Outside, many aircraft cockpit owners had brought their pride-and joy’s to display! Luckily the rain only showered briefly, and the cockpits spent most of the weekend open for visitors to sit in and “have a go”! Of the cockpits, one which shone was Darren Green’s Canberra WH779. He’s put so much effort in to getting as much of the original avionics up and running as possible, at night time it looked fantastic with all instrumentation illuminated
Visitors for this event came from all over the UK, and as far afield as Scotland, Holland and Lichtenstein! We met many interesting people with great life experiences and stories, many people connected with aviation in some way, from a Phantom / Tornado pilot, Canberra Navigator, Shackleton and Nimrod flight engineer, a Military Intelligence worker, and public visitors who’d come for a family fun day out!
I was displaying Flying (or “Flight”) Helmets, and some flight gear inside Hangar 2 with other collectors of flightgear, instrument panels, ejector seats etc… One display of particular interest was a dedicated TSR2 display by Trevor Garrod and Dave Wright, they showed one of the TSR2 ejection seats, plus a special TSR2 Mk2 helmet, some original TSR2 manuals and documentation, Iloaned them Len Dean’s TSR2 helmet. Also they showed some unique high altitude helmets. As usual the Heathcotes put on a great show of flight and survival equipment, including a Vulcan survival dinghy, mannequins and information.
My stall attracted lots of attention, especially from people who have been military pilots as the gear brought back memories and experiences, but also from Children who were at the event with their families. The children loved trying on my helmets and having their photograph taken! It’s things like the children taking an interest which makes this event so worthwhile. Unfortunately quite a lot of visitors turned up on the sunday afternoon, just as most of the exhibitors were packing up to leave, so a tip to future visitors, please come on the Saturday (all day) or Sunday morning.
The event also featured two small air displays, the BBMF Lancaster in the morning, and a Spitfire in the afternoon!
The weekend also hosted an “Aerojumble” (or “Aeroboot”) where cockpit restorers can find missing parts to complete their projects, and collectors like myself can find obscure and rare items. Along with the items on sale, were two artwork stalls, one was selling prints of awesome photo-shopped aviation photography (www.lakestore.co.uk
). The other was selling replica nose-art, fantastic pieces by a family business – these were old panels and parts of scrap aircraft, cleaned up and painted with original nose-art designs. These looked amazing and look great as a piece of stylish artwork (www.farlamairframes.co.uk
The Saturday night was great fun as usual, thanks to the museum and sponsors for organising the Hog-Roast and beers! Another excellent job! :o)
Despite changes in sponsorship this year, compared to sole financial support form FlyPast magazine over previous years, the new sponsors (still including FlyPast), the museum volunteers, and visiting exhibitors made the event as memorable as previous years, and a great debt of thanks is owed… Long may the ‘Fest continue!
This year also saw the first Cockpitfest of Australia! Where 3 cockpits and various private colelctions were displayed together for the same weekend as the UK’s Fest, we were kept up to date with each otehr by blogging live from the events!
Due to spending most of my time displaying, my photos are either form early morning, or late at night when the visitors weren’t around! Enjoy!