From a house in Coventry have emerged a pair of splendid, and contrasting, inter-war light aeroplanes — a reproduction Hawker Cygnet and restored Aeronca C3, both now flying from Old Warden


Scott Butler flying Hawker Cygnet reproduction G-EBJI. There were two original examples of this early Sydney Camm design, which took part in the 1924 Lympne light aeroplane trials; Colin Essex’s new-build example was given a period registration.
Pictured over the lush expanses of Old Warden Park, also in the hands of Scott Butler, Aeronca C3 G-ADRR dates from 1936. It was previously registered in the USA as N17423.

It never ceases to warm the heart: the energy, enthusiasm and excellence of reproduction and restoration projects conducted in a front room or a garden shed workshop. Colin Essex embodies this. At his home in Coventry, his woodworking skills honed through years of furniture, classic car and boat restoration, he has turned his hand to a pair of aeroplanes that now routinely grace the skies over Old Warden, representing different facets of inter-war light aviation. And while the Hawker Cygnet and Aeronca C3 are the most visible products of this industrious chap, his contributions to aviation heritage — often aided by his brother Mark — go much further.

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