Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Shuttleworth Airship Disaster

Welcome, today we are off to Old Warden.  There is plenty of room as its 1975 and I have borrowed my brothers VW camper, so if you are feeling agile you can shin up the door and sit on the roof for an uninterrupted view of the display. Unfortunately its an early start as in 1975 we have to be queuing  by 0800 to stand a chance of parking on the airfield. So screw the 300mm onto the Zenith B its going to get exciting.

Its day 2 of the  August bank holiday  double event, and as we drive down the lane we see a large silver object parked near the trees, so grabbing our airfield passes from the photo section we head out across the airfield for a closer inspection, being careful to check for landing aircraft before crossing the runway. We now behold the magnificent flying machine in front of us, which appears to be made from items found in a skip ! Beneath an army surplus barrage balloon are attached a couple of deckchairs as rudders , and the pilot sits on a platform made from old pallets nailed together with some 4"x2"s, and powered by a couple of flymows from the Payless DIY sale, the whole ensemble is moored to an army surplus bedford wireless truck. In a moment of optimistic but misplaced enthusiasm one of  the assembled ground crew refers to it as an "Airship". Yes its the fabled Airbourne Industries Gas Airship G-BAWL. Having failed to make it back to the airfield in a 10kt headwind after the previous day's display, resulting in an army of volunteers walking the airship back  to its parking spot through the brussel sprout fields of bedfordshire the pilot decides to go off for some practice during the morning. So after droning round the A1 roundabout for a while  he returns to the airfield.

Unfortunately the inexperienced ground crew position themselves in front of the trees, forgetting airships don't have brakes and that there was nowhere to go in the event of an overshoot. Of course the inevitable happened , the ground crew failed to catch the airship and on it sailed into the trees puncturing the envelope making a very expensive hissing noise.

The aftermath showing all that remains are the 2 air filled  ballonets.

Back on the other side of the runway we find Thruxton Jackaroo  G-APAM formerly owned and raced by Sheila Scott.

An unusual visitor is Sipa 903 F-BGHX

As the Campervan  rattles its way off in the direction of Shefford we say goodbye to Roger and Reggie till next time.

All photo's available as 6" x 4" prints. please email for details.

No comments:

Post a Comment