Aviation at the Goodwood Festival of Speed – 27-29 June 2014

Although much of the FoS is centred around the various four and two wheeled aspects, there is a winged presence both in the air and on the ground. The ‘Aviation Exhibition’ included Goodwood Aviation’s Harvard (with friends!), Ultimate High’s Extra 300 and Bulldog, Tracey Curtis-Taylor’s Stearman as well as a number of showroom examples from Bell, Cessna and Beechcraft, and various sales tents and features such as the ICON sculpture illustrated below. The area was sponsored by Midair (in association with Air BP and Textron) whose Canberra and Hunter would also take part in the air displays. Other aircraft seen in the air were the RAF’s Red Arrows and Typhoon and Avro Vulcan XH558.

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On completion of their display on the Sunday the Midair Hunter and Canberra pulled back around to run at speed along the display line parallel with the hill climb. A Midair press release fills in the details:

‘The Goodwood Festival of Speed air display took a new turn on Sunday, as the Midair Squadron Hawker Hunter XL577 set a flown time of 9.98 seconds across the notorious Goodwood Hillclimb in front of Goodwood House. As the first and only attempt of this kind, the Hunter, piloted by Squadron Leader Dave Piper (retired) reached a top speed 361 knots (415 mph), as he weaved his way to the top of the course.

The driven record is held by Nick Heidfeld in a time of 41.6 seconds set in 1999 in a McLaren MP4-13-Mercedes Benz with an average speed of 104 mph, meaning the Midair Squadron’s time shaved 32 seconds off Heidfeld’s time – admittedly in a jet!

Midair Squadron leader Mike Davis said: “It was an opportunity we couldn’t resist. After setting the world air speed record in 1953, the Hunter has continued to be acknowledged as one of the fastest and most agile fighter jets ever built. This new way of timing the Goodwood Hill Climb brings a whole new dimension to the Festival of Speed and we look forward to a challenge in 2015; regardless of any future outcome, this is a wonderful tribute to British engineering and the piloting skill of the Midair Squadron.” ‘

The Hunter entering the time zone:

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