Karl Drage's 2010 blogGAR Entries

APR 22 2010
Karl's April Catch-Up

I can't believe six weeks have past since my last blogGAR entry! Time literally does seem to have flown by of late, and the forecast for the coming weeks is for more of the same - assuming Eyjafjallajokull continues to behave itself sufficiently to not prompt another halt in aviation activities!

In case you've been wondering why some of the content we've made reference to recently hasn't appeared yet, we took the decision to keep a number of articles on hold to help us through the period of purdah - the ban on members of the armed forces from talking to the media in the run up to the general election. Rest assured it'll all appear in the coming weeks, along with the launch of our Battle of Britain 70th Anniversary microsite.

As we referenced in Tuesday's push, we're now only a handful of days away from the start of the 2010 airshow season, and while Abingdon will be my venue of choice for that first weekend, we shouldn't overlook the fact that the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden also get underway on the same day - my philosophy has always been that Abingdon comes but once a year, whereas Old Warden hosts an event seemingly every other weekend during the summer months.

Before that though, this Sunday, April 25th, North Weald will be hosting its 'Gathering of Warbirds and Veterans'. At the time of writing more than 40 aircraft ranging from Spitfires and Hurricanes through to MiG-17s, Jet Provosts and the resident Vampire are expected to be on display on the ground, and by all accounts at least one of the Jet Provosts and the Vampire are expected to be active on the day. Assuming everybody makes it, it promises to be a really good event to whet the appetite for the season ahead.

It's great to hear that the 2010 Royal Air Force Typhoon Display Pilot has finally been unmasked. He's Flt Lt Tim 'TC' Clement, and our paths crossed regularly over a period of about eight weeks in the summer of 2007, when he was still flying the Jaguar with 6 Sqn at the time of the type's withdrawal.

He began his Typhoon Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) course with 29(R) Sqn soon after and qualified on the type in early-2008, before going on to instruct other would-be Typhoon pilots. It's not TC's first instructional tour, however, with him having been 'creamed off' following advanced flying training and going on to spend three years at RAF Linton-on-Ouse as a Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) on the Tucano.

Everything we've seen and heard suggests that TC's really looking to take the RAF Typhoon Display to the next level, and I for one can't wait to see the routine for myself, rather than as a series of diagrams on the display office wall!

Already this week Gareth and I have attended the Breitling Wingwalkers press launch at the picture-perfect RFC Rendcomb, where Vic Norman's team unveiled the new colours that their charges will sport for the next two years. There'll be lots more on this in next week's update.

One visit has been lost due to the havoc wreaked upon all things aviation by the Icelandic volcano though. We had been scheduled to get our first Army Air Corps piece in the bag today with a visit to 673 Sqn - the Apache OCU - at Middle Wallop, but alas it's not just the airlines that have been forced to plan and replan their activities. All being well it's something we can get rescheduled for the coming weeks.

Dunny and I do fully intend to be at North Weald on Sunday though, so if any of you are there and you see us, please do say hello.

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