RAF Reserve Flying Club Display At Hatfield - July 22nd 1933
"Flight" Report July 27th 1933
THE promoters and organisers of the
first display to be held by the Royal Air Force Reserve Flying Club
are to be heartily congratulated. Hatfield Aerodrome is, of course,
a very pleasant place, the clubhouse delightful, and the swimming
bath a great asset, especially on a hot day. These, however, were
only incidental to the success and smooth running of the Saturday
afternoon of July 22. Nothing went wrong for the very simple reason
that everything went right, and that was due to but one thing,
organisation that had paid the greatest attention to even the
smallest detail. The display was not on a large scale, and there was
an overwhelming crowd to be looked
after, which no doubt had much to do with the enjoyment which
every-one experienced during the afternoon and evening, for quality
is generally a greater asset than quantity. As regards the flying,
there again quantity gave way to quality, and quality, indeed, of a
high order. In fact, everything was of the best, Providence provided
a glorious day, de Havilland's an excellent aerodrome, the company
—well they provided themselves—and F/O. R. E. G. Brittain and his
band of willing and able helpers saw to it that all present were
enabled to spend a very enjoyable afternoon and evening.
The programme started off with the launching of the Club's first machine, a " Gipsy Moth," by Mrs. Leckie, the wife of Group Capt. R. Leckie, the Superintendent of the R.A.F. Reserve. This machine looked very smart with its tail painted in the colours of the Royal Air Force, red, dark blue and light blue, and a shield of the same colours, with Reserve Flying Club written across it, emblazoned on the fuselage in front of the wings. Flt. Lt. W. E. P. Johnson, A.F.C., R.A.F.O., then took up a D.H. " Tiger Moth " and gave his usual polished demonstration of inverted flying and aerobatics. The next item was a fly past by instructors from the various Reserve training schools. Air Service Training were represented by Fit. Lt. R. P. P. Pope, D.F.C., flying an Avro " Cadet " fitted with a " Genet Major," and F/O. W. F. Murray flying a Saro " Cutty Sark " with two " Genet- Majors." The Bristol Aeroplane & Motor Co. by F/O. T. W. Campbell flying a " Tiger Moth " (" Gipsy "). The de Havilland School of Flying by F/O. A. J. Harris, also on a " Tiger Moth." The North Sea Aerial & General Transport Company by Fit. Lt. A. G. Loton on a Blackburn B.2 " Trainer " (" Gipsy III ").
It was a very staid fly past, but
that was as it should be, since all the pilots were instructors.
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ALL " KESTRELS " : Flt. Lt. Staniland in a Fairey Firefly and three Hawker Furies of No 1 Fighter Squadron all with Kestrel engines.
which Flt. Lt. Bulman put his machine were two especially worthy of note ; one, a long climb but a few degrees off the vertical, at the top of which, when it seemed the machine must surely fall out of the pilot's hands, Bulman flicked it over on to its back and then half-rolled into normal flying position ; the other, an inverted climb after a dive with the throttle pulled back for the space of 10 sec.
After Mr. John Tranum had
successfully done his usual parachute drop, Flt. Lt. C. S. Staniland,
R.A.F.O. took up a Fairey " Firefly," also fitted with a Rolls-Royce
" Kestrel." It was noticed that this machine had Belgian markings.
His three full rolls across the aerodrome at a height of only a few
hundred feet were beautiful to watch, as were also his continued
rolls about a vertical axis an a climb, and his tight vertical turns
round the enclosure were very spectacular. Flt. Lt. Staniland also
did an inverted climb after a dive and, following Bulman's ex-ample,
pulled back his throttle, but not for quite such a long period.
To appreciate fully the remarkable skill
with which these two pilots handled these two machines the spectator
must needs be a pilot of more than a little experience. Both
demonstrations were very convincing and evoked exclamations of
admiration from many of the best judges present.
Three pilots from the Central Flying School, Flt. Lt. H. A. Constantine, F/O. H. J. Pringle and F/O. P. B. Coote, then took three Avro " Tutors " (" Lynx " engines) into the air and climbed to a height of 2,000 ft. in perfect formation. While they were so doing, No. 600 City of London (Bomber) Squadron flew past in formation, punctually to the time appointed on the programme. The C.F.S. instructors provided quite a little thrill to those who were watching carefully. When flying in formation at barely 1,000 ft. over the enclosure, with the leading machine inverted, the left wing of the machine on the right very nearly touched the leader's right wing as the latter rolled over to normal flying position. The landing of these three machines was as perfect as a formation landing could be.
The last event was a demonstration of flight aerobatics by three pilots of No. 1 (Fighter) Squadron flying Hawker " Furies," the pilots being Flt. Lt. O. E. Carter, F/O. H. Pilling and Sgt. Pit. C. Scragg. They did their usual " flight roll " which disproves the proverb " Familiarity breeds contempt," that is, from a spectator's point of view. Incidentally, it appears that pilots of this Squadron spend their spare hours both on the ground and in the air in evolving , new, complicated and probably spectacular aerobatic evolutions. During the flying events, at 4 o'clock to be precise, the Most Hon. the Marquess of Londonderry, K.G., M.V.O., Secretary of State for Air, arrived in a Hawker " Tomtit " with the new Wolseley engine.
A special word of praise must be given to Sqd. Ldr. W. Helmore for his clear and precise announcing, and it was very noticeable that he had the common sense to keep quiet when a machine was flying past and so likely to drown his voice. There were present at this display contingents of machines from the Bristol Flying School, from Brough and from A.S.T. Brough sent down a contingent of five machines, three of which were flown by Reserve pilots undergoing training. They returned the same evening as did also the Bristol contingent.
The officers from Hamble, however, or at least some of them, found the attractions at Hatfield too great and stayed the night. While on the subject of the Reserve schools and their machines it might be mentioned that some of the registration letters were peculiarly suitable and in one case, perhaps, even significant. For instance, one of the Bristol
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machines possessed the letters S. W. (a
little problem for the inquisitive) ; one of the de Havilland School
machines possessed the letters D.H. (obvious) ; and the " Cutty Sark
" from Hamble had the significant letters G-ACOP. Had Lord Trenchard
been present he might have noticed this, perhaps with pleasure.
And so has been inaugurated the Royal Air Force Reserve Flying Club, which has been formed to provide cheap flying for pilots who have at one time held commissions in the Air Force or the Reserve, which, of course, includes the Oxford and Cambridge University Air Squadrons. F/O. R. E. G. Brittain and those who have worked with him' to form this Club are to be congratulated on the .success which has so far attended their efforts. They have chosen an excellent aerodrome from which to operate, and from the list of Vice-Presidents, which includes Sir C. Ll. Bullock, the Director of Training, the Superintendent of the Reserve, and the Director of Civil Aviation, it appears the Club has the official blessing of the Air Ministry. The President of the Club is Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Trenchard, G.C.B., D.S.O., D.C.L., L.L.D., and here, too, the Club must consider themselves to be highly honoured, and it is always nice to have the police on your side. Among other people who helped to make the meeting a success were Sir H. Brittain, K.B.E., C.M.G., L.L.D., Fit. Lt. R. W. Reeve, D.F.C., M.M., Aerodrome Control Officer F /O. A. G. Lamplugh and F/O. W. A. Hammerton.