EAC NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2016
*SEPTEMBER EDITION WITH 2016 AIRSHOW NEWS AND FIRST PREVIEW ON EAC CONVENTION 2017 WILL BE PUBLISHED ON SEPT 20
CRASH AND DEATH OF SCOTTY WILSON
It is as if he spoke to us yesterday: our good friend Scotty Wilson crashed with his splendid Bugatti aircraft in Oklahoma yesterday 06 August. We send you this terrible news and present our sincere condolences to his family and friends; more info here;
FRANCE SPECTACLES AERIENS GATHERS ON DECEMBER 3
The French are gathering in Lyon Ecully on December 3 for their annual meeting. It will be the 3rd edition of their great convention.
The British Air Display Association holds a POST SEASON SYMPOSIUM on 3 & 4 November 2016 . BADA continues its great airshow work after the challenges of 2015 and set a good example in doing so, keeping us and ICAS informed by John Turner.
NEXT EAC CONVENTION 02 – 04 March 2017, MALTA
Our organisation will organise its next edition of the EAC Convention again in Malta. Bazsed on the received remarks from most of you we shall keep the convention in Malta in the same hotel as last year and improving certain important details.
So, as we see that the flights are still cheap for that period and that f.i. Ryanair is adding several flights to Malta we invite you to book your flights as early as now.
YOUR DATES FOR 2017 and 2018 PLEASE
Airshows are no longer a national only scheduling challenge. Although all our efforts we see that a clash of dates still remains a problem on certain dates. So may we invite all of you to enter the dates for 2017 and even 2018 in a way we can deconflict or else start cooperation between shows in order to change a problem in a win-win situation.
ICAS LAS VEGAS
Our American colleagues will organise their next convention in Paris Hotel Las Vegas on 5/6/7/8 December of this year.
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We have a interesting article of Dudley Henriques, involved with flight safety as a pilot, instructor, and advisor, about the P51 Mustang and the landing issues. you can see here.
We would like to react to the tragic incidents that occurred in Shoreham and Dittingen over the weekend. On Saturday August 22nd we saw the dramatic crash of a Hunter in the UK, another incident occurred today in Switzerland, during an airshow in Dittingen.
First of all we express our support and condolences for the families and friends of the victims. As airshow organizers, we work hard in our own country as well as in Europe, to professionalise everybody involved in airshows. As an organizer of whatever type of event we think it is our duty to do so.
We do not personally know the pilot or the organisers of the Shoreham Airshow, even though the airshow exists for years. The organisers are not a member of the European Airshow Council (EAC), but of the British BADA association. It is tragic the people became victims of the incident. As an organization we continuously work to mitigate the risks for visitors and the neighborhood; Traditionally UK has high standards and an outstanding reputation in terms of safety at airshows.
The organisers of the Dittingen airshow are long-time members of the EAC. In Dittingen, one of the pilots did not survive the incident. The other other pilot was able to land. There were no casualties on the ground.
Today it is too early to comment on the causes of both incidents. For that, we need to await the outcome of the investigation that is currently under way.
The damage that has been caused is severe but exceptional. We are convinced that we should proceed, together with the airforce and her experts, with the work that we have been doing over the past few years. The fascination for aviation in general and the interest in airshow among the audience is big. Next to state of the art planes and technology, also the historical element is of great importance..
We respect the obligation to adhere to very strict regulations. Every participant has to perform a mandatory rehearsal flight prior to the airshow, so that corrections or a stop of the show can be implemented if needed. During an airshow a flight safety committee of at least 3 experienced pilots, that are in constant and direct contact with the display director, will monitor every display.
The FAI presented Air14 Airshow Director Col. GS Ian Logan with the FAI Diplôme d’Honneur during the “Inspiration Dinner” organised by the airshow committee in Payerne, Switzerland, on Saturday 30 August 2014. The award was attributed “In warm appreciation for his outstanding work as Meeting Director of Air14 and for the excellent promotion of aviation to the public during the airshow in Payerne”.
Five hundred selected participants were present, among them FAI Executive Director Beat Neuenschwander, FAI Secretary General Susanne Schödel, former and current international Air Chiefs as well as civil and military aviation personalities.
