The lighter side of Flight International.

African icon

Fancy getting your flying gloves on a piece of cinematic and aviation history – the original yellow de Havilland Gipsy Moth that featured in the 1985 Robert Redford/Meryl Streep weepie Out of Africa?

Auction house RM Sotheby’s is inviting bids for the 1929 biplane, which is in excellent, flyable condition, in Miami on 1-2 March, with all proceeds going to wildlife conservation projects in Africa, including a rhino sanctuary in Kenya.

Gipsy Moth

Source: RM Sotheby’s

A cinematic icon up for grabs

G-AAMY was transported to Kenya for the movie, and flown by Sir Henry Dalrymple-White, a former RAF wing commander. One notable scene – which contributed to the film’s Oscar recognition for cinematography – saw it stir up a flock of flamingos.


Thinking about tomorrow

The recent annual dinner of the ADS trade association brought 1,200 of the great and the good from the UK’s aerospace, defence, space and security sectors together at London’s Grosvenor House, against a noisy backdrop of anti-arms trade protesters on Park Lane.

While he admitted that it was far from scientific, given the very British reluctance to admit publicly to unfashionable opinions, speaker Alastair Campbell (political commentator and Tony Blair’s former spin doctor) asked for a show of hands on some crucial questions facing the UK and its allies in 2024.

The vast (90% plus) majority believe Sir Keir Starmer will be next UK PM, Donald Trump the 47th president, and that Brexit has not yet yielded tangible benefits.

Tellingly, 90% also believe the world is a more dangerous place than a decade ago. Perhaps not the best time then to do as the protesters were demanding: lay down our arms and dismantle the defence industry.


Give Harry a break

If you are the Duke of Sussex – estranged and much maligned younger brother of the heir to the British throne – you are used to a bit of media flak, and the hoo-ha over Harry’s induction as a Living Legend of Aviation is just the latest.

Various worthies – including Lord West of Spithead, a former First Sea Lord – were invited to fulminate about the renegade royal’s recognition for his “significant contribution to aviation/aerospace”, given that his sole experience (other than travelling in private jets) was as a co-pilot and gunner on Apache attack helicopters during the Afghanistan war.

Now, this Duke may be no Neville Duke when it comes to aerial exploits, but to describe the inclusion of someone who served his country in an armed conflict and put himself in mortal danger as a “travesty”, as some armchair warriors have, seems a bit harsh.


Source: Shaun Jeffers/Shutterstock

More Duke than Neville Duke…

Especially when you consider that, alongside luminaries such as Buzz Aldrin, Sully Sullenberger and Steve Udvar-Hazy, the 90 or so names on the Living Legends list include Top Gun and A400M-clinger Tom Cruise, private pilot Morgan Freeman, and saxophonist Kenny G, who owns a De Havilland Beaver seaplane.


Kid-free zone

Forget business class. Rather than lie-flat seats, champagne and haute cuisine, Dutch leisure airline Corendon is offering a novel incentive to persuade passengers to pay to sit in the curtained-off forward cabin – the chance to avoid boisterous or noisy kids.

Corendon says it has had a very positive response to its grown-ups-only offer since launching it on its Airbus A350-900 flights between Amsterdam and Curacao in the Caribbean in November, with demand often exceeding the supply of 93 standard and nine XL seats.

Corendon 737

Source: Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock

Quiet in the back?

According to airline founder Atilay Uslu, the initiative is popular both with travellers who want to work or enjoy peace and quiet, and with parents themselves, who can “enjoy the flight without worrying about their children making a little more noise”.


Food for thought

Overheard at a defence show in Saudi Arabia, a local executive from a big US aircraft maker describing the company’s Toulouse-based rival: “Ah, the wine and cheese guys.”