October 8, 2009

Free Bronson Flies Over Long Lartin

An unusual mission for Airads today, over Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire and organised by the supporters of Charles Bronson, with the message: “FREE BRONSON- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”.

The group has issued the following statement:

“Charles Bronson has been imprisoned now for 35 years 30 of which have been in solitary confinement and despite 10 years good behaviour he has still not been released or de-categorized. Charlie's human rights have been constantly breached throughout the years and his next parole hearing is not until 2011 even though he is 8 years over his tariff.

Charles Bronson continues to support and donate to charities mainly to under privileged children and is a dear friend to all his supporters as such we hold protests regularly to gather signatures for his petition.

Charlie has no voice but we do!

Paedophiles and rapists are released back into the public regularly. A woman who kills her 2 teenage daughters gets 33 years imprisonment, Charlie is still in solitary confinement after 35 years and has never killed anybody. "

Anyone wishing to find out more information on Charles Bronson and his ongoing campaign can visit his website on http://www.bronsonloonyology.com/ and sign the online petition or attend the next protest on the 16th Oct 09 from 11am-6pm outside the Houses of Parliament, Central London.”

September 29, 2009

From Dan to Sam

I see the Thanet Times ran the story of the marriage proposal we flew for Dan to Sam at Palm Bay near Margate on Saturday afternoon. A nice photo (pictured left) and the memorable moment of a lifetime for the happy couple!

September 19, 2009

Jungle Sounds

An interesting six hours or so in the air on Friday.

First stop was Calais and 'The Jungle' the sparsely wooded area adjacent to the port, for a national newspaper, having a good look at what was taking place in the refugee encampment below. I was struck by how many blue tarpaulin-covered shelters there were, lean-to's huddling miserably together in a relatively small and dirty space and the presence of scaling ladders visible and badly concealed on top of several.

Most surprising of all is how close the industrial estate and coach park are to the 'Jungle', quite literally on the other side of the bushes.

Below, there was evidence of organised activity, with one large group of men visibly being directed by a single individual in a leather jacket. Where they might have been going I can't say but there was no shortage of lorries or coaches within easy reach of any passing travel interest.

Back on this side of the Channel, it was back to nuclear reactors, taking in Bradwell Bay and Sizewell B, which I couldn't survey on Monday and then across East Anglia to survey building progress on two brand new prisons; one on the site of the old RAF Coltishall in Norfolk and the second near Peterborough. Mind you, given the present deplorable state of our criminal justice system, I believe we would need to build a prison a month simply to keep up with the demand for places which now sees even the most serious offenders swiftly released into the so-called 'Community' for rehabilitation.

The 'Jungle' is scheduled to be buldozed soon but this will simply displace the problem elsewhere as the French appear disinclined to police the problem in Calais vigorously and instead, blame us for our "Ridiculously generous" benefits system. However, as you may have seen in the news this week, the trail of human misery which ends in Calais at the opposite end of the Channel Tunnel, starts a very long way from Europe and passes through the barren desert of Libya on the way; one reason why our Government and the Italians are so very keen to seek rapprochment with Colonel Gaddafi, large oilfields aside!

September 11, 2009

Tiger's Eye

Over at Leicester today flying a promotional banner for the "Tigers" rugby team. Leicester is only 138 miles from Thanet as 'The crow flies' but I'm sure it seem rather longer by road.

From the air and on a lovely autumn day like today, it looks like a very attractive city with lots of green spaces and a very accomodating airfield to operate from too!

With the evening now starting to draw in, the banner season will soon come to end or at least quieten down until April of next year. It still runs through the winter but becomes increasingly more of a probability exercise, each time I fly as the winter weather depressions and shorter days make flying more challenging.

September 7, 2009

Off to Milan

I found myself on a day trip to Milan on Sunday, as a member of the flight crew on a positioning trip of a Gainjet Gulfstream 200.

Ninety minutes was all it took, followed by several hours of aviation hell, as I caught the 16:50 (delayed to 18:00) Easyjet from Milan's Linate airport back into Gatwick with all the other poor souls squeezed on-board.

From the cockpit of the Gulfstream, the view over the Alps was breathtaking from 37,000 feet, giving way suddenly to the flat plain of Northern Italy and then a sharp right-turn and a radar-vectored descent into Linate.

It's easy to understand why Manchester United and members of the super wealthy prefer executive jet travel whenever possible. Passport control and travel formalities are a polite nod at both ends and the interior of the aircraft is lavish in mahogany and leather with all possible comforts supplied.

This particular aircraft was scheduled to go on to Frankfurt in the morning and then Istanbul and beyond, finishing-up, I think, in Moscow.

In contrast though, I have to tow a banner for Leicester Tigers rugby club this week, not quite the same as exploring Istanbul but another challenge none the less!

