The Blades

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 22nd August 2008


Like everyone else, I've had my fair share of ups and downs in life but I do count myself very fortunate to have been offered experiences which aren't offered to everyone, purely because of my work in television.

On Friday last week, as part of the Press Day to publicize the Shoreham Airshow, I flew with THE BLADES.  WOW, what an experience.  They are a four-man team of Ex Red Arrow Pilots who do a spectacular Aerobatic Display - very similar to that of the RAF Red Arrows.  The chaps are Andy Otter, Mark Cutmore, Myles Garland and another Andy - whose surname I can't read.

I flew with Andy Offer (Blade 1) the Team Leader.  Although I was privileged to fly with The Red Arrows many years ago, I have to say that my experience with The Blades was even more exciting probably because they fly at a lower level and you feel like part of the plane.  Andy was incredibly considerate and repeatedly asked if I were OK.  Not only was I OK, I simply wanted to go on and on forever.  We did 4 Loops (and may I be presumptious enough to correct a common misconception - one doesn't 'Loop the Loop' - one flies A Loop), 2 Barrel Rolls, a Half Corkscrew and flew Upside Down.  Words fail me as to how wonderful it felt - I really did feel like a bird and simply wanted to take off into the sky and fly forever.

Back to earth - let me tell you a little more about the Blades.  You too could have the experience I had if your Company, Business, Corporation would like to spoil you with a Bespoke Corporate day out.  The Blades' home is at Sywell Aerodrome near Northampton where their top quality hospitality suite is just a few feet from the Airfield.  When you aren't flying you'll be able to watch other guests take to the skies and even watch them in the cockpit in real time through the state of the art in-cockpit camera system.  (Ladies beware - the G force pulls your face and you don't look your best but What the Hell ........) There are other treats in store for you if you choose a day out with the Blades so why not investigate their website -  Google The Blades Aerobatic Team - and you'll get all the info.

I hope I'm not infringing any copyright if I type out the words of an absolutely beautiful poem written by Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee Junior (412 Squadron) - killed on December 11, 1941.


OH! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence.  Hov'ring there

I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,

I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace

Where never lark nor even eagle flew -

And while with silent lifting mind I've trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand and touched

The Face of God.

Just typing that has brought me out in goose-bumps.  Had he lived one wonders if he would have earned his living as a poet, author or writer of some description.

Rene Mouchotte, the pilot, whose name I sponsored on the Memorial Wall at the Battle of Britain Memorial, also wrote in a poetic and literary style.  How tragic that they all died so young.

SHOREHAM AIR SHOW - 29th - 31st August

If you live in the vicinity and have an interest in Aviation and Aerobatics, this is a must for all the family.  I went last year and felt it was one of the best shows I've ever attended.  To my way of thinking, Farnborough and Fairford are selling 'Heavy Metal' but the smaller air shows actually demonstrate the marvel of Flight.  At Shoreham, there's something for everyone - Static displays of old aircraft, aerobatic displays, entertainment for the children.  It is a wonderful day out.  And you will see The Blades in Action amongst a line up of some of the best the Aerobatic World has to offer.




I'm not sure if there was an article  in the printed version of the Daily Mail about my flight with the Blades but there certainly was a Video on the Internet.  It's of about 15 minutes duration but I don't know how long it will remain on line.  If you google Daily Mail - TV Showbiz and then Search under Jan Leeming - the Blades - hopefully you'll find the piece.  It really was an incredible experience and when I watch it, I can feel myself back in the air again.


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