Newsletter 21
Summer 2008
Updated on 29Aug2008
Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents Hawker Association

American Awards
Doctor Michael Pryce
Farnborough Airport
Hawker Thoroughbreds
Hawker's TSR.2 - P.1129
Joseph White
My Life with Hawkers
News of Future RN Carrier
News of Harrier
News of Hawk
News of JSF
RAF Club Camm Memorial
Summer Barbecue
Two Good Years at Kingston
    Les Palmer reports on the Association's 13 May visit to the TAG Airport at Farnborough...
        Question: What cost 1 million to purchase and 74 million to fix?
        Answer: The TAG airport at Farnborough, Hants!
    This was the opening statement made by our tour guide as we commenced our visit. Nine Members came on the visit which had originally been booked by the Handley Page Association who were unable to keep the date. Having a unique relationship with both groups Harry Fraser-Mitchell was able to alert our Secretary of the opportunity and together they plugged the gap.
    The TAG engineering group (TAG-Heuer watches etc) is a Swiss based, Saudi owned concern who purchased the redundant MoD site upon closure of the DRA/RAE. They devised a business plan that recognised the need to establish a very special airport in the UK to cater for the increasing numbers of the very rich and famous who do not wish to fly in and out of major public airports.
Visit To Farnborough Airport

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    TAG have created a facility which provides the utmost privacy and security for their clients together with an uncluttered environment that sees them quickly through procedures and on their way to whatever business or pleasure needs gave rise to the flight. Need a 'limo' at the steps and Customs and Immigration on board? All part of the service!
    The hangars have the space for the Boeing business jet as the largest visitor. Full servicing facilities are available and the whole place is spotless. The terminal, hangars and control tower are all magnificent examples of very modern architecture constructed to portray aerodynamic shapes.
    No photography is allowed and no customer names are ever divulged outside the need-to-know groups working at the airport. Some 2,800 yearly movements are licenced at present with twice this number planned. Environmental requirements are a top priority; water treatment plants and an animal sanctuary have been established. The perimeter is grazed by Mongolian horses and cattle who have the best close cropping ability to cope with Hampshire gorse.
    The tower, in addition to its everyday function, affords the visitor a most spectacular view of the airfield and its surroundings which, for our visit, included the early construction work for the Farnborough Air Show. Air traffic control is provided by NATS (National Air Traffic Services) between the hours of 0600 and 2200 daily with the airport open for normal business from 0800 to 1800. During Air Show week the controller staff is augmented by some twenty-two additional NATS personnel to handle the greatly increased number of movements. Normal TAG business is curtailed during demonstration flying.
    A prominent landmark seen from the tower is the original HQ of Lord Trenchard, 'father of the RAF', now the home of the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust Museum to which, on completion of our tour, we made our way. Greeted on our arrival by Mr and Mrs Harry Fraser-Mitchell we were ushered into Lord Trenchard's former office to enjoy a splendid buffet very generously provided by Harry and beautifully presented by kind lady volunteers from the Museum.
    Afterwards we were given a superb presentation by David Wilson, delivered with the passion of a true aviation enthusiast. The main topic was Samuel F Cody's British Army Aeroplane No.1 which, at Farnborough on 16 October 1908, performed the first officially recognised powered aeroplane flight in Great Britain. Farnborough was the home of the Royal Engineers who had responsibility for balloons, kites and aeroplane development.
    We were then privileged to be taken to a nearby hangar where a group of Trust members was creating a replica of  'No.1' for display at this year's Farnborough Air Show, together with models of other aircraft of the same period. Countless hours of research and construction have gone into creating the full-scale model. Wood had been sourced in Sweden and the USA.
    One of our Members observed that the castings being used looked to be of a higher standard than perhaps could have been produced a hundred years ago. "A great observation," stated our guide, but Cody was a friend of fellow American engineer Hiram Maxim of Vickers machine gun fame and it was he who made the castings for 'No.1', hence the high quality achieved. The copy castings for the replica cost 17,000 to have made today.
    The Museum contains many very interesting items associated with the work of the former Royal Aircraft Establishment including the fatigue research on the deHavilland Comet. The Museum, which is well worth a visit, is not open every day; for information call 01252 375050. Visits to TAG Airport by recognised groups may be arranged by calling 01252 379000
    As a 'thank you' for the visit to the Museum the Association has sent a cheque for 50 to help with the cost of building the 'No.1' replica.