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Welsh Spitfire Grand Opening


Last Friday, 27th May 2011, saw the media and guests descend on Withybush Airport for the Grand Opening of the Welsh Spitfire Museum.

The weather alone on the day helped add to a wonderful occasion taking place here in Pembrokeshire.Welsh Spitfire, JG668, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Haverfordwest Airport, Ray Burgess,

Some 200 guests and also then members of the public attended the opening along with members of the Pembrokeshire Vintage Car Club who arrived in good numbers to show support for the restoration project.

As everyone met up and discussed the forthcoming opening, there was much anticipation ahead of the main speeches which featured talks from David Evans of the Spitfire Society and more importantly, 90-year-old Margaret Frost, who was an ATA pilot during the Second World War and flew many aircraft types, which along with the Spitfire also included the Hurricane and the Harvard.

Just after 1045, the crowds were seated in the temporary marquee where Mr Ray Burgess who is the Managing Director of the Aviation Heritage Foundation and the power behind the Welsh Spitfire, opened the speeches. He praised not only the hard work by all the volunteers to get the museum to where it was today, but also the help of the County Council who have shown great support to the Spitfire restoration since its inception. He also outlined what the Spitfire Project was looking achieve next and how they hope to grow and start putting together the pieces of the jigsaw to make the Spitfire a static model. Mr Burgess noted that the current temporary building housing the museum is set to be replaced by a permanent structure with room for a workshop as well as space for the museum itself.


The speeches continued, with Mrs Margaret Frost describing the unique feeling the Spitfire exuded on all who flew her. She went in to great detail about her early flying experiences from a very young age, how she started off in the Wrens before working in the ATA, where she first flew a Spitfire. Margaret went on to explain that although she flew many different types of aircraft during her career, the Spitfire would always be the one that she favoured due to the ease of flight that it offered the pilot.

After answering questions from guests regarding her experiences, Margaret then went on to the cutting of the ribbon, and along with the sound of camera shutters and the presence of the television cameras, Margaret officially declared the Welsh Spitfire Museum OPEN.

All the invited guests and dignitaries then had the opportunity to view the museum itself with the Spitfire fuselage on show as well as various parts such as wheels, props and of course the mighty Rolls Royce engine. It helped to round off a glorious opening, a credit to all those at the Welsh Spitfire Project.

No doubt this will be just one report in long journey to restore the Welsh Spitfire, JG668.

Welsh Spitfire, JG668, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Haverfordwest Airport, Ray Burgess, PA System Hire Pembrokeshire, Event Management Services UKWelsh Spitfire, JG668, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Haverfordwest Airport, Ray Burgess,

Exercise Saxon Warrior


…. The Exercise has been planned by RAF and Naval personnel from the Joint Tactical Exercise planning Staff (JTEPS) based at Northwood HQ, London. They are augmented by additional service personnel to provide an appropriate level of specialist support and to assist with exercise safety. The JTEPS aim is to provide coordinated training for the USS George H W Bush Carrier Group, all 3 UK Armed Services and the participating forces from allied nations. The USS George H W Bush is the tenth and final Nimitz Class supercarrier of the United States Navy. Displacing in excess of 100,00 tons and with a top speed of over 30 knots, the USS George Bush carries an Air Wing comprising some 44 FA-18 Strike Fighters (C/E/F Supers), 5 FA-18G Electronic Warfare Fighters, 4-5 E-2 Hawkeyes, and 7 MH-60 helicopters.

The Carrier Group is conducting operational work up training while en route to support operations in Afghanistan. The fast jets (FJ) embarked in the USS George H W Bush Carrier Air Wing together with aircraft from the UK and other NATO Air Forces will be training together across the UK daily. Due to Op ELLAMY commitments UK participation is reduced and includes VC10 AAR and E3D. Allied and visiting air participants include NATO E3A, and Super Etendard FJ and Atlantique II Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) from France. It is planned to fly approximately 60-90 combat and support missions per day on day and night sorties throughout the period. Limited night / weekend flying will be undertaken 21-22 May by the USS George H W Bush Carrier Air Wing, which will operate throughout the period in the South Western Approaches and Western English Channel. SW11 will see participation from 26 separate naval units from UK, US, Spain, Germany and Sweden. The USS George H W Bush Carrier Strike Group comprises the carrier itself and its escorts, including the cruiser USS Gettysburg, and the destroyers USS Truxton and USS Mitscher. The aim for these units is to build upon basic maritime skills and learn to operate in an allied and multinational context.

