Daedalus 100 – Photographic Memory

Daedalus 100 Years Celebration on 16 September 2017

Daedalus 100 Years Celebration on 16 September 2017. Copyright Anne Grant.


It started out as an idea by Lee Residents Association to celebrate 100 years of flying at Lee-on-the-Solent airbase. The town, having staged D-Day 70 with huge success in 2014, decided the centenary of the airfield should not pass by unrecognised. 

Ryan VH-SCW at Daedalus 100 Air Show in September 2017 at Solent Airport.

Ryan VH-SCW at Daedalus 100 Air Show. Copyright Anne Grant

A bid was submitted to the local council for funding to stage an event in September 2017. Some photos from this website, see ‘Gee Whiz, This Is Great’, were contributed to help with the bid.

Bi-planes at Daedalus Air Show, Lee-on-the-Solent, September 2017

Bi-planes at Daedalus Air Show, Lee-on-the-Solent, September 2017. Copyright Anne Grant

It snowballed from there with Lee Flying Association and the local council getting behind the event.

The airport operator Regional and City Airports Management Ltd., took on most of the event organisation.

The number of visitors was restricted to 2500, governed by limited car parking arrangements. The sell-out event was a great success.

Bi-plane at Daedalus 100 Air Show, Solent Airport, 16th September 2017

Bi-plane at Daedalus 100 Air Show, Solent Airport,16th September 2017. Copyright Anne Grant

If any nervousness was felt by all the small groups involved in participating, as to how it would all go on the day, those nerves vanished as the crowd arrived. 

The sun shone and blue skies lasted until the close of the day.

One exhibitor said, “The atmosphere was good. It all went very well. A lot of interest shown in our stall, it may result in some new members.”

G-RNAC 123 and Pheonix Aviation G-BWUH at Daedalus 100 Air Show

G-RNAC 123 and G-BWUH at Daedalus 100 Air Show. Copyright Anne Grant.

The static line up of aircraft was impressive, from vintage Bi-Planes to the Britten-Norman Trilander G-RLON recently retired from service.

Britten Norman Trislander G-LRON at Daedalus 100 Air Show 16th September 2017

Britten-Norman Trislander G-LRON at Daedalus 100 Air Show. Copyright Anne Grant

This was taken out of service by Aurigny Air Services this year having flown between Southampton and the Channel Islands for 25 years. It passed into the ownership of Solent Sky Aviation Museum of Southampton on permanent loan and is temporarily stored at Solent Airport (Daedalus), Lee.

Britten Norman Islander G-JSAT at Daedalus 100 Air Show 16th September 2017

Britten-Norman Islander G-JSAT at Daedalus 100 Air Show. Copyright Anne Grant

Close by to the B-N Trilander was the other Britten-Norman exhibit, the sleek looking Islander G-JSAT. Britten-Norman started design and production on the Isle of Wight at Bembridge.

In recent years B-N has moved much of it’s production to Lee but retains a working unit at Bembridge.

What wasn’t in the Daedalus 100 line up is the aircraft in this historic photograph (see below) sent into Solent Aviatrix by Phil Phillips who is in New Zealand. The photo is included here to accentuate the stunning success of this aircraft company around the world.

In Mr. Phillips’ own words, “I ‘Googled’ the number of Islanders built to date and came up with the staggering figure of 1280. Truly amazing and 750 are still operating today!”

Britten Norman 500th Islander 1975-76. Chief Inspector, Dave French, R. Howard (pilot), Phil Phillips, G. Raynor, Alfie Grimes, Unknown, Clive Dove.

Britten-Norman flight crew of 500th B-N Islander built at Bembridge circa 1975/76. Left to right: Sydney “George” Crooks, Dave French (foreman), John Neilan (pilot), Phil Phillips (engineer), G. Raynor (engineer), Alfie Grimes (paint shop foreman), Bruce Lockhart, Clive Dove (production foreman).

