Slipping The Surly Bonds Of Earth


I was torn between an evening shooting planes and a crack of dawn car club run. In the end I plumped for the planes on the fiftieth anniversary of the first moon landing. I took my yellow Honda S2000 and had a very enjoyable brisk run back as night was falling. The moon was rising over the glasshouses as I arrived home.

There was a distinct sixties vibe at the Shuttleworth Collection Evening Airshow. A plane towed a colourful five-hundred-metre long hippieish ribbon which formed pretty patterns in the sky. When the softly whistling Fauvel tailless 'flying wing' glider took to the air plumes of joss stick pink smoke were released and Fleetwood Mac's Albatross was played on the public address system. 

The show ended with a recording of the conversations between ground controllers and the astronauts as the Eagle came into land on the moon at the exact time it occurred fifty years ago. I remember watching this on TV with my parents and sisters. I didn't stay up for the moonwalk as I had to be up for the first day of my first full-time job in Chancery Lane the next morning. (I'm afraid to say I do remember the sixties, I certainly wasn't having fun like everyone else.) 

It was intended that the finale of the show would be a display by a WWI Avro 504K in which Neil Armstrong had once had a passenger flight. He wrote with thanks for the opportunity to experience rotary flight. He was a fighter and test pilot before becoming an astronaut. If the Avro didn't fly it was probably because of the blustery conditions and cross winds. It was very interesting to see the aircraft crabbing as they came into land. Conditions were much too windy for the Blériot that I was hoping to see aloft.  

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