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Channel 4 – Flying Across Britain with Arthur Williams (2018) 2of4

Ch4 Flying Across Britain 2of4

Former Royal Marine Arthur Williams and his tiny yellow plane set off on an amazing aerial adventure: a grand exploration of Britain from the air, with a bespoke camera rig capturing their unique journey across the country.

Part 1: South West
Arthur covers the rolling hills, lush fields and open plains of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset. Arthur gets into a spin with a female aerobatic champion; attempts a landing on a ‘dummy’ aircraft carrier at Henstridge; tests the runway speed of an open-top Bentley; visits a vintage fly-in and enjoys the Cerne Abbas Giant from the privacy of his own plane. He also meets a Londoner who bought a Dorset airstrip; a Cotswold craftsman who makes wooden propellers; and an ex-city trader developing an ‘Iron Man’ jet-powered suit.


Part 2: South East
Arthur is in the South East, plotting a path around London airspace, where ‘one wrong move can land you in a lot of trouble’. Over the Isle of Sheppey, on the north Kent coast, he locates clearer skies and visits the spot where British aviation first got off the ground in 1909. Later, Arthur follows the M25 from 1000 feet, before dropping in on the vast Cardington Sheds, home to the biggest aircraft in the world. He also visits Biggin Hill and takes a Spitfire out for a spin, high above the Kent countryside.


Part 3: North
Arthur leaves his home airfield in Warwickshire and heads north of the border to Scotland. The complex coastline of Argyll and Bute is his ultimate destination, but there’s time on the way for a visit to Glasgow and a day-trip to Loch Lomond in a seaplane, for a quick lesson in highland flying. The sun shines for Arthur’s flight up the west coast, with Jura and Kintyre as a majestic backdrop. At Oban, Arthur goes in search of wrecked seaplanes from World War II, before flying to the Inner Hebrides and one of the most celebrated and beautiful tiny airfields.


Part 4: East Coast
Arthur’s final airborne journey covers the epicentre of Britain’s wartime aviation effort – the east coast. He visits four airfields that played a role in World War II, but have completely changed since. First up is Lincolnshire, which once boasted 46 military airfields. Only five remain today. At East Kirkby, a local family have bought and preserved part of the former airbase as a memorial. Flying over East Anglia, Arthur has an overview of the staggering scale of the wartime ‘friendly invasion’ by tens of thousands of American servicemen. At RAF Lakenheath, he sees the US Air Force’s awesome F15 fighter. At Cranwell, he visits the world’s oldest and grandest air academy and home to the only aerobatic team in the world licensed to take passengers – and there’s no way Arthur’s leaving without hitching a ride.

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