We’re Boating Backwards to Kittyhawk

Living – during the winter, at least – near Heathrow, we’re used to the almost constant appearance of airliners in the sky, either arriving, departing or overflying up high in the airways. Out in the wild flatlands of East Anglia (you can see why they build loads of airfields there during WWII) things are a bit different: you are well away from major civil airports, and the upper level airways that carry the transatlantic traffic North West and out across the Atlantic to North America.

We hadn’t noticed a great deal of anything while heading out over the Middle Levels to Ely, but there again, it was fast approaching August Bank Holiday Weekend. Heading back down the River Great Ouse from Ely was a different matter. With several nearby RAF airfields providing bases for the boys in blue and their USAnian brethren, there was hardly a moment during the day when you couldn’t see, or at the very least hear, one or more state-of-the-art fast jets passing high overhead, growling around.

As we passed back through back the Middle Levels they seemed to get lower and noisier: near March we saw several lower fly-pasts and something fast-ish seriously buzzed Upwell and Outwell (or maybe Outwell and Upwell).

Petering out as we approached Peterborough (no pun intended), moving on – as the River Nene wanders in an almost complete circle round Sibson airfield – the only aerial traffic was a steady succession of spam-cans, a couple of light aerobatic jobbies, and the occasional parachute dropping aircraft climbing out to rain people. In fact, moored at Wansford Station we saw a spam can doing basic aerobatics, and a shower of parachutists hosing down before  0830Z – must have stronger stomachs than Song & Dance’s crew at that time of the morning.

Moving away – eventually – from Sibson, the next day the only airborne traffic we noticed were a pair of Spitfires heading South (probably aiming for the Battle of Britain bunfight at Goodwood) and a De-Havilland Rapide (who was probably not).

The next day, all we saw was a biplane with the distinctive De-Havilland tail but wings longer than a Tiger Moth. With rumours on Facebook of a Fokker Tri-plane being spotted locally, at this rate we were fully expecting a visitation from Orville and Wilbur themselves by the end of the weekend.

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