Popham Airfield, 30 April-2 May 2022 Report by Peter and Kim Davison As Covid restrictions ease it was a welcome return to this annual gathering of all things plastic and fabric and Saturday's weather was bright, clear and cool; almost perfect for the mass migration of 'lightweights'. Samuel Cody and Santos Dumont would be amazed to see how apparently simple it is to achieve safe and controlled heavier than air flight with such simple materials. Arrivals started early with owners and pilots keen to visit the various trade stands or meet up with friends and colleagues. Enthusiasts swelled the numbers with around four hundred flexwings and ultralights lining up on the grass parking areas. Another busy sector is that of the autogyro; now looking close to the dream of a flying car these motor-tricycle with wings seem a popular answer to instant mobility in three dimensions. An almost unique feature of this event is just how close visitors can get to the single grass runway with a safely marshalled crossing point at the landing threshold. A vintage/classic car gathering expected to swell the numbers on the bank holiday Monday. Noticeable was the installation of extra fabric hangarage on site since last year suggesting this sector of the industry is far healthier than their heavyweight commercial counterparts.
Flying Day, Duxford Airfield, Cambridgeshire, UK 9 October 21 Report by Peter and Kim Davison Duxford needs little introduction, home of an Imperial War Museum, the Duxford Aviation Society (DAS) with world class collections and impressive flying events that include Europe's largest collection of airworthy warbirds. This event was very fortunate as the weather, after a moody misty start, blossomed into a gorgeous autumn day. If only the viewing aspect was northerly it would be perfect for photography. However, careful framing and an early start allowed evocative shots for possibly one of the largest post Covid flying events of the year.
Helitech Expo21, Excel Centre, London Docklands 5-6th October 2021 Report by Peter Davison I have attended many of these exhibitions. The early iterations, at Duxford, attracted rotary visitors, had a significant static display and an enormous tent full of trade stands. Considering the growth of helicopter operations, the emergence of heli-ambulance and police operations since, this show was the smallest yet. Two helicopters and a gyroplane among about thirty minimal stands were dominated by a similar area devoted to drones which shows how many survey tasks have become remotely operated.
DSEI Excel Exhibition Centre, London Docklands 15-17 September 2021 Report by Peter Davison The Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) is a biennial defence and security trade exhibition which serves as a forum between governments, national armed forces, industry, and academics, held at ExCeL London. Many other nations now hold similar gatherings but this is a major showcase for industry, government and the armed forces.
Light Aviation Association Rally, Sywell, Northampton, UK 3rd-5th September Report by Peter and Kim Davison plus Colin Coulthard This long awaited event coincided with one of the best weather weekends of the British Summer. Nearly a thousand historic, light and homebuilt aircraft flew in, to the delight of over a thousand enthusiastic enthusiasts starved of travel opportunities and relaxed access to their favourite sector of general aviation.
York Racecourse, Yorkshire, UK 27-30 August 2021 Report by Peter and Kim Davison This annual extravaganza sees a large fairground, live music and a Hot-Air Balloon Festival combine to bring crowds to this heritage city on the River Ouse. As ever, ballooning requires minimal wind and still, clear air. The planned schedule called for a dawn and a late afternoon launch every day plus a 'night glow' on the Friday and Saturday where a few teams inflate after dark whilst tethered to support vehicles. Only Saturday enjoyed the full programme of inflations in near perfect weather but the other attractions and reasonable prices attracted huge crowds.
Microlight Trade Fair and Fly-in 2021 Popham Airfield 14-15th August 2021 Report by Peter and Kim Davison At long last, the chance to attend and report on a British aviation event as Covid restrictions ease. This annual gathering on the two runway grass strip at Popham, near Winchester, on the busy A303 tourist route was well attended in mild weather; generally overcast but, on occasions, a bright patch of blue sky improved the flying and photographic opportunities.