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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 June 2007, 19:04 GMT 20:04 UK
Festival star flies into trouble
Helen Wylie
By Helen Wylie
Rookie reporter, BBC News and Sport On Tour, Whitehaven

A World War II aircraft, headed for a major Cumbrian festival, landed with just one propeller after smoke began pouring from its second engine following an oil leak.

Catalina flying boat
Smoke poured from the Catalina's engine

The 1943 Catalina flying boat, one of the star attractions at the Whitehaven International Maritime Festival on Saturday, was grounded at Carlisle Airport.

Engineers faced a race against time to fit a crucial component from Duxford Air Museum in Cambridgeshire, about 280 miles away, in time for the plane's fly-past.

About 350,000 people are expected to attend the three day festival, which is thought to generate some 5m for local businesses.

'Mid-air drama'

The plane's pilot, Rod Brooking, told the BBC the mid-air drama occurred about 30 miles from Carlisle Airport, as the plane neared the end of a two-hour flight from Duxford.

The Hollerin family
The Hollerin family said this year was not too busy

Crew on board the flying boat noticed smoke coming from the right-hand engine and immediately realised there was a problem, Mr Brooking said.

"It turns out that it was an oil seal leakage," the pilot said. "It wasn't a life or death problem but we had to shut down the engine to stop our oil running out.

"Then we had to get a spare part from Duxford before we could carry on with the show."

The Catalina was ordered for the Royal Canadian Air Force in October 1943 and saw active service in World War II on the British Columbia coast.

These types of aircraft were mainly used on patrols looking for enemy submarines.

Signature attractions

Festival organisers hailed the Catalina as one of the stars of the show, despite the troubled flight which delayed its fly-past by several hours.

Pirates at the show
Pirates took the opportunity for some liquid refreshment

The event, held every two years, has become a valuable boost to the town and surrounding areas, with signature attractions including tall ships, aerial displays and a plethora of sideshows and exhibitions.

Festival director Andrew Lennie said he expected 350,000 visitors over the weekend despite persistent rain on the opening day.

Apart from some minor flooding and problems with marquees flapping in the wind, things were running smoothly, Mr Lennie said.

Whitehaven residents David and Alison Hollerin, and their son Conor, were enjoying the festivities at the town's harbour, but said it felt less crowded than the last event in 2005.

"It was far busier last time - it was scorching, but you couldn't move, it was chocka," David told the BBC.

But his wife added: "You don't want it to be too busy, because then you can't move around."

'Robust action'

About 100 extra police officers - some wearing head-mounted video cameras - have been drafted in to ensure the festival runs smoothly.

Sgt Garry Armstrong said that as of Saturday afternoon, there had been no arrests linked to the event.

"This is a significant family event in the county which is enjoyed by tens of thousands of people and we want that to continue," he said.

"Robust, positive action will be taken against the small minority who display anti-social behaviour."

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