Gareth Stringer's 2011 blogGAR Entries

FEB 07 2011
Northolt nightshoot, Cotswold Airshow Volunteers and Gulf War 20th

Hello folks.

Hope you are all doing well, a little better than I have been anyway! Having gloated pre-Xmas when everyone else seemed to succumb to coughs and colds it finally caught up with me a couple of weeks ago and Iíve been feeling rough ever since. Retribution some might say but while the chaps among you reading this will know just how serious man-flu can be, Iím pretty sure Iíll survive!

It did mean a hopeless delay in posting the Eurofighter goodies to those of you fortunate enough to win our Christmas competition but by the time you read this Iím sure most of the UK winners at least will already be putting the posters up and using the groovy little Typhoon key ring! I've had a couple of thank you emails and messages to say they are arriving which is great news.

It doesnít really feel as if Iíve achieved that much this year so far, but only because my trips out and about have been fairly limited. I was struck down just over a fortnight ago which meant that I was unfortunately unable to attend the nightshoot at Northolt. With other GAR staff members otherwise engaged and three of them at RAF Cranwell for the Dominie retirement this was the first nightshoot we were unable to dedicate a full feature to since GAR began.

For that reason, and the fact that he seems to have grasped the nightshoot technique very well and very quickly, I asked Gavin Weaver if I could use his images for this blogGAR. It is clearly getting harder for Phil Dawe and his team, the impact of defence cuts and such like is obvious, but while he can still attract 'new' aircraft, like he did with Martin Bakerís stunning Gloster Meteor, he deserves our utmost support.

Letís not forget that these events benefit something of great historical significance in Building 27 and that project will be ongoing and to a great extent dependant on Northoltís nightshoots so letís hope they continue. And well done Gav, good work with the images!

Another event which needs some support at the moment, but in a very different way, is the Cotswold Airshow. Like many shows it requires a large number of volunteers to run smoothly, not just over the airshow weekend itself but, equally importantly, for the set-up which takes place in the week or so preceding the event.

This yearís show should be a cracker and experienced volunteer Pete Buckingham is currently on a recruitment drive to find others who might be happy to help. Thereís a Facebook group where you can learn more about the Cotswold Airport Events Team CLICK HERE or we can pass on Peteís email address to anyone who might want to ask him a few questions or indeed register their interest in volunteering. Just click the comment button at the bottom of the page. I can promise you a great time with great people at a great airshow Ė and you wonít even need to buy tickets to get in Ė what more could you want?!

One event I did attend a few weeks ago was a weekend gathering to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first Gulf War. It was open to all those based out of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia during the conflict and allowed me to interview a number of people about the Tornado GR.1ís deployment and the part it played in Desert Storm.

It was a fascinating day spent in the company of some lovely people who were only too happy to tell me some incredible stories. Part one of the two pieces that event generated will run as part of tomorrow's update and we also have pieces on the Buccaneer and the Tornado F.3 to come in a series of features to mark the 20th anniversary. I hope you enjoy them as much as we have putting them together.

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