Aviation Ambassador

Adventures with G-AKDN - Chapter 16

I arrived at Bagby aerodrome to find KDN sitting in a hangar ready to fly. Graham and crew had done a great job reassembling her and with new Plexiglas windows installed in the refurbished canopy she looked fantastic. After a few local test flights I departed and flew the 150 miles south to our summer base at Finmere Aerodrome. It was an emotional flight. Flying over the UK countryside in KDN was like travelling back in time. The sky, the view, the airplane, hadn’t changed much since KDN flew here with all the famous test pilots. It was a very special flight.

A week later Karen and I departed nervous and excited for the 25 minute flight to the Chipmunk 70th Anniversary event at Old Warden Aerodrome. We were greeted warmly and directed to the place of honour in front of the other 54 Chipmunks that arrived. It was a spectacular day meeting many great people who all expressed how excited they were to see KDN there. As KDN sat gleaming in the sunlight she stirred many fond Chipmunk memories from pilots as they admired her. The idea to have KDN appointed as an Aircraft Ambassador for the Canada Aviation and Space Museum was now put to work. KDN did a marvelous job representing the quality and importance of the collection at our national museum. With the opportunity to discuss the museum’s importance, together with KDN and our team, we made a positive overall impression I think. We met so many nice people and met some good old friends and made some very good new friends. The Chipmunk community is made up of some very special people that we are so lucky to associate with. Thank you all for making KDN feel so welcome, and appreciated. And a special thank you to Carol de Solla Atkin and Steve Le-Vien for all their help.

That day made the whole effort of bringing KDN back to the UK worth it. The highlights for me, were seeing the de Havilland Comet flying off my wing when we arrived - flying with Dave Unwin for photo flight in formation with a Miles Magister- flying with Phil Derry over the countryside - and most important, was meeting Sonja Fillingham and getting to fly with her in KDN. That was a flight I will never forget. KDN was the fist Chipmunk to arrive and was the last one to leave. Karen and I flew home to Finmere feeling sad the event was over, but thrilled at the outcome, and pinched ourselves to make sure we weren’t dreaming. The consolation was we had five more months of KDN flying adventures to look forward to.

to be continued...

KDN at her beautiful summer base at Finmere Aerodrome.

KDN with her shine on proudly representing the Canada Aviation and Space Museum while on display at the 70th Anniversary celebration at Old Warden.

Video of the 70th Anniversary event.

Dave and Phil Derry. Two friends connected by one special airplane.

KDN and Sonja Fillingham and Karen, three great ladies, posing with Dave, while holding the original DH flag that Pat Fillingham brought back from his Chipmunktest flights at Downsview

Dave and Karen returning to Finmere after a great time with KDN at Old Warden.

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