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Air to Air Test Flight

I met some incredibly interesting ex-pilots when I was exhibiting the aviation paintings at Middlezoy Aerofest in the summer - the Sea Vixen display pilot, a pilot who was also one of Concorde's key prototype engineers, a Harrier pilot and a test pilot who had flown just about everything! I was delighted then that the conversation with the latter led to being commissioned to paint the Handley Page Victor, as this aircraft was flown extensively in numerous guises by this fascinating gentleman.

After meeting up and hearing some more amazing stories of test flights, and looking through photos and memorabilia (including providing a beautiful sunset that was snapped from his home that he would like incorporated if possible) I began putting together a digital mock-up of how we imagined the painting to be - an air to air refuelling between a pair of K1 Victors that actually took place during testing in April 1971. They would be the tanker XA930, which was a K1, and the receiver would be XH667, which was 214 Sqn’s B1A K2P, the interim tanker. There were subtle differences betweeen the two. I must admit, these were technical details I would have overlooked, and was glad to be corrected and learnt a lot about the Victor model design history in the process.

The result is rather a striking combination of aircraft against a very bold sky. This aircraft was always on my wish list to paint and I was very grateful for the opportunity. Hopefully I will back to capture more of these fascinating test flights in other aircraft types.


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