Philip Stevens reports on the Air-Britain Classic Fly-In

The Air-Britain Fly-In is organised by aviation enthusiasts for aviation enthusiasts, pilots and photographers alike. Its and event where you can meet like-minded people and enjoy civilian aircraft of character in a relaxed atmosphere. This year’s event was the 29th and as such is proof that the Air-Britain fly-in formula is a successful one. Air-Britain with currently over 4,000 members has been around since 1948 and to commemorate its 60th anniversary this year invited owners of aircraft built 60 years ago. As 2008 is also the 60th anniversary of the first flight of the Piper Vagabond/Clipper and the 75th anniversary of the SV4 Stampe, Air-Britain invited owners of the two wonderful vintage aircraft.

SV-4B Stampe (G-BRXP) being escorted by to Air-Britain stewards due to the high winds on Sunday. The pilot of SV-4B Stampe (G-BRXP) was determined to enjoy the Saturday evening and chose to escape North Weald’s weather and return to Canterbury at 09:00 on Sunday. His Stampe first flew in 1948 and consequently was very well received. The 60 year old Stampe was in fact a prize winner, the grateful but modest owner suggesting however that there weren’t too many competing aircraft. Four Stampes, two each from France and Belgium had already set off for home the day before.


The ‘Squadron’ were once again hosts at North Weald together with the Light Aircraft Association (LAA). This year’s show was the 8th successive to be held at North Weald and Phil Kemp of Air-Britain and Fly-In Director was very keen to thank the ‘Squadron’, saying that without their much valued help the event could not take place.

Air-Britain by way of encouragement were able to offer pilots no landing or take-off fees throughout the weekend along with vouchers for food. Enthusiasts arriving by road were very reasonably charged £5 per car and £5 per person, under 18’s were allowed in free. Apart from the aircraft there were stands run by aviation vendors and exhibitors and an ‘aeroboot’ sale. The Airfield Museum was also available for inspection.

Piper PA-16 Clipper (HB-OOF) flew from its home base in Geneva and stayed the weekend. The PA-16 is an extended version of the PA-15 Vagabond both types taking to the air for the first time in 1947. This particular aircraft was built in 1949 and named ‘Blue Angle’.


The Air-Britain team had worked very hard to organise this event for everyone. Unfortunately the only thing that let them down this year was the weather. Saturday’s forecast was for rain and a general gloom. While the poor weather put off many pilots and visitors some veteran or classic aircraft still made it to the airfield from as far a field as Switzerland, France and Belgium. Sunday despite the fine bright weather suffered even more with gusting winds of between 30 and 35 knots. The winds sadly ended any chance of an influx of the anticipated veteran aircraft. Many aircraft had left the previous day perhaps due to the forecast of strong winds.

While the numbers were down there were plenty of aircraft to photograph and perhaps having a little more time for each subject gave you the chance to get some more interesting angles.

Air-Britain should be congratulated for staging such events that are clearly appreciated by all those that attend each year, if only Phil Kemp could manage the weather as well as he did the Fly-In.


Source: Target Aviation Photography - Philip Stevens
Pictures provided and copyrighted by Target Aviation Photography - Philip Stevens

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