The Airfield is a centre for these classic British aircraft.
The Beagle Pup & Bulldog Club (BP&BC) held its second major celebration at North Weald Airfield with its 30th Anniversary Beagle Birthday Bash at The Squadron over the weekend of 20-21 July. Previously it had organised its 21st Birthday Garden Party at the Airfield in August 2004, which included a record 18-ship flypast.
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Saturday afternoon heralded some early arrivals, including a Bulldog from France, F-AZTF. In the evening there was a 40s-style dinner dance featuring the close-harmony singing group the Marjorie Belles, Lindy Hopper dancers and a Cold War cabaret.
On Sunday more aircraft arrived for the Club’s fly-in from as far away as Thirsk in North Yorkshire. A total of ten Pup 150s and six Bulldogs attended, in addition to our home-based aircraft. The Metropolitan Police EC145 helicopter Police 251 also flew in to take part in the event, and Club members were able to have a guided tour of the helicopter and sit in it. The North Weald Ground Crew were on hand for marshalling.
The highlight of the day was an eleven-ship flypast organised by the SkyHawks Formation Team and led by Derek Long from Gamston, Nottinghamshire. The SkyHawks liaised with the Airfield Ops Team so that everyone was familiar with the formation’s intentions and routing in our locally complex airspace. The pilots taking part then had a comprehensive briefing from the formation leader.
After start-up and check-in on the radio, the mixed formation of five Pups and six Bulldogs lined up on the runway for a stream departure before departing to the east to form into three vics of three aircraft and a trailing pair. A Yak 52 was used as an air-to-air camera ship by Keith Wilson the well-known aviation photographer.
The formation looked an impressive sight as it flew back down Runway 30 before returning for run and breaks and a stream landing. Once back in their parking spots the formation did a simultaneous engine shut-down to great effect.
The Club’s Commodore, Roger Hayes, was delighted with how the Birthday Bash had gone. A huge amount of work had been done behind the scenes by many people to bring the event to fruition. After a cloudy start the weather also improved, and the activities proceeded as planned.
The Airfield has long been a centre for these classic British aircraft, and North Weald Flying Services maintains a number of Pups and Bulldogs, not only from North Weald, but other places as well. We were pleased to welcome back the BP&BC for another significant anniversary in the Club’s history.