Dave Unwin, LUSSO’s flight editor and the editor of Today’s Pilot magazine reviews his diary from over the previous four weeks… To Pall Mall and the RAF Club for an excellent luncheon at the CAAs annual General Aviation Awards.
Then off to the Black Mountains for a well-deserved break and some exciting flying in my glider, before attending this years G-VFWE (Great Vintage Flying Weekend) at RAF Keevil in Wiltshire. This event was sponsored by Today’s Pilot and, despite somewhat indifferent weather the event was well attended, with (according to the programme) the prizes for best aircraft etc being presented in the presence of the Editor of Today’s Pilot.
The following week the venue was infinitely more salubrious. Courtesy of Lord March, I accompanied a trainload of other celebrities (including Rolf Harris, Bruce Oldfield, Nick Mason and Bryan Ferry) from London Victoria to Chichester on the Orient Express. From Chichester a fleet of open-topped buses escorted by vintage police cars and motorbikes took the guests to Goodwood House for the opening of The Kennels at Goodwood.
Originally designed in 1787 by leading architect James Wyatt and built to house the 3rd Duke of Richmond’s hounds, The Kennels is the new year-round home from home for all Goodwood Members of horseracing, motor racing, golf and, of course – flying. This beautiful Grade One listed building has been totally renovated and restored to mix classical Georgian architecture with a modern interior.
Within The Kennels itself there is a restaurant with outdoor terraces, bar, drawing room, private dining room and a large meeting room with state of the art equipment.
Open all year round, six days a week, (Tuesday through to Sunday lunch), the emphasis in The Kennels restaurant is on locally produced, seasonal food and natural ingredients with the beef, lamb and pork coming directly from Goodwoods own organic farm. Adjacent to the original building and created using the same traditional Sussex flint exterior is the new Ralph Lauren at The Kennels lifestyle shop. After an excellent speech by Lord March there followed an impressive flypast by a Spitfire and the evening was closed by a truly stunning firework display. Good food, fine company and plenty of champagne made it a day to remember.
Later in the week I took the opportunity to flight-test two very different aircraft, the new Italian Alpi Pioneer 200 two-seater, and the very latest model in Beechcrafts King Air range – the C90GT. I particularly enjoyed flying this powerful twin-engine turbo-prop, and only wished I could have borrowed it for the weekend, as I had to pop down to Sofia in Bulgaria for the launch of the Bulgarian issue of Today’s Pilot. My Bulgarian counterparts had arranged an air show to coincide with the launch and this proved to be great fun, although the endless round of interviews (including TV, radio, newspapers and magazines) did become tiring after a while. As usual, the drive back from Heathrow was easily the worst part of the trip, although on this occasion it was made more bearable as I’d recently acquired a bootleg of The Surgens debut CD. I first heard The Surgens in session on the Mark Lamarr show on Radio 2 and they’re definitely well worth hearing, particularly if (like me) you’re sick of all that Pop Idol rubbish.