George Santayana the Spanish philosopher and essayist is responsible for two of my favourite literary quotes. They are “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. And, because presumably no one paid much attention to those words he is also credited with “only the dead have seen the end of war.”
The poignancy of these words is not lost on me each time I see the aircraft of the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll have read of a previous encounter with the Lancaster. The sight and sound of the aircraft of the flight stirs my emotions like practically nothing else; so an invite to photograph their Public Display Authorisation displays at RAF Coningsby was a very pleasant surprise.
I wasnt planning to go to the Fly to the Past event at Kidlington Airport north of Oxford. However when the Vulcan cancelled during the week due to a fuel leak which, despite the best efforts of its dedicated and hard working engineering team, couldnt be fixed in time. The organisers swiftly replaced the aviation equivalent of Bloatware (i.e. a great product but it comes with lots of unnecessary rubbish) with the Sea Vixen my mind was swiftly changed.
The show itself was a bit of a Curates Egg. The plan was to intermix live action with pre-recorded montages on big screens overylaying live action of the flying display. This involved obscuring the paying public’s view of the action. A nice idea that didnt quite work.
But that didnt detract from the Sea Vixen (notr the rest of the flying acts as long as you could dodge the screens and see them), read on for a selection of shots from my favourite displays from the day (more…)
The beer was cold and inviting as it sat bubbling away almost silently on the table. I was sitting with my feet up on the patio having a well earned rest after finishing off the lawn mowing. Just to make the evening perfect, I was finishing off some home made fruit pie. Life doesnt get much better than this! The birds were serenading me as I sat there; in fact there were no man made sounds on offer, just the evening chorus from my feathered neighbours as they busied themselves with the business of feeding fledglings and setting down for the night.
Then, the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. Very faintly, unseen in the distance I heard a rumble. Not just any rumble, a Rolls Royce rumble. It was the sound that the ears of many hundreds of groundcrew members strained to hear in the dark days of World War II. The sound I have loved ever since I was a small child and the sound, above all others that brings lightness into the heart of this cynical (some times too cynical) erstwhile and possibly lapsing Aviation Enthusiast I leaped from my chair, grabbed my beer and ran to the end of the garden. My eyes straining into the setting sun I searched out the source of the sound. (more…)