Aero Expo, Sywell: May 2014

If you were not there in person you’ll no doubt be interested to hear how it was at this last weekend’s Aero Expo held at Sywell at which, of course, our club was “on show” for the first time. Well, to be very brief about it, and to summarise the initial thoughts of we who were present in one word, I can report that word as SUCCESS.

Other than for the first part of Friday morning when the cloud base was lower than ideal, the weather was kind throughout and the show attracted many visitors by air and road, especially for the first two days. Our club was allocated a small marquee/large tent that was equipped with some tables and chairs and these, together with the table and folding chairs that Marj and Hilary brought by road, made for a pretty cosy VPAC base as you’ll see below. That appearance was considerably enhanced by the presence of the immaculate Supercub owned by local VPACer, Olivier Garrigue who was kind enough to position the aircraft by our tent for the duration of the event and to be present for much of the time to explain and to show it to the visitors. For most of the Expo we were kept enjoyably busy talking to the aviation public, to visiting fellow Club members, selling the Club’s wares and signing up 10 new members. In fact, both Mike and I have said that we would like to repeat our presence at next year’s Expo, but we would like a little more help in order to see some of the show ourselves!

The organisers of the show were very good in providing what they did for us and for all the Club’s members they provided free tea and coffee in an adjacent tent together with a buffet lunch on the Friday and Saturday. OK, so there was no buffet on Sunday, but we didn’t care, especially since we were so close to the fish and chip trailer!

The organisers had promised us a common parking area for our Vintage Pipers and for most of the event they did manage to park our aircraft in one line as a result of the marshallers being well briefed.

However, we couldn’t see the parking area from the tent so it wasn’t possible to see the different Vintage Pipers arriving, but on occasion we did find a little time to get out and take a few photos of the parked machines (see below). One aircraft that we certainly did get out to photograph was the group-owned Tripacer, G-AREL that flew in from its White Waltham base each day with a different crew at the controls. The aircraft has recently been refurbished to an excellent standard by all of its 12 co-owners and I’m delighted to report that this aircraft was the winner of only two “Best in Show” awards, the photo below showing its crew, Roger and Ray (Roger now a VPAC member) on the Sunday receiving the prize from Alex Ayling, the event’s organiser. The prize was a bottle of champagne and a very stylish angle-poise lamp, the base of which was fashioned from an aircraft piston. Congratulations to all of AREL’s owners; well done guys.

It was about 4 o’clock on Sunday afternoon that things began to wind down and the work of dismantling everything began. We emptied our tent and carried the contents to the car which Marj and Hilary then drove all the way home to Cheshire. The hitherto busy aircraft parking area was now fairly empty when the penultimate Vintage Piper to leave Sywell took to the sky as Mike Mothershaw climbed away in his yellow Vagabond. After he had gone I took a stroll around the show area as it was being rapidly rapidly dismantled and I did have the time to talk to the Eclipse light jet’s sales team and give the aircraft a quick viewing. I forget just how many million it would cost to buy one, but, let’s face it, if you can run a personal jet the exact details aren’t too important. However, as I climbed away into the smooth skies over Sywell, despite the attractions of the Eclipse, I did decide to stick with my trusty Colt, Winnie May….the last of the Vintage PIpers to lift from the runway and the 2014 Aero Expo. Hope to see you at the

2015 Expo and a few low-quality photos are below to give you a flavour; no doubt some good quality pics will appear on the web-site in the next few days.