A surprise exhibit amongst the aircraft on static display in the Freddie March Spirit of Aviation enclosure at the Goodwood Revival was airworthy Avro 504K replica LV-X430 ‘Olivia’. It was built by Argentinean company Pur Sang Aero Historic and was their second build of the type.
Pur Sang is a restoration company with a background of producing and restoring classic and vintage performance cars from the thirties through to the fifties, such as Bugattis and Alfa Romeos, and are located at Paraná City Airport. “The idea of producing classic aircraft came from working every day alongside the Second Brigade Air Force. We have to do something that flies” said the company president Leonidas Jorge Anadón. He chose the Avro 504K as a subject due to the type being the first aircraft to be manufactured (under licence) in Argentina. The Fábrica Militar de Aviones – FMA – (Military Aircraft Factory) of Córdoba built around 34 Avro 504s from 1928.
The first replica built – serial LV-X373 – made its maiden flight in February 2009 and went to Jerry Yagen’s Virginia based Military Aviation Museum. It was subsequently sold on to the Russian Federation as part of the museum’s down-sizing, which was underway at the time. MAM have since recovered and are no longer selling off any further airframes. Both replicas are powered by Rotec R3600 150hp radials, and three further examples are under construction. LV-X430 took to the air in November 2010 and is still owned by Pur Sang. It is being handled by Personal Plane Services of Booker whilst in the UK and is currently up for sale. It will return to Argentina if unsold.
The original Avro 504 made its maiden flight on 18 September 1913 and the appearance of the example at Goodwood celebrated its centenary which was supported by British Aviation 100 – an initiative founded to celebrate the centenary of the first all-British flight by Sir Alliott Verdon-Roe in 1909. Eric Verdon-Roe – grandson of Alliott and Revival regular – is chairman of British Aviation 100, which has and will continue to celebrate anniversaries related to Avro through the rest of the century.
Eric Verdon-Roe (in the cream blazer) at the Revival
‘The Revival’ is a unique event, taking the visitor back in time to a world of classic vehicles, vintage aircraft and re-enacted street scenes. Moreover the public are encouraged to join in with the theme and attend wearing period costumes, and do so in such great numbers that the visitor becomes a part of the event, creating an atmosphere unlike any other. The motor racing around the historic track is quite rightly the centre of attention but the Revival also hosts a static aircraft display and a number of flying items – both of which are of the highest quality.
The Freddie March Spirit of Aviation enclosure offered some stunning pre-1966 aircraft, many of which are rarely seen elsewhere. There are no barriers to spoil the views, with the public trusted to behave in keeping with the transition back to simpler times.
With the layout at Goodwood not allowing the necessary safety margins the flying displays are restricted to passes along the ‘A axis’, but the pilots make the most of it by offering close top side passes with extremely tight formations from the multi-aircraft routines. Each day opened with a Dawn Patrol by either or both of the OFMC’s Spitfire IX MH434 and Mustang ‘Ferocious Frankie’, and on the Saturday evening these two aircraft performed a sunset display before taxiing in to greet the specially invited guests to the Ball. The pair also took part in other sequences during the event, along with the Fighter Collection’s P-40B and P-40F.
The BBMF are also regulars, though sadly Lancaster PA474 couldn’t beat the weather to appear as part of the Dambusters 70 commemoration.
Perhaps one of the most anticipated display items of the year was the debut in its new colours of Midair’s Canberra PR9. The classic jet looks stunning in its silver scheme, and will be the star attraction of any event it attends in 2014.
Track action included everything from pedal cars to machinery worth many millions of pounds – with most raced without limits, resulting in some serious repair bills for an unlucky few. The weather contributed to much sideways action, especially on the Sunday afternoon.
And then there is the atmosphere. Hopefully the following will offer some idea of what makes the Revival so special:
And, if you’ll excuse me, that brings this report to its end:
In November this year Tracey Curtis-Taylor will fly her Boeing Stearman ‘Spirit of Artemis’ from Cape Town to Goodwood to commemorate a similar flight by early ‘aviatrix’ Lady Mary Heath in 1928, the first pilot to successfully make that 7000 mile trip, but which finished in London.
To help promote the venture a photocall was held around Tracey’s Stearman on the Friday of the Goodwood Revival, involving Lord March and the five months pregnant Zara Phillips. Zara, 32, is the Queen’s grand-daughter, and not surprisingly drew much media attention, along with husband Mike Tindall.
I later caught up with Tracey when wearing an outfit in keeping with the Revival’s vintage theme, away from the crowds:
‘Spirit of Artemis’ was containerised and shipped to Cape Town, arriving in the last last few days.
Winner of the Freddie March Spirit of Aviation concours d’elegance at the Goodwood Revival was beautiful and sadly rarely seen 1934 Ryan ST-A N14986 (marked NC14986), S/N 118. The classic design was restored by Troy Stimson in Ft. Worth, Texas, before coming to the UK in 2010. The Ryan is based at Kemble and owned by Alain Grisay.
Troy tells this tale of how the aircraft came into his ownership in 1976: ” I bought the Ryan STA on a layover, by accident. We had a 30 or 40 hour layover in Tulsa. The guy I was flying with wanted to see this guy’s airplanes – a P-40, a Spitfire and a Ryan. I have always loved the Ryan and thought, ‘I’ve got to have that airplane.’”
“I had a picture of this Rolls Royce with me and asked the guy, ‘Would you be interested in taking this in trade?’ He was!”