Monday, 1 July 2002

Past Meetings - Kemble 2002

Twenty of the draw-winners prepare to mount a C-47 (Dakota) for an Air Experience Flight

Another year has come and gone and, once again we can say that we 'got away with it!'. The event was looking in great jeopardy due to the weather in the previous few days, but on Saturday morning we saw lots of blue sky at Kemble and had no doubts about pressing the 'GO' button. We were fortunate enough to land 93 of the scheduled 123 aircraft (about 75%) and six pilots arrived with their passengers by road. We entertained 219 air crew - plus several spouses of those arriving by road - and in all we had roughly 380 attendees (the food for 450 people all went!).

Harrier pilot John Farley. John Farley kindly offered to give his Harrier presentation, and in the event went through his talk twice due to the high demand. John makes it sound so easy to fly the Harrier that his entire audience was just itching to get at the controls. We are very grateful to John for making the long journey to Kemble on our behalf and risking his expensive equipment in less than ideal conditions.

There was a bit of a hiccough over the minibus. We were expecting the visiting aircraft to park close by the tower, thus eliminating the need for a transfer bus. On the day the grass was too wet so the recently deactivated runway was used for parking, necessitating the use of the minibus on transfer duties. This delayed the start of the museums shuttle, but we just about managed.

The 'museums' (Delta Jets, Bristol Britannia and the Bristol Aero Museum) proved to be very popular visits, keeping the shuttle bus very busy. A big 'thank you' must go to the drivers John Milne, Robin Davis, Phil Barbour and Peter Jenkins. At one point we could not get the bus back to the tower due to the long line of departing aircraft!

The The C-47 and Chipmunk fire up for their Air Experience Flights undoubted stars of the day were the C47 and Dove, proving to be in great demand by all for extra flights. Unfortunately we were not able to seat everybody in the aircraft, but between them they flew about 108 passengers in four sorties. Alongside these aircraft we also ran the aerobatic flights with Gerard Clark (Cap 10), Phil Cottrel and Stephen Brue (DHC1 Chipmunks) taking four passengers each for a bit of 'acrobatics'.

One big surprise for everybody was the period band. Setting up about 2:30 and playing for 90 minutes they provided great entertainment and proved to be extremely popular. Thanks go to Ian Burnstock for thinking this one up - a marvellous idea.

Several of the air crew were kind enough to say that Kemble was 'the best year yet'. We were somewhat concerned as we had to arrange all of the entertainment ourselves - at Duxford everything you could possibly want is already in place. However, on the day we were all very pleased with the end result.

Finally a huge vote of thanks to all of the pilots and air crew for taking part - without you we could not do it. Thank you.

The Credits

  • Kemble Airfield for allowing Project Propeller to take over the place for the day.
  • John Farley for his Harrier presentations.
  • Bob Dixon for his opening words, tireless help with the C47 and all-round assistance.
  • Victor Gauntlett, Wings Venture Ltd and Personal Plane Services for the C47 and Dove (and of course the aircraft crews).
  • The Air Training Corps cadets and CO for their help in all departments
  • Flyer magazine, Ian Seager and Nick Wall for sponsoring the marquee, tables and chairs.
  • Delta Jets for opening the hangar for us at no charge (a donation has been made by Project Propeller).
  • The Bristol Britannia for welcoming us at no charge (a donation has been made by Project Propeller).
  • Longmarsh vehicle rental (Wellingborough) for supplying the minibus free of charge
  • Chris McGine for taking the photographs
  • Alan Holt (GAvA) for donating a print to be used as deemed appropriate by Project Propeller

Guest Book Comments

This what some of our guests have had to say:

Jack Ball, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire

This is a note of appreciation for all the hard work and care that went into the arrangements for Project Propeller. My thanks go to all concerned for the considersation shown to us old fellows.
Our pilot, Howard Gold, was charming and efficient and help to make it an enjoyable day.
Please accept the enclosed cheque towards expenses. Sincerely.

Cyril Bullock, Wickford, Essex

I wish to express my deep appreciation to the Project Propeller team for all the hard work which produced such an enjoyable day at Kemble on 8th June.

John Guy, Saffron Walden, Essex

Thank you all for the work undertaken that made the 8th June such a memorable day, not only for myself but also for all of the others from my branch who were able to attend at Kemble.
To have such a full day and for everything to go just like clockwork requires a great deal of time and effort, and this is very much appreciated. I do not know how the idea came into being, but Project Propeller has been an inspiration. It forms the perfect bridge between our two generations, both of whom have this love of flying.
Our warm apprecuation goes to the entire Project Propeller team.

Reg Spencer, Irchester, Northamptonshire

Thank you very much for a very nice day on Saturday at Kemble. I enjoyed the whole day and it was a pity that we had to leave a little early due to the Sywell Ball.
I enclose a cheque toward Project Propeller's funds. Thanks again for Saturday.

Gerry Taylor, Maidenhead, Berkshire

Just a short note to say thank you for once again organising the Project Propeller day for 2002.
It really was a very enjoyable day at Kemble - we were well looked after and John Farley's talk made it all sound so simple! The museums were full of interesting exhibits.
The weather was not too bad either, although a bit more murky on our return!
I appreciated Jack Randall's generosity in loading myself and Charles Holliday aboard for the flights and a spot of map reading!
Once again many thanks.

Jack Warwick, West Wratting, Cambridgeshire

Another wonderful day! For my New Zealand skipper, Doug Hawker, it was the brightest of his holiday in the UK, especialy when at the age of 85 he was invited to take the controls.
And it was nice to be entertained by the band and to watch the jitter-bugging. Memories for us of the 'Gliderdrome' at Boston, and others had similar memories of war-time dance halls all over the country providing a welcome bit of relaxation between 'ops'.
Do hope the indefatigable band of helpers and organisers can take it easy for a while, but also hope you will feel able to organise another next year, though it is more than we should ask.
With all good wishes and many thanks, yours aye.