Sola Air Station in Stavanger, on the south-western coast of Norway celebrated its 75th anniversary this weekend. We went over there with our three Tiger Moths painted up in Norwegian Army Air Corps colours, as well as a lot of other planes from Kjeller. We departed on Thursday evening, but due to a couple of the guys being a bit late, we had to spend the night in Kristiansand on the south coast. Not too bad, but the weather on Friday was reported to be bad, with two occluded fronts coming in from the south, so we got up early and headed out to the airport. We just managed to get out before the weather closed in. Fortunately, Kristiansand is close to the southern tip of Norway, and so we were soon heading north out of the weather, but we did have an hour or so of marginal VFR with some rain showers. Fortunately you don't get wet in the Tiger Moth until you land and stop the airplane
We went along the coast, since our planes are more than 70 years old, and heading directly over the mountains is something we don't do unless we have to.
Starting out, the weather was nice. I'm in 145, leading the formation.
The formation lead does all the ATC calls, and navigation.
Navigating in the Tiger Moth can get a bit interesting at times, due to the limited space onboard, so there's no room for folding charts or finding documentation. This means that you have to be well organized. I have a kneeboard that I keep all airport plates, etc. in, and I fold the charts carefully so I won't need to do so in the cockpit. Fortunately, the compass, an old RAF P8, is absolutely wonderful. Large, legible and very accurate, it is the only liquid airplane compass I've ever been able to use for actual navigation, rather than just indicating the general direction of travel.
The next day we had to negotiate some cloudy weather with rain showers. This pic is taken from our Cornell on the way from Kristiansand to Stavanger, about 10am.
I didn't bring a camera to the show, but it was a good one! I'll see if I can get some of the pics my friends took, and post them here. We had the Patrouille de France, Aerostars and Turkish Stars display teams over, as well as a Saab Viggen, J29 "Flying Barrel", the Red Bull P-38 and DC-6, two Polish MiG-29s, an An-2, F-16s, PBY Catalina etc.
We also attended a lecture by Eric "Winkle" Brown, the famous test pilot, with the world record for the most types of aircraft flown; 487! He also holds the world record for highest number of carrier landings, and was the first person to land a jet on a carrier. He also interrogated Heinrich Himmler and Herman Göring after the war, due to his knowledge of German. At 93, he still travels around giving lectures!
I was lucky enough to get to talk to him, and he signed my logbook, as well as the inside of one of our Tiger Moth luggage compartment hatches. He is still genuinely interested in all things that fly, and very interested in us flying 260 nautical miles to the show around a sometimes inhospitable coast. He was also very, very friendly and very nice to talk to. It is a meeting I will never forget!
Me talking to him:
Signing our Tiger Moth:
and my logbook:
All in all, a wonderful weekend!
This pic is from yesterday, on our way home. I'm still in 145, leading the formation
Weather on our flight back home was better, but we still had to dodge some showers and isolated CBs, and we flew on top for a while, as well as through a rainbow