Captain Paddy and Lucky’s visit to Ulster Aviation Society
Paddy and Lucky received a very special invite to visit the collection of the Ulster Aviation Society, at Maze Long Kesh outside Lisburn. Befitting such a special invite, our high-flying duo dropped in via helicopter, R44 G-DKNY. They were met on landing by their host Leonard Craig, who was delighted to invite the bears in, and show them around the collection.
As Leonard threw open the doors of the hangars, almost instantly, Paddy recognised some very familiar machines from his days in the Aer Corps: Alouette 202, Reims Rocket 203, and Fouga Super Magister 218. He showed Lucky the machines he spent many years flying!
Lucky, however, soon had his eyes drawn elsewhere as he gazed further into the massive hangars – “Paddy, Paddy, Paddy!!!!!!!”. What had caught Lucky’s attention was the RAF Tornado GR4, and the RN Phantom – the pair were very quickly in the cockpits and jumping up on the drop tanks. Next it was off to see the Canberra, the Puma and Scout Helicopters, and the Buccaneer, with its incredible folding wings and carrier hook.
But Leonard saved the best for last…. Throwing open a nondescript door, Paddy and Lucky’s eyes both lit up. They spotted a wingtip… then a tailfin: and the colour could only mean one thing! It was an exclusive look at the society’s newest aircraft… a Hawk T1 of the RAF Red Arrows! The pair leapt with excitement as they were let into the cockpit, and although it’s been a few years since he was last in a fast jet, he felt right at home shouting “Smoke on” from the front seat of the hawk, as Lucky took it all in, in awe.
While our high-flying bears signed the visitors book, Leonard explained to the pair that the Ulster Aviation Society is a charity, run entirely by volunteers who come together to preserve historic and iconic aircraft. Their collection is ever growing and alongside aircraft, they’ve historic vehicles, memorabilia and items charting the history of aviation across Ireland.
This weekend is European Heritage Open Days, a European wide weekend to explore and discover. The UAS collection is open to visit and explore! So, make sure to head along and view this incredible collection!