- Dave Websdale’s report on last month’s talk: “Alex Henshaw- A flying Legend” by Chris Parsons
- Across the Pond – Paine Field Aviation Day from our USA Correspondent, Paul Reilly
June Talk: “Alex Henshaw- A flying Legend” by Chris Parsons
At a recent meeting at the Swiss Cottage in Shoreham on the 3rd. June, the Southern Strut were treated to an interesting talk given by Chris Parsons who is the Great Nephew of Alex Henshaw who was a famous test pilot. Alex created a record for the first solo flight from the UK to Cape Town and back ( 37 hours out and 39 back ).
He also test flew approximately 10% of all the Spitfires ever produced. Chris said that he did not really know him because he emigrated to New Zealand when he was eleven and did not return until he was in his late twenties, but he saw him quite a few times after that.
The book is called “Alex Henshaw- A flying Legend” compiled by Michael Turner. Alex commissioned a large number of pictures over a twenty-five year period from Michael Turner and it was Alex’s wish that this unique collection of paintings should be published in a book, but his death in 2007 came just before the project was completed.
Alex had written an appropriate text to accompany each painting, providing a fascinating first hand account of his many flying adventures. With the addition of many photographs from Alex’s personal albums, Michael has now finished compiling the project they started together, and this eagerly anticipated book is now available.
Alex bought his first aeroplane which was a de Havilland Moth and on the 13th. May 1932 he was taking off from a very boggy waterlogged field when the engine stalled. Instead of getting the young lad from the hangar to give him a hand, he got out to start the engine himself.
He got out, but had left the throttle open. The engine fired and started off down the field with him hanging onto the leading edge with the young lad racing after him. Alex was hanging on, but his fingers were freezing and could not hang on any more, he let go and the Moth carried on down the field before hitting a large patch of water which spun it round 180 degrees and he found it heading straight back towards him. He tried to grab it, but it veered off and ended up in a ditch. A rather expensive lesson.
I am sorry for this very short excerpt of this interesting talk by Chris Parsons, but I accidentally deleted a large part of the recording before saving it on the computer. I should have known better.
Across the Pond – Paine Field Aviation Day
On the 16th of May my home airfield here in the US hosted its annual aviation day. Predominantly run by volunteers it is also supported by some of the airfields businesses, most notably the Paul Allen Collection and the Historic Flight Foundation. Both of these are great little museums with a large number of exhibits that are airworthy and flown regularly.
The day has scaled back in recent years as the event was just getting to big for an airport that has so much ‘heavy’ traffic with Boeing. While Boeing doesn’t support the day the crowds were excited to see a couple of 787 Dreamliners arrive and depart as well as the Dreamlifters, a converted 747 similar to a Beluga transporter at close quarters.
The middle of the day was broken up with flying displays from a variety of vintage aircraft including a P51, Harvard and a Bearcat. They also had a Beech Baron display team with filled in the gap.
I didn’t get to see a lot of the day as I had signed up to do Young Eagles flying. This is a programme that offers flights to 8-15 year old kids but give them the aviation buzz we all know and love. The added bonus is that they are given free access to pilot ground school from Sportys just for the flight. This package is worth around $300… Fancy getting Transair to offer this?
While we had low cloud in the morning it was better after lunch and between about 18 aircraft we flew 224 kids. I flew 5 of them in the RV12, all walking away with a massive smile, with the parents equally grateful the kids came back in one piece after their 15-20 minute flight.
In the evening the Historic Flight Foundation. put on a great BBQ and swing band for all volunteers. It was a good end to a big day but I was so tired after all that focus on the flying and radio I fell asleep in the evening sun. Included are a couple of pictures of the day that I could grab as things wrapped up. It was well-organized and supported by all involved. Paul Reilly
[Maybe some ideas here for us. Ed.]
Interesting article about NASA’s ideas for the future of aviation
For the latest list of events, go to the Events page on the Strut website.
Please suggest/volunteer to organize some more. 🙂