December 11 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
A once-in-a-lifetime flypast and air display of a historic Catalina seaplane will take place off Gorleston beach tomorrow, Wednesday.
It is hoped a huge crowd will turn out oto watch a 70-year-old seaplane soar over the east coast.
The Imperial War Museum (IWM) Duxford-based Catalina, named Miss Pick Up, will fly over Great Yarmouth before arriving at Gorleston around 3pm.
The seaplane, the UK’s oldest airworthy amphibian plane, will perform an air display before continuing her journey up the coast.
The Project Hawker flight marks the 100th anniversary of a 1913 Circuit of Britain race for seaplanes which saw aviation pioneers Harry Hawker and Harry Kauper make an unscheduled stop on Gorleston’s sands.
This time around fellow Australian Jeff Boyling, one of the team who has restored the Catalina to her former glory, is hoping to finish the route Hawker and Kauper never did.
When the Catalina sets off on her circumnavigational flight from Duxford on Wednesday morning, she will be watched by members of the Hawker family including Harry’s niece, two grand-daughters and two great grand-daughters.
From Duxford, Mr Boyling will fly to Southampton to officially start the commemorative fight.
Southampton is where the 1913 race began and the Catalina will be following the original route as closely as possible, performing air displays at the eight ‘control points’ Hawker and Kauper plotted.
In 1913, the Australian pair were due to check in with Yarmouth’s old Naval Air Station based in Regent Street - a building which later became the Mercury’s old offices - but were forced down in Gorleston because they were so ill from fumes from a broken exhaust and sunstroke.
Their specially-built Sopworth caused a stir when it landed on the beach. Unfortunately, their second attempt at the 1,600 mile flight also failed when engine problems forced them to abandon the challenge in Dublin.
For more information about the commemorative flight, visit www.projecthawker2013.com and head to Gorleston seafront next Wednesday to see the Catalina’s historic show.