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Latest News > Croeso i Rhyl am Huey a Loach

Croeso i Rhyl am Huey a Loach
Rhyl Airshow 2014

LOACH 011 DISPLAY - SATURDAY 30/08/14  (By Pilot Dick Barton) 

Saturday dawned nice and dry with a brisk westerly wind so I decided to take my motorbike up to Wesham for a run to get to the hangar.  I arrived in plenty of time to prepare the Loach for the day’s events and Simon had kindly agreed to come across to assist me in getting the little bird out of the hangar.  Timing was perfect as Simon and I arrived within about 5 minutes of each other and we were met by Phil who had literally just got back from his holidays. Together we did the pre-flight necessities and I checked for any airspace restrictions and weather and got final display confirmation from the event organisers at Rhyl.

        

The Loach needed refuelling so I dropped into Blackpool to top up and have a short chat with Neil, our Chief Pilot, who was on shift doing his proper job as Pilot with the North West Air Ambulance.  This was going to be my first display of the year and I needed to be current for it so en-route to Rhyl I popped into RAF Woodvale, where my old boss is in charge of the Air Experience Flight, to practice.  The practices had to include one on the ‘into wind’ runway and one on the ‘cross wind’ runway just to make life difficult.  At display venues we are tied to a specific display axis but have no control over the wind!  The wind had picked up and the Loach was being bumped around a bit and it was hard work.  The feedback from the watchers was very positive so I was ready for my proper display.  I routed across the Wirral and south of Rhyl (where it was pouring down!) to keep clear of the displays and then positioned myself to hold over the water at Abergele.  The weather had picked up there and I watched the BBMF fighters doing their thing before being called in to do my display.


(Photograph courtesy of Gareth Hill)

The wind had dropped a little but the sea was still a bit choppy and the buoys marking the display line weren’t the easiest to see.  The pre-display briefing package was excellent and included a good photograph of the site so using landmarks I managed to keep to my line and the crowd centre.


(Photograph courtesy of Gareth Hill)

Again I had critics on the ground - the Pilot Training Officer and a Crewman from my current Squadron doing a static display.  After the event they didn’t rib me too much so it must have been ok.  Anyway, I enjoyed myself and there were lots of waves from the spectators as I did my slow sideways pass at the end – with my left pedal fully forward to stop the Loach from spinning in the wind!

 
(Photograph courtesy of Gareth Hill)

Portrush was the next event planned on the Airshow Calendar the following weekend so another stop to refuel at Blackpool on the way home and the Loach was all ready to go to Northern Ireland.  Of course the weather didn’t hold and it was a very good decision to put my waterproofs on for the trip home; motorbikes are great fun but the first half of the 100 mile journey was pretty miserable.

HUEY 509 DISPLAY – SUNDAY 31/08/14 (By Pilot Rob Tierney)

The Sunday of the Rhyl Airshow broke a beautiful day - light winds, a clear horizon, no cloud and bright sunshine.  It promised to be a wonderful day on which to display.

However by the time I departed Blackpool, after refuelling, for the Rhyl slot time of 1715, the horizon had disappeared behind a heat haze and the sun was much lower in the sky.

The trip down was a delight and the people of Prestatyn must have wondered what was going on as I arrived to hold for some 10 minutes just to the east of their town.  The approach along the coast to Rhyl was made at 120 kts and once I had identified the Lifeboat Station, which was the display datum, I could get into the display.  The Centre of Gravity of the crowd was more to the East, so I shifted my display a little distance that way. 


  (Photograph courtesy of David Meadows)

During the pull up to 500ft the sun was right in my eyes and even with the visor down it blinded me such that when I looked back into the cockpit, it took a noticeable time for my eyes to readjust and see the instruments.  Poor old BoB fighter pilots; now I really do feel for them.  This and the poor horizon caused a modification to the routine however a twizzle was made from the upwind end of the crowd line all along the front and so was a figure of eight pattern. 


  (Photograph courtesy of David Meadows) 

The final manoeuvre was amended as the Red Arrows called up to ask if the display area was clear.  When told it was not, they emphasised the RAT [a Restricted Air Zone established especially for them] had to be clear in 4 minutes time.  So a very rapid departure was made, reaching the eastern boundary of the RAT with just 30secs to spare.


(Photograph courtesy of David Meadows)

The return to Wesham was again a most enjoyable transit and Huey arrived back at 17:45.

(Editors Comments)
Thank you to the Pilots for recalling the events of the day and to Gareth Hill and David Meadows for sharing their photographs of the displays. A special thank you must go to the organisers of the Rhyl Air Show 2014 for inviting the Huey Crew to join in the fun at this superb event and to the visitors to the air show for giving us such a great welcome.

 
 
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