only Commercial Pilot amongst them flying Choppers for Bristow,before Fixed Wing with Britannia,after that I know not!Steve Grey then appeared with his Geneva Air Force,and most ended up with him or Ray Hanna's Old Flying Machine Company.Lecomber changed from Stampe to Pitts and Richard Goode appeared with his Stampe and changed to the First Extra?or Akro?We are now going from late 70s to 80s,when I was in Nigeria so I am lost then!!All most probably performed at Sywell.
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Old 22nd May 2011, 11:10
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After my time - flying scholarship at Sywell in July 61, with Les Hilditch, then allegedly in his 70s, as instructor. Lived in the old bungalows and ate in the restaurant and it all cost my parents a shilling a day - amazing. However, without that intro, I think RAF flying training might have been a hill too steep.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 00:31
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Ah Sywell ... I was an instructor there in '73/4 and they were two of the most pleasant years of my life. The students were universally enthusiasts, rather than the dilettante types with bags of cash I came across at a more metropolitan airfield later. The tower was manned by the bark-worse-than-bite "Ash" Ashburner who had instructed on the 2 seat Sopwith Baby in WW1. He hated sloppy R/T (as I still do) and responded with acid ripostes to such gems as:

G-AGVG: "Golf alpha golf victor golf downwind for a roll-on"

Ash: "Negative. You are downwind for a ROLLER. A roll-on is something a lady wears"

And the sight of CFI Paul Smith appearing inverted a few feet above the clubhouse will stay with me forever - especially after he took me with him one day ...

The female company was good too.

I'll stop now before you all fall asleep. I'm beginning to sound like my Dad.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 07:20
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Sywell- radio? What was that - I am sure we did not have radio in the Austers in 61
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Old 23rd May 2011, 09:17
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Completely drifting off the thread of course, but G-AJRB indeed did not then have a radio but when they sold 'VG the owner installed electric wireless apparatus!
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