Biplane damaged in Unst last summer set to take to the skies once again
The 1936 de Havilland Hornet Moth which was severely damaged in a landing accident in Unst during the Sumburgh Airport 75th anniversary celebrations is to fly again.
Although there were doubts about whether the rare single-engined DH87 biplane would take to the air again, it was recovered from Baltasound airstrip and has spent the last six months being rebuilt in the south of England.
One of only 12 surviving Hornet Months in the world the red and silver liveried aircraft, registered as G-ADNE and known to the classic aircraft world as “Ariadne”, needed extensive reconstruction but is now ready to make her post-rebuilt maiden flight.
“We have been in touch with co-owner Dick Preston who expects Ariadne to make her test flight early in the New Year,” said David Morgan of the Inverness-based Fresson Trust. “The Fresson Trust is delighted with the news and looks forward to welcoming this rare old bird back to the North of Scotland for our next event in Orkney on 7th May.
“The Baltasound crash was an unfortunate end to a perfect day and happily Mark and his colleague pilot Dick Felix escaped unhurt. They have supported us on previous memorial unveilings in the isles and I hope will do so again.
“Ironically, the landing accident they suffered was typical of the kind of incident that Captain Fresson faced in his early pioneering days and on more than one occasion he had to rebuild aircraft after similar damage.”
The Fresson charity, formed more than 20 years ago to mark the aviation achievements of Scottish civil aviation pioneer Captain Fresson and assist young aviation trainees with funding, has erected a series of Fresson Trail Memorials at north airport sites to commemorate Captain Fresson’s outstanding contribution to opening up the Highlands and Islands to commercial flying between the 1930s and 1950s.
The Shetland sandstone memorial unveiled in front of 100 invited guests at Sumburgh Airport last June carries a plaque and is topped by the Fresson Trust’s signature bronze of a de Havilland Rapide flying over waves. It stands inside the Sumburgh terminal.
The Fresson Trust accepts applications for financial assistance from young people aged up to 25 who live in the Moray and Highlands and Islands area.
It has just made a second grant of £1,000 to a 24-year-old student helicopter pilot from Lerwick.
Scott Anderson, of Sandy Loch Drive, received his first cheque for £1,000 in June last year. The student, who has financed the bulk of his professional helicopter pilot’s licence himself, is now in Florida and reaching the midway stage of his course which is due to be completed this in the summer of 2012.
Mr Morgan said: “The trust are impressed by Scott’s commitment and his progress and decided at their last meeting of 2011 to award a second grant to help him with the high cost of professional rotary wing training.”