Oban Airport will play host to an exciting event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ‘Circuit of Britain’ attempt this August. The race took place in August 1913 to see who could be the first pilot to fly around Britain in a waterplane. Of the four pilots who entered the race, Harry Hawker, an Australian, was the most successful. He flew over 1000 miles of the 1540 mile race before crashing just north of Dublin – the longest distance flown over water at the time.
Now on Friday 23 August Oban Airport will have a Catalina waterplane on display which you will have the chance to see between 12.30 and 17.30. It is the oldest airworthy amphibian still flying in the UK and is being flown around the UK over five days following the historic route as closely as possible. The 2013 Circuit of Britain challenge is being mounted by Catalina Pilot Jeff Boyling who, like Harry Hawker, was born in Australia and shares a passion for aeronautical history and adventure. Jeff said, “Hawker was a pioneering aviator undertaking some of the earliest seaplane and amphibian flights in the UK and I am sure he would be impressed to see this historic Catalina following his route.”
At the airport, on the day there will also be a classic cars display, a farmer’s market, trike tours and a free raffle to win a scenic flight over Oban. The day before the event will see the Catalina arrive and fly over the Oban Gathering at 4.30pm before landing at the airport. Lead Councillor for Development and Infrastructure, John Semple said, “This will be a magnificent sight to see and certainly a one – off occasion for Oban, I would encourage as many people as possible to take part and come along to the airport on the day.”
The event has been partly funded by Argyll and Bute Council and Bid 4 Oban. Separately, the flight is supporting two charities, The Imperial War Museum and The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.
Notes for Editors:
To find out more about the ‘Circuit of Britain’ please have a look at www.projecthawker2013.com
Oban Airport is operated by Argyll and Bute Council. Hebridean Air Services (www.hebrideanair.co.uk) use Oban as a base to fly scheduled flights to Coll Colonsay, Tiree and Islay. Charter flights and helicopters use Oban and frequent private flyers visit. There are three flying clubs based at the airport – Argyll Aero Club, Connel Flying Club and Connel Gliding Club. There were 65 landings by emergency services (mainly medical) and 2 Royal flights in 2012. In 2012, 3,528 passengers were carried on scheduled flights, including scholars, a 28% increase on the year before.