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Meet the unsung heroes of a Norfolk airshow

PUBLISHED: 12:03 24 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:33 25 July 2018

Old Buckenham Airshow organiser Matt Wilkins said his unique gyro super scooter squadron is an essential part of the airfield. Picture; contributed

Old Buckenham Airshow organiser Matt Wilkins said his unique gyro super scooter squadron is an essential part of the airfield. Picture; contributed

Archant

They look nothing like mobility scooters, insists the Old Buckenham Airshow organiser, but why is he such a fan?

A P-51 Mustang (left) and Spitfire MkIX performs at the Old Buckenham Airshow.  
Photograph Simon ParkerA P-51 Mustang (left) and Spitfire MkIX performs at the Old Buckenham Airshow. Photograph Simon Parker

A unique team is at the heart of preparations for this weekend’s Old Buckenham Airshow.

While most eyes may be on the DC3, Spitfire, Memphis Belle flying superstar Sally B, aerobatics displays or the Mustang in the air display on July 28-29, eagle-eyed petrol heads may be just as thrilled to spot the airfield’s new works’ team.

Usually only seen in Japan, a squadron of Honda Gyro Canopy scooters have been zipping about the airfield for months, carrying, pulling, moving and shifting anything and everything from building materials for the new bridge to cups of tea for the workers.

After using one in a previous job to nip around London, Airfield Manager Matt Wilkins fell in love with the nifty little workhorses and has been building up the collection at the airfield.

The Mark IX Spitfire MH434 will be one the many war time greats coming to the Old Buckenham Airshow on July 28-29 2018. Picture: submittedThe Mark IX Spitfire MH434 will be one the many war time greats coming to the Old Buckenham Airshow on July 28-29 2018. Picture: submitted

“There are 100 of these in the country and we have six of them. They are brilliant. They start immediately, you can do about 30 miles on a litre of fuel, they’ll go on forever and you can use them for everything,” said Matt.

His scooter squad has been accessorised with everything from airhorns and tanks for weed killer, wheelie bins and tool kits to tow bars for hauling trailers.

He said some people who didn’t appreciate their rarity and utility status giggled at them – until they saw them in action.

“We couldn’t build the airshow without them,” said Matt, denying that despite the overhead canopy they look anything like mobility scooters.

“They’re all part of the character of the Old Buckenham Airshow,” he added.

He said the team of scooters, used only off-road on the airfield, had made creating the perfect airshow layout, including a super-long crowd line for good viewing points, easy.

Now the marquees are up, the free car parking is ready, fences are in place, the signs are painted and there’s even a new bridge, thanks to the scooters.

“They have saved us hours,” added Matt.

Smokers are asked to stub out before they arrive at Old Buckenham Airshow this weekend with the tinder dry airfield and surrounding fields meaning smoking is banned on site.

“We are surrounded by farmland and we want to be good neighbours to the farmers as they are good neighbours to us and do everything we can to prevent a possible problem,” said air show organiser Matt Wilkins.

He said it is a one-off ban for the airshow, and camping area, and there will be a designated smoking area.

The show gates open at 10am on Saturday, July 28 and Sunday, July 29.

The show this Saturday and Sunday, July 28-29, features everything from a nuclear missile, displays, military re-enactments, stands and tank rides to some of the rarest classic and vintage cars and motorbikes in Britain on the ground. In the air the famous air display will be hosting 28 acts with a huge variety of aircraft. They include the bi-planes and tri-planes of the Bremont Great War Display, World War Two favourites, aerobatics and much more.

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