Dick Poole remembers flight test
fun in the sun...
It was a hot summer day at Dunsfold in the 1980s and a hose-pipe ban
had just been introduced. The Finnish Hawk Mk 51s were to be fitted
with a new adaptive anti-skid braking system to improve braking
performance on wet and icy runways. The system should have been tested
on G-HAWK in the winter when wet runway conditions were readily
available but equipment delivery delays resulted in the system being
ready for test at this most unsuitable time of the year. Not to be
beaten by nature or the ban the stalwart members the Dunsfold Airfield
Fire Department were enlisted to wet an area of the runway large enough
for an initial test of the system.
Day at Dunsfold
test aircraft, flown by Jim Hawkins, took off and loitered with the
undercarriage down to cool the brakes prior to the test landing on the
wet runway. Whilst the Hawk was cruising round the firemen took the
opportunity to spray more water on the test area. At the same time a
Dove communications aircraft that arrived in the overhead was requested
to hold until the Hawk had landed. On seeing the activity below a voice
from the ether was heard to say, "It'll never grow, you know," to the
amusement of all within radio range.