Skip to main content
Abingdon Away Day

I was sneaking out of house on my motorcycle early this morning, when a passer-by on a mountain-bike stopped and asked: "Are you not Blogging this morning then?"

I wondered if it was the motorbike that had given my identity away but it turned out that it was a local reader, Keith Smith, who had been introduced to Thanet Life by his neighbour, Barrie Smith. "I'm off to the Abingdon airshow", I replied, which is where I've been all day, staggering home again at 7PM after flying over there and back via Rochester for fuel, in Terry Brown's fabulous Stampe SV4 biplane.


With Terry Brown in the Stampe

Now with the registration G-BRXP, it started life as a French Stampe SV4A before being assigned to the Armee de L'Aire as a trainer. In 1955, it moved to St Yan (SFASA) a special aerobatics unit, with a distinctive red and yellow colour scheme in which it is painted today.

Between 1956, its first major overhaul and 1961, it served with the Patroille de France, St Yan touring airshow, and then found its way to the United States.

In 2001 it was bought by Terry Brown and shipped to the legendary Brian Mayo at Maypole Air in Kent for a total rebuild, which was carried out over a three year period.

At Abingdon, Terry and I managed to find ourselves "volunteered" to hold the plastic poles and a ribbon while Denny Dobson, an old friend and the UK's leading professional aerobatics pilot dove between us and cut it, almost parting my hair in the process. You can see the slideshow of our Abingdon day out HERE if you're interested in aircraft, with some rather nice action photos of the Extra 300 and the WW II Mustang.


Denny Dobson in action!
The official photo site of the Abingdon show is now available. This shows all the action from the day, including the wheel falling of the Chinook helicopter, more Denny Dobson photos and the Stampe landing at Airshows.org.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Civilisational Data Mining

It’s a new expression I haven’t heard before. ‘Civilisational data mining.’

Let me start by putting it in some context. Every character, you or I have typed into the Google search engine or Facebook over the last decade, means something, to someone or perhaps ‘something,’ if it’s an algorithm.


In May 2014, journalists revealed that the United States National Security Agency, the NSA, was recording and archiving every single cell-phone conversation that took place in the Bahamas. In the process they managed to transform a significant proportion of a society’s day to day interactions into unstructured data; valuable information which can of course be analysed, correlated and transformed for whatever purpose the intelligence agency deems fit.

And today, I read that a GOP-hired data company in the United States has ‘leaked’ personal information, preferences and voting intentions on… wait for it… 198 million US citizens.

Within another decade or so, the cost of sequencing the human genome …

The Nature of Nurture?

Recently, I found myself in a fascinating four-way Twitter exchange, with Professor Adam Rutherford and two other science-minded friends The subject, frequently regarded as a delicate one, genetics and whether there could exist an unknown but contributory genetic factor(s) or influences in determining what we broadly understand or misunderstand as human intelligence.

I won’t discuss this subject in any great detail here, being completely unqualified to do so, but I’ll point you at the document we were discussing, and Rutherford’s excellent new book, ‘A Brief History of Everyone.”

What had sparked my own interest was the story of my own grandfather, Edmond Greville; unless you are an expert on the history of French cinema, you are unlikely to have ever hear of him but he still enjoys an almost cult-like following for his work, half a century after his death.

I've been enjoying the series "Genius" on National Geographic about the life of Albert Einstein. The four of us ha…
The Mandate of Heaven

eGov Monitor Version

“Parliament”, said my distinguished friend “has always leaked like a sieve”.

I’m researching the thorny issue of ‘Confidence in Public Sector Computing’ and we were discussing the dangers presented by the Internet. In his opinion, information security is an oxymoron, which has no place being discussed in a Parliament built upon the uninterrupted flow of information of every kind, from the politically sensitive to the most salacious and mundane.

With the threat of war hanging over us, I asked if MPs should be more aware of the risks that surround this new communications medium? More importantly, shouldn’t the same policies and precautions that any business might use to protect itself and its staff, be available to MPs?

What concerns me is that my well-respected friend mostly considers security in terms of guns, gates and guards. He now uses the Internet almost as much as he uses the telephone and the Fax machine and yet the growing collective t…