Over the sea to Norfolk
by Woody de Saar
John Potter Memorial Flight from Ireland to the Wallis Days; across the Irish Sea in a gyroplane.The Flying Land Rover
The historic flight is dedicated to John Potter, one of gyroplane’s pioneers next to Don Farrington, Igor Bensen, Slim Soule, Johnny Miller (who is still alive at over 100 years old). It all began with the idea of making asignificant flight representative of the Twinstarr’s capabilities. Thus we studied which flights would be feasible, given the intricacies of the British/Irish weather and its coastal effects in particular, the payload of the Twinstarr, legal requirements, equipment for over water flying and asuitable occasion.
Furthermore we also wished to make a memorial to John Potter. John Potter was a pioneer in the gyroplane world. He worked with Slim Soule (the first man to execute a ‘Jump take-off’ in a Pitcairn autogyro) when working in the early days for the Umbaugh Company developing the U-18 gyroplane. When the company’s assets were sold by public auction by court order (later won back in US High Court Appeal), Don Farrington bought whatever he could find in terms of equipment, jigs, fixtures, finished parts, castings, special tools etc and set up a gyroplane school/company developing and marketing the fully certified 18-Agyroplane as it was renamed.
While Don was still flying for PanAm, the daily running of the business was left to John Potter and (later) secretary Glenda Whitis. For years, Farrington’s Airpark was the one and only gyroplane training centre in the world offering gyroplane training seven days a week, 364 days a year. John Potter was always there, flying from dusk to dawn and beyond. He trained the majority of the first ‘key’instructors that were active in gyroplane...