I know you are interested in vintage aeroplanes so I thought you might like to see this copy of a photo from my family album. The Gypsy Moth was G-AAAG and is of the same type as a G-AAAH, Amy Johnson’s record-breaking plane in which she flew solo from England to Australia. G-AAAG in company with an old red Avro 504 were used as joy flight machines and operated from Apse Heath Aerodrome, a grass field just outside Sandown and not far from Shanklin, the well-known Isle of Wight holiday resorts.
My mother is sitting in the near cockpit whilst my father is pretending to swing the prop. We were frequent visitors to the Apse Heath Flying Club and remember well the old Buick rumble-seat roadster painted bright scarlet which used to prowl the seafronts of Sandown and Shanklin picking up victims for 5-bob flips. Billy Ward, the pilot of the old red Avro, which had a splendid wooden skid between the wheels, once told me that frequently he was so broke he used to supplement his income by potting rabbits on the aerodrome whilst waiting for customers.
Sometimes at low tide the Avro would use the sands at Puckpool near Ryde as an impromptu landing field if business was slack at Apse Heath. Can you imagine that being allowed nowadays! The snapshot was taken in about 1928-29 or perhaps 1930.
Boldre RICHARD STONER
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