Huey UH-1H

Bell Huey UH1H Tail Number: 72-21509 G-UH1H


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Blackpool Air Show – Saturday 21 st July 2007
(written by Crew Master Simon Johnson )


Saturday morning dawned rather dull with the sky looking rather heavy. Undeterred Rob Tierney was heading north to meet up with Phil before heading to Blackpool Airport for the display briefing for the Blackpool Air Display. Everything was explained to the pilots about the markers, flightline, display radio frequencies, etc. Phil and Rob then headed to the hangar to prepare 509 for the display. She was thoroughly checked from top to bottom and nose to tail. Soon she was up on her transit wheels ready to pull out to the helipad.

509 was due to display at 2.35 pm and whilst we were getting her out of the hangar we could hear the Hercules returning from its duty of dropping the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team.

Simon and Bradley departed for the promenade as Simon had been volunteered to do the commentary of Rob's display and Bradley was going to film it. They were equipped with the ground to air radio so they could monitor the display frequency so they would know when Rob was making his approach - as if their ears aren't tuned enough to 509's signature rotor beat!! It was just as well they had the radio as the best laid plans had to change rather quickly.

Rob, as instructed, lifted from Blackpool Airport at a little after 2.15 and flew north to position himself over Cleveleys to make his approach to the display area down the prom. The weather had begun to look promising around midday but as time went on it started to change. By the time Rob reached Cleveleys a weather front was slowly making its way down the coast and he radioed to the Display Controller saying that he would be unable to do anything until the band of rain had passed. The decision was made to suspend the air display until the rain had passed and visibility had improved. There followed a frustrating fifteen minutes as the rain moved painfully slowly south.

At just before 2.50 pm Rob headed south to the display area between the North and Central piers at a rate of knots generating a good deal of noise. Just what everyone wanted. From the PA came Wagners' “Ride of the Valkaries” with Simon talking about the history of the bird and about Rob and his background. Due to the delay of the display, Radio Wave the local commercial radio station, nabbed Simon to do an interview live on air for them. Secretly we think they were hoping that the Huey would arrive as the interview was being done and for Simon to have to break off to do the commentary. It would have added some excitement, but it didn't work out that way.
Rob put 509 through her paces with steeping bank turns, tight figure of eights with spiral climbs, etc. No sooner had he started and his display time was over, he headed south back to the airport to refuel and then reposition 509 for the following morning's early departure for the Blenheim Air Show.

The weather was a disappointment but we were delighted to be able to do our first North West flying display in the town which is our operating base.