September 4, 2009

Rugby Time

Leicester Tigers rugby club has asked Airads to fly a banner for them in September.

As you can see from the artwork, it's a going to be a very large version of a rugby shirt in club colours, followed by a streaming text message: "TEXT TIGERS TO 60600".
I think it maybe hard to miss over the town and we will be interested in the results of the text campaign on the public below!

August 7, 2009

A Deal Castle Wedding

A nice wedding happening at Deal castle this afternoon. I was temporarily confused through not knowing that Deal Castle and Walmer Castle are very close and look almost identical from the air. After several minutes circling the latter, where nothing obvious was happening, I finally arrived at the former, where the reception had just started.

We were lucky with the weather too.

So that's Leeds Castle last Friday and Deal Castle today. Seem to be making a habit of fortifications!

August 1, 2009

A Leeds Castle Proposal

Congratulations to Dhiren and Hema who had a very special afternoon at Leeds Castle in Kent yesterday.

Dhiren, proposed to Hema, who said "Yes", maintaining our unbroken record of marriage proposals!

After a week of very "iffy" weather, they chose the perfect day for their very special walk in the country.

July 23, 2009

Newport Revival

One of those days!

I had the Lowestoft Airshow to do this morning and there's a full council meeting this evening, so trying to fit in a 'spectacular' for the RMT Trades Union in between, presents a bit of a challenge.

Last night I was asked, if I could drop food parcels into the Vestas' UK, Newport, Isle of Wight wind turbine facility, which employs about 600 people in blade manufacturing and where 25 or so workers are into the fourth day of a sit-in protest. I explained that unlike the Berlin Airlift, the only thing you can legally drop from an aircraft in this country are poppies or cremated human remains, and as neither are particularly edible, that particular avenue for relieving the siege was closed.

This afternoon, I had another call from Newport. This time, would I fly a banner with "SAVE OUR JOBS - SAVE OUR ISLAND" past the facility at 6pm tonight to coincide with a visit and a speech from RMT Union leader Bob Crow.

Pulling the stops out, I can do it but as I'm due elsewhere at the same time, I have had to pull in another pilot to take my place. He's making up the banner now while I type this entry.

Once the banner's finished and he's en-route, I have to call Bob Crow with an ETA and so as long as the strengthening wind speeds don't get in the way, I might catch the result on the late evening news.

Vestas sit-in: Plane With Banner Flies Over Vestas from Ventnor Blog on Vimeo.

July 19, 2009

Blown Away

Today is the date of the annual Tolpuddle Martyrs rally in Dorset but the howling gale outside put an end to any idea of flying two of the trades union banners over march in the tiny village.

For the last three years, Tolpuddle has been "iffy" from a weather perspective but having taken two aircraft down there this morning; landing at the top of the large hill which is Compton Abbas, it became quickly clear that we weren't going to have a miracle pause in the windspeeds.

'Violent' was possibly the best description I can give of the turbulence and with gusts of 30 knots along the runway at Compton, no chance of flying any banners and a great disappointment to all, given the effort everyone put in to get there in the first place

June 13, 2009

Blue Flag Beaches with Airads

A reasonably pleasant afternoon over the South-east of England today. I had one job to do for Arun Council, out of Goodwood, rolling along the beaches between Bognor Regis and Worthing Pier, celebrating their Blue Flag beach status.

After a photo survey for the same council of the re-landscaped Hotham Park, I had a second and more unusual banner to do from Blackbushe Airport to Ripley in Surrey; finding a village pub at 5:30PM and flying the message overhead, "We Love Disco Dave." Whoever 'Dave' is, I hope he was suitably surprised!

June 4, 2009

Jury Team - Flies Banner with AIrads

Airads was flying a 'Jury Team' election banner all the way along the M25 from Rochester to Reading yesterday.

In the air, I could hear the rescue services looking for the reportedly missing light aircraft from Cambridge to Lydd; a helicopter and the Coastguard Cessna from Manston (pictured). I rather think that the pilot, a Swiss, I hear, may simply have gone somewhere else and forgotten the strict rules governing letting ATC know of a change of destination. I hope so anyway.

May 4, 2009

Drifting Along with Airads

An entertaining afternoon for Airads this Bank Holiday Monday, flying a banner for the Driftwood Beach Bar at Sandown on the Isle of Wight.

Having finished the flight we dropped in for lunch and without a doubt it's a delightful spot with excellent food. Highly recommended for both visiting pilots and tourists alike!

This coming week we have a major exercise for the Taxpayers Alliance, flying banners protesting the EU tax burden over London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds/Bradford with four aircraft involved.

Given the state of our national economy, I suspect a great many people will be sympathetic!

