A letter from David Southwell 12th December 2010

Covering the Dusk To Dawn event that took place 15th October 1989


Hi Terry

I did not realise that you were in regular contact with David until we had quite a long chat this morning. Whilst he was a little late joining the 21st century in getting e-mail etc he is obviously now fully au-fait with computers etc.

I have had a look at the DCAviator website which I must admit is very good. It occurs to me that there are perhaps a couple of things to add to 'Shadow' lore.

1.) It was my privilege to arrange and subsequently lead (in 02) the mass Shadow flight at Duxford on 15/10/89. David bringing up the rear in G-BONP. There were in fact 26 Shadows there on the day and my log book says that 21 took part. We had tried to do it on 17/9/89 as a fly-by at Duxford starting from Bassingbourn. The weather was lousy with very poor visibility. Knowing the area very well I stuck to the plan, flying thro mist and rain, following the roads, and when I got back to Bassingbourn everybody except Brian Johnson (who had managed to follow me) had given up and landed back at Bassingbourn. We then decided to do it based at Duxford.

2.) Prior to having a go at the D to D event we thought that we should have a trial to see if it was going to be possible. This was on 1/06/86 and we flew around East Anglia for a bit before landing at Eye Airfield. The Captain then said that, you (me) had better fly the Shadow (02) now. So I was briefed and took off to fly an extended circuit. During the Downwind leg it occurred to me that this was the first time for about 15 years I had actually been totally on my own flying an aircraft. (At this time I had about 400 hrs) So I was quite pleased with myself. (This was to change) I taxied in, opened the canopy and was greeted by the Captain with the statement;

THERE YOU ARE I TOLD YOU IT WAS CRETIN PROOF.  Still we are still friends and next year it will be an unbelievable quarter of a century since we won the D to D.

We were both 46 then and are 70 now. Very appropriately in the circumstances we have proved that Tempus does in fact Fugit.

Bye for now

© Copyright David Southwell  


Letter No 2

Hi Terry

Glad that you found the other e-mail of interest. So at the risk of boring you here are a few more Log Book memories of my Shadow involvement.

I actually flew in addition to G-MJVY (02) and G-BONP, G-MNXX, G-MNZR, G-MTTJ, and G-MTWM.

In the absence of the Captain I was sometimes drafted in to do demo rides for some 20 or so potential customers, at Duxford, Popham, Framlingham, and Blackbushe.

On one of these the guy in front 'Froze' on the stick on short final but I was just able to get enough 'Up' elevator to prevent an accident. He did however go on to buy one!

I also flew an airline training captain who had over 27,000 hours. Delivery and positioning flights, nearly all non-radio, were also involved including one from Long Marston to Ipswich (for the guild of lady pilots to see a Shadow after Eve's trip) which resulted in my making a precautionary landing for real in a field near the M1 when the weather went very marginal. I hasten to add that the weather had been checked before departure and was predicted to be OK.

One trip stands out and that was 3/7/88 when I was persuaded to lead the Captain and Eve in their Shadows from the PFA meeting at Cranfield back to Parham via Bassingbourn and Duxford. The forward visibility was appalling. It was only possible to see straight down so I had to head due East until we got to the A1, then South over the A1 to Baldock, then A505 to the A11, then the A14 to Stowmarket, then A1120 to Framlingham. Neither the Captain or Eve like navigating, particularly in very poor conditions but we had to give it a try because of our other commitments. What this formation of 3 Shadows flying in the gloom must have looked like from the ground I cannot imagine. Other than when we landed I never saw either of them en-route.

 At this time I had a share in a Dr1050 Jodel  G-AYLF which was deemed to be an Honorary Shadow because of its attendance at various Shadow Fly-ins. I got quite good at short field landings in it on these occasions because the farm strips used tended to be a bit on the 'tight' side for a conventional light aircraft. I did take DC for a ride in the Jodel one day from Old Warden and he was gracious enough to admit that you did get a very good 'Voo' from it even though it had side by side seating.

Regards David

© Copyright David Southwell