The Northern Aviators held their annual Great North Fly-in on the weekend of 21 -22 June at Eshott Airfield in Northumberland. Michael Frodsham guest reports for GAR.
Organised by the Northern Aviators, a group of enthusiastic light aircraft pilots based in Northern England, Scotland and Ireland, the Great North Fly-in is one of a series of aviation events and social gatherings held to promote aviation in the North-East of the UK. This year’s event followed the same theme as previous fly-ins, with all money raised being donated to the Royal British Legion, Help for Heroes and Fallen Fusiliers charities. Once again airfield owner Storm Smith allowed this event to take place at his former World War Two base at Eshott, Northumberland. Storm does not collect any landing or entrance fees himself, but a donation is greatly accepted for his named charities.
During World War Two, RAF Eshott played host to No. 57 Operation Training Unit’s Spitfires prior to the unit’s relocation to RAF Boulmer in August 1944. Today the airfield is home to both Northumberland Microlights and Purple Aviation, the latter of which offers private pilot training with their fleet of light aircraft, alongside a raft of general aviation types. The Great North Fly-in attracts a large number of visiting aircraft to the airfield over the two day event, with this year’s total being just short of 170 aircraft.
Amongst them were a number of interesting light aircraft, including fixed undercarriage Silence Twister G-TWSS, the stocky Denney Kitfox Mk4 G-BUKF and the sleek Sky Arrow 650 T G-GULP with its Rotax pusher propeller. More common visitors comprised the likes of Jabiru, Bolkow Monsun, Eurostar, Piper Robin, Europa and Vans RV-6, amongst many others. In all, the Fly-in offered a nice range of aircraft covering the full spectrum of light aviation.
The Fly-in’s relaxed approach makes it a great family day out, not only for aircraft enthusiasts. Other attractions attending the fly-in included a gathering of vintage cars, courtesy of the North East American Car Club and North East Mini Club, and military vehicles from the North East Military Vehicle Club, as well as a number of remote control aeroplanes from the Large Model Aircraft Association. On-site camping was available with a live band, BBQ and beer tent for those who wished to stay the night, making it a very social event with far more on offer than just the flying element.
The Great North Fly-in is the busiest aviation event for any enthusiast located in the North-East of England, with the event improving year on year. This year, the donations collected at the event totalled £4,359, which is an increase on previous events.
Once again, it was a great event and thanks must go to Storm Smith for allowing the event to take place on his airfield, and of course Chester Potts and his volunteers for making the weekend so enjoyable.
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