During the dinner, Mr Neuenschwander took the floor for a speech and highlighted the exemplary efforts for the promotion of young talents in Switzerland and the excellent civil-military partnership in the use of the Swiss airspace, before handing the Diploma to Col. GS Ian Logan. He congratulated him and the whole Event Team on the successful organisation of Air14, underlining the broad international appeal of the event and the wide success amongst the public, hoping that this great showcase of aviation would inspire many a youngster to start a career in aviation.
From August 29 and for about ten days, the AIR14 Airshow commemorates in Payerne, Switzerland, the 100 years of the Swiss Air Force, the 50th anniversary of the Patrouille Suisse and the 25th anniversary of the Swiss PC-7 TEAM. The event – the biggest ever organised in Switzerland – is expected to attract a total of more than 300’000 visitors which can enjoy a wide-ranged programme of aviation activities including demonstration flights of legendary aircraft, prestigious international aerobatic teams and powerful jets and the display of dozens of aircraft to dive back into the history of Swiss aviation.
ICAS presented two ICAS Special Achievement Awards during this year’s Chairman’s Banquet. The first went to Gilbert Buekenberghs of the European Airshow Council, the sister organization of ICAS in Europe. Buekenberghs has been the principal driving force behind the Sanicole International Air Show in Belgium for more than 30 years. But he was recognized by the ICAS Board of Directors for his pioneering work in establishing the EAC, an organization that is providing coordination, education and momentum to air show professionals throughout Europe.
The Royal International Air Tattoo’s Chief Executive Tim Prince was invested with an honour awarded in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2009, an award he accepted on behalf of everyone who’s made the Air Tattoo what it is. Mr Prince was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to the RAF Charitable Trust, and he was invested with the medal by Her Majesty the Queen at a ceremony at Windsor Castle. Mr Prince said: “It was a real honour to be awarded the OBE for services to the Trust. I was very aware that I was receiving it on behalf of everyone who, over the years, has helped build the organisation – and, in particular, the Air Tattoo. It really reflects the outstanding things that we’ve done over the years.” It was an occasion to be remembered as Tim, accompanied by wife Penny and sons Hugh and Rufus (all of whom have been RIAT volunteers), received his award.Mr Prince added: “Her Majesty said she hoped things had all worked out since her visit in 2008, when the torrential rain led to the cancellation. I said that they had, and suggested that she might like to come back to see us again . . .
The Board of the EAC has lost one of its original Members who was an enthusiastic founder and supporter of the European Airshow Council when it became a more formal organisation meeting annually in Belgium. Dieter Thomas participated in the early meetings that decided to make “Safety and Excellence at Airshows” the central theme of the new multi-national Airshow organisation. With his enormous experience as a test and display pilot, Dieter was an important member of the Board and he played a full part in setting the objectives and ethics of the EAC. An active Board Member he also was a forthright and clear speaker at the annual Conventions and his contribution to discussions amongst all delegates earned great respect. In recent years Dieter stood down from the duties of Board Member but continued to give technical advice and support. His many friends and admirers within the world of airshows will miss his mischievous and infectious sense of humour and his willingness to help and advice to those who were less experienced than himself.
David was raised in Irchester, Northamptonshire and was the younger of two brothers. Their home was close to Podington aerodrome and the sound of USAAF 8th Air Force B-17 Fortresses must have had a huge influence on their childhood and both their future passions. David spent his post war National Service in the RAF and trained as a pilot on Provost and Vampire aircraft. His slightly cavalier attitude to regulation was shown when, on a solo cross country in a Provost, he made a very low pass over the fields behind his parents home. He learned the hard way never to make such a spectacle twice as an observant neighbour reported him to the authorities. Retribution followed which probably eliminated any further progress in the service. Having qualified as an architect David went into practice in Wellingborough but never ceased his interest in aviation. His speciality was in radio controlled model aircraft and he was one of the foremost designers and builders of such machines. Ultimately there must be countless thousands of modellers that have used his plans and kits to make successful and practical aircraft over past decades. No doubt this will continue into the future as a fitting memorial to a talented and dedicated modelling legend. He was also a gifted writer having published many classic books on aeromodelling and was the editor of the best selling RCME magazine for many years along with other related publications. Ventures into the world of Film and TV led him to masterminding the “Wings” TV series. This involved designing, constructing and flying large scale radio controlled replicas of early Edwardian era aeroplanes and into WW1 types. He made Dakota’s for the “Airline” series and even ventured into full size aeroplanes when he designed the extensive modifications needed to a Tiger Moth to transform it into a BE2C for an American film company. This was test flown at Sywell by his brother Charles. However the film was never put into production. The aircraft went to the USA where it was wrecked in an accident. That very aeroplane is now being lovingly restored at Sywell by Charles’ son Matthew and should take to the air again after nearly 40 years of dust collection during 2010. The Biggles biplane will rise once more.
