It was 0800 hrs GMT (nine o’clock to ordinary mortals) when our intrepid photographers Pat King and Peter Floyd, cameras in hand, arrived at Headcorn Airfield. It was a cold morning for the end of August, only 13 degrees Celsius (55°F) with grey cloud cover and a gentle breeze. Not a hint of blue sky. Would the weather be okay for wing-walking? Our four volunteers, one woman and three men, sat, shivering, (was this excitement or the cold?) and waited.
The pilot of 1930s biplane, registered appropriately as G-WWLK, took the aircraft up for a short flight and decided that conditions were favourable. Tally Ho!
Now for a chivalric dilemma: should it be “ladies first” or should the men have a go? Whatever: April, from the catering team at the Canterbury Masonic Centre, wasn’t bothered about such things. She climbed on to the top wing and was secured in the seat. If she was nervous, she didn’t show it. As the plane took off, April gave the spectators a confident wave. The aircraft did a number of manoeuvres before returning and landing safe and sound. How had April enjoyed the experience? “It was great. The only problem was that I couldn’t keep my mouth closed and therefore kept dribbling!”
By now the clouds were beginning to disperse. James Owen from the Chillington Manor Lodge was next, followed by David Horne (Garden of England Lodge ) and Mick Bremerkamp (Duke of Kent Lodge). All three said they thoroughly enjoyed the flight and would love to do it again.
East Kent Freemasons were generous in their sponsorship. All monies raised will go towards the Province’s 2025 Festival and the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
[Photos: Pat King and Peter Floyd]