Sunday dawned a little damp and cloudy. There may be lots of daffodils by the roadsides this spring, but nobody had told the weather it was time to change. We need not have been concerned though, as at ten o’clock, when the gates opened we had a queue of visitors waiting for the first Thunday Day of 2016, and the sun began to shine.
This was to be a static Thunder Day, but almost 1000 visitors filled the car parks as our volunteers made the aircraft ready to run.
Large fire engines and small children operating powerful fire hoses are a combination fraught with risk for parents standing close by, but thankfully they all resisted the temptation as they took the opportunity to turn on the power from the Pathfinder rescue unit.
With the anniversary of some significant World War One battles on the horizon this year, we felt it only appropriate that our Eastchurch Kitten and SE5A opened proceedings, with engineering volunteers Brian and Graham in the pilots seats. As the sunshine broke through the clouds at a rather appropriate moment, these were followed closely by the Devon. These piston engined aircraft can be a little temperamental to fire into life, but each responded with an authentic belch of smoke.
Lunch followed, with the Nimrod and Victor both turning up the volume to bring home the whole spirit of Thunder Day. No matter how many times you may have heard these Cold War jets whistle menacinglŷ into life, it makes everyone stop and stare.
Finally, our resident Fire and Rescue Team presented a short display of the extinguishing power of the Pathfinder, subjecting the Nimrod to a huge deluge of water from it’s overhead cannon. This was followed by a practice removal of a volunteer casualty from the interior of the Nimrod. Someone who had clearly forgotten Rule Number One of armed forces life. Never volunteer.
This is something they practice regularly in private to ensure continued safety certification, but this time they conducted the drill in public. It was with great pride that everything was smooth and seamless.
We have several more chances to see the aircraft in action this year. Our events calendar keeps you up to date with forthcoming attractions. We are extremely grateful to everyone who came to visit on Sunday, our volunteers really appreciate you coming. What was looking like a rather dull and grey April morning turned out to be a rather nice sunny spring day. We hope to see everyone visiting us some more soon, meanwhile below are some more pictures from the day.