Sea-Vixen pilot performs perfect Belly-Landing


One does occasionally see interesting events living next to the Royal Naval Air Station at Yeovilton (RNAS Yeovilton). One such recent occasion was when the hydraulic landing gear system o the only flying Sea-Vixen apparently failed when it was returning to the base. As the video shows, the pilot, Cdr Simon Hardgreaves performed a perfect wheels-up landing.

The Sea-Vixen which is based at RNAS Yeovilton as part of their historic flight was due to perform at Yeovilton’s renowned forthcoming International Air Day. But the question on everyone’s lips at the moment is how badly was the aircraft damaged and will it ever fly again? I do hope so as this was such a iconic aircraft that once represented a significant partof the UK’s military air power.

The aircraft remained on the runway where it landed directly opposite my home until recovery teams were in a position to move it. That did give me the opportunity to taken a number of pictures of the recovery exercise.
























Armistice Day

Poppy WreathOn each 11th November at 11 am, every city, town, borough and village across the UK, falls silent for 2 minutes in remembrance of all those who fell in the two Great World Wars and later conflicts. The time and date are very significant as it was at 11am on of the  11th day of the 11th month in 1918 that the guns fell silent to bring and end to World War 1,

The village of Yeovilton in Somerset where I live was no different. For a small village of only 50 properties, Yeovilton attracts more than its fair share of royalty and dignitaries. This even included the the Head of the Anglican Church,Archbishop of Canterbury to conduct one Remembrance Day service.

The prime reason is the Church of St Bartholomew located in the village and which was unused when I first moved here. Adjoining the village is the Royal Naval Air Station, RNAS Yeovilton which established at the start of WW2 and which also has a military naval cemetery at the rear of the church.

The Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) purchased and restored the church for it to become the church for Naval Air Seamen.

At  this years Remembrance Parade at St Bartholomew’s, the worlds last surviving Swordfish plane based at  RNAS Yeovilton took part in a flypast dropping 25,000 remembrance poppies as it flew over.

The current building of St Bartholomew’s dates back to about the 1540’s but still contains elements of a Norman church which predated it and which in turn was built on an even earlier Saxon church.

The pictures below show a number of the poppies that drifted into my garden and the Swordfish flying over RNAS Yeovilton and Yeovilton Village.

Also the Photosphere at the bottom shows the military cemetery at Yeovilton with St Bartholomew’s in the background.

.IMGP3297Yeovilton Swordfish





Yeovilton Air Day 2014

As usual, RNAS Yeovilton put on a dazzling day long display of flying skills on 26th August. Aircraft from around the world arriving in the preceding days gradually built up the growing expectation of another fine display.

Aircraft of all shapes and sizes, old, new, small and large, jet or propeller powered and more importantly the pilots that flew them all added to the carnival atmosphere of the day. Although rapidly becoming aged, the Avro Vulcan bomber once the mainstay of the UK’s mainline defence always draws crowds even if it is just to watch it arrive or depart..

Sadly the Sea Fury based ay RNAS Yeovilton as part of the historic flight did something of a pancake landing a week later at Yeovilton’s ‘Sister Ship’ RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall during their annual Air Day display. For some reason one of the undercarriage legs collapsed on landing but fortunately the pilot walked away from the crash unharmed. Provided the Sea Fury is not too badly damaged and provided its airframe is still airworthy, I would not be at all surprised to see this fine aircraft rebuilt.

I have placed a selection of pictures below.

















Sea Fury 01
Sea Fury 02


November 2011

id=”” align=”alignleft” width=”275″ caption=”Dr Rowan Williams – Archbishop of Canterbury”

In many ways I find November something of sad time of year. Whether it was good or bad, Summer is now a distant memory, Autumn is fast slipping away and trees become more denuded by the day as leaves continually fall like raindrops. It is also that time of year when days already becoming noticeably shorter give way to even more noticeable lengthening nights. Even so, I notice daylight hours eke a bit longer in the countryside than when I lived in town where row upon row of houses acted like mini-ravines blocking out precious daylight.

The twice yearly ritual of resetting clocks and watches has recently taken place. The number of timekeeping devices requiring attention appear to proliferate every year. When I was a child, apart from the pocket watch my father proudly wore, the only other clock in the house was a large brass alarm affair with two bells set on top.

While November presents the opportunity to pause and dwell on the year that has so far elapsed, by co-incidence it is also the time we remember our brave fallen from past conflicts. Communities from around the country gather in services of remembrance and pause to observe a two-minute silence of respect. My own small village does not possess a war memorial other than commemorative plaques in the church, it does however have its own more poignant memorial in the form of a military graveyard attached to the church first consecrated when the adjoining naval air station at Yeovilton, (RNAS Heron), first opened in early World War II. Our church, St Bartholomew’s, dates back to the mid 15th century but there are aspects of a previous Norman church that form part of a wall. The church previously came under the auspices of the Diocese of Bath and Wells until it was purchased by the Navy as their Fleet Air Arm church a few years ago. Part of the purchase process led to St Bartholomew’s becoming part of the Diocese of Canterbury.

This year the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams graced the village by taking an open-air service of remembrance in the military graveyard. A large honour guard from RNAS Yeovilton also attended the service. The naval base fortunately has a large set of double gates from the airfield that open close to the church.

November is also that time of year when the process of gradually battening down the hatches begins prior to the chill winds that are not too far off. I just hope the forthcoming winter period will not be as protracted as last year.

id=”attachment_1854″ align=”aligncenter” width=”447″ caption=”St Bartholomew’s Church, Yeovilton”



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