An aviation wing-walking experience start-up has landed at an innovation centre for 50 companies in Hampshire.
Following an introduction by Councillor Seán Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, Ethel Dares (Aviation) signed up to a workshop at Fareham Innovation Centre which will double as a lounge for customers and guests, with live-streaming display screens.
Named in honour of US citizen Ethel ‘Ethel Dare’ Gilmore Johnson, the Queen of the Sky from 100 years ago who amazed spectators with her daredevil wing-walking stunts, the new venture has also signed a maintenance contract with engineering specialists Echo 4 at the adjacent Solent Airport for its vintage Boeing-Stearman biplane.
Andrew Black, Chief Executive of the Ethel Dares Group, steers the company, with Martyn Carrington as Chief Pilot – he is best known to many video streamers as the aerobatics display legend from Breitling Wingwalkers and Utterly Butterly Barnstormers.
Other members of the business group are Stephen Jenkinson, Chief Financial Officer, CFO of one of the largest Burger King franchises, and David Brothers, Chief Engineer.
Operating out of Fareham Innovation Centre and Solent Airport, Ethel Dares will be tilting its commercial wings at thrill-seeking individuals along with corporate team-building events and hospitality, professional air displays for private and public viewings and partnering with charities to aid fundraising events.
Andrew said: “As a new aviation experience company, albeit drawing upon decades of combined experience in this specialised field, we are not only excited for the future but for being part of the vibrant ecosystem of technology-led companies here at Fareham Innovation Centre.
“I cannot speak highly enough of how the centre, led by Stephen Brownlie, has helped us settle in here, freeing us to focus on the business rather than getting distracted with the myriad of time-consuming decisions that have to be made when moving into a new workspace.
“Our workshop is being branded as Ethel’s Customer Lounge – it is here where customers will have safety briefings and don flight suits and googles before heading across to the flight line less than 100 metres away, where Ethel One will be waiting to take them on a strapped-in, adrenaline-fuelled wing walking experience.”
There are plans for an ‘Ethel Vision’ mega screen in the lounge, to view live streaming feeds from video cameras placed on the aircraft and passengers.
Cllr Woodward said: “I am delighted that Ethel Dares has made its move to Daedalus. It is the perfection location for them, and I very much look forward to watching their business really take off in the coming years!“
Stephen Brownlie, Centre Director, said: “The joyful arrival of Ethel Dares underlines the centre’s growing reputation as the regional ‘landing strip’ for aviation, aerospace, engineering and marine start-ups and early-stage businesses. With flexible workspace and in-house business support, occupiers are also doing business with one another, helping to generate internal investment and jobs.”
Fareham Innovation Centre has more than 50 companies on site, with 90% occupancy, and is operated by Oxford Innovation Space on behalf of Fareham Borough Council, the building’s owner.
There are 55 serviced offices, 20 light manufacturing and engineering workshops and a range of conference facilities and meeting rooms.