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Evening Telegraph, 18th July 1965

Harvey Britten and Reg Russell

Two Adventurers Make Trip in a Tiny Aircraft
Local men fly to Switzerland

Harvey Britten stands in the sunshine by the Auster Autocrat J1 aircraft after landing at Basle, on the outward journey from Sywell. Their landing at Basle when home­ward bound was to be under different circumstances.

FLYING through a corridor of cloud in the Dura mountain range in Switzerland, with a com­pass and map to guide them, two men from Rushden and Higham Ferrers could  see that a storm was going to break around their tiny Auster aircraft.

They touched down at Basle and seconds later, the storm broke. The rain was so heavy they were forced to stay in their plane.

That was just one incident of a memorable trip for Harvey Britten and Reg Russell. They had set out from Sywell Airfield on Saturday morning to fly to Switzerland. They had no navigational aids apart from maps and conventional compass.

Reg had not yet passed an examination for his pilot’s licence, so he was doing the navigation. He has since become a qualified pilot.

Channel crossing

After one and a half hours in the air the couple landed at Lympne in Kent, before crossing the Channel.

From there they went to Berck-sur-la-Mer, on the French coast, and another one and a half hours’ flying took them to Rheims, where they stayed overnight.

The journey to Basle was by far the longest, lasting two and a half hours. Explained Reg: “That is as much as you can stand; there is such a noise it does something to your head.”

From Basle they went to Zurich, where they stayed for two nights. They also stayed two nights at Berne, then flew over Interlaken and around the Alps.

They could not get over the Alps as the cloud base was eight and a half thousand feet, too low for them to fly safely over the Alps without oxygen.

The return journey took them to Belfort, where they were cordially entertained by the French Army after being forced down by bad weather.

The airfield at Belfort was a French Army gliding club. From here they found their way back to England via Berck, and landed at Podington a week after setting out.

The trip had cost £50 each including the cost of fuel, and all the clothes they needed were packed into two small holdalls.

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