LAA Rally booms in September sunshine

LAA Rally

Bright sunshine for the opening days of the 2017 LAA Rally at Sywell in Northamptonshire allowed Britain’s annual showcase for sport and homebuilt aircraft to welcome over 4,000 visitors by road and air, reports LAA CEO Steve Slater.

In total, 833 aircraft flew in to the Rally between Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon, and while numbers were reduced slightly by morning fog on Saturday and incoming poor weather on Sunday, at one point on Saturday afternoon the volunteer marshalling team had successfully parked over 500 aircraft on Sywell’s turf.

The ATC team in the tower also set a new record, safely despatching 106 aircraft in the hour between four and five on Saturday afternoon, an average of one every 34 seconds!

LAA Rally Pitts Model 12Among the visiting aircraft, Peter Borchert’s stunning radial-engined Pitts Model 12 aerobatic biplane, above, won the Prince Michael of Kent trophy for the ‘Best In Show’, while Andy McKee’s diminutive single-seat Silence Twister aircraft was awarded Best Kit-Built award. The award was all the more noteworthy as Andy had returned only the previous week from Canada, having completed both a dual transatlantic crossing in the space of two months and a coast-to-coast flight across Canada!

Over fifty exhibitors displayed everything from vintage aircraft to the latest state-of-the-art electronic systems. Meanwhile a Youth in Aviation marquee offered younger visitors the chance to view three Schools’ Build-A-Planes which had been built by secondary school students, build and fly model their own gliders and take part in the global FAI Young Aviation Artists contest.

A number of notable announcements were made at the Rally. The LAA announced that its Armstrong-Isaacs Trust will award three bursaries of up to £1,500 to support cash-strapped young pilots in completing their pilot training.

LAA member club, the Vintage Aircraft Club, announced that 25-year-old Benjamin Pilgrim from Liverpool is the recipient of the 2017 Liz Inwood ‘Taildragger’ Scholarship to allow a young pilot to train to fly vintage tailwheel aircraft.

The UK CAA announced a new ‘Share the Sky Safely programme to run joint events between the sport flying community and drone users.

The aviation charity Aerobility announced an exciting new initiative where, supported by the LAA, people with a wide range of disabilities will work together in the coming year both to build a Zenair kitplane, then learn to fly it!

Light Aircraft Association


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