Airspec [1993]

It is a little-known fact that me and Mike Delaney are fierce important people in Irish Aviation. Indeed, at the recent Air Spectacular, he was Flight Operations Director, and I was Flight Operations Officer. As Flight Operations Director, Delaney was responsible for booking, approving, timing and scheduling every single act. As Flight Operations Officer I was responsible for carrying the Flight Operations Director's briefcase.

For the benefit of those who may find themselves in a similar position, I offer hereunder some further definitions.

Patrouille de France

A group of tiny men wearing snazzy blue baby-gros and Alpha jets. They are extremely temperamental and possessed of morbid fear of their ground crew, with whom they will not willingly share transport or accommodation. They are, by their expressions, immensely depressed by the performance of the Franc in the ERM, and perform their amazing display with shrugs of Gallic resignation. Handle with tact.

Swedish Air Force

This comes in two sizes, small weedy acne-covered Draken drivers aged about 16 festooned in gorgeous blonde girl-friends, and fat jolly Hercules crews whose job it is to ferry the girlfriends of the pre-pubescent fighter aces and to go missing in the pubs of Dublin. I suppose it was the skill as much as the youth of the pimply dare-devils that so upset old (sorry, chronologically gifted) codgers like me, whose competence for driving a car is daily called into question. In fact, the Swedes have several things in their favour, not the least being their willingness to contribute half the cost of their hotel bill in addition to providing two jet fighters with boy wonders attached, and a gut -liquidising display therefrom. Recommended.

Mirage 2000

A French fighter whose pilot is inflated in moments of stress by liquid oxygen of a kind only available with the wrong nozzle. The correct nozzle, on the other hand, is only available with the wrong liquid oxygen. You may not follow the above, but the bottom line is that come the big day the Mirage 2000 cannot fly, due to an under- inflated pilot. Until, that is, one of the furry cheeked Swedes throws his Draken about, whereupon the Mirage pilot, filled with national pride in place of Lox, reinstates his display and, grimly humming the Marseillaise, performs manoeuvres you would think impossible even if his G-suit were operational.

Civil Servant

Ubiquitous, sinister, the Civil Servant constitutes the main threat to an infant Air Show. It is best appeased by the administration of industrial quantities of paper, which it uses to keep its donkey covered.


An expensive French apparatus for moving large numbers of crash barriers simultaneously by hovering near them. Contrast this with the Irish equivalent, a dozen sweaty Irishmen cursing horribly as they man-handle them back into position. The Lynx is operated by a dashing gentleman remembered principally for his request, on landing, for directions to the nearest gay bar.

It is probably for this reason that Mike Delaney is so reticent about the warmth of the Lynx pilot's farewell. For a full report, consult Delaney's Lady.


Two kinds of this also.

1. Car parking. Ha ha ha ha.

2. Aircraft parking. A simple problem. Fit in a single rank on 1500' of runway a collection of aircraft spanning 1610' in total, allowing a span and a half for clearance. Solution:- cut to scale pieces of old Christmas cards to represent each aircraft, mark scale runway on kitchen floor and spend several hours crawling around with Flight Ops Director on hands and knees with rulers and notebooks. Terminal stage reached when Flight Ops Director ACTUALLY FLIES THE CHRISTMAS CARDS OFF THE FLOOR as display order read out. Panic when half Luftwaffe eaten by large brown dog. On day, entire parking plan ignored anyway, and no loss.


A meeting at which, basically, the Air Show Director, the Flight Operations Director and the Air Traffic Controller successively implore the participants not to crash. They complied, unlike those at Fairford.

There's lots more I could tell you about, like Delaney replacing his identity badge with an identity crisis and forgetting his own name on the walkie-talkie, or all the burglar alarms in Clondalkin tripping when the Draken roared by, or the woman who's suing for two cows, or the bastard Notar pilot who took all the pretty girls up in his little red sports chopper and didn't take me, but I won't. Goodbye.