Planes Big and Small

Planes were always a fascination, I was in the Airfix Generation after all. From the age of six or seven I would build plastic models of aircraft involving lots of glue and paint going where it shouldn't, but I was happy for hours. My bedroom was festooned with planes dangling from fishing lines. Any casualties of the duster were finished off in the paddock with a banger up the fuselage, or out of season, a dose of paraffin and a match.

Another treat would be a trip to Southend Airport to see a freighter take off. This happened approximately twice an hour. An alternative was Stanstead, but that could involve a wait of over an hour between planes. As an aside, Idi Amin used Stanstead at the time to fly out his personal supplies, including cases of whisky - there was a weekly "whisky run" flight that was well known locally.

Southend was fun because there was always a gaggle of anoraks on the open observation deck, listening to air traffic control on their radio sets. You could wander up to the low fence and hang over it to see the planes more closely. The one in the picture is a Bristol Freighter, run by British Air Ferries. These had noses that opened and cars could drive in - probably only a couple at a time. I think the families would sit in a cabin at the back. The planes would hop over to France - a lot quicker than the ferry, which at the time was a very time consuming affair. Goodness knows what the cost was in real terms - it must have been horrendous.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Groovy shorts Nev....wait a minute didn't I get them as hand me downs??