Adventures with G-AKDN - Chapter 23

KDN on display at the Freddy March Spirit of Aviation Display

WOW! That is the lasting impression of KDN’s visit to the Goodwood Revival last weekend. To be invited to take part in the prestigious Freddy March Spirit of Aviation Display, was a once in a lifetime opportunity. With her racing numbers on, KDN fit right in as we landed on the famous grass runway, surrounded by the unique historical Goodwood Race Track. It was the start of three memorable days.

KDN was greeted and put on prominent display among two dozen rare and diverse vintage aircraft. We were entered in the Concours d’Elegance and KDN was favoured to win, but there were a few aircraft present that had been completely rebuilt from the ground up with obvious unlimited budgets. We believed KDN actually filled the judging criteria better than any other aircraft on display, but most of the judges were influenced by the big budgets and Lord March’s appreciation and support of originality and preservation was overlooked. Accompanied by Sonja Fillingham, we spent the weekend presenting KDN to the thousands of knowledgeable and enthusiastic visitors. All appreciated KDN’s condition and history and we were made to feel very welcome and special for having brought her to the event. It was great fun.

Everyone at the event was dressed in period cloths. The whole venue appeared as if we had travelled back in time. All of the race cars and motorcycles were pre 1966 and the quality and range of the collection was staggering. There were qualifying heats and races scheduled throughout the weekend and the racing was fierce. I was under the impression the vintage racers were running at modest speeds to protect their priceless cars. Not true. Race drivers can’t drive slowly and every race was a nail biter. The track is actually the old WW2 airbase perimeter track and is like no other track in the world. It is just as it was designed and has maintained the authentic appearance. All the paddocks, pits and garages haven’t changed over the years. The whole place has an intimate friendly feel and the atmosphere wasn’t dampened with the rain that fell on Saturday.

The Earl and Countess of March host an annual Saturday night party we were invited to. Expecting a black tie affair we were surprised to get a note from Lord March that it was a Batman theme and we were to come dressed as a super hero or comic book character! A scramble to find appropriate dress and we arrived to find three very large marquee tents filled with about 1500 guests! The décor was over the top with a bat cave, bat car, and batman-decorated tables, complete with dance floor and bars. The food, entertainment, music and conversations were fantastic. We had the time of our lives, as did everyone else. There were some sore heads the next morning at the racetrack. But that didn’t lower the volume or speed of the race cars, motorcycles and airplanes.

Goodwood was a fitting finish to the special events KDN attended this summer in the UK. As the Ambassador for the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, KDN represented the best of our country’s aviation history and made a lasting impression on thousands of people. KDN is about to start a new chapter in her life, and I am preparing her and myself for that over the next few days. It’s been an awesome adventure. WOW!

To be continued...

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Canada Aviation and Space Museum