Yeovilton Naval Air Station is that big concrete aircraft carrier parked on the A303 just outside Ilchester in Somerset, which until very recently was one of the noisiest places to live in the UK. Why? The sound of jet engines! It’s been the main base for Royal Navy fixed wing aircraft for fifty years or more. Seahawks, Sea Vixens, Phantoms, Hunters and Harriers have all flown from there, as well as every kind of helicopter and many prop-powered aircraft too. However, it was ghostly quiet when I arrived early on 27th October to meet up with Andy Housden and some of the Marlborough club faithful, who had come to man the C/L Carrier-Deck publicity stand in one of the FAA Museum’s hangars for the annual Yeovilton Model Show. I hurried into the show, glancing at the four unwanted Harriers sitting sadly on the tarmac in the morning mist, and reflected (a trifle philosophically) upon how quickly yesterday’s cutting-edge technology becomes today’s museum exhibit.
I found Andy, the crew and the stand set up in the usual place beneath the Sopwith Pup, and we were soon having a very interesting chat about the new American 2.4ghz rules, the UK scene and where carrier-deck might go in the future. Folks passing by often stopped to look at the models Andy had brought along, and the excellent video by Nigel Cheffers-Heard was first-rate eye-candy to draw in the visitors as it ran on the high-level screen. After a good natter it was time for me let other folks talk to the guys so I took myself off on a stroll around the museum and the model stands just to get the blood circulating – aircraft hangars can be a bit chilly! The Museum is amazing – well worth a visit on your summer holidays in the West Country.
Here’s a few pictures of Andy and the guys on the display – thanks to them for spreading the word and travelling such long distances to do it. Well done chaps!