Kent Airport is set to ‘reopen’ for a weekend with 100 planes – for a very sweet reason

Manston Airport, which has been closed for a decade, will host a rare ‘fly-in’ – for a very nice reason.

A Kent pilot has helped organize a charity fly-in inspired by his beloved wife who has terminal brain cancer. Aviation enthusiast Chris Knight owns a 1958 French Emeraude aircraft and jointly organized the event at Manston Airport in Ramsgate.

The fly-in runs from Friday, May 24 to Sunday, May 26 and is being held to raise money for various charities, including Brain Tumor Research. The grandfather-of-four from Gillingham said: “It is currently closed as an airport and the owners, RiverOak Strategic Partners, have been very accommodating and let us organize a few things there so we thought we would do this for a good cause.

“We are very grateful to them for making the airfield available and to the Light Aircraft Association Kent Strut for making this possible. Flying has always been a passion of mine, but it is a bit weather dependent. There’s always the opportunity to take a breather, but we’ve managed to extend this into a long weekend, so hopefully we’ll get some nice weather.

“People pay a suggested landing fee of £15, which goes to charity, and we have managed to arrange some free buses into the city. Plus, it’s suggested that with a runway nearly 2 miles long, there might be a few bigger visitors and personnel on vintage wartime transport might fly past, so there’s still quite a bit up in the air.

“But there should be a good variety of aircraft, maybe about 100, and a few from the continent, France and the Netherlands, so a bit of international stuff too. I’m really looking forward to getting together with people who have the same interests.”

The 66-year-old’s support for Brain Tumor Research comes after his wife Carol was diagnosed with glioblastoma (GBM) – a highly aggressive form of brain cancer with a devastatingly poor prognosis of 12 to 18 months – following an attack in January. 2022. Carol, aged 59, is now receiving palliative care after undergoing two debulking operations, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Chris, a retired IT project manager, said: “Every six to eight weeks she has another attack and usually needs to be hospitalized for a few days before getting better. She also now struggles with her speech and comprehension. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, it could be days, weeks or months.”