Tuesday 20th August 2013
Jeff Boyling had already been to Duxford on the Monday for a photo shoot with the Daily Mail photographer and an interview with the London Bureau Chief of an Australian newspaper. Prior to those two events, John Beere, a member of the Cat Pack, had applied the decals for Project Hawker 2013 as well as the RAFBF to each side of the Catalina G-PBYA and they looked great. The oil supplied by Shell had also been loaded by Garry Short, the Chief Engineer, as part of the preparation of this historic 70 year old aircraft for this 100th Anniversary Commemorative Flight of the 1913 attempt on the Circuit of Britain by Harry Hawker and Harry Kauper in a Sopwith Waterplane.
Tuesday was a lovely day. Rod Brooking drove in to London and left his car at Jeff’s house. The two then drove to Duxford late morning to start the final preparation. Jeff and Rod reviewed flight plans for the coming days. The weather forecast was looking good for the Wednesday so the Catalina should at least get away. Shaun Jarvis, the Crew Chief for the first couple of sectors, arrived in the afternoon and supervised the final loading of the aircraft. G-PBYA was almost ready. Late afternoon she was towed onto the grass opposite the Duxford Control Tower ready for her important mission. Fuel and oil tanks were dipped and topped up by Shaun. All that was needed now was a comfortable night’s sleep after dinner.
The first day of Project Hawker 2013 will follow tomorrow and the rest of the flight over the coming week.
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?
Readers will have noticed a comment in the schedule about a possible stop at RAF Lossiemouth on Thursday 22nd. Discussions are underway so keep posted to see if the Catalina will be setting down. A Catalina in these parts would be something to see!
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.
The Webmaster was hard at work over the weekend creating a new look. Hopefully, readers / followers will find it easier to view and navigate.
The September issue of FlyPast has broken the news with “Catalina to mark Hawker centenary”. Page 7 provides the details plus a great air to air shot of Plane Sailing’s Catalina G-PBYA “Miss Pick Up”.
The page for charities is now live with the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (RAFBF) listed and one more charity to follow. Any money donated via this page goes to the charity and it is totally separate to any sponsorship to support the Catalina’s flight around the UK.