Following our recent blog, we’ve recently been in contact with the two talented pilots who were flying the rare WW1 aircraft at the same time our passengers took to the skies in their hot air balloon from Biggleswade, Shuttleworth Airfield.
Kermit Weeks who flew the German Albatros has been flying ever since he was 17-years-old and Gene DeMarco flew the Royal Flying Corps RE8 and first started his piloting experience from aged 15. They had flown the previous day for the Shuttleworth Show and were taking advantage of the glorious weather by flying again – creating the opportunity for some fantastic photos.
Gene DeMarco told us ‘We took the chance to fly these great war aircraft over the English countryside on a stunning evening. I was able to take a few lucky Shuttleworth Collection staff members for flights too, they are very hard working, dedicated people that share the same passion for flight as I do. It’s a privilege to fly these machines and every flight is special. Each of these early aircraft seem to have a personality and most are best in fine conditions and even better on warm calm evenings.’
Kermit recalled the excitement of flying at the same time as the hot air balloon, ‘I jumped in my seat on the plane! I was surprised how big it was and how many people were on board.’
Both pilots have been lucky enough to enjoy a hot air balloon ride themselves. Gene remembered his last flight at a balloon event in Martinborough, NZ. Somewhat of an expert in flying experiences, he told us, ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the lighter than air experience.’
If you would like an opportunity to see these rare replica WW1 aircraft fly before they are grounded to live in the RAF Museum in Hendon, weather permitting they will be flying again at Shuttleworth’s next event on September 22nd.