Gareth Stringer's 2010 blogGAR Entries

FEB 11 2010
A catch-up and a request for feedback

Having said that – where to start? I guess our second place in the Flightglobal Aviation Awards, The Webbies, is pretty much top of the list. To say I was delighted is something of an understatement, especially bearing in mind the prestigious nature of the awards, the competition we were up against and the fact that we only launched last May. Second place was a very creditable result for us and the judges’ comments on GAR were extremely encouraging.

One interesting point they made, and one that has stimulated some discussion among the team, was with regard to the extent that we interact with the GAR community. At the moment we are using Facebook and Twitter in the main and I myself am an active Tweeter, or Twitterer, or whatever you call it! I do Tweet on GAR matters and we also use a separate account for promoting our weekly updates etc. We are also able to promote on some of the main forums and I must say that Fighter Control, Civilian Aviation, Scramble and Fencecheck have been particularly supportive and recognise that our content might be of interest to their readers. While these sites produce some of their own quality features we do not regard each other as competitors and, with no forum on GAR, there is little reason for us to do so. Looking at the analytics it is fascinating to see where our content is linked and where people are visiting from, it now seems to have developed a life of its own and in some ways the promotion seems to look after itself – I guess that’s one of the benefits of updating without fail on the same day every week.

The comment button at the bottom of every GAR feature is utilised to varying degrees but here’s my question for you. Should we be doing more by way of interaction? What would you like to see us do or do you feel that we already do enough? Feel free to use the comment button below to let us know. We’d appreciate the feedback!

Our visit to Coventry Airport a few weeks ago was fantastic. Steve Bridgewater was the consummate host, giving us all the time we needed and patiently answering everything in what was a fairly lengthy interview session. It really is the most fascinating place to walk around and I’m sure that AIRBASE, the forthcoming visitor centre, will be a great success. This is no museum and Classic Flight’s mantra that pretty much everything you see is either airworthy or potentially airworthy is an excellent one.

We were fortunate enough to witness the Shackleton undergoing an engine-run as we walked around the Classic Flight collection and as both Karl and I said afterwards it was a sight neither of us was expecting to see – a real bonus. She only has three Griffons fitted at present as one of them has been sold to a company in Dubai but she still looked and sounded magnificent and once they have fitted a replacement fourth engine she’ll be an even more impressive sight for visitors lucky enough to catch her running.

Last week saw us visiting a pair of stations in Lincolnshire, and we started at an extremely foggy RAF Waddington for a sit down with the airshow team to discuss this year’s event. This was a hugely informative session and all being well the feature will appear next Tuesday. In many ways it’s a natural follow-up to Mark Broadbent’s feature on military airshow participation and it reaffirms much of what Mark discussed in that piece. Attracting military participation is not easy for the three RAF shows that remain and, as you will see when the feature is published, that is as a result of many factors. David Thomas, who is part of the airshow team, joined us for the interview and, once we had finished discussing the show, we moved on to an informal chat about display flying and all manner of other aviation matters. He’s an affable and marvellously interesting man who has of course enjoyed an incredibly varied flying career; and I can honestly say that I could have sat there listening to his memories for the rest of the day!

That would have made us late for our second appointment of the day however which was at RAF Coningsby. Unfortunately I’m not at liberty to say too much about that one as it was a meeting rather than an interview but all will become clear soon enough and, after a little bit of toing and froing this week, we have secured clearance to progress with some plans for later this year. We actually arrived at Coningsby with about an hour and a half to spare so Karl and I stopped in the town, purchased two substantial portions of fish and chips from Chipmunks and headed down to the viewing area at the 07 end. The weather was grey and miserable but nowhere near as foggy as it had been at Waddington and, while it really wasn’t worth getting a camera out, we sat there enjoying lunch and watched a number of Typhoon movements. Karl even managed to get my scanner working, for the first time since it was purchased I hasten to add, and then demonstrated that he was far more adept than I at actually working out what was being said!

Finally I must mention the exclusive piece we published revealing the paint scheme that Flt Lt Tom Saunders’ Hawk display aircraft will wear this season. Tom and I had actually prepared the feature well in advance and we merely had to wait for the approval and then push the button. We got quite close the week before, or at least we thought we had, but it ended being another ten days or so before the piece could go live. It was probably more frustrating for Tom than it was for us but needless to say we were all excited to see the reaction once it was revealed and it was a relief to call him on the Friday evening and be able to tell him that the comments were coming in and were hugely positive - not that you can please everyone of course!

This hopefully won’t be our first exclusive of that nature in 2010 and we’ll also be visiting Tom again soon to see how his preparations for the 2010 season are going.

GAR wants to interact with its readers so if you have a question for the author or a comment to make on this feature, please click on the button below. The best comments will appear right here on GAR.

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2010-02-16 - Harlequin67

I did see in the current copy of Airliners World that Glenn had come second in the Photographer of the Year award. I think GAR would want to highlight this achievement by one of it's team. This would further underline the talent GAR has.



2010-02-12 - Mike Kruiper
Hi Gareth,

It's hard to be even more interactive, commenting on an article and be a fan on facebook, leave tweets at twitter. It's all pretty interactive, unless you want "outsiders" to post articles and/or photos or let them go with some of the GAR team to find out whats happening in the aviators world, but that might a tad too interactive. To be honest I think it is just fine as it is right now.

2010-02-11 - Dunk
Excellent blog update, always nice to know what's in the pipeline. Got me thinking on the potential CBY story...
Keep up the good work fellas


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