As is the case with so many Spring and Summer Meetings, the Vintage Aeroplane Club’s Rally, held at White Waltham over the weekend May 3rd/4th, was accompanied by persistent low cloud, rain and poor visibility. As a result, many of the aircraft that set out from various parts of the country turned back to their home bases, although some managed to penetrate the elements; the most noteworthy was the Tipsy G-AFSC in which HG Davies battled all the way from Cardiff, while another member in a similar machine was forced to put down in a field only about ten miles from its destination.
After lunch it was obvious that the combination of weather and lack of aeroplanes would prevent the programme from being carried out in time, and it was decided early in the afternoon that the West London Trophy Race should be postponed until the following day; however, although no competitions were held, some minor entertainment was provided for those members who had been waiting for several hours.
A formation of vintage biplanes took the air and carried out a low fly-past. This was led by W/Cdr CA Pike in the 1925 Cirrus Moth, with Captain LE Gillman in the 1930 Aero Avian and David Ogilvy in the 1933 Aero Cadet, after which Captain Gillman broke away and gave a short acrobatic demonstration in the Avian. Following this and before the weather clamped down again, a number of ultra-lights took the air, among them the Aeronca G-A EVS, Drone G-ADPJ and Tipsy G-AFSC.
The earlier hours of Sunday morning looked reasonably promising. but, alas, the rains came and stayed until nearly 4 pm, when several pilots took their first opportunities of practising round the course for the race. Briefing over, the aircraft were taxied to their respective starting positions at the western boundary of the aerodrome in readiness for the start.
Number one to be flagged away was BJ Snook in his cream Aeronca, with HG Davies in the Tipsy not long afterwards; three biplanes followed, headed by W/Cdr Pike in the old Moth, after which Captain A Marshall in the Avian and the Cadet with David Ogilvy at the helm. Scratch man was Ian Forbes in the comparatively speedy Miles Nighthawk.
As the course coneisted of three laps of a circuit of only eight miles, the entire race was in view of the spectators, so it was no surprise when Forbes roared across the line to finish first at an average speed of 161 mph. Runner-up was the Cirrus Moth at 93.5 mph, and third home was the Avian, which had clocked a 95 mph average.
After tea the Trophy, a gift to the Vintage Aeroplane Club from the directors and members of the West London Aero Club, was presented to the winner by Captain HS Broad, who, as a member of the committee of the Royal Aero Club and a well-known pre-war racing pilot, had acted as senior steward of the meeting.
During the evening the rain returned and most aircraft were tucked away for a second night’s stay at White Waltham, but despite the weather and the unfortunate coincidence of the VSCC Silverstone races, attendance had been quite good and many members had remained throughout the weekend in the hope that the programme would be carried out; an encouraging sign of the enthusiasm that exists within the club.—D Ogilvy.
From the Sunday Express, dated May 4th :-
“It is estimated that fewer than 50 people in Great Britain today fly their own airplanes solely for pleasure.
“Private flying is dying–strangled by red tape and rising coats.
“In the last five years the number of privately-owned airplanes used for business and pleasure has declined from 530 at the beginning of 1949 to 395—last month.
“Private flying licences have fallen from 1,700 to about 400— more than 75 per cent.”
We are informed that we did DC Hodgson’s Javelin a grave injustice in our RAC Rally report, inasmuch as it did not hit the Castle Combe pylons. DC Mason points out that his Jaguar was not caught in the Boreham sprint by a Connaught as an illustration caption suggested. We will apply a liberal dose of sackcloth and ashes.
The Isle of Wight CC headquarters is the Holliers Hotel, Shanklin. Hon Sec, J Choat, 111 High Street, Shanklin. Members of RAC affiliated clubs are offered honourary membership whilst on the Island.
Winfield Joint Committee
The Winfield Joint Committee will control racing at the two-mile Chartenhall circuit, substitute for Winfield, where the first Scottiali GP is scheduled for October 11th. We publish below some notes about their arrangements issued by the Committee :—
(1) Charterhall, a two-mile circuit ideally placed adjoining the main Edinburgh-Coldstream road, is regarded as more entertaining for both competitors and spectators.
(2) It has been taken over by the Winfield Joint Committee, which is to continue functioning under that name. Promoting bodies are Berwick & District MC, Hawick Club and the Lothian CC.
(3) It is an indication of the world-wide interest in the new Scottish track that the Italians have lodged an objection to the date (October 11th) for the autumn meeting. They claim it clashes with Continental events and have asked for it to be changed. Winfield Committee, however, are going ahead with their plans. The first Scottish Grand Prix will be staged at this meeting.
(4) An expenditure of about £500 is to be made immediately on improving the surface of the track, on which there is almost a mile long “back straight.” No spectators will be allowed inside the circuit and from some vantage points the entire area is visible, The corners have already been named, viz, Tofts Turn, Paddock Bend, Lodge Corner and Kames Curve.
(5) Winfield Joint Committee has made the following appointments; Clerk of the Course : D McKay (Edinburgh). Secretary : WA Martin (Berwick). Tresurer : RR Aitken (Edinburgh). Chief Spectators’ Marshal : Brig AC Swinton (Berwick). Chief Track Marshal : JM Edney (Berwick). Chief Paddock Marshal : RE Miller (Edinburgh). Publicity : W Stoddard (Berwick). Competitors’ Liaison : R Mellain (Berwick). Communications : B Groom (Hawick). Chief Medical Officer : JG Waugh (Edinburgh). Sign-posting and directions : RH Inness (Hawick).
(6) Future fixtures are as follows June 21st (Saturday).—International Permit. July 27th, (Sunday). —Closed Permit (promoting clubs’ members only). Oct 11th (Saturday).—National Permit, 2 pm.