Phil worked for a while at B-N before moving to New Zealand. He would like some help with naming two of the men in this photo.

“It is the flight crew of the 500th Islander built at Bembridge. The vintage picture is circa 1975/76. I have included all the names I can remember. It looks as if it was quite a milestone for the company, because we assembled the flight shed crew, the flight shed inspector, the 3 flight shed, paint shop and production foremen, also one of the test pilots, for this photo. I’m not sure how many of these guys are still around today as we were all in a similar age group.”

Back to the Lee Airshow, of the older aircraft, bi-plane enthusiasts were given a treat with this line up.

Bi-plane Waco G-YMFC at Daedalus 100 Air Show, Solent Airport, 16th September 2017

Bi-plane Waco G-YMFC at Daedalus 100 Air Show, Solent Airport, September 2017. Copyright Anne Grant

Army aircraft were resplendent.

Bi-plane Army 669 at Daedalus 100 Air Show 16th September 2017, Solent Airport

Bi-plane Army 669 at Daedalus 100 Air Show September 2017. Copyright Anne Grant

The Royal Navy was present with their helicopters.

Royal Navy Helicopter 441 at Daedalus 100 Air Show, September 2017, Solent Airport

Royal Navy Helicopter 441 at Daedalus 100 Air Show. Copyright Anne Grant

Royal Navy Helicopter 39 at Daedalus 100 Air Show September 2017, Solent Airport

Royal Navy Helicopter 39 at Daedalus 100 Air Show September 2017. Copyright Anne Grant

Royal Navy Helicopter at Daedalus 100 Air Show, September 2017, Solent Airport

Royal Navy Helicopter at Daedalus 100 Air Show. Copyright Anne Grant

There was also a Float Plane.

Float plane G-WLAD at Daedalus 100 Air Show, Solent Airport, September 2017. B-N Trilander G-LRON and Islander G-JSAT

Float plane G-WLAD at Daedalus 100 Air Show, Solent Airport, 16 September 2017. Behind left is B-N Trilander and behind right is an Islander. Copyright Anne Grant.

Completing the line up and bringing the aircraft up to the present day was Pheonix Aviation who are based along side Lee Control Tower. They can be seen daily, flying in and out, over the Solent, training new pilots.

G-BWUH Phoenix Aviation at Daedalus 100 Air Show, Solent Airport

G-BWUH Phoenix Aviation at Daedalus 100 Air Show. Copyright Anne Grant

Some of the side shows included local interest stalls such as Gosport Aviation Society. This organisation holds monthly meetings in Stubbington with a different guest speaker each month.

Gosport Aviation Society Stall at Daedalus 100 Air Show, Solent Airport September 2017.

Gosport Aviation Society Stall at Daedalus 100 Air Show, 2017. Copyright Anne Grant

No vintage air show would be complete without some classic cars and this one was a beauty.

Vintage Car Talbot PL3293 at Daedalus 100 Air Show, Solent Airport

Vintage Car Talbot PL3293 at Daedalus 100 Air Show. Copyright Anne Grant

My thanks to Bob Wealthy for his assistance on the day with these photographs. Bob attended the event wearing his three aviation hats – Gosport Aviation Society, Solent Sky Aviation Museum volunteer, and Britten Norman Aircraft Preservation Society Chairman.

Whilst the show was on, some aspects of the airfield continued to function with it’s normal business. Saving lives at sea can’t stop for an air show. The Maritime and Coastguard search and rescue helicopter, which is based at Lee, flew in and out several times, adding to the sights and sounds on the day.

What is often overlooked in the history of the airfield is how the town developed around it.

Art Deco houses in Milvil Road Lee-on-the-Solent on the perimeter of Daedalus

Art Deco houses in Milvil Road Lee-on-the-Solent. Copyright Anne Grant.

Houses were built around the perimeter in the style of the day, like these superb Art Deco dwellings.

