Huey UH-1H

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


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Latest News >Poynton

Poynton go to Coventry........    (By Crewmaster Simon Johnson)

23rd August 2008 saw Huey 509 and the crew heading to Poynton just outside Stockport.  The flying crew for the day were Phil, Neil and Bradley.  I had an early start to get to Poynton to act as reception party.  Jo and Nina were coming down a little later.  We had been asked to attend Poynton Horticultural and Agricultural Show which has been held for the last 108 years.

Phil and I had been down a couple of times to recce the show ground and to make sure the landing site was suitable.  We had to change from the first location but within reason we were given carte blanche as to which area we could have.  As it happened we chose a suitable area just by the pedestrian entrance which meant we would have a constant flow of people past us.

The flying crew got 509 ready to fly just after 7 o'clock, checked the weather, etc and spoke to Blackpool and Manchester Air Traffic.  The plan was to fly down the low level corridor and then fly east to Poynton.  Neil got clearance from Manchester to transit the airfield reducing the flight time from Wesham.

I was on site at the show ground at 8.30 a.m. to make the final checks and to brief the marshals for stopping the traffic on the road and anyone on foot from approaching the landing zone.  Long before I got the call on the radio from Neil giving me a four minute warning to landing I had heard them approaching, much to the surprise of everyone there.  They were scanning the sky to the west of us with not much success, then all of a sudden the cry went up that they were in sight.

The beat got louder and louder and they made a slow circuit to the west and north to circle round to make the approach and landing as Phil and I had discussed during our recce.  A little before 9 a.m. 509 touched down clearing the area of its freshly cut grass.  Movement was allowed once again on the road but everyone kept clear until the rotors had been secured.

Instantly a crowd gathered around us as we set up the .50 cals on the side and tidied up our other gear needed for the next day as we had another 'do' to go to on the Sunday.
The weather was looking good and the temperature began to rise.  The Poynton Motorcycle Club very graciously were going to feed and water us during the day (thanks loads guys) - once we were happy everything had been sorted with 509, breakfast was arranged.  From the moment the gates opened we were inundated with people looking at 'Miss Jo'.  All four of us were talking to different groups of people trying to answer as many questions as possible fired at us.  When the girls arrived we managed to get a short break each before they went off to explore the show.
We were giving out our small round Huey stickers at a rate of knots and it was looking likely we would run out of the supplies we had, but like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat Phil produced another part roll from inside one of the cubby holes in the Huey.  As it was an agricultural show many of the visitors had their dogs with them so we made a fuss of the dogs as well, some went away proudly sporting a Huey sticker on their collars!


The time just flew by and before we really knew it, it was time to pack our gear away and secure it for our flight down to Coventry.  Everything secured, the crowds and vehicles were kept back.  Phil and Neil in the front and Bradley and myself in the back.  Just after 5.30 p.m. we lifted into the early evening sky and made one circuit of the showground to get some aerials photographs of the site for the organisers before setting our course south towards Macclesfield and beyond.


The flight down was very quiet indeed. During the whole flight we only saw one other aircraft.  On our arrival at Coventry we set 509 down outside one of the Air Atlantique's hangars.  The Huey was parked just in front of the Shackleton and a Dakota along with a Vampire, a Dove and many other interesting flying machines.  We unloaded our gear and secured 509 for the night and set off for our bed and breakfast at The Oak just by the airfield.
We checked in and deposited our things in the rooms and headed back down to get an evening meal and a well deserved drink.  We didn't last long……….an early start to the day and being on our feet all day had taken its toll so we retired early.

Breakfast was at 9 a.m. as we were being picked up by Steve Mosley who had booked us for a private function that afternoon.  He took us to his place so we could check out the lie of the land and work out our approach and landing.  We warned him of the downwash if we were to land where he wanted us to but it didn't worry him; in fact he encouraged it.

We got dropped off at the Midland Air Museum as we felt it was an ideal way to spend a few hours on a Sunday morning before we prepared to fly to Allesley for the private do.  Brad and I opted to have a look in the cockpit of the Vulcan.  We've been in the cockpit of Andre Tempest's Victor 'Lusty Lindy' at Elvington but had not experienced a Vulcan cockpit.  Absolutely fascinating and very sobering having read so much about them and of the Black Buck operation during the Falklands Conflict.

We met up with Phil and Neil who had been hopping in and out of other cockpits that the volunteers were manning.  We had a closer look at the Mil24 Hind helicopter and then moved on to the Lightnings with a somewhat obsessive interest ……….. I wonder why?  Having had a look at the displays inside we headed for a cup of tea before heading back to 509.

As soon as we got back to the airfield Phil and Neil checked the weather forecast, checked for NOTAMS, etc. before ordering the fuel to top up 509's tank.  Once back at 509 the tanker arrived, so as much fuel as possible was squeezed in.  Again we had to redistribute all our gear to pack it away out of sight as we were flying with the doors open, guns in position and connected up to the gas with myself and Bradley sat behind them.  We were due to arrive overhead the location at 4 p.m. so at 3.30 p.m. 509 came to life with the whine of the turbine and the quickening beat of her blades.  We lifted into the air of a warm August afternoon.


A flight time of minutes we were turning south off the M6 at Corley Services, our eyes peeled to find the event location.  Phil and Neil were working hard to locate it when all of a sudden smoke started to billow from the back garden.  Our landing zone had been marked for us, and it confirmed the wind direction.  509 made an extremely noisy approach with Bradley and I letting loose with the .50 cals.  What a racket we made as we flew by the house surprising everyone on the ground especially as Steve, the host, let off some more pyrotechnics on the ground.  We circled a few times whilst firing the guns and clattering the blades before Neil set the Huey down on the ground as instructed by Steve.

We stayed on the ground for about 1½ hours and talked to all Steve’s friends who were there to mark his wedding anniversary and his 50th birthday.  At 5:30 p.m. we said our goodbyes and lifted off to head north and home.  We dropped in to Blackpool Airport to refuel before flying back to Wesham where we secured 509 for the final time that weekend.

A busy weekend again but this time at two very different events and very different groups of people, all of whom appreciated the chance to get to see 509 up close and hear the beat of her blades.