A weekend visit to our Czech mates: day 2

The reason for our visit to the Czech Republic this time was to attend the second day of an air display at Pardubice where Vee would be awarded a medal to commemorate the wartime exploits of her Czech father Karel Kuttelwascher.  Now Pardubice is 58 miles (94 kms) east of Prague and the organisers had promised to transport us to and from the display.

We had assumed that this would be by car, so imagine our surprise when we were told that it would be by light aircraft. It was a four-seater plane – a Cessna 182 – so there were three passenger seats and our Czech friend Tamara came along with us. Take off was at 8 am from an airfield called Letnany.

Tamara and Vee with our Cessna 182

The actual flying performance commenced at 12 noon, so there was plenty of time to check out the static display. For the first time in Central & Eastern Europe, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight was present with a Hurricane, a Spitfire and a DC-3. Vee befriended the Officer Commanding and she was soon seated in the cockpit of the Hurricane like her famous father 60 years earlier.

Karel Kuttelwascher in his Hurricane 1942

KK’s daughter in ‘her’ Hurricane 2011

At 1 pm, there was a ceremony at which Vee was presented with a medal to mark the 95th anniversary of her father’s birth and to commemorate his 18 victories with the wartime Royal Air Force. Bravely she gave a short speech of thanks over the loudspeaker system in Czech.

Vee speaking in tongue-twisting Czech

The medal presented at Pardubice

Indeed, throughout the day, Vee was a real attraction – she was asked for autographs and photographs all the time and she kept meeting people who knew her or wanted to meet her including leading members of the Czech Spitfire Club and the mayor of her father’s home town. Even one of her two dozen Czech relatives turned up (ahoj, Mirku!).

We were literally treated as VIPs with coloured wrist tags and had constant access to the food and drink in the VIP tent. Although we spent some time in the tent, the heat and wind outside meant that the three of us finished up with red – but very happy – faces.

If you’re an aviation enthusiast and want to see photos of all the aircraft that made up the display, check out this collection.



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