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A special day, and not just one !

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    Yesterday, Tuesday, we had on the South Coast, wall to wall grey stuff. Variable cloud base, seemingly between about 7/800ft and 3000ft. Rain threatened all day and did give the odd sprinkle, enough to induce me to walk with umbrella rather than cycle.

    At 2.20pm, I heard the familiar 'sky music'. A Merlin was winging its way thru' clag and I could not see it. My first thought was if I owned a few million quidsworth of Spitfire it would, to-day of all days, be sitting wrapped in an overcoat of cotton wool, snugged cosily in its hangar !

    I carried on to the Post Office and at 2.40pm again heard a Merlin, this time attached to a readily visible and elegant silhouette of a Spitfire at a height of around 800ft and travelling from West to East. It wasn't long in view and disappeared into cloud somewhere adjacent to the Witterings.


      Today Friday, almost an embarrassment of riches ! Conditions were superb. Thin, high, cirrus cloud and not much of it. Visibility sharp. Bright sunshine. From about 2.opm until 4.0pm we had virtually non stop Spitfires whizzing about the sky firstly over Emsworth harbour and then Chichester.

      Single Spitfires arriving in the overhead from the West and also from the East. Height; between 1500 and 2000ft. Most of the aerobatics were performed over the seaward end of Chichester harbour apart from the first visit which was seen over Emsworth; the next harbour to the East from Chichester.

      The most aerobatics were saved for the last appearance at about 4.0pm. Immaculate loops, barrel rolls, aileron rolls came one after the other. It is easy to imagine, especially on a day that for weather, mimics that in Sept 1940 that, as a spectator, one is witnessing a replay of the events of that year complete with swirls of vapour trails over an area where the life or death drama of the BoB was played out.


        As, I imagine with most places, it is a bitingly cold day here on the South Coast. Bright sunshine coupled with a sharpish North Easterly formed the background to the now familiar musical grunt of a Merlin.

        At about 1.45pm there came, travelling from East to West at quite a lick, a solitary Spitfire at a height of around 2000 ft. I wasn't at the harbour at the time but, on my way walking to collect some bits from the local hardware.

        At 1.55pm the Spitfire returned. this time coming from a South Westerly direction and travelling towards the North East. Same height. On neither journey were there any observable aerobatics.
        Last edited by John Green; 6th December 2017, 21:32.


          The best on I've seen yet over Chichester is when they had two Spitfires up jousting with a Buchon "109". I've only seen it once, not surprising when according to the Boultbee website it's a mere 12,000 to pay for oneself and a mate to go up & relive the Battle of Britain. It was actually quite interesting comparing the relative sizes of the two types. The Buchon was appreciably smaller than the Spitfire.
          It's the one you don't see that gets you (usually)...


            A fairly pleasant day yesterday, so drove over to Goodwood mid afternoon. The top floor of the new cafeteria building has been removed. No work in progress. The field looks good with all the new laid areas fully grassed. Very quiet with hardly anyone around.

            A single seater Spitfire was standing outside on the fenced off grass lawn to the right of the Boultbee hangar. Damn, no camera. I got up close to the aircraft labelled as JEJ, MK 392 - and it dawned ! This was the GRP fake that had stood out on the field next to the tower when I was last at Goodwood.

            Altho' for a moment it fooled me, I doubt it would have fooled most of the knowledgeable on this forum. I thought that who ever built it had done an excellent job. Apart from any other consideration which would not have become apparent unless you were close to the a/c, the giveaway for me, was that the oleos seemed to be at rather an extravagant angle.

            The Boultbee hangar was shut so I couldn't ask any maintenance staff about any future flying program.


              If you get the angle right you can see daylight through the cowling around the exhaust stacks. What worries me is that it doesn't appear to be secured to the ground in any way. I know it's only a replica but given a good enough breeze those wings are going to generate significant lift and then......
              It's the one you don't see that gets you (usually)...


                Having had two untethered a/c blown over by strong winds I'm with you on that one ! For me, MK 392 is rather too nice a 'shop window' to be left unsecured - besides being - I imagine, expensive to repair/replace.


                  Brilliant dry weather brought me to-day to Chichester Harbour. Bill, the owner of the boat that I was busy anti-fouling had said that the new bag of golf clubs he'd bought needed to be tested in Portugal to see if they correctly worked. That seemed reasonable enough.

                  We then had a feast day of Spitfires. Obviously the weather had perhaps encouraged some currency checks. We saw four sorties of Spitfires commencing 2.0pm. All running in from the West to the East and including one that performed an immaculate loop.

                  We had another at 3-0pm almost on the hour followed by another at 4.0 and 5.0pm. Three were flown at around 2000 ft with the last arriving overhead at about 1200ft.

                  Is this the start of the Spitfire Season? Let us hope so.


                    Two sorties to report. One at 9.45am yesterday Thurs.. 9.45am ? Even I blinked. That's the earliest I've ever recorded. A single Spitfire travelling West to East at a height of about 2000ft. Didn't pause for anything fancy, just disappeared into the fine mist.

                    To-day around 1.0pm, a Spitfire came in over Chichester Harbour from a Northerly direction at around 1500ft, made a constant turn heading South East and came onto an Easterly course and cruised off in the direction of Selsey.