Art Deco houses in Lee-on-the-Solent on the perimeter of Daedalus

Art Deco houses in Lee-on-the-Solent. Copyright Anne Grant.

They are admired and treasured now for their beauty and architectural heritage but that was not always the case.

When other houses were being built for military staff there was some local opposition.

A short lived campaign was waged against the extension of the airfield and perceived extravagance of the planned building programme for Officers’ Quarters and sports facilities. The embittered objectors deplored what they considered to be the lavish misuse of tax payers money.

It should be noted that this was about the time of the 1930’s depression. This may account for the vocal opposition from aggrieved and presumably less fortunate individuals.

A professional looking signboard proclaimed, ‘This is Lee on the Solent where the rainbow ends.’  The signboard was removed soon after it first appeared. The development went ahead.

The properties in question included Westcliff House, Officers’ Mess. See Daedalus Gems for an illustration of the interior decor – Ballroom and all. In total 21 houses were build for military use. Now, in the 21st century, that architectural legacy from those fractious days is enjoyed and admired by many. The airfield and associated built environment is what gave the town much of it’s character.

Art Deco buildings on Marine Parade in Lee-on-the-Solent

Art Deco buildings Marine Parade Lee-on-the-Solent. Copyright Anne Grant.

At the same time as the Daedalus 100 Air Show was on, down on the shoreline the annual Hovercraft Museum Show was in full flow for the whole weekend.

SRN4 Hovercraft Princess Margaret

SRN4 Hovercraft Princess Margaret. Copyright Anne Grant.

The museum is based on airfield perimeter and uses the slipway for hover rides on special days. The event drew large crowds.

On the Sunday an extraordinary vehicle arrived and parked next to me. Not the sort of thing you see every day, I had to take photographs and have a chat with the occupants.(See below).

They had driven to Lee especially for the Hovercraft Show and had gone out onto the Solent on one of the special hover trips for paying customers.

The owner of Amphicar Q499 RNV is an engineer. He designed and built this motor/craft himself. He said that most people want to take photos of the exhaust pipe and propeller which are positioned side by side.

Amphicar Q499 RNV Lake District registration 66558

Amphicar Q499 RNV. Copyright Anne Grant

Amphicar Q499 RNV Lake District registration 66558

Amphicar Q499 RNV. Copyright Anne Grant

The registration number 66558 on the side of the vehicle permits him to take it onto Lake Windemere. 

He and his partner travel around Europe going afloat on fresh water courses, such as the canals of Netherlands and France, and fresh water lakes of Norway, Sweden and Finland.

On one occasion they motored across the Solent to the Isle of Wight, from Lymington to Yarmouth – for free!. The journey took about twenty minutes. As salt water rusts metal, they rarely venture out onto sea water. 

Complete with a  lovely Westie dog snoozing on a cushion between driver and passenger and the kettle on the boil inside their Amphicar, their hand built vehicle provides them with all the comforts of home when going on their travels. British eccentricity or engineering genius?  Both. And long may inventors such as he continue to amaze us.

Then the weekend was over. The vintage aircraft flew away. The Navy helicopters returned to base.

Bye bye Bi-plane. Flying away from Daedalus 100 Air Show in September 2017

End of the Air Show. Spot the Bi-plane flying off between the clouds. Copyright Anne Grant

The Solent sparkled in the warm September sun.

Where the rainbow ends in Lee-in-the-Solent

Where the rainbow ends? Copyright Anne Grant.

Solent Airport returned to normality.

Marine Parade in Lee-on-the-Solent.

Marine Parade Lee-on-the-Solent. Copyright Anne Grant.

Gliders graced the sky again, Portsmouth Naval Gliding Centre
providing the action.
Private flying started again.
Pilot flying school resumed with Pheonix Aviation aircraft.
And lovely Lee went back to normal business. Ice cream anyone?

