Next lot of slides now scanned and restored, this being August 1983, and Blackpool's 'showbiz' theme continues with help from the BBMF and the RAF Falcons. Perhaps the most unusual visitor was the BBMF's support aircraft - not at all what you might expect!
Into October 1983, and for this lot you can have any colour helicopter you like, as long as it is dirty green and black. There were also a number of visitors for the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool. The one where Cecil Parkinson resigned on the day he was due to open the new Helicopter Terminal at the Airport. Dennis Thatcher was sent to do it at the last minute, the plaque remained covered up, the press had a field day, and your truly kept Dennis well supplied with G&T's at the reception. The plaque was last seen being taken home by Blackpool Council's Borough Surveyor.
Thanks for posting some superb memories. Sadly now absolutely nil military helicopter activity , the army etc prefer to use Warton and Barton as opposed Squires Gate. We used to have some packed ramp days back then , absolute joke these days , somewhat of a disgrace .
Many thanks Ikarus, I'm surprising myself with the 37 year old memories that it all brings back. I'm trying to add these memories to the Flickr captions.
Talking of the Fuel Farm, it was certainly responsible for many of the visiting aircraft. Before I arrived there in 1983 it had been run by Air UK, until they pulled out of Blackpool (in 1982?). The staff were then taken on by Blackpool Council and its Airport. I didn't have much to do with the pricing or setting the landing fees, most of which was still decided nationally by all the airports together acting as a cartel. That cartel was eventually given the boot by the Office of Fair Trading, but when the cartel pricing was in place it did mean that aircraft looking where to refuel would choose the place convenient to their routing, rather than shopping around for the best deal. Servisair, the handling company, probably helped as well because they were a national company, and would have agreed prices or deals for their customers.
So much of what has damaged Blackpool Airport over the years have been regulatory changes - price competition - stringent security requirements - higher fire categories for larger aircraft - stricter standards for ATC training and staffing - Councils no longer allowed to subsidise airports at the ratepayers expense (for the wider economic benefits that an airport brings). Death by a thousand cuts really, to the point where only a lower category general aviation operation remains.
Last Edit: Apr 11, 2020 11:02:57 GMT 1 by acklington
I think Air Uk closed the base in about October 1980 Acklington. I was there until then; no doubt the closure was timed to coincide with the end of the summer timetable. It came as a shock to everyone. There weren't even any rumours - unusual in the aviation industry! Many of the crews went to Leeds; one of my colleagues went with the Heralds to Norwich; another went to Channel Express and is now a senior being at Jet2. The third one disappeared completely, but I was offered a job at Gatwick, where I worked for about six months until something better came along.
The flights we operated were always pretty full and we built up a loyal customer base. Quite why they decided to close it I have never really discovered. It was true that the Heralds were getting a bit long in the tooth, but the F-27s were coming on line by then.
I echo Ikarus's thoughts about the demise of the airport. It was a good place to work - good staff and plenty of movements, because we handled everyone else in those days - we were the only handling unit.