COOMBE: Private airstrip
Note: The field we think most likely is marked Tregear's Wood on the first map. All three of these items have been kindly supplied by Mike Holder, a great friend of this 'Guide'.
NOTES: When Mike Holder was investigating where in/near Fowey in 1912, Henri Salmet was using, he contacted the local museum. A kind lady there mentioned that there had been an airstrip near Coombe Farm, used for a fairly long period. Its main claim to fame was when it was used by a film production in or around 1968 to fly in personnel engaged in the making of 'Dracula', released in 1979 and starring Lawrence Olivier.
Mike and I have had a good look at the area, and, rightly or wrongly, have decided the most likely field is the one just to the west of Coombe Farm. This field allows for a grass strip, roughly 02/20 of about 425 metres. If anyody can kindly offer advice and information, this will be much appreciated.
What interested me was what type of aircraft had the film company hired, with a decent payload, capable of using such a strip? Although by the mid 1960s use of the type commercially was in decline, the de Havilland DH89A Dragon Rapide would have been ideal. With a landing run of 155 metres and a take-off run of 265 metres, (in still air at sea level), seating up to eight passengers, this strip would have presented no problems to a pilot well used to the type. But, would a film company favour using a fabric covered biplane of 1930s design?
Perhaps more likely, and then 'state-of-the-art', would have been the Britten-Norman Islander, which first flew in June 1965. Capable of taking ten passengers, it had a landing run from 50ft of 300 metres, and a take-off run to 50ft of 370 metres, (in still air at sea level).
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