I was wondering what to post today and then noticed the date on this cover!
Biggin Hill International Air Fair used to be the largest civilian air show in the world and in the 1960s ran for 4 days, by the 1970s it was reduced to two and remained so until the licence for the event was revoked in 2010 so no June fly pasts this year. This airport which was originally a RAF Fighter Station was once thought of as a backwater but it has turned into one of the top 15 business aviation hubs connecting to 750 airports, the owners thought the show was encroaching on their business services. There is talk of reviving the event on a smaller scale (date unknown) but until then the best destination for plane spotters at the airport is the Biggin Hill Heritage Hanger where you can see their collection of Supermarine Spitfires and even sit in one of the cockpit. Here is their collection of planes with the sunlight glinting on their fuselage and in pride of place the 'Kent' Spitfire. The south east coast of England is a hotspot of historic airfields and museums. Visiting one, Parham Airfield in Suffolk, last year there was a Dutch family trying to find out about their grandfathers aircrew, the custodian mused who might know and more pertinently who was still alive.
The stamp, (one of a 1997 set) shows an the Mitchell designed Spitfire. R J Mitchell was an aeronautical engineer of the Supermarine Spitfire who died in 1937 at the early age of 42, working to the end. He would never see his aircraft become the iconic symbol and most successful aircraft of World War 2 (22,000 and their derivatives built). He was succeeded as chief designer by Joseph Smith who developed the design further.
The cover was flown in an Avro Lancaster B1 as part of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in memory of the most highly decorated pilot of WW2, Group Captain Lord Cheshire who went on to found the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity, its aim to improves the quality of life for disabled people.
An entry to Sunday Stamps