Guernsey Press

Aviation enthusiasts Meet the Pilots ahead of display

THE stars of tomorrow's Guernsey Air Display were out in full force on the airport’s east apron today, as aviation enthusiasts had the opportunity to get up close with the aircraft and pilots.

Andy Davis of the Navy Wings with the Harvard he will be flying for the Guernsey Air Display. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 33322896)

Almost all of the planes taking part – including a Hurricane, Swordfish and two Mustang X-Rays from the French Air Force – were available to look at, with younger visitors to the Ravenscroft-sponsored event even able to sit in some of the aircraft and pose for pictures.

Event organiser Gary Elson said that the majority of the aircraft had arrived on-island this morning.

‘Some will be hangared overnight in preparation for tomorrow, while others will just stay where they are,’ he said.

‘Big thanks to Aiglle for helping accommodate them, and it’s great to see so many people here enjoying looking at them.’

Among the aircraft on display was the lightweight Jet Pitts – a plane weighing only 1,550lbs but equipped with two jet engines, which help to deliver a thrust of more than 1,700lbs.

Pilot Richard Goodwin built the plane himself, and said it was capable of flying at up to 200mph.

Here for his sixth air display, Mr Goodwin said his performance would feature a number of acrobatic tricks that were inspired by watching other displays over the years.

‘This plane is pretty unique. It took a while to get the jet engines through the regulator but it’s great to fly,’ he added.

Starting today’s display will be Team Raven, a formation aerobatic display team which has brought over six Van RV aircraft, each capable of flying at 220mph.

Pilot Simon Shirley said the team would start as a group of six, then split into smaller units before ending as a group.

‘We always want to keep the audience entertained and make sure that there’s something to look at, even when we are preparing for our next section,’ he said.

‘I recommend keeping an eye on the smoke the planes release, as that’ll indicate where to look.’

Naval aviation charity Navy Wings has brought over its Harvard and Swordfish planes for the event, and chief pilot Andy Davis – who will be flying the Harvard –said that both planes had a storied history.

‘The Harvard was used for counter-insurgency operations in Mozambique in the 1960s, while this Swordfish is the oldest airworthy one in the world,’ he said.

Jane Wright had brought her children Maisie, 9, Ellie, 7, Rosie, 6, and James, 5, down to Guernsey from Alderney especially for the air display, and said they had all enjoyed seeing the aircraft up close.

‘They all love planes and they missed the Red Arrows last year, so they were desperate to see them this year,' she said.

‘They were really glad to have had the chance to sit in Rich Goodwin’s plane, it’ll be something they’ll remember for a long time.’