UK’s best kept secret: 1913 centenary Catalina flight

The epic centenary of Harry Hawker and Harry Kauper’s flight in the 1913 Circuit of Britain Air Race in a Sopwith biplane floatplane is not being well served by the major media.

The route is being flown in the oldest operational flying amphibian, a Catalina flown by Brisbane-born pilot Jeff Boyling [Hawker too was Australia born]. It took off this morning and is on its way – but if you’ relied on the major media, you’d know nothing about it.

Boyling is flying the centenary  of the Circuit of Britain route to raise funds for the Imperial War Museum – and you can donate here to this doubly worthy cause.

This massive adventurous challenge, flown to support one of the top visitor attractions in Britain, dedicated to many of the greatest of our national challenges, has had no mention on BBC television news and little on the BBC website and on the BBC website’s regional news pages.

Catalina G-PBYA set off earlier today from the Imperial War Museum at Duxford in Cambridgeshire and has arrived for the night at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire, near Leeming Bar on the Great North Road.

Tomorrow, 22nd August 2103, it will fly up the Scottish east coast, seen in a series of fly-pasts at the control points for Hawker’s original flight – Aberdeen, Cromarty, Inverness; then down the Great Glen to Fort William and on down to Oban.

It is spending all day on Friday at Oban Airport for the public to see it; and will take off on Saturday morning for the flight to Dublin.

This is the leg of the 1913 route Hawker and Kauper did not complete, crashing short of Dublin, without injury to themselves but with terminal consequences for the airplane.

Can Boyling complete the route in a plane 30 years younger than Hawker’s was and in very different times?

Not everything is easier these days. The airspace Boyling will fly through is far more restricted than the open skies available to Hawker.

With the failure of the major media to pay attention to this inspirational adventure, the Harlow Star has provided a slideshow here of the Catalina leaving Duxford this morning. When did we last see a plane that sits on its tail on the ground?

Here is the Hawker Project’s coverage of the 1913 route, with interesting material in its visit to Oban.

Catch the real thing in Oban on Friday. Contrary to appearances today – it is NOT a secret.

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2 Responses to UK’s best kept secret: 1913 centenary Catalina flight

  1. Quite a number of aircraft from the era are ‘taildraggers’. The BBMF’s Lancaster is of course and their crews train using their DC-3.

    BBC have had the flight up on their website for a few days

    Also in the EDP

    Daily Mail

    By the way, they are hoping to land at Lossiemouth so all the timings will be put back by about an hour.

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