They were known as 'The Trainer of the Empire. Kevin takes 12 months on average to restore a Tiger. Every restored section of the plane has to be inspected and all replacement parts need a 'Certificate of Conformity'. Kevin is forever filling out extensive paper work to satisfy one authority or another.
All this is necessary to obtain a full 'Certificate of Airworthiness. The fabric covering the wings is hand-stitched and made of a synthetic fabric called Polyfibre Stits or Ceconite and a hot iron is used to make sure the material is as taut as possible.
Kevin shops for old instruments on ebay and he attends aero jumble sales in the hope of finding rare spare parts. Preparing for take-off: Kevin and Mark consult an aviation map on the airfield. The Moths look and fly exactly as they did in the Thirties. They are painted yellow underneath, which was a way of letting people on the ground identify them as training aircraft, and their camouflage is just as it was during the war years. Instead, someone gives the propeller a few whirls and it roars into life like a giant lawnmower.
With a steel fuselage and wings made from spruce wood, Tiger Moths are remarkably light — a mere stone kg. You can lift them up from the tail and move them round single-handed. Kevin and I wheel ours out on to the grass and consult an aviation map. Annabelle and a Daily Mail photographer manoeuvre a second one into place because we are to do some formation flying once we reach 1, ft. Take off speed is only 65 mph, which means we only travel about yards before lifting into the air like a feather.
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There might be a steel fuselage but it feels like balsa wood. Plane passion: Building model airplanes as a child gave Kevin his fascination for Tiger Moths. The slightest gust causes movement.
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Annabelle, 44, whom Kevin taught to fly, had told me earlier that Tiger Moths are 'elegant old ladies who do their own thing and have a great sense of humour. Kevin has also stressed that if the engine should fail 'you can still land a Tiger anywhere'; others have said that these old war horses meet the fundamental requirement of training aircraft by being 'easy to fly but difficult to fly well.
Kevin and Annabelle seem to be flying these exceptionally well in blowy conditions. When we go up, the other plane goes down and visa-versa. Then we bank together. Down below, the lush Somerset countryside shimmers. Exhilaration whistles through the cockpit. Not sure what Kevin would make of that.
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Then, suddenly, I hear his voice through my headphones. With which the plane starts to move to the left, guided by the rudder at the tail, which operates exactly like the rudder on a boat. We do the same thing to the right but not for long because the wind gets up some more and I lose my nerve. Then Kevin tells me to pull the stick back towards me —and we rise gently upwards.
He wants me to push it forward so that the nose will dip, taking us down. Even so, I might just qualify for membership of the de Havilland Moth Club founded , of which there are some 1, members world-wide.
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We do another huge circle. Amy climbs the tree, which groans in the wind and succumbs.
The tiger burns. As a piece of fiction, B-movie or propaganda reel vies to hold our attention, it incidentally also records the context in which it was produced and the forces involved in its shooting.
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In the phase of its projection, could a film be inhabited by something other than those phantoms we passively sit down to watch, or at most, are invited to imitate? Ten years later, in , Jean-Luc Godard would again put his cast into roles of a Brechtian slant the lighting technician in his last film, Passion. Truffaut thus punctuates his film with acts of transgression generated by the shifts between his real-world role and the role of the fictional director, between the action on-screen and off.
The film is shot at the Victorine in Nice, in a period when the staff is undergoing waves of firings in view of the studios being converted for television and advertising. Its title comes from the name of a technique that makes it possible to film a nighttime scene in broad daylight.
By naming his work of fiction after an illusory effect, Truffaut turns the principle of it around to highlight the obscurantism that surrounded working conditions in the emerging media industry.
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