Monday..No Monday morning feeling nowamondays, but despite the state of 'retiree' life has never been busier.. An early meeting dictates a the need for speed on here this morning, so I'll dive straight into the vaults, and grab....
One of the beautiful Eagle DC-6's caught in flight by the camera of Ron Francis..
With every passing day it seems harder to believe that such machines lived, breathed and worked from Blackbushe. The memory remains very clear, but the passing of time and the 'wilderness' look that has been allowed to take over so much of the old airport must make it even more difficult to comprehend for the casual passer by who happens to spend a few minutes looking at our "Airlines of Blackbushe Airport" sign by the Terminal Building.
I think I'll feature photos that I chose for the sign now and again, they are all due to reappear now that we've put life back into the recently killed off "Blackbushe Pictures from the Past" series when our trust was placed in another forum..
Looking at the DC-6 in flight recalls one vivid memory from my cycling days...It was a grey overcast occasion, and I'd been to Camberley on the old push bike for a bit of teenage shopping. Whatever that might have been. Decided to take the dog-leg route back to Crowthorne and track via Blackbushe - as one did! As the peddles creaked through their endless orbits and I took up my westerly heading through Blackwater the sound of large Pratt & Whitney engines spurred me on..The wind being from the east ensured that departures from Blackbushe would be coming toward me. The sound of a heavy occurred again and again as my progress slowed thanks to gravity and the hill climb toward Blackbushe. The source of these wonderful sounds soon became obvious, t'was an Eagle DC-6 on circuit training. Magic. With the low stratus, typical of overcast days blown on an easterly, the DC-6 soon brushed her body against the waiting clouds and periodically vanished only to reappear a little further along. To this day I can see so clearly in my mind's eye as I cycled toward the Airport, this fabulous aeroplane repeatedly circuit bashing, sending out her wonderful sounds whilst playing with the clouds. Maybe every time I drive on the dual carriageway from Blackwater toward Blackbushe I see that same DC-6. It's inescapable, my mind owns some wonderful 'footage'..I wish I could share it with you, but I've done the best I can toward that end....
Some of the magic...
..and one of Gordon Wilmer's old photos of an Eagle DC-6 on crosswind crew training...
Short finals for 26 on this occasion. You can see some of the Blackbushe approach lights as they reached out over the surrounding open spaces. A terrific sight at night, especially as you drove along the A30 through the Airport in the dark. Experimental lighting systems were installed at Blackbushe, she really looked a gem at night. More locked away memories...
"Experimental lighting" reminds me of the time around 1980 we'd got someone to drive onto the airfield late at night and positioned a car on the threshold of 26, with lights on full beam pointing down the runway, so we could land after hours and avoid having to pay the (£50-£100?) charge to have the runway lights on. Reg was a bit suspicious the following morning, but we simply said we'd landed shortly after dawn.
No pictures yet but some interesting ones coming I hope coming soon!! I took a call from a chap this afternoon who tracked me down from the internet via the sign I assisted Peter with commemorating the "Airlines Of Blackbushe". The expected photos include a number taken at Blackbushe, late forties and early fifties including the Berlin airlift. Some are in colour and include David thinks a red Halifax parked up at the Bushe!! David who they belong to lived in Sandhurst as a youngster and recalls playing by the airfield aged around 10 in 1958 and watching some of the heavier types to be seen there. Davids father was a wartime Halifax and B24 pilot whose RAF logs and civil logs are with David and will assist in dating pictures and locations. Never ceases to amaze me whats waiting out there to be discovered in connection with Blackbushe, I eagerly await developments.
A further advance on my earlier post British Eagle seems like there is a 50/50 chance of it being "Red Eagle", why I said David I don't know, when in fact its Keith who called, here is his email
Nice to chat today.
Father died in 2013 and I've been going through his flying pictures and books. The picture he has of the Eagle Airways Halifax in on his study wall. I'll retrieve it next time I'm at the house and scan it.
There are other pictures and these I will sort out. I seem to remember something about Eagle and the Aldwych in London!
It was never this exciting even as a five year old waiting in anticipation on Christmas eve!!
My father also flew Avro York's in the Berlin Air Lift . He was forced to stop flying for medical reasons. He became an engineer/draughtsman at Fairy Aviation in Hayes and worked on the Fairy Delta 2.
We moved to Sandhurst in 1959. Most of Blackbushe was disused except the American base. We used to spend time after school playing in the old Nissen huts which were full of all sorts mischief. There was even a complete Dragonfly helicopter.
I'm wondering if Harold Bamberg remembers father, they only had two aircraft at the time? I think they crashed one!