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Editor's Comment October 2014

It has certainly been a month to remember in the historic aviation world with a variety of highpoints.

In the quarter of a century since the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s Avro Lancaster triumphantly returned to the skies the Aeroplane team has been repeatedly been asked whether we thought the ‘Lanc’ would ever visit the UK.In fact, it’s probably fair to say if we’d had a pound for each time we’d been asked we could have paid for the ferry flight ourselves!

We all lived in hope that one day we’d see the aircraft share the skies with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s PA474, and this month that dream became a reality. I’d like to go on record to thank those who have made this possible, from the people funding the project to the crews maintaining, flying and looking after every element of the trip.

I’m sure I speak on behalf of the entire British aviation community – and many who count themselves more as casual onlookers – when I say that we are eternally grateful for your efforts to share your aeroplane and bring her to the Lancaster’s spiritual home of Lincolnshire’s Bomber County.

Elsewhere in the world, those who made the trip to Oshkosh (see page 68) saw the much-anticipated return of a Fairey Gannet to the airshow scene alongside new restorations and completed projects including a Lockheed Vega and Gee Bee QED. But for me, the highlight of the show was the jaw-dropping line up of seven Lockheed 12s… Only at Oshkosh!

Meanwhile, congratulations must go to Lt Cdr Chris Götke RN, the Commanding Officer of the Royal Navy Historic Flight, for his textbook forced landing after the Bristol Centaurus propelling his Hawker Sea Fury became decidedly obstinate during his display at RNAS Culdrose on July 31! Chris got the aircraft back on the runway but with the undercarriage not fully locked down a dramatic arrival ensued.

Chris has received favourable comments and praise from onlookers and fellow pilots alike, but I expect one of the most appreciated ‘pats on the back’ came from none other than Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown CBE DSC AFC.

Captain Brown, who has famously flown 487 different types and completed a record-breaking 2,047 deck landing, was at Culdrose and saw the incident infold. He later said: “it was a pretty amazing piece of flying. There couldn’t have been a better person at the controls and the entire Fleet Air Arm community salutes him!” There can be no finer praise.

Finally, I’d like to thank those readers who’ve contacted me to welcome me to the role as Caretaker Editor. It’s always good to hear your views, interests and opinions so please do keep the dialogue coming. It is genuinely appreciated.

Until next time,

Blue skies

Steve Bridgewater – Caretaker Editor