It’s easy to forget that Britain is still at the forefront of aviation design and development, according to UK business champion Lord Digby Jones – and it takes events like the Flying Show to remind us of that.
Lord Jones made his timely comments while opening last weekend’s show at the NEC, and he praised the BMAA for highlighting just what is available to people who want to fly at the lighter end of the flying world.
Providing a backdrop to Lord Jones’s opening announcement were P&M Aviation’s PulseR – which has just received its BCAR Section S certification and is featured in the January 2014 issue of Pilot magazine – and the company’s GTR Explorer. Both aircraft will play a major part in Flying for Freedom’s plan for wounded servicemen to fly to the South Pole next year (you can read more about the expedition here).
Elsewhere, the now-familiar autogyro line-up was added to this year by the Polish-built Rotor-Lite, which the importers say they hope to see available in the UK sometime next year. Meanwhile, the ninety percent Mk26B Spitfire replica being built at Enstone was finally looking something more like the finished article; it’s hoped that it will get its Permit sometime soon.
Although there wasn’t a huge array of new equipment or aircraft on display in the show hall this year, there was still plenty to see and talk about.
The top popular announcement, timed to coincide with the opening of the show, was that Icom’s 8.33kHz versions of its A6E and A24E handhelds have finally received CAA approval for air use, so it was no surprise that Flightstore told us they sold out of the thirty they had on their stand pretty much straight away.
The show’s organiser, the BMAA, meanwhile, announced that under the ‘New Horizons’ heading it was joining YES (Youth & Education Support) in a Build-A-Plane project. Pupils at CTC Kingshurst Academy in Solihull will be building a FlyLite SkyRanger over the next year, which is expected to be exhibited at next year’s show.
All in all this was a good, well attended show – and what pervaded overall was that there was a positive air about flying at the lighter end of General Aviation.