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Daedalus 100 Is Here

Beech Aircraft Royal Navy Aircraft FT466 at Daedalus for D-Day 70

Beech Aircraft – Royal Navy Aircraft FT466 at Daedalus for D-Day 70. Copyright Anne Grant.

To celebrate 100 years of flying at Daedalus, Lee-on-the-Solent, a special one day event is taking place on Saturday 16 September between 10:00am and 4:00pm.

********************** News Update 13th September *********************

**********************  DAEDALUS 100 IS SOLD OUT  **********************

Daedalus, now renamed Solent Airport, will host a static display of vintage aircraft, put on by local flying associations. Other family activities will also be on site.

The airfield opened in 1917 during the First World War. It became an RNAS station. One of my ancestors was posted there for further training. He had gained promotion and was transferred from Eastchurch Airship Station, Norfolk to Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire. That transfer saved his life. A week later his former Airship C27 was shot down. All crew perished.

Airship C27 of RNAS Eastchurch Pulham

Airship C27 at RNAS Eastchurch. Crewman William Baker transferred to Daedalus, Lee-on-the-Solent a week before C27 was shot down in the North Sea.

One type of aircraft based at Daedalus for years was the Swordfish bi-plane. During the Second World War Daedalus played a major part in D-Day operations. On special commemoration days for the Fleet Air Arm, a Swordfish bi-plane flies up the Solent and across Daedalus in salute to the fallen.

Three years ago Lee-on-the-Solent hosted D-Day 70, which some war veterans attended. Aircraft which visited the airfield on that occasion included the Dakota.

1st Dakota lands at Daedalus Airfield for D-Day 70 Commemorations.

1st Dakota lands at Daedalus Airfield on 2nd June 2014 at Lee Flying Association Hanger. Copyright Anne Grant.

Daedalus Officers Mess House at Lee on the Solent

Daedalus Officers Club House. Copyright Anne Grant.


Hidden away behind closed doors, which may be opened for the special Daedalus 100 day, are architectural gems within the former Officers Mess
.

This lovely building is waiting for an enterprising restaurateur to step up to the challenge of refurbishing and re-opening an historical site which houses a piece of aviation heritage.  This building could become one of the classiest hotels cum restaurant on the Solent coast.

The Bar is a gem of opulent woodwork.  Equally impressive are the ornate fireplaces in every room.

Daedalus fireplaces in Officers Mess Lee-on-the-Solent

Daedalus Fireplace and a 2nd fireplace in the room through the door. Copyright Anne Grant.

Daedalus Bar in Officers Mess at Lee-on-the-Solent

Daedulas Officer’s Mess Bar. Copyright Anne Grant.

Stained Glass windows and doors abound.

Art Deco door glass at Daedalus Officers Mess Lee-on-the-Solent

Daedalus Officers Mess Art Deco door glass. Copyright Anne Grant.

 

 

 

 

Follow this link to other Daedalus Gems.

Daedalus 100 is ticket only, purchased in advance of the day.

Follow this link to Fareham Borough Council for ticket information.

Also on at Daedalus over the same weekend is Hovershow 2017.

Gosport mini hovercraft

Gosport Personal Hovercraft, Copyright Anne Grant.

Daedalus is home to the only hovercraft museum in the world. Over 50 hovercraft, from small to large are on display, with some of the small private hovers out on the Solent on 16 September and 17 September. Separate rickets are needed for the Hovershow. It is not inclusive with the aircraft show.

Follow this link to the Hover Museum for full details.

Lovely Lee is the place to be this weekend.

Also taking place this weekend at the Square Tower, Old Portsmouth, Alison Hill will be reading from ‘Fifty Ways to Fly’ anthology on Sunday, 17 September 2017.

In October the Solent Aviation Art Society are holding their annual exhibition in Fareham. On from 23 to 28 October at Ferneham Hall, opening times are 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, with late nights Thursday and Saturday until 10:00 pm. 

Go to the Notice Board for more contact details.