de Havilland Moth Club

Posted by Chris Thompson on 16 June 2017

On Saturday 10 June, the de Havilland Moth Club hosted a charity flying day at Old Warden Aerodrome, home of The Shuttleworth Collection.  Finest Hour had been asked to support the event with 2 Tiger Moths, thus providing an opportunity for some formation flying and photography.  Pilots Chris and Lawrence briefed our departure from Bicester Heritage, the transit to Old Warden and our planned arrival there, a key feature of the Day likely to be the blustery South Westerly winds forecast to remain in place all day.

Tigers ready at Bicester Heritage

Once airborne and despite the turbulence caused by the strong winds, we took the opportunity to grab the first air-to-air snaps G-OOSY, the latest arrival to join the Finest Hour Fleet.

G-OOSY en route from Bicester Heritage to Old Warden (Mark Wright)

With Lawrence and Ed leading in 'OOSY, we remained in formation until the crosswind leg, landing individually to join the charity event.

Finest Hour's arrival at The Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden (Mark Wright)

Joined by our third pilot, Ivor, and after a delay for the briefings and inevitable paperwork associated with event as complex as this, we embarked on the Day's flying.  Our 'flyers' were a mix of youngsters provided with free flights by the chosen charity and others who paid for their flights to support the Event.  All seemed to enjoy the route flown from Old Warden to the imposing airship hangars at Cardington, where the massive Airlander hybrid air vehicle provided yet another sight to be seen and then on to the disused airfield at Tempsford, the wartime home of the RAF's Special Operations squadrons, who delivered SOE, SIS and other agents into occupied Europe.

The wind played its part throughout the day, causing the organizers to suspend flying for a period; it also provided a great learning experience for our newer groundcrew, as there's nothing quite like having to manoeuvre a Tiger on the ground in a wind to reinforce the training.  The pilots were kept on their toes too!

Lawrence and Iset land from our final trip of the Day

Our final 'flyer' led to a memorable experience for all concerned.  14 year old Iset Forbes won her flight as part of a competition run by her school, Bedford Academy.  Initially very nervous and apparently uncertain as to whether to go through with her aerial adventure, Iset settled into her flight to the extent that, in her own words "I've never had an experience like this... conquered my fear of the unknown... my horizons have been massively broadened and I feel on top of the world".  Not much we can add to that other than to comment how satisfying it is to see the life-changing effect aviation can have :-)

Iset and Lawrence after her flight at Old Warden

(Most of!) The Finest Hour Team for the dH Moth Club Charity Flying, Old Warden  (Geoff Collins)

A quick team photo, refuel and then back to Bicester Heritage for us as we had customers waiting to fly our 'North Oxfordshire Evenings'.  Thanks to the dH Moth Club for hosting an enjoyable event, the Shuttleworth Collection for providing such a superb venue and the Collection's Rachel Bundy for easing the bureaucracy associated with our involvement!  We'll be back at Bicester Heritage for Flywheel Festival on 24 & 25 June, offering 20 minute trial flying lessons on both Tiger Moths :-)

Milton Keynes, passed during our return from Old Warden to Bicester Heritage (Mark Wright)