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  1. Coldharbour says

    Mr Herbert Sykes, test pilot for the Whitehead Aircraft Company, is seen here in a long leather flying coat and his trademark close-fitting 'Harry Tate' flying helmet. A very small man, he had to sit on cushions in order to see out of the cockpit.

    Under his flying clothes Sykes is wearing a suit and tie with a medal pinned to his lapel. This may provide a clue to dating since Sykes was involved in a serious flying accident on 26th June 1917, in which he sustained broken bones. In the 1918 New Years Honours list he was awarded an O.B.E. for "courage in testing aircraft in spite of severe accidents."

  2. Coldharbour says

    The aeroplane shown here is Sykes's own Martinsyde twin-seater biplane, in which he performed many aerobatic displays before selling it on to one of his flying pupils.

    It is a pre-war aircraft, still with its archaic four-wheel undercarriage, which must have made for some interesting landings. It was designed at Brooklands by Sykes's close friend and frequent passenger Mr. A. A. ('Tony') Fletcher, who may be the other leather clad flyer shown in the film.

    Fletcher had brought this plane with him when he left the employ of the Martinsyde company at Brooklands to become a designer for the London and Provincial Aviation Co. at Hendon. At this time Herbert Sykes was an instructor at L & P and put the aircraft back into flying condition with a semi-cowled 80hp Anzani radial engine. The original powerplant, being probably more valuable than the rest of the plane, had presumably been retained by Martinsyde.

    Location unconfirmed, but might be Hanworth Park, Hendon or Stag Lane.

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