Air Atlantique Classic Flight Night Engine Run

On the 14th December 2008, the Air Atlantique Classic Flight held an engine running night photo shoot at their headquarters based at Coventry Airport, Warwickshire. The evening was cold and cloudy but fortunately the rain that had poured down the day before held off. There was an opportunity to photograph the selected aircraft in the late evening light before the first engine run started.

This was with the de havilland Venom WK436(G-VENM) which was a little temperamental and didn't want to start at all. The Douglas DC-6(G-APSA), in British Eagle colours, was up next with all four engines running. Under the fluorescent lighting it wasn't quite dark enough to photograph the blue flame that could be seen emanating from the Pratt & Whitney exhausts. The Venom was given a second chance and duly started with an ear-piercing scream as the quick reaction starter cartridge fired with a plume of smoke spraying into the cold night air and flame shooting out of the exhaust.

Next up was the unique red and black Douglas DC-3 Dakota (G-ANAF) which had been modified as a radar test bed. On a quieter note, a pair of de havilland Rapides, the blue & white G-AGTM and G-AIDL finished as TX310 in RAF markings, took centre stage. During the run their nose lights and strobes were switched on. The Alvis Leonodies of Percival Pembroke XL954(G-BXES) were fired up next as was Chipmunk(G-ALPO) painted to represent a BBMF aircraft, which was taxied the pan to give the photographers different views. Finally the Venom screeched into life again to complete the evening.

With hot food and drink available for the 60+ people in attendance this was a unique, enjoyable and very well organised first event by Air Atlantique Classic Flight. Another may take place early in 2009.

Brian A Marshall



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