Thursday 8 September 2011

Not what I expected to see today!

I spent a large part of today finishing off the house clearing task that I started on Tuesday. As usual I made a couple of trips to the Havering Land Reuse and Recycling Centre in Gerpins Lane, near Upminster, Essex ... but today my first trip was made memorable by what I saw whilst I was there ... a Goodyear Blimp taking off!

Just across the fields from the Land Reuse and Recycling Centre is Damyns Hall Aerodrome, and it appears that a Goodyear Blimp is currently operating from there and making flights over London. This is not the first time that the aerodrome has been the base for lighter-than-aircraft. In 2008 a Zeppelin NT07 airship (registered as D-LZNT) took sightseers on flights over London for six weeks, and it was also based at Damyns Hall.

Damyns Hall Aerodrome is a private airfield, and it started life as a simple airstrip for micro light aircraft. As a teenager I can remember sitting in the garden of the family home listening to these tiny aircraft buzzing overhead. Since 2004 it has been developed so that its grass runways can handle most single-engined aircraft types, and its proximity to London and the M25 motorway make it an ideal site for airships taking sightseers on trips over London and the south east of England.

Incidentally, Damyns Hall Aerodrome is also the location for the annual Military & Flying Machines show that is organised by Essex Area of the Military Vehicle Trust. I have yet to go to one of the shows (it always seems to coincide with the dates that I am on a cruise!), but I understand that it attracts a lot of interest. This year there were over 350 military vehicles on show (including 22 armoured vehicles) and a flypast by a B17 Flying Fortress ('Sally B') accompanied by two P51D Mustangs. In addition there were a Spitfire ('Spirit of Kent'), a Bf108, a Harvard, a Jungmann, and a Jungmeister on show as well as a Fieseler Storch.

I must try not to miss next year's show!


  1. We've seen this in the air over the last couple of days, in Gravesend and Dartford, we did wonder what was going on, cheers for clearing it up!!

  2. Ray Rousell,

    You can expect to see it flying around the area for a bit longer.

    Seeing it in the air it looks quite magnificent ... but seeing it take off (almost noiselessly) is awesome!

    All the best,



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