All posts by Steve Bridgewater

New Zealand-based Flying Scholarships to be extended?

New Zealand-based Warbirds Over Wanaka Community Trust is considering extending its Flying Scholarships scheme from one to two scholarships. 32 pilots have applied for the inaugural scholarships which are valued at $5,000 each.

Warbirds Over Wanaka General Manager, Ed Taylor said: “The Trust had intended to award one scholarship this year but given the high calibre of applications we are now looking at the possibility of making two grants in this our inaugural scholarship year.”

The ultimate aim of the scholarships is to have a new crop of warbird pilots coming through the system to ensure there are pilots to fly historic aircraft for years to come.

“Just being able to fly some of these aircraft takes a high level of skill, to display them at an airshow like Warbirds Over Wanaka is an even bigger challenge,” says Ed.

A scholarship panel has started the process of evaluating all 32 applications and it’s hoped they will have drawn up a short list by the end of October and will be in a position to announce the winners in November.


Sculptor Has Designs on BA First Class

British Airways’ First Class customer flying from London Heathrow can now see a unique piece of bespoke artwork thanks to the airline’s exclusive in-flight magazine for premium travellers.

Terminal Five’s Concorde Room has turned art gallery to feature the latest iconic artwork by British sculptor Alex Chinneck.

He created a life-size ‘sandcastle’ made from concrete and then industrially chromed in Silver, which First Class customers will be able to look at and enjoy at their leisure for the next four months in the luxurious lounge.

‘Sandcastle’ was specially created and commissioned to appear on the cover of the Design Edition of First magazine, which showcases top British artists.

Artist Alex Chinneck, said: “My work is about elevating everyday structures and presenting them in more extraordinary ways.

“To make the sculpture, I used children’s beach buckets to experiment with different designs. The castle was cast in concrete to create a strong surface to withstand the industrial processes, and once we had a rigid structure, it was liquid chromed to add a surprising layer of luxury to a playful object.”

Chinneck’s previous works include a melting house front and an inverted electricity pylon.

Customers flying in First Class with British Airways enjoy access to a network of exclusive luxurious lounges around the world – including the prestigious Concorde Room in London’s Terminal 5 and New York’s Terminal 7 – to relax, dine and drink fine wines and champagnes before their flight.

Boeing Custom Hangar offers unique aviation themed furniture

The Boeing Store Custom Hangar has launched its new collection of handcrafted furniture and accessories made out of actual aviation artefacts from Boeing and its heritage companies.

Offerings include a bench made from a 727-200 jetliner wing slat; a B-17 Flying Fortress propeller blade; and a sleek bar made from the engine of a DC-9/MD-80 airliner.

Buyers and craftspeople for the Custom Hangar climb through aviation boneyards and storage facilities in search of rare artefacts that they refurbish and finish by hand. Each piece is placed in a museum-quality mounting fabricated using authentic materials such as aviation-grade aluminium, steel, and titanium.

Most of the artefacts logged numerous hours of service, gaining a patina that the Custom Hangar craftspeople work to retain. The metal surface of an engine blade from an F-4 Phantom II fighter jet ($90), for example, is naturally discoloured by the high temperatures reached in generating sufficient thrust to propel the jet at speeds up to Mach 2.2. An aluminium window frame ($695) from a 747-100 features lines of rivets that withstood the strain of more than 100,000 hours in the air.

Despite the scarcity of the artefacts, this isn’t an out-of-reach fantasy collection. Pieces range in price from $50 for a specially gift-boxed pen made out of a 747 circuit-breaker tab, to $5,900 for an industrial-chic bench built around a leading-edge slat removed from the wing of a 727-200 jetliner, to $9,500 for a gleaming aluminium and stainless-steel wine bar made from the engine case of a retired DC-9/MD-80 airliner!

The Custom Hangar is often spotlighted on the Boeing Store blog, The Runway (, where Custom Hanger staffers share secrets of the artifacts and their refurbishment.

To get your own piece of aviation history, visit and click Custom Hangar

New Flybe service from Munich to Southampton

The UK airline Flybe is now departing daily from Munich to Southampton and Southampton–Munich.
Southampton has been identified as an important destination, as it has some 250,000 inhabitants and is just a two-hour drive from London. It is best known for its port, which is the starting point for cruise ships sailing to destinations all over the world. To celebrate the inaugural flight to Southampton, the Flybe crew were presented with traditional gingerbread hearts by Munich Airport’s airline liaison manager Martin Laubenthal (right)