                      Bright golden day albeit slightly hazy to-day, Friday. Spitfires every which way one looked ! About 1.0pm a Spitfire appeared over Chichester harbour. Travelling from the North East and curving round to disappear to the South East. Height about 1200ft.

                      2.0 and 3.0pm there followed successive sorties. All flown at about 1,000ft. The last one at 3.0pm gave a series of loops and rolls all conducted in a very brisk and lively fashion.

                      Yesterday Thurs. we had one visit about 1.0pm. The weather was good. There was a lot of other traffic about which meant that the Spitfire's performance was cut short and it went off to the East.

                      One matter has always puzzled me - perhaps someone knows the answer: To whom are pilots listening when flying in the Chichester harbour area? It does on occasion get rather busy. I imagine it would be Goodwood. I don't think it would be Shoreham altho' an amount of traffic must come from that direction.

                      I hope that the sundry 'tail chasers ', aerobatic practitioners and transiting traffic are listening and talking to someone.


                        Dogged persistence finally paid off and I saw one about ten days ago as I passed to the North of the airfield. Marvellous, but still none over Hamble or where I race the boat!


                          Forgot to say, I've got to drop in at the airfield to arrange a lesson for cost centre #2, and I'll ask about radio calls unless someone replies on here beforehand.


                            A very pleasant day, light wind, clear vis. Three aircraft separately up at about 4000ft practicing aerobatics over the harbour. At about 2.0pm there was single pass by a Spitfire travelling from South West to the East around 1200ft.


                              Yep, now the weather has got nice lots of stuff out and about from Goodwood. The Zlin has been buzzing around the last few days and I got several sightings of the Stearman and Harvard this weekend.
                              It's the one you don't see that gets you (usually)...


                                Wow ! This was probably the best ever - so far !

                                Against a rather gloomy wall to wall cloud base of about 4,000ft - the weather had deteriorated since about 3.0pm, at about five minutes past five, a single Spitfire appeared from the South East and proceeded with a spectacular and energetic display lasting around 10 minutes.

                                I wondered if there was some kind of event or celebration being held at Thorney Island because the display centered there. We had ten minutes of continuous aerobatics; loops, rolls, rate four turns, all delivered at speed. The display area covered part of the harbour where I was working on Bill's boat, with an uninterrupted view of the sky across to Thorney.

                                The pilot finished with a low pass over Thorney and climbing away towards the South East disappeared into the haze.

                                Thanks Boultbee. Now what do I do ? Continue grabbing every quid I can towards a newish boat or, obey Boultbee's Merlin siren call and book half an hour ?


                                  Three sorties yesterday, 6th June. Perhaps it is fanciful to think that at least one was in recognition of that fateful date. The sky was flawless. No cloud. The first Spitfire appeared at about 12.0 mid day. I was at home, therefore my view of the sky is limited. The aircraft came across from South East to North West in an elegant arc at about 1500ft. I followed it by eye as it curved over Portsmouth and returned along the coast towards the East.

                                  The second was at about 2.0pm. I was in Chichester town center. I couldn't see it and heard only the quite unmistakeable engine echoing in the distance.

                                  The third was at about 4.0pm. I was then at Northney Marina and had a fairly good uninterrupted view of the sky. A Spitfire cruised all most overhead at about 1500ft, travelling from East to West in straight and level flight.


                                    To-day Thursday, two more visits. Quite surprising as the weather and especially the visibility were 'claggy' to say the least. One Spitfire at about 2.30pm, at a height of around 1500ft, came across Chichester harbour from East to West.

                                    The second at 3.30pm came West to East along the coast line then about abreast Selsey Bill turned towards the North and presumably Goodwood.

                                    Perhaps - and this is not intended as a criticism - I'm over cautious when it comes to flight in what I regard as even slightly marginal conditions.


                                      To-day, Sunday, was marked by the absence of any Spitfire but, in its place, the Harvard. It was busy most of the afternoon with aerobatics staged over the harbour. All manoeuvers appeared precise albeit delivered in stately fashion. Watching from the ground is a bit like watching a rugger scrum. You feel yourself urging the action on, especially on the climb to a loop - it never looks fast enough with enough spare energy to get over the top !


                                        Yesterday, Friday was a busy Spitfire day. The weather was good, with clear skies, a light breeze and visibility clear to the South Downs.

                                        We had four Spitfire sorties over or adjacent to the harbours of Langstone and Chichester. The first at about 12.0pm, followed by visits from 2.0pm, 3.0pm and around 4.0pm. Unusually, they all appeared in the first instance from the West travelling to the East. Apart from one barrel roll, no aeros, all straightline stuff. All a little higher than usual.


                                          Just after 11.0am and already against the background of a flawless B of B sky coupled with excellent visibility we've had two Spitfire sorties. The first at just after 9.0am. came over Chichester harbour at about 1500ft travelling from East to West then assuming a long, extended and elegant curve over Portsmouth towards the South and eventually back on an Easterly heading.

                                          A second followed at just after 11.0am. Following more or less the same pattern as the first but this time overhead at my location on the West side of the harbour. In neither flight were there any aerobatics. Seeing that much loved, dark Spitfire silhouette sharply defined against the crisp blue as it thunders overhead never fails to produce a flutter of the pulse !