The Tiger Club Display at Fairoaks (April 28th)

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The Tiger Club Old Time Flying Display at the pleasant grass aerodrome at Fairoaks was good value, with 19 items on the programme. Charles Boddington effectively acrobatic-ed a Tiger Moth, James Baring directed the performing VW-engined 600-lb. Turbulents, which flew in formation of three and four, two emitting smoke, and Turbulents and Tigers found balloon-bursting an easy task, only one getting away. Dennis Hartas went crazy in a 1933 Tiger Moth, taking off and landing downwind, his flat turns and wing-tip changes of direction concealing real skill. A “Dawn Patrol” saw a Tiger “shot down” by the Arrow Active Mk. II biplane, which in turn was vanquished by another Tiger and was itself “shot down” behind the trees. This Active, which was making its first public appearance with its third tail-end mods. of ever bigger fin and rudder, is a 1932 machine of King’s Cup memory, rebuilt in 1958 and capable of 144 m.p.h.

Turbulents snatched handkerchiefs from ground level, radio-controlled models proved unable to emulate the prowess of the real aeroplanes at balloon-bursting, and that splendid aeroplane, the 85-h.p. Le Vier “Cosmic Wind” all-metal monoplane, which will roll as fast as a Hunter jet, was ably demonstrated by Peter Phillips.

A girl from Farnborough gracefully showed off a Skylark 2B glider, there were plenty of parachute drops, a Ford Consul saloon (presumably expendable) was successfully dive-bombed with flour-bags from a Lycoming-engined Piper Super-Cub, and there was “Tiger Tag” and all the thrills of the pre-war air shows. Highlight of the afternoon was wing-walking by Mrs. Benjamin, wearing false plaits and flown by her husband and another girl, on two Tiger Moths—the modern “Annie Oakley and Lolita” act. They were flown under a wire, burst balloons with a stick, and went past hands-off. If they are given foot-holds and a harness by direction of a cautious Ministry of Aviation instead of climbing out of the cockpits and walking free, as wing-walkers did in Cobham’s day, they are nevertheless very brave girls. There was a fly-past by a Tiger Moth, a Hornet Moth and the 1931 Puss Moth with its leather upholstery, the last-named having served in its time as personal aeroplane to the U.S. Naval Air Attaché in London and with A.T.A., and then Lewes Benjamin, John Judge and Dennis Hartas performed tied-together aerobatics in three Tigers, breaking only one wing-tip cord, the connecting strings even surviving the, necessarily formation, landing— impressive flying! The tied-together Turbulents were not presented and the show ended with a fake 3-lap handicap race between five Tigers, three Super Tigers and four Turbulents.

A pleasant afternoon in the sun, marred only when an over-zealous official asked a Surrey Special Constable to move everyone, and the “gestapo” concentrated on the Press (us!) while allowing the milling multitude with its prams and straying kids to remain in a prohibited area, the police apparently think Press-men fair game, since the Vassall trial.

If you missed the April show you may care to note that the Tiger Club is staging another show at Fairoaks on August Bank Holiday.—W. B.

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