Charity Farm, Baxterley
May 31, 2008
|This was the fourth European Luscombe Tour to be organised by Nige Barratt a Luscombe pilot and website European Luscombes manager. The two day tour planned to visit mostly grass land strips around central England and Eastern Wales. After missing last year's event I was very keen to see these wonderful vintage aircraft in action. Photography at intimate farm landing strips offers many opportunities and should not be missed.|
The 2008 tour was to start at Croft Farm, Defford, where it was expected that seven Luscombe aircraft would arrive on the Friday evening which was the day before the event took to the air. Departing Croft Farm at 10:30 the tour made its way to Lane Farm in Powys for tea and biscuits. Lunch was planned later at Welshpool, however problems with the grass strip at Lane Farm caused some delays with aborted take-off's. From Welshpool they were due to arrive at Baxterley at 15:25 before going on to Sywell for a night stop.
The second day of the tour would start with departure from Sywell at 10:00 heading for Peterborough and then on to Sackville Farm two miles north of Bedford. Following a BBQ the plan was to head for Turweston and then finally on to the small grass strip at Brimpton. In all over the two days 16 Luscombes took part, but not all managed the complete tour of all the planned airfields.
|Departing in style Luscombe 8E Silvaire (G-BRUG) drops a wing|
|Charity Farm, Baxterley
Ken Broomfield owner of Charity Farm was busy working when I arrived, but still was happy to find a safe place for me to park my car, by some rough ground beside some rusting military tanks. From there he pointed me in the direction of his grass landing strip. A squad of people in full camouflage including face paint were running around when I arrived, seemingly totally oblivious to an invasion by a dozen or more vintage aircraft. Indeed throughout the four hours of my visit they were either lurking in the bushes that surround the farm strip or creeping upon an unseen 'enemy'.
Already well behind schedule after departing Welshpool the fleet of now 13 Luscombes had to make a detour around the RAF Cosford due to its annual air show. It was not until 16:40 that the first aircraft flew over the farm strip at Baxterley. The one hour scheduled stop was used by pilots and passengers to compare notes and stretch legs. The full hour was taken despite the final destination of the day, Sywell aerodrome, officially closing at 18:00. A quick call to Sywell's ATC staff confirmed that it was still possible to land at around 19:00. 12 of the 13 Luscombes took to the air in quick succession while one unfortunately struggled to get it's engine started.
|Left to right: Arriving at Baxterley and much later than scheduled Luscombes (8A G-EITE, 8E G-BUKU, 8E G-BROO and 8A G-AGMI).|
|Left to right: Luscombes (8A G-BVGW, 8E G-BRUG, G-NIGE and 8E G-BTCH).|
|Left to right: Luscombes (8E G-AJJU, 8A G-EITE, 8E G-BUKU and the very smart 8E G-BROO).|
|Left to right: Luscombes (8A G-AGMI, 8E G-BVGW, 8EF G-KENM and 8AE G-BSOX).|
|Left to right: Tour Luscombes making their way to the line-up (8E G-NIGE, 8E G-BRUG and 8E G-BVGW).|
|Left to right: An hour after arriving the Tour is ready for the 45 minute flight to Sywell on the final leg of day one. Luscombe 8A G-BRJK was the last to arrive.|
|Left to right: Luscombes (8E G-BROO, 8E G-BRUG, 8E G-BSSA and 8E G-AJJU).|
|Left to right: Luscombes (8A G-EITE, 8A G-AGMI and 8E G-NIGE).|
|I was using a Canon EOS 20D and EOS 40D with a Canon EF 70-200 f2.8 and EF 300mm f2.8 lens using shutter speeds from 1/160th down to 1/100th to ensure acceptable prop blur.|