This interview with Squadron Leader Ian Smith from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight confirms their intention to come to the 2010 Peterborough Dragon Boat Festival. Broadcast at 08:35 on Monday 19th April 2010 in the Paul Stainton Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Peterborough.
PAUL: There’s about two months to go until the Peterborough Breakfast Show wins the city’s Dragon Boat Festival twenty ten. Of course we’ll be out the front there with our flag, and somebody banging the drum. We’ve been training especially hard for the event, (Have we?), bench pressing actual dragons and paddling along the Nene. Along with the spectacle of the race, a special fly-past has been arranged with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. They knew we were doing it, so Squadron Leader Ian Smith said: “Of course we’ll bring the planes along, if the Paul Stainton Peterborough Breakfast Show’s going to be there, we’ve got to have a fly-past.” Didn’t you, Ian?
IAN: Yes indeed I did sir. How are you this morning?
PAUL: I’m very good sir. Very good indeed. So we’re going to get the Red Dragons?
IAN: Those guys are still in Cyprus, but we’re here, so as the premier display team in the Royal Air Force we thought we’d come down and support your endeavours at Peterborough.
PAUL: Brilliant stuff. So we’re getting the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. What sort of planes will we get coming in?
IAN: We’re participating. We’re bringing the Dakota down which is a DC-3 twin-engined medium transport aeroplane circa second world war. Of the eleven serviceable that we do have, you’re one of a series of fly-pasts that we’re doing on that day, so we’re glad that we can support you, but it will be with the Dakota this year, and not the big bomber, the Lancaster.
PAUL: That’s fine. We’ll take it. Don’t worry about it. We’ll take that. It’s not a problem at all. So will that be before the event, or after the event?
IAN: What’s that?
PAUL: The fly-past.
IAN: The honest answer is you tell us when you want it. We’re very flexible.
PAUL: Well if we’re losing, and somebody’s out in front, could you swoop down at that point and just put them off a bit?
PAUL: Thank you, thank you.
IAN: Absolutely. We can parachute some people in to come and give you a hand, or indeed take out the guys that are winning.
PAUL: (cackles) Machine gun the front two.
IAN: Well that’s slightly non-political I would imagine. we’re not allowed to get up to that sort of thing. But I’m sure we could put some sabotage into the front runners.
PAUL: How many fly-pasts do you do a year?
IAN: Crikey! Last year we flew nine hundred fly-pasts, and just short of two hundred displays, which was about capacity with the number of people that I’ve got available, and indeed the number of aeroplanes. And the summer’s six months long, starts at the beginning of May and ends at the end of September. But already this year we’ve had fifteen hundred bids for fly-pasts, so we’re becoming more popular, which is great. That’s exactly what we want. We want to reach out to as many people as we possibly can. And doing the Peterborough Dragon Boat Race is exactly that, and we want to come and say hello, and for people to remember us, well remember us as an organisation, but remember why we’re doing it. And that’s the important thing. It’s .. our motto is as you know “Lest We Forget”. It’s exactly that. It’s so people can think: “Why are those boys still flying around in those sorts of aeroplanes.”
PAUL: Well we look forward to seeing you in June at the Dragon Boat Festival in Peterborough. Squadron Leader Ian Smith from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
Everything we’re doing with the Dragon Boat Festival, by the way, is for charity. In June come along and say hi. We’ll be the guys at the front with the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire flag, and Pam Mungew beating a drum.