On Saturday 24th the IWM Duxford based Catalina G-PBYA flew an orbit over Loughshinny where Harry Hawker’s attempt to fly a Circuit of Britain had come to an end. The Catalina completed the Circuit of Britain on Sunday 25th August 2013, nearly 100 years after the first attempt. On Wednesday 28th, Jeff Boyling paid a visit to Loughshinny to meet some of the locals involved in their own commemoration to Harry Hawker. Jeff was met by local resident Cepta Butler, Kevin Murray of the Loughshinny Historical Association, aviation historian Bob Montgomery and Councillor Ciaran Byrne. It was a sunny day and the scene of Harry’s mishap was inspected along with the plaque unveiled on the Sunday by a representative of the Australian Government.
From left to right Ciaran Bryne, Bob Montgomery, Cepta Butler and Kevin Murray with Jeff Boyling by the Plaque.
A piece of the jigsaw is missing so I am off to Loughshinny on Wednesday. That will allow me to see the plaque unveiled by the Australian Ambassador plus meet the locals. No doubt I will see photos but will I find any aircraft remains is the big question?
The IWM Duxford based Catalina G-PBYA operated by Plane Sailing Air Displays Ltd returned safely to Duxford yesterday afternoon. The Catalina had spent 5 days on a Circuit of Britain to commemorate 100 years since the attempt by Harry Hawker and Harry Kauper in a Sopwith Waterplane. Although the flight has been successfully completed there is still a lot to do. The website will be updated with information and photos of the flight over the coming weeks. There are hundreds of emails, posts and comments to be responded to and that is on the “to do” list. For now, a big thank you to all who have been involved. You have contributed to a truly memorable experience!
Educating the young and the old is an important aspect of Project Hawker. There is a story to be told about Harry Hawker and this fills one display board. The other display board centres around the Catalina. Both boards will be available for the press to see on Wednesday and will both will be on board the Catalina on its Circuit of Britain.
This base is the planned overnight stop on the first day, Wednesday 21st. The team there have been absolutely brilliant in terms of facilitating the arrival of the IWM Duxford based Catalina. Naturally, the crew are looking forward to the visit!
With 7 days to go plans for next week are in hand but there is still a lot to clear. However, the support for Project Hawker 2013 is not just local. Twelve thousand miles away there has been a small team providing encouragement from the start. You know who you are. Well done!
Esther Blaine at the IWM Duxford has been a real star getting the ball rolling with the Press Call and Press Release. RAF Leeming have been in touch about the operational aspects of the Catalina coming. The Webmaster has been busy providing other IT / technical input. Names of invited guests for the various local flights are firming up. Still plenty to do though!
Ever wondered how photographers get some great air to air shots? I had a lengthy telephone call on Sunday and today I received a detailed email setting out the logistics of getting some photos of the Catalina coming down Southampton Water. Safety is the over-riding aspect along with attention to detail. Alas you will have to wait at least another 9 days to see the outcome.
Where has the weekend gone? Well to start, more work has been done on the press release material. Photos have gone off to Shell of the Catalina being oiled up during a recent service. Once the aircraft is back from a display over the weekend of 17th-18th August it will be cleaned and a number of decals applied. Finally, some excellent news on the Hawker family front. A number of relatives will be coming to Duxford for the departure of the Catalina on August 21st.
Another day of progress. Telephone call with with IAA has resolved a number of issues in the Dublin CTR. The IWM is now listed for charity donations. Press releases being prepared. Fuel plans being finalised. More individual sponsorship has been forthcoming. Lots of emails and phone calls dealt with. A photo shoot for the Catalina is next on the list of jobs to do.