‘Reporter hit by low flying aircraft.’

What a fine summer we have generally been enjoying. Reminds me of another – even drier period back in 1976 – the year famous for ‘the Great Drought’.

It had not rained for weeks. The reason why l chose an umbrella for a ‘piece to camera‘ l did down at Weston-super-Mare airfield on the 26th of August that year. The day before an Air Day that l had been sent down by HTV West to preview.

Of course no aircraft had arrived and l was desperate for something to film.
The suggestion was to recreate an aerial ‘hit the bullseye’ competition where light aircraft – carrying flour-bags – would see who could hit the centre of the white cross that had been laid out as a target.

me at htv interior_3This is where l became involved. Why did l need an umbrella? It wasn’t a desperately-needed and imminent break in the drought that l was forecasting.

No – l needed it to stop flour covering me as l was about to stand in as the target for those ‘dough’ bombers.

It was 37 years ago today that l walked out onto the old parched airfield and – as it turned out – diced with death.

Yes – the wing hit me. I became – and still am – the only person to be knocked out by a low-flying aircraft and live to tell the tale.

However, it’s not just the anniversary that l remember but more the fact that they have now started to develop the old airfield and the whole thing will be swallowed up by neat rows of houses and roads.

Here is the link to the interview l did with ITV West Country.


Seems Westonians are being asked to suggest names for the new roads.

Be nice to have a Starfighter Way to remember the old WW2 spotter plane that played out that drama with me.

Last l heard it was still flying over the Forest of Dean. l have had a couple of flights in it since 1976.

My own little bit of history. Here’s the link to YouTube.

Mike Hastie – the cameraman – kept it running. My mother still won’t watch it!