Roy Legg, Royal Air Squadron & Don Henry Trophies, 2021 results

Three years had already passed since we successfully ran a contest at Compton Abbas. 2019 was rained off (twice) and 2020 was locked down (many times). There was some interest in the local media as some Compton Abbas staff and I recorded a brief podcast, promising exhilarating aerobatics for the weekend ( Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

The briefing for this promised 2021 edition was held on Zoom the evening before as is now the custom, with eight registered entrants (four for each category, Intermediate and Advanced) and as many officials. One entrant could not make it and it turned out he had to self-isolate (that new, good excuse) so pulled out from the contest. What else could go wrong … oh yes, global warming! We had already scrapped two contests this year due to bad weather, and storm Evert was on us Thursday night, travelling across the UK from South West to North East, with heavy rain, strong winds and possibly thunderstorms. Meh…

The reality matched the forecast, with low clouds and showers throughout Friday morning, Compton Abbas even NOTAMing (if that’s a word) the airfield as QGO due to strong winds until 1pm (although the few people present there witnessed some posh private aircraft delivering something…HMRC let them go).

In the meantime, competitors based in the Midlands or further up-country faced the main depression area, and two of them reasonably elected to pull out from the contest to avoid a perilous transit to an increasingly uncertain event and a hypothetical return. After a nice lunch (IOU) at Compton’s restaurant (now for Very Important Pilots only), I dismissed the handful of officials onsite and agreed to reassess the situation early on Saturday morning.

The window of opportunity for Saturday was still narrow, even for short transits, and the forecast suggested it would be a very damp day. Considering all, I called the competition off early enough (I hope) so that pilots still in it could shut the hangar doors and go back to bed.

As someone put it, Weather 3 - BAeA 0, but as Dame Vera Lynn sung, we’ll meet again some sunny day.

Rod Hervé, CD