Harborough flying club stages special event to mark the 75th anniversary of a legendary RAF aircraft

The aircraft flew off from Leicester Airport to Eyebrook Reservoir near Uppingham before forming the memorable '75' over Rutland Water

Monday, 27th September 2021, 3:32 pm
The Leicestershire Aero Club were proud to host the 75th anniversary of the Chipmunk aircraft first built and flown by De Havilland Canada on May 22, 1946. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

A Harborough flying club has staged a special event to mark the 75th anniversary of a legendary RAF aircraft.

Stoughton-based Leicestershire Aero Club paid a resounding tribute to the brilliant Chipmunk - first built and flown by De Havilland Canada on May 22, 1946.

The aircraft flew off from Leicester Airport to Eyebrook Reservoir near Uppingham before forming the memorable '75' over Rutland Water.

The Leicestershire Aero Club were proud to host the 75th anniversary of the Chipmunk aircraft first built and flown by De Havilland Canada on May 22, 1946. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Anne French, of Great Bowden, who helps to run the historic world-renowned aero club, said: “The Chipmunks made a very fine sight and were seen by many people across our area on a beautiful day.

“It was a very special, very proud day for our aero club.”

Quickly drafted into service by the RAF, the Chipmunk trained pilots for the iconic wartime Spitfire and Hurricane fighters.

The seminal new aircraft swiftly replaced the ageing Tiger Moth – and became an absolute stalwart for the next five decades.

The chipmunks land back at Stoughton airport after forming a 75 for the anniversary. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

The Chipmunk was much more sophisticated, boasting flaps, brakes, radio and an enclosed cockpit.

The RAF used it to train thousands of pilots until 1996.

Over 700 Chipmunks were built for the RAF, the Royal Navy and the Army.

About 120 are still on the UK civilian register - and many of them are still flying.

The chipmunks land back at Stoughton airport after forming a 75 for the anniversary. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

And the venerable Chipmunk is still found airborne in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa as well as across the world.

Thousands of Air Training Corps and Combined Cadet Force cadets have had their first taste of flight in a Chipmunk over the years, including both Prince Philip and Prince Charles.