Bute flight festival ready for take-off

A Royal Navy Sea King search and rescue helicopter pictured at Ettrick Bay during the 2014 Baird of Bute Festival of Flight.

A Royal Navy Sea King search and rescue helicopter pictured at Ettrick Bay during the 2014 Baird of Bute Festival of Flight.

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Final preparations are being made for this weekend’s Baird of Bute Festival of Flight - the annual celebration of the achievements of Bute blacksmith and pioneering aviator Andrew Blain Baird.

The event - honouring Baird’s accomplishment in designing, building and briefly flying his own monoplane at Ettrick Bay in 1910, the first all-Scottish attempt at a heavier-than-air powered flight - takes place at Kingarth and Ettrick Bay on Saturday, September 12.

Light aircraft from around Scotland will fly in to the island’s airstrip at Kingarth on Saturday morning from around 10am; once the last plane has landed, at approximately 11am, members of the public will be able to inspect the visiting machines at close quarters and to meet their pilots, several of whom have followed in Baird’s footsteps by building their aircraft themselves.

A vintage MacBrayne’s bus will provide free transport to Kingarth for the occasion, leaving Guildford Square in Rothesay at 9.30am (and returning thereafter if there aren’t enough seats to take all those who want to travel).

The bus will then take festival-goers from Kingarth to Ettrick Bay, where a Royal Navy Sea King search and rescue helicopter will land at around 12.30pm - subject of course to rescue duties - giving the public a chance to get up close and personal with the iconic red-and-grey machine, used in thousands of emergency call-outs over the years.

The light aircraft pilots will take off from Kingarth at around 2pm and head straight for Ettrick Bay, concluding the day with a spectacular fly-past over the beach in Baird’s honour, after which the vintage bus, driven by enthusiast and owner Lawrence Macduff, will return its passengers to Rothesay.

We’ll see you there - and if you can’t make it in person, keep an eye on this site and on our September 18 issue for full coverage!