David pioneered the flying and filming of large scale R/C model aircraft from a helicopter. I remember being a passenger at Sywell in an Alouette 2, flown by the incomparable French chopper ace Gilbert Chomat in close, very close, formation with a “Mighty Mannock” semi-scale WW1 biplane. David was in the back with his transmitter controlling the model with the utmost precision right from takeoff to landing. Quite an experience for me but David was as cool as the proverbial cucumber. Full size aviation was never David’s consuming interest however when his elder brother Charles was killed in 1970 while filming in Ireland and flying a Miles built replica of an SE5A WW1 fighter he filled a vital role. Charles, along with a number of fellow flying enthusiasts, had formed the Barnstormers Flying Circus in 1963 and by 1970 they were putting on up to 20 airshows each season right across the UK and Ireland. Charles was the lynchpin of the organisation and its prime manager for, essentially, a loose association of like minded airshow pilots and enthusiasts. His loss was an enormous tragedy but, no doubt after considerable thought, David stepped into the breach.
The pattern of previous years continued almost seamlessly under David’s guidance though there were times both happy and sad. I well remember him driving me back to Sywell the day following my horrendous mid-air collision with Colin Goodman at Weston-Super-Mare. We had been doing a flour bombing routine, Colin in his Tiger G-ANMO and myself in a borrowed Rothmans team Stampe G-AYGR. We collided at around 150 feet, meshed together and literally plummeted to earth. Colin and his Blue Eagles team pilot passenger were badly injured but with the luck of the devil I escaped with a smashed bonedome, slight concussion and a huge bruise all the way down my right side from shoulder to ankle. Our conversations on the way home certainly helped me come to terms with what had happened. Eventually the demands of his architectural practice and his modelling commitments meant that his management of the Barnstormers had to be passed on. Mike Parker took over for many years before handing the reins to Ross Willis who, with the ever escalating costs associated with airshow organisation, gently let activity run down in the early years of the 21st century. Displays right across the UK and many European venues had been organised for the entertainment of millions over some four decades. The Flying Circus concept continues under the experienced guidance of Captain Dennis Neville and based at RAF Henlow. Dennis cut his display wisdom teeth with the Barnstormers along with his delightful wife Tricia, now an accomplished display pilot herself. So many of the aerodromes where displays were mounted are no longer in existence. Doncaster, Sunderland, Weston-super-Mare, Badminton, Dornsode, Ghent, Podington, Portsmouth and Fochabers come to mind………… Ah well, tempus fugit…………….. As those with a classical education might say. But we sure had fun while it lasted and it lasted through well over half my lifetime.
After David had been diagnosed with cancer his condition deteriorated until he was admitted to hospital for an extended period. The eventual prognosis was bad and he was recently discharged to go home. Devoted care from Jill and the family made his final days as comfortable as was possible and this was aided by McMillan nurses who spent many hours looking after him. The end was made easier with morphine to soften the pain but David finally slipped away from us in the late dark hours of 9th April May he rest in peace and may Jill and his family derive comfort in the knowledge that their husband and father was an immense personality in General Aviation. In fact he truly was a general and I am proud to have known him so well. Thank you David for being such an important part of my life in aviation. Along with countless others I will miss your talents and humour. Perhaps we may meet again in the fullness of time. I do hope so for it would be a magic reunion with all those aviation friends who are now no longer with us.