Thursday, April 9, 2009

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group U.K. Chapter Meets with The RAF 216th L-1011 Squadron at Brize Norton

RAF 216th Squadron L-1011 ship nuber ZD951 on the ramp at RAF Brize Norton with Nick Bavington with Flight Leader Gaz Stevens standing below
Eastern Airlines Flight Tribute, U.K. Group Chapter Representative, Mr. Nick Bavington stands in front of RAF 216th Squadron hangar located on the grounds of RAF Base Brize Norton

The men and women of the RAF 216th Squadron were most generous in providing the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group with a full access tour of their facility and aircraft. Seen above left to right is Nick Bavington and 216th memeber Flight Leader Gaz Stevens

Nick Bavington sits left seat within the cockpit of 216th L-1011 (ZD951) proudly representing the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group

RAF Base Brize Norton, U.K. 9th April 2009: Today, the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group was truly an international operation thus achieving a milestone, as the group undertook two scheduled supporting meetings in two different parts of the World! The main group met in Miami with the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department, whistle across the "Pond" the Atlantic Ocean at a Royal Air Force base known as Brize Norton, the group United Kingdom Official Representative, Mr. Nick Bavington was hosted by the RAF 216th Squadron one of the last operator's of the venerable Lockheed L-1011 TriStar.
On behave of the Eastern Flight 401 Group, Nick Bavington shown above, liaised with elements of the RAF 216th and was able to have secured and audience with the Officers, Men and Women of the Squadron.
Originally planned and orchestrated by Honorary Tribute Committee member Benny F. Benitez, Nick's visit was established as a "Diplomatic Mission" on behave of the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group. In the end Nick's endless supply of energy, wiliness and shear enthusiasm made it all come together.
As one of the last operators of the Lockheed L-1011, the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group wish to recognize the 216th, as the common bond between the two organizations is the aircraft. In a telephone debrief session with the group, Nick advised that RAF 216th L-1011 ship number ZD951 (shown above) has within its recorded historical maintenance life (i.e. Technical Records) being the recipient of various parts salvaged and harvested from Eastern Flight 401, N310EA!
Thirty-Seven (37) years later after the crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401, the crews of the 216th operate and fully embrace Cockpit Resource Management (CRM) which came forth as result from the post crash investigation and conclusion of Eastern Flight 401. The Eastern Flight 401 Tribute Group sends a special thank you to RAF Wing Commander / Officer in Charge Steve J. Chadwick and all of his Squadron Mates within the 216th for their time and effort to have hosted the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group, as well as a special thanks to Flight Leader Gaz Stevens for the escorted tour.

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