Older Press Releases

WNAS press release February, 2018

New-ish member of the West Norfolk Aviation Society, Simon Booth, jumped in at the deep end last month and presented an extract from his film archive which highlighted some of the history of the enigmatic Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. His fascination for the aircraft started as a result of a family member having had personal associations. Developed in the 1950's this machine had such a striking appearance, with its rocket-like proportions, that that alone should have been enough to deter any would-be MIG15 aggressor. Unfortunately, despite holding altitude and airspeed records, it was bedevilled by a catalogue of misfortune, latterly being described by the press as: The Widow Maker – Simon prefers the expression: Window Shaker.

WNAS press release January, 2018

Never to be foiled in the face of adversity the West Norfolk Aviation Society triumphs again at its Mundford Bowls Club depot. When a scheduled speaker fails to appear, external resources run dry or, are too expensive, the society turns to its own crew for monthly enlightenment. Our very own master techie, Fred Miller, rose to the occasion and delivered a compendium of photographic phenomena dredged from that wondrous archive: the internet. The programme started with a collection of slides depicting the irony of ‘Nose Art’; those zany pinups that emblazoned the front end of the war machines; the ones that belied and understated the apprehension and emotions of the sometimes adolescent aircrews. Our audience wasted no opportunity in punctuating the presentation with its own bawdy comments; even an emancipated lady listener felt cheated by the fact that the caricatures were exclusively female . . . . .

There came next the thrilling spectacle of a somewhat over restored WW2 fighting machine being put through its paces. The image of the Lockheed P38 Lightning conflicted, somewhat, with the sensibilities of the purist. The machine gave no impression of having been a war machine with its polished aluminium skin and Red Bull livery; the latter pales into insignificance when compared with period nose art.

The next few clips in Fred’s eclectic repertoire focussed on the engineering aspect of aviation; more specifically, the versatility of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine which was used to power numerous WW2 bombers and fighters. Adapted versions were also used on American aircraft; one even found its way into the garage of Jay Leno, the famous American TV presenter and collector of other exotic, period transport machinery. Jay uses his Merlin engine as a stationary standby generator . . . . . for moving air around; it helps to dry his long luxuriant hair.

The evening ended with a hearty round of applause for Fred and, the catering crew, Val and Len.

WNAS press release July 2017

The scheduled guest speaker was unable to attend the West Norfolk Aviation Society meeting on Tuesday 4th July and the duty was thus performed by our own Club secretary, David Allen. He began his presentation with a film illustrating the development and testing of one of his favourite aircraft, the Handley Page Herald, which, although a technical success suffered a production run of only nine years, mainly the result of political interference - nothing new there. David went on to give a masterly account of his own involvement with the aircraft, from the hair-raising to the holidays. One small point: whilst on guard duty one night he had cause to castigate an unscheduled intruder who was also enthusiastic about the Herald; David grovelled once he realised it was the Duke of Edinburgh….. runaway. The evening ended with a rousing applause and as usual, a special thanks to our catering hosts, Val and Len, stewards of the Mundford Bowls Club.

WNAS press release June 2017

On Friday, May 26th, members of the West Norfolk Aviation Society met at a Duxford practice day to see a collection of WW2 war horses being put through their paces. As usual, tears in our eyes and lumps in our throats, the nostalgia was all consuming even though none of us witnessed the real thing. It was mainly a day of history with two incredible museums to support the day’s entertainment. But, to most of us, the star turn of the day was the Eurofighter Typhoon which never fails to exhilarate; even the traditionalist anoraks. The machine’s manoeuvrability was breath-taking with its ability to stand on its tail, almost stationary, and, with the potential to accelerate to 2000mph – not on this day though. What a credit this machine is to human engineering; surely a case for stealing the glory from the pilot. Is his or her role almost redundant we wonder and what part would a pilot really play in a dog-fight with competitive hardware? Watch out politicians, the engineer is on your tail.

On Thursday, 8th June, members and guests met again at the very hospitable Mundford bowls club. On this occasion we were entertained and educated by another charismatic speaker, Mike Dalton. Although Mike had served time in the RAF his main claim to fame emerged when he pioneered a school for would-be racing drivers. The success of this was limited by the overheads incurred in the venues he was able to afford. His shrewdness and an innate empathy with economics led him onto founding another scary venture: a flying school. This time, with a difference: at the height of its popularity he was operating six, 80 year old Tiger Moths. At the end of his address the floor was opened up to questions and another hour passed by with anecdotes and banter. We have a feeling that Mike might have liked us and, there is a suspicion he might even join our ranks. If he does, or doesn’t, we will certainly ask him back to talk to us about what he does now for kicks.

WNAS press release April 2017

On Tuesday 4th April the West Norfolk Aviation Society met at the Mundford Bowls Club and, disappointing though it was that the scheduled speaker was unable to attend, our own member Mark Burch came to the rescue with 2014 film footage of the meeting of the only two surviving Lancaster bombers. Vera, a recently restored Canadian machine, flew across the Atlantic to rendezvous with Thumper, the British counterpart at RAF Coningsby. Both aeroplanes were joined by the Spitfire and Hurricane of the Memorial Flight and the film showed clips of the four aircraft in formation touring around various locations in the country. The evening was particularly enjoyable now that we have a new sound system. As usual, a show of appreciation was bestowed upon our caterers, Val and Len, for their cream tea and beer.

WNAS press release February 2017

On Tuesday, 7th February, the West Norfolk Aviation Society enjoyed the presentation of a collection of aircraft photographs taken this century by fellow member Andrew Barnes. From Sea Fury to Concorde, the range of aeroplanes was wide and detailed. Anecdotes contributed by other members added extra interest to the evening. A further bonus was the hospitality and catering provided for us by the Mundford Bowls Club. Our thanks to them. Our next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday March 7th when another member of the society will give a talk on Aerial Gunnery. Chris Halliday's performances are always informative, humorous and unusual, so join us if you can. Further details of the Society's activities are available on our website: http://www.westnorfolkaviationsociety.org.uk

WNAS press release January 2017

The West Norfolk Aviation Society held its January meeting on the tenth of the month, again, at the Mundford Bowls Club. There was no speaker on this occasion but members enjoyed a film showing the comings and goings of various commercial aircraft at Manchester International Airport in the 1960s. After the interval, which included a raffle and a sumptuous table of fine fayre, we had another film showing the valuable contribution the Blenheim made to the war effort. Although there was a minor sound issue with the projection media, the hard of hearing were helped along by the less aurally challenged; they gave their support with musical accompaniment. Before the meeting closed, Tech. member Fred ‘Magician’ Miller, took to the floor and gave a demonstration of how a micrometer can also be used to induce lift.