Tablers from Long Eaton Round Table thought it would be a wizard wheeze to enter the annual Ilfracombe Birdman competition to see how far a chap can fly – unpowered – off the end of a pier before splashing down into the drink. Chief pilot was Squadron Leader Ashley ‘Ginger’ Campbell, accompanied by wingmen Flight Lieutenant’s Dave ‘Buster’ Welch and Paul ‘Chocks-Away’ Haskins. Groundcrew was Flight Sgt Mark ‘Pops’ Shaw.
The chaps built their splendid Mark 2 Black Arrow the day before, and painted it in Long Eaton Round Table colours and markings. Dispensing with a test flight, the chaps gathered in the Officers Mess for a few G&T’s and a sing song.
Up before the larks, the chaps were roused from their beds by their WAAF”s. After a few preflight checks, the crew transported Air Force 461 to the take off area on the pier. After witnessing a few sorry efforts from competing squadrons, Ginger completed a perfect take off and flew for several fractions of a second. But it was enough for Long Eaton Round Table to clinch the trophy. Well done chaps!
Here’s a video of the epic flight.