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Down to earth account of life in the clouds

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: May 14, 2013

Rose Smith and David Pitman have researched Land's End Airport PICTURE: PHIL MONCKTON

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With the recent runway and terminal improvements and the arrival of a fourth Twin Otter aircraft, Rose Smith and David Pitman's Land's End Aerodrome: A Bird's Eye View could not be better timed, writes Frank Ruhrmund.

Its co-authors could hardly be better qualified to compile and pilot such a book. Rose and her partner Ron ran the Choxaway Cafe there, while Dave and his wife Danielle learned to fly there and now return regularly in their own aircraft.

One of the oldest airfields in this country, Land's End Aerodrome began operations in 1937. The realisation of a long-held dream of Captain Gordon Olley who, having foreseen the promise of a commercial air service from Land's End to the Isles of Scilly, bought the land from the Tregear family.

The first scheduled flight took place on September 15, 1937, in a de Havilland DH84 Dragon GDCR piloted by Captain Dustin, carrying four passengers and some freight. Five passengers, among them John Mumford, then the oldest resident on the Isles of Scilly, who was going to visit relatives in St Just, made the return trip. The fare was £1 single and £1. 15s return.

The co-authors have done their research thoroughly and collected many fascinating facts and stories – from a visit by Elizabeth Taylor in 1969 to Andrew Evans becoming the youngest member of Land's End Flying Club in 2002 and subsequently becoming a pilot

Land's End Aerodrome: A Bird's Eye View by Rose Smith and David Pitman is published by Strawberry Publishing and is a splendid tribute to all those passengers and pilots who played their part through the past 75 years in the story of the airfield.

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