In our final interview from our trip to Lincoln the TLG team talk to Flight Lieutenant Neil 'Faz' Farrell inside the iconic BBMF hangar at RAF Coningsby.

As we walk around Lancaster PA474 Neil tells us about his experiences as Bomber Leader, what it's like flying the Lancaster and about his other roles in the RAF such as flying the E-3 Sentry and instructing others to fly the E-3, Lancaster and Dakota. 

We would like to thank Neil and everybody at RAF Coningsby and BBMF for all their time and help in allowing us such incredible access. We heartily recommend a trip to the BBMF visitor centre - access by guided tour only - Book your trip now!

The team are finally back together as a foursome in the studio - well, not quite the studio but backstage at GLive in Guildford just before Roy takes to the stage on the Surrey leg of his SFG 2021 tour.

In this episode we discuss all things BBMF and Lancaster after our 2020 tour to Lincolnshire.  James was asked about bang seats, Jez's quick facts had to be quick - as the support band were just about to start kicking out some beats; and the quiz made a triumpant* return.  Plus we hear a snippet from our interview with ex Wessex pilot and current BBMF Bomber Lead Flt Lt Neil 'Faz' Farrell.

*Triumphant in Rob's view - no one else was impressed -  nor will you be!

Welcome to TLG and to our series of interviews from the 2021 Bournemouth Air Festival.

Regular listeners to TLG will know that our aviation expert James Cartner is a former RAF Puma pilot. As such he has some kind of weird chip on his shoulder about the mighty Chinook, alleging that all any Chinook crew will talk about is how much it can lift. For the rest of us, and I suspect for James as well although he’d hate to admit it, the Chinook is an incredible aircraft, and its impressive display has long been a crowd favourite. We managed to persuade Chinook Display Captain Matt Smyth, or Smitty, to talk to us, despite James’s grudging hostility. I jest of course, and in fact during our 4 days in Bournemouth we became  great friends with the whole Chinook display team .. well, we like to think we did…    

 

Welcome to TLG and to our series of interviews from the 2021 Bournemouth Air Festival.

We were extremely honoured to be invited to the Festival’s opening ceremony which was attended not only by some of the show’s participants but also some top brass, among whom was Air Vice Marshal Simon Edwards, Assistant Chief of The Air Staff. A former Hercules and C17 pilot, he’s now responsible for ASTRA, the RAF’s future strategy. Yet despite being such an incredibly important and impressive figure, he was happy to talk to Top Landing Gear. We’d had a rather early start that morning having set off from our homes at the crack of dawn and so may not have been at our sharpest. Still, we hoped that having a former RAF pilot in our ranks in the impressive shape of James Cartner, might have stood us in good stead in such elevated and illustrious company. You be the judge.

Welcome to TLG and to our series of interviews from the 2021 Bournemouth Air Festival.

 

Both the RAF and the Royal Navy took part in the flying display at Bournemouth, as did the Army, who were superbly represented by the Tigers Free-fall Parachute Display Team. These guys from the Princess of Wales’s Regiment and Queens Division do this in their spare time as parachuting isn’t part of their normal army life – that tends to be left to the Parachute Regiment. But they’re all highly qualified, as to be a display jumper you need to have an A-Licence which you can only get after a minimum 200 jumps. Private Will Simms from the team was kind enough to drop in on us the morning after a particularly Top Landing himself on Bournemouth Beach the previous day.  

Welcome to TLG and to our series of interviews from the 2021 Bournemouth Air Festival.

There are those whose sole reason for attending an airshow is to watch and hear the old piston-engined fighters and bombers from WWII, and indeed few could argue with their reasoning. But for others, and I suspect the majority of airshow-goers, one of the greatest thrills is seeing the Typhoon being put through its paces, accompanied by the crackling roar of its twin jets rasping through the air. RIAT aside, there’s not a lot of heavy metal at British airshows these days, so long may the Typhoon continue to thrill us.

We caught up with 2021 Display pilot Flt Lt James Sainty, whose spectacular exhibition of speed,  power and agility creates a sensory overload. 

Welcome to TLG and to our series of interviews from the 2021 Bournemouth Air Festival.

Since its launch in 2008, the Bournemouth Air Festival has established itself as one of the UK’s leading public aviation events, and is estimated to generate in the region of £30 million pounds annually to the local economy. It’s certainly highly regarded by aviation fans and display teams alike as it attracts top acts in the air, at sea, on the ground, including most years music acts, not least Roy Stride & Scouting For Girls who’ve been regular headliners on the main festival stage. Sadly Roy was unable to join us in Bournemouth this year, but the three of us went without him anyway, much to the disappointment of the organisers in particular who’d only invited us in the first place because of Roy’s long association with the festival. But we were made to feel incredibly welcome and were hugely impressed by the scale of the event.

We spoke to Bournemouth Air Festival Director Jon Weaver about the challenges involved in getting an event of this scale up and running, especially with all the uncertainty during the pandemic. And just how do you go about booking the acts, not least ensuring that the Red Arrows are available? We also spoke to the wonderful Michelle Roberts, Senior Press & PR Officer who was instrumental in getting us along, and who did such an amazing job looking after us, but for whom this sadly was to be her last year in the role.

Welcome to TLG and to our series of interviews from the 2021 Bournemouth Air Festival.

No airshow would be complete without the intrepid AeroSuperBatics Wingwalkers who’ve been thrilling airshow crowds all over the world since they were founded back in 1984. They fly the Boeing Stearman, a biplane trainer from the 1940s, with the wingwalkers climbing from the open cockpit onto the top wing to perform various moves, while the aircraft perform aerobatics in close formation, at speeds of up to 150mph and pulling up to 4G.

Unfortunately on Day Three of the Air Festival, one of the aircraft sustained a technical malfunction during the display, and pilot Dave Barrell did a brilliant job of successfully ditching the aircraft in Poole Harbour, saving his own life and that of wingwalker Kirsten Pobjoy. Her great friend Emma Broadbent was the wingwalker on the other aircraft, flown by former Red Arrow and Jaguar Display pilot Andy Cubin, who circled overhead for some time, but landed back at Bournemouth unaware of the outcome of the crash. Needless to say there was huge relief when word got back that Kirsten and Dave were safe and sound.

Our interview with Kirsten, Dave and Andy was recorded the day before the incident, hence there’s no reference to it.  

 

 

Welcome to TLG and to our series of interviews from the 2021 Bournemouth Air Festival.

Putting on an airshow requires an immense amount of organisation, and safety is of course paramount. But when a display takes place over the sea, and away from an airfield, who controls the display area and calls the aircraft in to begin their display? What if they need to hold, or if there needs to be a last minute change due to unforeseen circumstances? Dave Walton is Display Director for the UK’s Coastal airshows, including Bournemouth, so who better to talk to us about everything that’s involved in the smooth and safe operation of an airshow over the sea?

 

 

 

 

Welcome to TLG and to our series of interviews from the 2021 Bournemouth Air Festival.

One of the most eye-catching solo displays at UK airshows is the ultra high-energy performance by Rich Goodwin in his Pitts Special. A former RAF Tornado pilot, Rich has been performing aerobatics for over 30 years, and his phenomenal display has spectators gasping in disbelief as he hurls his tiny Pitts Special Muscle Biplane around the sky. Rich is also passionate about building and modifying these biplanes, and as well as talking to us about his display, he told TLG about some very exciting, and unusual plans for the future. 

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