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The main problems come on the ground when there are no brakes or steering” …

Bremont Great War Display Team leader Gordon Brander is talking about the Sopwith Triplane which he’s scheduled to fly as the team recreates dog fights from the First World War above the Aylsham Show.

A fleet of iconic aircraft from the era will bring the skies of the First World War back to Aylsham, reflecting a time when powered aircraft were very new to the skies.

The first powered crossing of the English Channel was in 1909 by Louis Blèriot, so by the outbreak of war in 1914 aircraft were still fairly basic.

When British aircraft left England to fly to France for the first time in the war, pilots navigated by hoping for breaks in
the clouds so they could compare their paper maps to the ground below.

Gordon Brander’s Sopwith Triplane gained a good reputation as a fighter aircraft, but the flying – then and now – wasn’t easy.

“Visibility is very restricted particularly when landing… it’s like looking through half-closed Venetian blinds,” says  Gordon.

His background includes 33 years in British Airways flying a variety of jets, finishing on the Boeing 747-400 with around 15,000 flying hours.

Now he flies for fun, having owned the iconic Bucker Jungmeister and Sopwith Triplane and displayed for 10
years.

His Sopwith is one of the Bremont Great War Display Team aircraft heading to Aylsham, a poignant reminder of this big anniversary year – 100 years since the end of the Great War and the centenary of the formation of the Royal Air Force.

Bremont Great War Display Team aircraft include Sopwith and Fokker Triplanes, Britain’s first ever military aircraft, a BE2c, SE5a, and Junkers CL1 monoplane ground attack aircraft.

The team formed in 1988 as the Wombats with an ad hoc collection of aircraft. Many of them were flown by their makers and over the years the aircraft and pilots changed frequently.

The team currently has five different types of aircraft available to fly, with 10 aircraft in total. They create a spectacle
which has captivated crowds in this important centenary year

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