Adventures with G-AKDN - Chapter 20
The Hurricane was a sitting duck as he lowered his landing gear. I got as close as safely able and pointed my airplane directly at it and just enjoyed the experience for a moment. He started pulling away from me so I pressed the button on my control column and said out loud ‘tac-a-tac-a-tac- a-tac”. I was shooting imaginary bullets but my words went out over the radio for all to hear. I was on final approach to the famous Farnborough Airshow and flying number two behind the famous Hawker Hurricane. I couldn’t let the moment pass without taking a shot at him. Everyone on the frequency heard my voice and no one said a word. They all understood and probably would have done the same thing given the opportunity. And what an opportunity this was.
The Farnborough Airshow history dates back to the 1920’s and was one of the very first public events that KDN was displayed at in 1947. Farnborough was the first event to offer KDN an invitation to attend and was the motivation for us to plan the UK tour. The event was everything we expected. KDN was greeted as special and put on display show center right beside the Airbus A380 that put on an impressive flying display. We were pleased to see Canada had a visible presence with a large display building and every participant’s credentials were branded with Canada. KDN fit right in as the Canada Aviation and Space Museum Ambassador.
This is a world-class event with aircraft and visitors from every country. We met and visited with hundreds of people who all took great interest in KDN’s history and the Museum’s association with it. The people we met were great. Lots of children with a keen interest in aviation. They asked a lot of smart questions and were thoroughly engaged with KDN. One lady commented she had seen a news clip of Sonja Fillingham flying with me in KDN. I was surprised when she told me she was watching the news on her TV in Cape Town, South Africa at the time!
James’s wife Carolyn and two son’s Charles and William joined Karen and Me at the Royal International Air Tattoo and here at Farnborough. It was bittersweet having them here without James. He would have really enjoyed this. Karen and I departed with KDN the following Monday. It was sad to see the exhibits being dismantled and aircraft departing for destinations around the globe. It was a real accomplishment for us to have flown KDN into Farnborough 69 years after it’s first appearance. It closed a loop and for me it helped reach some closure with the loss of my KDN partner James. We can relax now for a bit and look forward to participating in some much more grassroots flying events. As it turns out in a week KDN would have another once in a lifetime reunion.
To be continued...