Special air mission foiled by thunderstorms

The Advertiser Series: WINGS CLIPPED: Stephen Slater WINGS CLIPPED: Stephen Slater

THUNDERSTORMS on the French coast thwarted plans to fly a replica military plane across the Channel as part of commemorations for the First World War centenary.

Former Darlington resident Stephen Slater has restored a replica BE-2 observation plane.

He and co-owner Matthew Boddington had planned to fly it to France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of air missions in the Great War.

Bad weather had put paid to plans to fly on Monday, with continued high winds and storms meaning the flight was unable to take place on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Weather conditions in Kent did allow the pair to perform a commemorative flight over the Dover coast and the site of a WW1 airfield.

Mr Slater said: "The mission was very much at the mercy of the weather and this plane is like a vintage car, in that it doesn't have the control responses of a modern one.

"To have attempted to cross the Channel would have been at the very limits of control for the plane."

The aircraft is now hangared at its Northamptonshire based, ahead of airshow commitments this weekend.

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