Page 24

CULTURE SHOCK

taking to the skies ANGUILLA'S AVIATION HISTORY HARKS BACK TO THE MID1960S, TO DAYS OF INTREPID ADVENTURERS AND MAKESHIFT AIRFIELDS. HERE'S A BRIEF LOOK INTO ITS ORIGINS AND THE WAY IT'S EVOLVED SINCE. by Montague Kobbe

A A

TOP Modern Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport as it exists today. INSET Wallblake Airport circa 1962.

nguilla's airport is—obviously—its gateway to the world, Uncle Jerry to create Anguilla Airways, the island's first commercial but it is also a book of sorts that tells a story even before airline, which they meant to develop into a major enterprise comyou arrive at the Clayton J Lloyd International Airport, prising commercial, cargo, maintenance and instructional activities. with a history-laden location and a name that pays tribute to That was in 1965, two years before the revolution. Anguilla’s aviation pioneer. Its narrative guides you—physically— Clayton played his part in that, too, flying the first batch of disthrough certain leads that point towards the highlights (as well as armed policemen back to St Kitts on May 30th, 1967. By then, the incongruence) of this tale: a plaque on the eastern side of the however, his Piper Aztec carried the name of Valley Air Services airport commemorates the date—1988—when Wallblake Airport (VAS). He had spun off from Anguilla Airways to partner with his (before it was dedicated to Mr Lloyd) was upgraded. Another plaque childhood friend, Michael Hughes—Anguilla’s second pilot—and an on the western end serves the same purpose, this time celebrating the American named John McClees, to found the new airline. During extension of the runway in 2005. the years of conflict with St Kitts, when LIAT and WinAir stopped And then there is the row of check-in counters at the west end, flying to Anguilla, the value of the service provided by these airlines, which provides a detailed account of the history of aviation in as well as by St Thomas Air Taxi, another private enterprise funded Anguilla. It starts with LIAT—and rightly so, since in the begin- by Paul and Vera Randall, was incalculable. ning, long before the breakup with While Anguilla Airways' ambitious St. Kitts, LIAT alone serviced the island plans stalled, VAS added a second Piper THE HISTORY OF AVIATION IN with its distinctive four-engined de in '67 and two Beech Twin Bonanzas ANGUILLA IS A STORY OF A Haviland Heron and later its smaller in '69, poaching Maurice Connor from PEOPLE’S EFFORTS TO SUCCEED Anguilla Airways and hiring another Britten Norman Islander. Next come a series of local airlines that populate Anguillian pilot, Derek Thompson. At IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY. the check-in counters all the way to the same time, Kenneth Fleming purthe end of the building—Lloyd's Aviation, Carl Thomas's Anguilla chased his own plane and started Fleming Air Transport. The fever Air Services, Lincoln Gumbs's Trans Anguilla Airways, and the late had taken hold. Over the next ten years, all three original Anguillian Kirby Hodge's Rainbow International Airlines. airlines would fold, but others followed on their heels. All these names and people conspire to fling us back in time. No The history of aviation in Anguilla is, of course, also a story of Anguillian soared the skies before Clayton Jeremy Lloyd, a man infinite sadness—from the fateful day when VAS's Beech Twin who as a child was mesmerised with the sound of the DC-3 that reg- Bonanza, piloted by Clayton Lloyd, caught fire in Juliana Airport ularly flew in from Puerto Rico to load up with Anguillian lobster. on Christmas Eve 1977 to the dark early morning in 2012, when Encouraged by his uncle Jeremiah Gumbs, Clayton trained as a pilot Captain Kirby Hodge's Piper Aztec crashed into the sea during his continued on page 26 in New Jersey. He obtained a commercial license and partnered with

24

www.designanguilla.com

Profile for DO Media Ltd.

Design Anguilla Issue 11 - The Men's Issue  

Issue 10 might have been our best received to date, so we simply had to follow up with the male counterpart. The needs of young men have bee...

Design Anguilla Issue 11 - The Men's Issue  

Issue 10 might have been our best received to date, so we simply had to follow up with the male counterpart. The needs of young men have bee...

Advertisement