By Daniel Frampton
Thruxton Circuit stepped back in time and reverberated to the sounds and sights of the finest Historic and Classic motor racing in the country. With a total of 12 races over 2 days, it showcased some of the finest historic motor racing. This year for the first time they added heritage aviation to the event, and which we were invited to be a part of.
We arrived on Friday to prepare the landing zone for the arrival of the rotary wing of The Flight. The Scout led the arrival on a warm summer’s evening and, with the help of George Bacon, Bob GIllan set the Scout down with inch perfect precision.
The Sioux followed behind with Rich Pillans at the controls. Once shutdown, we attached the wheels and pushed her into place close to the Scout.
We had a prime location on the grass on the infield as you exit the tunnel by the control tower, under the main straight, linking to the infield of the circuit. We set up a rope perimeter and left for the evening.
On Saturday, the first day of the event, the three of us unloaded the gazebo and proceeded to inflate it and peg it down. On went the sides and we were ready for the public.
We engaged with many people of all ages and abilities, veterans, adults and children. Both aircraft invoked memories with the veterans and many stories were told.
As we were at a race meeting, there was a lot of technical interest and questions, especially about the Sioux, as visitors and competitors could relate better to its piston engine than to the gas turbine of the Scout.
We took off the rear doors of the Scout and offered people the ability to sit in her; everyone was given the opportunity to wear a helmet. The smiles were palpable and when we offered to go “Full Top Gun” by swinging in the mic and lowering the dark visor, the smiles became greater and greater.
Over the two days we engaged with approximately 300 people per day and many fliers, cards and colouring books were handed out. There was also a lot of interest in our passenger flights.