Thursday 23 May 2013 17:08 UTC
Where have you been? What have you seen?
It was time for my 6 monthly CAA medical down at Gatwick, but rather than drive down from Daventry for hours, I thought this time I would fly down to the strip next to the threshold of 08R at Gatwick. It is listed in Lockyears Strip Guide as Vallance By-Ways Gatwick and a quick call to Peter Vallance gained PPR, although another call to Gatwick ATC ensured the airport would expect me and would try and fit me in between the commercial traffic.
This morning heralded a day of glorious weather and after only 45 minutes rather than two and a half hours on the motorways I was calling up Gatwick Approach after routing past Farnborough on the flight down. ATC could not have been more helpful, simply positioning me North of the North Terminal and then allowing me to land at the strip between arriving and departing aircraft from 26L.
Above: Approaching Gatwick from the North.
Above: I made an effort to enjoy the view as I positoned myself for finals only a few hundred feet above the apron, thinking nowhere else could you strip fly above a major airport,.... LGW is superb!
Above; Once down, you would not believe you were so close to such a big airport. The field next to the runway seems so tranquil and serene.
Above: Although if you floated too far down the strip you would find yourself hitting a Shackleton amoungst many other historic aircraft!
Above: Slightly out of sequence, but to give you the understanding of how close the strip is to the main runway, here is the strip looking back after turning north on departure, running between the trees down towards the museum aircraft.
Above:The collection for an individual enthusiast is amazing. This view is of a Percival Sea Prince, Buccaneer and Hunter.
Above: Here's a Harrier.
Above: And something to fit underneath a Harrier wing that I never knew about, namely a rescue pod where the individual gets into the pod and is flown home under the wing! Apparently only a prototype!
Above: Especially for forumite Bratty, one of his Lightnings which should be getting ready to fire up soon!
Above: Then there was one of the ugliest but most amazing carrier aircraft, the Fairey Gannet. As I approached I could hear a strange noise from the engine and found a nest of baby crows inside the propellor area:
See here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qjIboa__Ys
With only my phone for a camera, I was not able to show the inside of the museum with extensive collections of aircraft engines, model aircraft and avionic equipment. Again, truely astounding to have such a private collection.
Above: By co-incidence, I had spotted a small strip on the way in, just to the west of Redhill. I asked Peter about this and he said it was his other strip at Dovers Green. Deciding to drop in there on the way back, I called up Gatwick Delivery and requested a Long Haul clearance to the other strip! Again, following a sterling service I was cleared to depart between traffic and headed off for my two minute flight.
Above: At Dovers Green, I found some WWII pill boxes guarding the strip and unfortunately also experienced a recurrent starting problem, which Peter kindly assisted with by driving up to assist with a jump start.
Above: So Peter Vallance, please take a bow, you are an aviation star. I would heartily recommend G-BLEW taking a visit down there, as there is easily an article's worth of aviation interest surrounding Peter. Not least the enjoyment of flying into the museum, plus the fact that a greater awareness of his facility really deserves airing.
For anyone going on holiday from Gatwick with time to spare or wishing to visit, please see his website at http://www.gatwick-aviation-museum.co.uk
All the best
Last edited by Aerotech Flyer on Tue May 22, 2007 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Great pictures Aerotech Flyer and a really interesting story too!
Last time I was there was about 4-5 is years ago, we were at an event that I was participating in (with the local radio club), we were in one of the fields, just south of the grass cut strip and were running outside broadcast TV.
Its a great place to watch the aircraft from, they were on the easterly runway and so we got some good views of aircraft on approach throughout the day.
A good collection he has there indeed - needless to say I spent ages looking round the aircraft!
Peter said that a sort of truce now existed whereby as long as he doesn't try to expand or add anything, they will not try to force him out or prosecute.
You can see on this link at the bottom, the latest letter from the council.
He would like to house the exhibits indoors if he could find somewhere, but so far he has not found an alternative to the situation.
If any of our ATC forumites speaks to LGW ATC in the near future, can they say thanks for being so friendly and helpful. It sounded like they almost enjoyed a little distraction from the routine.
Something I forgot to mention earlier, is that Peter is still flying his C182 at 73yrs and has a lovely Ercoupe up at Redhill which is available for hire. Unfortunately no-one seems bothered to fly an old classic, which is a shame.
All the best
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