A misty morning dawned at RAF Lossiemouth with the haar wandering in and out. Any other day and it would have been a mere nuisance, but today was Catalina day and we really didn’t want the weather spoiling that! Thankfully, the skies lifted and the haar stayed away just long enough for Project Hawker to appear from the gloom and set down safely.
Here is a quote from Jeff Dowling’s Just Giving page, which explains the story behind the IWM Duxford based Catalina G-PBYA’s visit:
This August marks the 100th Anniversary of the Circuit of Britain Race, a challenge sponsored by The Daily Mail, for the first pilot to fly around Britain in a waterplane. Of the four pilots who entered the race, Harry Hawker, an Australian, was the most successful, flying over 1000 miles of the 1540 mile race before crashing just north of Dublin.
To commemorate his heroic flight, the oldest airworthy amphibian still flying in the UK, the IWM Duxford based Catalina G-PBYA plans to complete the same circuit. The plane and crew will, as closely as possible, follow the 1913 route over a five-day historic flight. The 2013 challenge is being mounted by Catalina Pilot Jeff Boyling who, like Harry Hawker, was born in Australia and shares a passion for aeronautical adventure.
Project Hawker was officially greeted by RAF Lossiemouth’s Station Commander, Group Captain Ian Gale and he recounts his enjoyment of the experience in his own blog here: http://igale.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/catalina-visit/
There was time for a quick photo opportunity for Team RAFBF Lossiemouth, to help promote Project Hawkers’s fundraising efforts and adventure before Jeff took the Station Commander aboard for a cockpit tour. Jeff and Group Captain Gale then laid a wreath at the Station memorial which commemorates the RAF Lossiemouth air crew tragically lost in a mid-air collision in July 2012.
Team RAFBF Lossiemouth were thrilled to be given the opportunity to meet Jeff and Rod Brooking (Captain) and the rest of the crew and be able to chat to them about their adventure. Rod relayed stories of flying the Catalina along the Thames and over Tower Bridge, which must have been an amazing experience!
Whilst taking part in this amazing adventure Project Hawker is also raising funds for two charities; Imperial War Museum Duxford and the RAF Benevolent Fund. During their brief stop on the ground, a hat was passed round and a collection bucket was strategically placed with local spotters, raising £56, which will be added to their RAFBF Just Giving page. After the fundraising, there was a chance for the Team to look around the aircraft and snap some quick photos to capture the memories.
Sadly, the visit was all to brief and it was soon time for Project Hawker to take the to skies once more, to continue their journey north to Invergordon and Oban. After an overnight stop in Oban, they will be heading south again, down the Great Glen and on to RAF St Mawgan via Pembroke before heading along the south coast and arriving home in Duxford on Sunday 25th August. We wish them all the best with their continued journey and wholeheartedly thank them for their support.
If you would like to read more about Project Hawker, please visit their website http://projecthawker2013.com/ and if you would like to donate to the RAF Benevolent Fund on their behalf, please visit Jeff Boyling’s Just Giving page : http://www.justgiving.com/ProjectHawker2013