Tuesday, 19 August 2008

de Havillands at Sywell

A few days ago a flight of deHavillands landed at Sywell, re-fuelled, then taxyed over to The Aviator, where their passengers de-planed (horrible word) and carried their luggage across the grass to the hotel; that's really travelling in style.

I didn't see G-ECAN land. The first I saw of her was when she was refuelling. Phil and I speculated that she was a Dragon Rapide but were both doubtful because of her square windows and squared-off wing tips. I later talked to the owner of that and a gorgeous, red aeroplane and it turned out to be a DH84 Dragon. The red beauty was a Dragonfly, one of only two, and the only one in the Northern Hemisphere.

I suggested that Ben get his Dragonfly, also red, out on the grass under its deHavilland namesake for a photo opportunity not to be missed...but he hesitated too long and soon the DH90 was surrounded by other models: Tiger Moths, a Hornet Moth and others.

One of the privileges of being a student at the flying school is being able to walk on the field when other plane-spotters have to stand, green with envy, behind the security fence. I wandered over to the deHavillands, where I got chatting to Geoff Collins - a photographer and enthusiast who had come in on the DH89 and was in the process of cleaning her. He very kindly let me climb up into the cabin and squeeze between the seats (people were small in the '30s!), up the aisle to the one-seat cockpit.

I was particularly interested in some of the more pedestrian details, like the segmented sliding windows...neat design. Amusing to see a Garmin GPS mounted alongside the 1930s dials and controls.

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