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