April 23, 2009

St George's Day

Airads will be flying a giant sheet St George's Day flag over Bradford today as part of the city council's parade and celebrations to mark the event. Over 1,000 square feet in size it should be vsible from a long way with excellent weather expected along the route of the parade.

Next week, Havering Coucil in Essex, have asked Airads to fly a banner (pictured) promoting their "Night Life Awards" and from the look of it, it should get the message across!

April 17, 2009

They Seek Him Here

I'm just back from taking photos of 'Operation Stack' and the blockade of Calais harbour. I do feel very sorry for al those caught up in the chaos this is causing, with goods vehicles queuing for miles on the M20 from about the area of Leeds castle and P&O ferries sitting in Dover, going nowhere.

On the French side, to be honest, there is very little to see, other than a scruffy collection of French fishing boats strung out a mile or so from the entrance to the harbour, with a Coastguard vessel in attendance. Not really a blockade as I would have imagined it, more of a loose picket. I very much doubt that the fictional Captain Hornblower, Nelson or even Drake would have given them much thought in the past So the blockade will stand and Dover and the M20 are at a standstill with businesses and families marooned on either side of the channel, I'm sorry 'La Manche', unless they have a Channel Tunnel fare.

Visibility was pretty dire for most of the day but better on the French side by lunchtime with a strong wind blowing. I suspect I set a new personal best with Calais to Dover in 18 minutes with the wind behind. Alright for some I know and perhaps I should be ferrying luckless families back to Dover by air in the style of the Scarlet Pimpernel?

"We seek him here, we seek him there,
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven?—Is he in hell?
That demmed, elusive Pimpernel."

March 18, 2009

Over the Old Kent Rd

Captain Snap was busy over London's Old Kent Road this afternoon taking photographs for construction giant Volker Fitzpatrick.

Very hazy conditions made the exercise a bit of a challenge and of course, because this is inner London, we had to borrow a Seneca twin-engine aircraft from Stapleford.

On the way back, the pace of development at the 20012 London Olympics site at Stratford was also noticeable.

February 28, 2009

New Boy

It looks as if Spring has most certainly arrived today. I had to go and collect a new addition to my small fleet over towards Brighton this afternoon (the one on the left) and the late afternoon views over Kent and Sussex were stunning.

An Airads Proposal on the BBC's Pat Marsh Show

Great excitement on Thursday with some unexpected coverage on the BBC Radio Kent's 'Pat Marsh Show'.

I was busy setting up a banner for a proposal over Bluebell Hill in Kent, where Max was to proposse to girlfriend, Emma. Anyway, the phone rang and it was the BBC asking if we did 'Romantic' messages?

"Funny you should ask", I replied because I'm doing just that in fifteen minutes. "Can we find out what happened and speak to the couple afterwards", asked the BBC?

And so off I went, flew the proposal and asked Max if he would like to be on the radio. The rest is romantic history as you can hear on the video clip of the BBC programme below.

February 22, 2009

Jade's Wedding Banner

We have been up and about over the big wedding in Hertfordshire this afternoon. I did shoot some video footage from above and you can see the BBC take here.

Everything went on time and according to plan and we seem to have featured on Sky News too, which is nice!

More photos here:

February 3, 2009

An Arresting Message

Airads will be working with Channel M Television and Greater Manchester Police this month to support a new public information campaign aimed at giving greater impact to a local policing message to the population of Manchester.

This isn't the first time by any means that Airads has worked with the Police Service, the last being with Kent Police and we are always delighted to lend our support to such campaigns as a really effective means of broadcastinbg information to the population over a very wide area in a short period of time.

January 25, 2009

FastFit Flight at Milton Keynes

The return to what has become a regular fixture, this weekend, the annual 'FastFit Station Tyre Sale' at Milton Keynes.

In fact, we were very lucky to get the flights in on Saturday as the weather on the days either side was simply dreadful. We had been booked for two days but had to double up on the one as both our operating base airfields were badly flooded at Rochester and Maypole. It took two attempts on a semi-frozen grass surface to get airborne from the latter, off pass North London towards Turweston, where we flew the Milton Keynes banner from, on what became a glorious winter's day, in the short interval between two extreme Atlantic weather fronts.

The aircraft is presently back at Manston in Kent with its hard runway surface and tied-down against today's gales. If I had attempted to land at Maypole I suspect I might still be stuck in a vey large puddle on the runway.

Sinegorsk Timber Photographed

One Photo of the wood washed ashore at Ramsgate for the papers this afternoon. (photo is copyright) but I thought readers might like to see the results. The weather broke sufficiently for a flight just before sunset and so the image clarity isn't as good as I would like.

The timber, which came from the cargo ship Sinegorsk in the English Channel, began washing ashore on beaches around Ramsgate and Broadstairs following the strong southerly winds overnight.