I’ve loved aviation for as long as I can remember – perhaps it was inevitable, being born into a family who’d been doing the airshow thing for years and who nurtured my burgeoning interest, giving me every opportunity to enjoy it throughout my childhood.
Airshows at Duxford, North Weald, Biggin Hill and Old Warden were calendar fixtures greeted with giddy excitement. As a 5-year old I hid in the café at Duxford during the noisy jets, but eagerly returned to the crowd line for the warbird fighters that seemed to an imaginative child to be wrapped in an otherworldly mystique. One of my most vivid childhood memories is of riding the old train at Duxford as the P-38 Lightning absolutely hammered overhead low-level, chased down by a screaming Buchón. To an impressionable young mind, it was absolutely mind blowing to see these old aeroplanes flying so low, close and fast. It’s not hard to see how it all began!
Whilst school friends idolised footballers and musicians, I was inspired by names like Hanna, Hinton and Grey; names which held almost mythical status in the Marsh household. Captivated by their immersive displays, my brother and I would rush to our toy boxes after each airshow and re-enact the day’s flying with Spitfires and Messerschmitts. Meeting Ray Hanna as a 10-year old and being treated with such warmth and respect by my hero remains one of my fondest memories.
Quiet weekends saw the Marsh brothers take to the garden, lining up our toy warbirds and working through carefully hand-written flying programmes for hours on end – the attention to detail still raises a smile. String used to mark crowd lines, toy cars stretching back to the house (“traffic jam Duxford”), plastic buildings used as control towers and hangars and even a stereo brought outside to play our custom made airshow music cassette tapes. Halcyon days!
The introverted death metal-loving teenage years sapped none of the enthusiasm for aircraft – indeed, this marked the start of the kleptomaniac era, with bits of aircraft, cockpit dials and nose art covering every desk, shelf and inch of wall space, whilst a Westland Wasp tail rotor took pride of place on the bedroom floor (try explaining that to your first girlfriend). With maturity came an understanding of the historical importance these aeroplanes played in shaping the world, and an appreciation for the aviators whose pioneering spirit made it all possible. Hand in hand with that was the growing understanding of the importance of the innumerable people working tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the historic aviation world afloat and tell the story of our aviation heritage in the present day.
Adulthood saw the airshow intake broaden to upwards of 30 events each year. Aviation has taken me across Europe and North America so far, and has given me a raft of very special like-minded friends from across the globe. From 2010 to 2016 I wrote and then edited the Global Aviation Resource website, which gave me a platform through which to express my interest to an international audience and the chance to work with some of my childhood aviation heroes. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity.
The Vintage Aviation Echo is our small way of giving a little something back to the industry and the people who have given us and countless others so much enjoyment over the years. I’d also like to extend my personal thanks, and the appreciation of the whole team, to our friend and designer Alessandro Taffetani, who took our vision and turned it into something tangible over the course of the six months preceding the website launch. Without his input as a logo creator, bespoke web designer and general consultant throughout the long gestation period, we wouldn’t be where we are today.