The Great North Fly-In (GNFI) is a two day event held in 2013 at the former World War Two Spitfire base at Eshott Airfield in Northumberland over the weekend of 15/16 June. Michael Frodsham guest reports for GAR.
The airfield owner has allowed this event to take place now for several years and its purpose is to raise money for the Royal British Legion, Help For Heroes and Fallen Fusiliers charities. The airfield owner does not collect any landing fees but does accept donations from visiting pilots for his named charities.
All the money collected at GNFI goes directly to the charities and this year’s donation was the highest to date with an impressive £3,226 raised over the two days.
Sadly, the weather on the Saturday wasn’t good, so the number of aircraft visiting was down on last year’s event; I visited on the Sunday when the weather was a lot better.
The event is a chance for both the locals, and for those who travel from further away, to encounter recreational aviation at close quarters, with a relaxed approach and friendly atmosphere.
As well as visiting aircraft, the airfield is home to both light aircraft and around 50 microlights, the most notable of which is G-CHTX Voltair 86. This aircraft is electrically powered using a huge battery to drive a motor instead of an engine as used on traditional aircraft. The aircraft has been built by a local engineer and, although it hasn’t flown yet, once a few minor problems are fixed it is expected to be in the sky very soon.
The fly-in also provides:
– vintage and classic cars;
– military vehicles;
– large model aircraft;
– cockpit displays; and
– BBQ, beer tent and camping facilities for visiting pilots
Although there are no flying displays, fly-throughs are fairly common and various types can be seen buzzing the airfield as they transit past or call in for a quick look.
Also visiting this year was a large collection of paragliders and a favourite of mine, a hovercraft, which sped around on the grass.
All in all, a great day out and something for us northern aviation enthusiasts to look forward to; hopefully next year will see a few more visitors arrive as this event gets bigger and bigger.