Aviation events have been somewhat few and far between so far this year, but the Vintage Aircraft Club (VAC) finally managed to hold a small fly in at the delightful airfield at Popham in Hampshire on Sunday 23rd August. Chris Wood was there for Global Aviation Resource.
The date for the fly in had been changed on several occasions, due to a combination of Covid-19 restrictions and the weather, with a last minute change from Saturday 22nd for meteorological reasons.
Around twenty aircraft turned up from around the country, ranging from a very vintage 1933 de Havilland DH60G Moth Major, to a not-so-vintage 2015 Aviat Husky.
The majority of the visitors were tail wheel aircraft, with the British built contingent consisting of a few Austers from 1946, the Moth Major and a 1941 former Royal Air Force Tiger Moth.
Representing the early Americans were a 1941 Piper J-4A Cub Coupe (the J-4 differs from the J-3 by having side by side seating), one of only five in the UK, a 1947 Stinson Voyager and a Luscombe Silvaire plus an appropriately registered 1954 Piper PA-20 Pacer.
The French were represented by a Jodel DR1050 Ambassadeur, a pair of Fournier motor gliders in the shape of a single seat RF-3 and a two seat RF-5 and a couple of early Reims Cessna 150s.
Probably the most unusual visitor was another motor glider, a Motor Cadet, which is a powered version of the Slingsby T-7 Cadet glider. This features a forward cockpit replaced by, in this case, a 1600cc Volkswagen engine.
As well as the Husky, more modern metal present consisted of a Robin DR400, a couple of Piper Cherokees and a Vans RV-6.
The aircraft parking area was open and it was possible for visitors to get up close to the aircraft. Outdoor catering was available along with a covered seating area.
Popham, nestling in rolling Hampshire countryside, was an appropriate venue for the VACs fly in, being home to a number of vintage aircraft, and having a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. One of the resident aircraft, a former Royal Air Force Bulldog T1 wearing Bristol University Air Squadron markings, was parked with the visiting aircraft.
Founded in 1964, the aim of the Vintage Aircraft Club is to provide a focal body for owners, pilots and enthusiasts of vintage and classic light aircraft. It arranges fly-ins and other events and also publishes a quarterly magazine for its members. Its spiritual home was Finmere in Buckinghamshire but it now resides a few miles away at Turweston, along with the Light Aircraft Association (LAA) of which it is a member.
Additionally, annually the VAC sponsors one pilot for a taildragger conversion course, and it has recently facilitated the transfer of an unfinished Eastbourne Monoplane replica from the Brooklands Museum to the Cornwall Aviation Heritage Trust at Newquay Airport. The intention is that it will be used to help teach young people new skills and foster an interest in vintage aviation.
The VAC currently has around 350 members, around half of which are aircraft owners. It is always keen to welcome new members of all ages, particularly younger ones. Details can be found on its website
Their next event is another fly in, this time at Turweston on Saturday 5th September.