EAGLE-EYED ELLIE SOLVES 'MYSTERY'
The search for Ellie is over! Having spotted our plea on the Air Tattoo website, nine-year-old Ellie Carter from Devon alerted her mother who kindly got in touch with us.
The 'hunt' was sparked after Ellie sent us a heart-warming letter asking if we could feature her favourite aircraft – a US Air Force U-2 spyplane - at this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo.
However, in her enthusiasm, Ellie did not include her full postal address making it impossible for us to respond to her wonderful letter.
Fortunately, Ellie regularly views the Air Tattoo website and spotted our plea.
According to her mother Lorna, Ellie's love of U-2s began shortly after her first visit to the Air Tattoo in 2010 when she asked for an aeroplane book.
Lorna said: "Ellie is fascinated by aviation, engineering, science and the stars and as soon as she read about the U-2 it all seemed to come together.
"She tells me all about how the U-2 is the hardest aeroplane to fly, the roles it performs and how cool it would be to fly that close to space. At Christmas, the gift Ellie most wanted was a U-2 model aircraft. We eventually found one which Ellie duly painted. It now hangs proudly above her bed among the stars and planets on her ceiling.
"The Air Tattoo was responsible for Ellie growing up a lot overnight. She loved the day so much, as did all of us that we decided to go again last year.
"As there is always so much to see, we decided to buy weekend tickets but when we could only get a B&B for five days we thought we'd make a holiday of it and enjoy a few days in the Cotswolds.
"We arrived on the Wednesday and went for a walk around Kempsford but the combination of Ellie's enthusiasm and the excitement of all the aircraft arriving meant we spent three days watching all the aircraft land - and seeing nothing of the Cotswolds!
"The show days themselves were great and Ellie's holiday money, which she had saved, was spent on a flying suit. The Air Tattoo made her so happy that when we left she cried for probably 10 miles on the way home before falling asleep. Ever since, she has been counting down the days to this summer's Air Tattoo and we've booked again for the week – which we now call 'Ellie's week'."
Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said he was very pleased that Ellie had spotted the story on the airshow website.
He said: "We've now responded to Ellie and, spurred on by her, we are re-doubling our efforts to secure a U-2 for the airshow in July. We've even sent a copy of her letter to Beale Air Force Base in California, where the aircraft are based, to let them know how important it is to one little girl in particular, that a U-2 takes part in the Air Tattoo.
"Realistically, US Air Force U-2s are very rarely seen at airshows in the UK so to see one in July would be pretty amazing – but if one did come, there would be one young girl whom we'd all have to thank!"
February 8, 2012