A flight with Kevin Beattie - Ipswich Airport memories in Days Gone By
PUBLISHED: 18:00 04 September 2020
SUPPLIED BY BARRY DYE
Readers have been sending in their fond memories of Ipswich Airport - including a flight with an Ipswich Town legend.
Barry Dye writes: “I got my private pilot’s licence there back in 1976 and had a quarter share in a Piper Cherokee. It was great at the time and I did many interesting trips.
“I even took Kevin Beattie on a flight around Ipswich. I showed him Portman Road from the air and of course his own house. I don’t know what Bobby Robson would have said if he known that his ‘prize asset’ was being flown around the skies over Ipswich by me. We certainly didn’t tell him!
“It was a terrible decision to close it - it could have been a brilliant facility for Ipswich. It was never going to be a major ‘hub’ but that was never the intention anyway. It was a small feeder airport which was starting to be of great use particularly to the business community.”
MORE: Did you ever fly from Ipswich Airport?
Des Willis wrote: “My father was a member of the Ipswich Citadel Salvation Army Band and at Easter 1959 they went to France to play a series of concerts. They flew from Ipswich Airport in a Bristol Wayfarer operated by Channel Airways and all went well on the outward flight. During the Easter weekend a considerable amount of rain fell in the Ipswich area, making the grass runway unusable for the return flight. As a result the flight was diverted to Southend Airport and the journey back to Ipswich completed by coach.
“In the early 1960s, a few friends and myself used to cycle to the airport to see what planes were there. Usually there would be a few Austers used by the flying club and occasionally a visiting Cessna or Dragon Rapide. Since there wasn’t usually a great deal of aerial activity, we would occasionally play table tennis in the terminal building or purchase a chocolate biscuit from the bar.”
MORE: Flying back through the years at Ipswich Airport
John Nunn said: “My first flight from Ipswich Airport was in August 1954, when, accompanied by my mum and dad, I flew to Jersey. The aircraft was a de Havilland Dragon Rapide - a bi-plane. For a seven- year-old it was quite a feat just getting to one’s seat, for the angle of the plane was steep and I had to grip the seats to maintain balance, and that was before taking off. Channel Airways was the airline and a feature of the flight to Jersey was having to land at Shoreham Airport, to refuel!
“In the following years we flew to the Channel Islands each summer holiday, with Guernsey becoming our destination of choice. Channel Airways remained the airline operating from Ipswich, but the planes were upgraded and we travelled in a Heron aircraft, which had the more modern undercarriage pattern, thus no more steep inclines to negotiate before takeoff.
“The runway was grass and remained so. People came from all over East Anglia to fly from Ipswich. This was before the development of Norwich Airport, which was still Horsham St Faith RAF airfield in those days.
“Great memories and so convenient, just five minutes from our house close to the Foxhall Road.”
What are your memories of Ipswich Airport? Email Judy Rimmer or write to Judy Rimmer, Newsroom, 120 Princes Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 1RS.
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