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Chiltern Rally 2005 Report 


The huge "Vickers Vimy" is brought up to the crowd line at Turweston

Generally acclaimed to be our most successful Chiltern Rally to date, the event ended up at the Vintage Aircraft Club's gathering at Turweston Aerodrome. The highlight of the show was the arrival, at a stately 65mph (!) of the replica Vickers Vimy that has recently re-created Alcock and Brown's first ever crossing of the Atlantic, which was achieved in June 1919.

The story of the day goes like this: On 18th September, we set of from St. Albans in pouring rain, it isn't living up to the weather forecast!

The cars gathered at the a Little Chef on the A5 from 9am. The staff were quite taken aback by the unexpected numbers, but managed to serve everyone's breakfast in record time. We set off just after 10am on a pre-researched route consisting mainly of the windy but pretty B4032. The route takes in Leighton Buzzard, then out into the sticks of Soulbury, Stewkley and Winslow, all pretty villages. After Buckingham the route became distinctly rural until our arrival at Turweston a little after 11am. A few more Standards are already there, Ray Ferris from Kidderminster and Paul Newsome from Rugby and we all parked together in front of a new hanger. 

This seems an ideal time to arrive, there are many more classic cars and motorbikes arriving, but not too many to loose the friendlinesss of this unusual event. There is a short ceremony where Lynda and Phil decide in their most autocratic manner who should win the "Chiltern Cup". This year it is awarded to Brian Yates, one of our longest serving members, having Membership Number 007!

The weather is clearing up well and aircraft are arriving from all parts. It isn't long before the picnic is started, whilst others avail themselves of the pig roast or the "Control Tower cafe", which is doing brisk business. After lunch we parade all the Standards in the display area whilst yours truly gives a running commentary. The shots show the Standard owners who were delighted to attend and some of the aircraft.

Lynda presents the Chiltern Cup to Brian Yates

Ray Ferris's Pennant to the fore

Brian Parkes's 14 Saloon

Below: A De Havilland Leopard Moth and another view of the Vimy taxiing

The Charlecote leads the arena display

Then, a little after 3.00pm, the Vimy came ever so s-l-o-w-l-y into sight, landed in less than 100ft and taxied up the runway to stop immediately in front of the waiting crowd. What an impressive sight this is, easily the biggest biplane I have ever seen and an absolute carbon copy of the wood, wire and canvas original. The crew of 3 emerged from their open cockpit to cheers and applause. The rope barrier was then removed and the crowd was able to talk to the crew and allowed to inspect the plane in detail, to touch it if they wished! A draw-dropping moment and the highlight of the day, if not the whole summer. (Perhaps I should get away from this computer more?) If you are interested, it is well worth taking the time to read more about the exploits of this remarkable machine at  I now wish I had taken the Standard SLS, which would have made a fine photo together with the Vimy, being manufactured in the same year, 1919,  as  Alcock and Brown's original flight. Maybe I will get another chance?

To get an idea of the (slow) speed that this machine flys at, download this video ( Broadband recommended)

In 2006, this event will take place on September 17th - more news soon

Report and photographs by Phil Homer

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