A variety of UK and Allied Land forces including SF, 1 Division and 3(UK) Division (supported by maritime and air participants) will conduct Core Military Training and Mission Specific Training (MST) for OP HERRICK deployment at both Castlemartin and Pembrey Air Weapons Ranges, Salisbury Plain Training Area and at sites across Wales, capitalising on the training opportunities afforded by this joint activity. This training will fully utilise Defence Training Estate range areas, commercial ranges and private land areas.

BPPA Precision Flying Event


BPPA Precision Flying Event.

On the 7th of May 2011 Haverfordwest Airport will be host to what looks like the 2nd round of the BPPA Flying.

With an extract from the BPPA Site, the below explains Rally and Precision flying,

In a Rally format event, a competition crew comprises 2 people, one is designated the pilot, the other the navigator. The crew declare a Groundspeed which they wish to have their route timings based on. At a predetermined time before the allocated take off time, the crew are given an envelope which contains navigational clues for the start point, a series of turn points and a finish point. The navigator must plot these points onto a map for the pilot and then draw on the track lines, along with timing marks based on the declared groundspeed, and a ‘guestimated’ heading based on forecast or observed wind speed and direction. The pilot must then do his best ot fly on track and to time, a feat that is recorded by a sealed GPS logger that can be downloaded onto the judges PC for scoring. The crew are given a series of turn point photographs (which they must determine are ‘true’ or ‘false’ in comparison to the actual turn points), plus a number of photographs that have been taken around the route which the crew must try and identify and then mark the photograph’s position on the map. There are also a number of ground targets (4 metre size symbols) around the route, which again must be identified and the position marked on the map. On returning the airfield the pilot must make a spot landing into a marked grid, the closer to the 2 metre wide ‘zero’ line the better. The scoring system looks at the timings, correctly identified turn points, correctly found photographs and ground targets and final spot landing to determine the winning crew.

The planned day of this years event to take place at Haverfordwest is as mentioned, the 7th of May. As described on the website however, the 8th of May will be a reserve day incase the weather is poor.

“All BPPA events (except the Nationals) will be arranged for the Saturday of the specified weekend, with Sunday available as a backup day for weather.”

The day is a fabulous time to see a large mix of aircraft and lots of activity at one of the best airports around. Fabulous scenery, sunny weather (hopefully) and the chance to be able to get quite close to the action from the Cafe garden area which of course means the added luxury of some lovely food.

For both enthusiasts and anyone with a plane interest it’s a good day to spend out in the open air enjoying the sights this great day presents. Even for photographers, the chance to get some great pictures and camera angles due to the airport being in a great open space.

For more information check out the BPPA Site

There is also a reminder for Outlook and .ical calendars in our Downloads area.

85-year-old Ex-RAF man to take to skies once more


A former RAF engineer who flew in World War II will soon return to the skies in Pembrokeshire after suffering a serious illness.

A former RAF flight engineer who flew with Bomber Command in World War II is returning to the sky after fighting back from serious illness.

Among the challenges Des Thomas from Tenby has overcome is learning to walk again on two artificial legs.

Thanks to a Pembrokeshire charity, the 85-year-old is taking to the sky in a Bulldog plane at Haverfordwest.

His son Lyn said since recovering from illness his father had dreamed of flying again.

“He’s very much looking forward to it,” he added.

“It was arranged as a surprise so he’s only known about it for the last few days.”

Mr Thomas was a teenager during WWII.

He was involved in raids on Berlin and Nuremberg and completing 33 operations with 460 Squadron RAAF.

A second tour with 358 Squadron RAF saw him complete another 16 operations over what was then Malaya, Siam and French Indochina.

He was just 20 when the war ended.

He then served in Tenby Fire Brigade for 30 years and was station officer for a large part of that time.

Des Thomas was 20 when the war ended

More recently due to illness he lost both legs and following two cases of septicaemia and one of MRSA spent around seven months in hospital.

Sunday’s flight has been arranged by the Pembrokeshire-based Over The Rainbow Dream Come True charity which has organised over 400 flights since it started in 1999.

Founder Peter Kraus said: “Someone like Des should be recognised for all he has done during his very active life and it gives me a huge delight to help.”

Find this article at BBC News

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