Six passengers from Jersey and four from Guernsey – the oldest 93 and the youngest just 11 months old – flew to Alderney this morning with Channel Island airline Rockhopper for a lunch to mark 100 years of heavier-than-air flight.The ten won their place on the flight after entering a competition in the Jersey Evening Post and the Guernsey Press.Today is the anniversary of Orville Wright’s 12-second aerial adventure on 17 December 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, which heralded the arrival of powered flight.Celebrations are taking place around the world today, with the Duke of Edinburgh opening a new exhibition at the RAF’s museum at Hendon and US president George W Bush visiting the sandy island where the Wright brothers’ ‘Flyer’ first took off.
The oldest passenger on today’s flight, Beryl Le Gros, was born just seven years after that first 120-metre trip.’It is amazing when you think how far aviation has come in one lifetime,’ she said.
‘I remember being fascinated by the planes taking off from the beach at West Park, yet we get on them as if they’re buses today.’Mrs Le Gros first flew in 1939, when she travelled to Croydon with her late husband, Cyril, and son, John, who entered her in the centenary competition.
Today she travelled with her granddaughter, Jane, who is a charge hand at the General Hospital.’I have always loved flying and I’m excited about going,’ said Mrs Le Gros before the trip.
‘I’ve never been to Alderney and at my age I think it’s about time I did!’The other Jersey competition winners on board were Adam Spurr, Sean Rabasté and Justine Blackstone and her son, Thomas.l News Focus: page 8.