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New Decade & New Years Greetings From England...

Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:18 am

Hi Folks,

I'm a long-term, long-time aviation enthusiast - started building a/c (AIRFIX) kits BEFORE 'The Beatles' released the 'White Album' (Gulp !)

By 1968, I was building Short Sunderlands, C.47's, B.17's, Handley-Page-Halifaxes etc, (again, all in kit format), graduating to french & REVELL kits.

Born & raised near several wartime RAF airfields (Fairlop, Stapleford & North Weald), I was always around real a/c since early 1970's.

Back in 1971/1972 (IIRC, the latter), the world's then only flying Avro Lancaster (PA.474) flew right over my head, low, bringing our football-match to a grinding halt

Whilst I do admire most fighter-planes, it's ALWAYS always been Bombers & Transports, esp' Bombers that "do it for me" (float my boat)

Back in the 1960's (as a toddler, initially), we had countless 4 x engined airliners flying over our house (Vanguards, Viscounts, Britannias, etc)

Even saw a (farily rare) Boeing.377 Stratocruiser around the age of 10, which blew my mind (laughs).

Low flying A.W.Argosy & Andovers further cemented my love of larger stuff, esp' in THAT super-sexy RAF 'Middle-East' camouflage (sand/stone)

Attended countless airshows during 1970's & early 1980's & eventually joined a small restoration group at North Weald (39-RG)

This allowed me permanant access & got to go onboard both a few classic & even (then, currently), serving planes, such as XV.292 an RAF C.130 Herc'

Flew in an actual D-Day veteran 6th June Dakota (registered G-AMPO at the time), back in 1984, in a formation of three, over London

On the day I went up in G-AMPO (& the formation, above), both Robert Stanford Tuck & Adolf Galland were on the tarmac below, doing a meet & greet !

Was also on the set of 'Band of Brothers' (again, Dakota launch & readiness stuff), on both Friday & Sunday at North Weald, an interesting experience

Being a massive Martin B.26 Marauder 'fan' (9th A.F), I used to wander/trawl/traverse ALL the accessible local Essex B.26 bases.

This mainly came about, as once I passed my test (as a teenager), I could drive (car), or Motorcycle past these bases all the time.

That is how I came to meet 4th Fighter Group 'ace', James Goodson & his lovely, lovely wife & spend time chatting & meeting this amazing guy.

Lived next to the base of RAF Hornchurch (latter being my regular 'callsign'), for around 17-yrs, as well as several family members from there too.

Joined the local 'Hornchurch IPMS' club naturally & used to attend their massive 'Southern Expo' kit-fairs for some 15-17 years, too.

Today I live quite near some serving RAF & USAF bases, the latter of which I've been to many countless times (Lakenheath/Mildenhall)

We live DIRECTLY underneath the flightpath (multiple), of mostly USAF planes, chielfy because we're near the Sea & coastline.

Best bit is, I've seen countless & endless amounts of "F.15's dogfighting", right above our house & the local surrounding coast & countryside

There's also an old B.47 'S.A.C' base down the road, which is used by many USMC PV.22 Ospreys & MC.130's, but we see mostly F.15's, in action

Finally, we have an N.A.T.O bombing-range across the bay, where I've witnessed B.1 (Lancers), A.10 Warthogs & even a B.2 'Spirit' attack the range.

Back in Aug' 2005, they held 'Exercise Excalibur' there, with 'SP' A.10's, Aviano F.16's, Lakenheath's F.15's & the RAF came stone dead last (Hahahaha)

Lastly, I live underneath the wartime 'Assembly-Area' of several B.24 Liberator Bomb-Groups & 2nd Air-Div' bases are littered all around us, here.

Am particularly passionate about Wendling (392nd BG), North Pickenham (491st & 492nd BG's) clsoe by & Shipdham (44th BG, the 'Flying 8-Balls').

Being centered (lifelong), in amongst SO MANY famous & historic East-Anglian airfields (& action), it's hard NOT to be passionate !!!!!!!

Cheers Y'all, "Hawny"

P.S ; Please do excuse the largish spacings, as my eyesight is not quite as good as it once was, entering my sixth decade on Earth :wink:
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