Felixstowe: Mayor takes to the skies for flying boat trip ahead of Wings on Waves event
- Credit: Archant
A town mayor took to the skies to get first-hand experience of one of the planes which will take part in a centenary celebration flypast next month.
When Felixstowe marks the 100th anniversary of RAF Felixstowe and the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment (MAEE) on August 4 with its Wings on Waves event, Jan Garfield will have her feet firmly on the ground.
But as she watches the rare Catalina flying boat passing along the seafront she will know exactly what it feels like to fly in one of the aircraft that made the resort’s air base world famous.
Mrs Garfield, accompanied by her escort and husband, Jon, travelled to Duxford to enjoy a flight in the Consolidated PBY twin-engined Catalina, Miss Pick Me Up.
She said: “It was amazing, an absolutely wonderful experience.
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“I enjoyed it so much. The plane was incredible and to think it will be flying here for our celebrations is excellent, and very exciting – I am looking forward to seeing it from the ground and I am sure we will get big crowds.”
Mr Garfield added: “The views over the countryside were superb – it was a perfect day for flying and we could see for miles.”
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During the years the Felixstowe base operated as the MAEE, more than 250 types of seaplanes and flying boats – military and civilian aircraft – and others were tested and designed there.
Inventor of the jet engine Flying Officer Frank Whittle was stationed at the base, which also held tests of jet fighters and a jet-powered flying boat, as well as experiments with floating docks and de-icing.
Wings on Waves will feature a church service at St John’s Church, Orwell Road, at 11am, a parade, led by the Harwich Pipe Band, from the Spa Pavilion to the steps of Felixstowe Town Hall at 12.30pm, and the air display, weather permitting, over the sea, opposite the Town Hall at 3pm, which is set to also include a Spitfire, Yak 52, ME 108, and other aircraft.
A replica of the Schneider Trophy for a worldwide high-speed race, won by crews from RAF Felixstowe three times, will also be on display at Felixstowe Museum.