Sunday, 20 September 2009

First Helicopter Flight!! - Bell 206 l1 Longranger

This was my first rotary flight! Last christmas Hazel bought me a 'helicopter flight' to accompany her brother in law who had never flown in a light aircraft before. At long last after several cancellations earlier on in the year...mostly due to sea mist/fog we finally got to go on saturday.

The flight was with Lothian Helicopters who fly occasional trips from the helicopter centre on the North Side of Manston Airport where Sky charters are based.

The 'whirlebird' was a Bell 206L1 longranger which could take 1 pilot and 6 passengers.

We took offf and flew at no more than 800ft as there was a lot of 'Haze' obscuring viz as can be seen in the above photo of the massive new glasshouses at Thanet Earth this is the largest and most hi tec greenhouse complex in the uk

Above view shows the Collective lever and Cyclic stick controls the pilot uses with the Pedals to control the helicopter

Reculver Towers can just be seen as the helicopter banks at the coast near herne Bay to return to Manston. The coastline at Reculver is of course famous in aviation for being the site of the practice runs testing the new bouncing bomb in WW2 for the Dambuster raids.

Back on the ground!We banked sharply in the Helicopter and flew much faster than the vintage fixed wings I am used to but felt quite isolated from the elements in the cabin and neither of us felt queasy at all!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Chipmunck T10 WK630

This is a Chipmunck T10 in RAF colours which I hope to get a flight in before the summer is completely over. It's based in Norfolk near Norwich and when I get organised to visit my friends Chris & Nessie I will hopefully get a light...Hurrah! Nice pic Chris.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Margate Air Show

Wing Walking on Boeing Stearmans the team that used to be called uttery butterly...still can't get the new sposors name in my mind! The B of B Memorial Flight Avro Lancaster superb O' for a digital camera with telephoto lens! the De Havilland Vampire Trainer T11? 'Dead Sparrows' Hurrah the worlds greatest aerobatic team More wing walking

Monday, 25 May 2009

Manston Museum Open Day

Sunday 24th May and the Hurricane and Spitfire Museum at Manston was having an open day to raise funds for the museum. It coincided with a bit more activity than usual at this large airfield as it was the base for the Red Arrows and RAF Typhoons for the Southend Airshow weekend.
In addition to seeing the 'heavy metal' flying about ( I am more interested in the vintage pre 70's stuff)I attended to get Wing Commander Peter Ayerst's signature as he was attending the Aviation Bookshops signing event on the day. I have his book 'Spirit of the Blue' a fighter pilots story and it tells his story of a life long career in aviation.

Starting with the RAF in 1938 and fighting as part of the Advanced Air Striking Force in France in 1940 being the first RAF pilot to engage a Bf 109 in combat, instructing during the Battle of Britain and shooting down an He 111 bomber, then North Africa in 1942, instructing in South Africa 1943, escort duties on D Day 1944 and flew spitfires in support of the mass daylight bomber raids deep into Germany in 1945. By the wars end Peter had flown every operational mark of Spitfire and Hurricane in the RAF's inventory!! Alex Henshaw chose him to be a test pilot for Vickers at Castle Bromwich where he flew production Mk XIs, XVIs and 22s. He left the RAF but returned to finally retire in 1973. Now in his late 80's it was a great privilage to meet Wing Commander Ayerst.

Red Arrows in 'Arrowhead' formation

The 'dead sparrows' above a 747

The team put on a short display for the masses attending the free event at Manston which was very well received, sadly the Typhoon only did one pass but its take off and immediate 'climb out' was absolutely breathtaking.

Eurofighter Typhoons parked up at the end of sunday afternoon notice how the 'canard' wing is tilted when parked

On returning From Southend Airshow the Typhoon made one fast pass including this roll before landing

Air Sea Rescue Sea King

G -MKBA Cargo 747, MK Airlines originally established in 1990 in Ghana serving African routes operating a fleet of Boeing 747 freighter aircraft and is now the largest dedicated cargo airline based in the UK and the 21st largest cargo airline in the world as measured by amount of freight carried.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

First Sortie of 2009 Piper Super Cub to Winchelsea Via Wind Farm


Tally ho and all that stuff. Last week in the lovely sunny weather in a light breeze had a 50 minute 'local' to Rye & Winchelsea flying over Romney Marsh and with the zoom lens got a few pictures of the newly operational windfarm.

Take off from Headcorn on runway 11/29 eeping a clear lookout initially for mad people jumping out of planes (a lot of that goes on at Headcorn!!) and also with good weather everyone thinks he can fly (pilots words!)

Headed for Rye, flying west of Woodchurch (village identifiable by distinct white windmill, also keep an eye out for the farm strip there where P51 'Big Beautiful Doll' sometimes flies into & where 'Woodchurch Wings & Things' airshow used to take place until insurance costs finished it off!! The new windfarm is quite impressive from the air but obviously could not go too close.

Camber Sands

Cliffs near Winchelsea


A nice 'beach' residence

Rye and the River Rother

View from the Cub 'over the nose'

The Tiger Club Cub our 'trusty Hack'

Front Cockpit of the Cub

A CAP 10 Aerobatic thoroughbred

AC DC the oldest flying Tiger Moth with Engine cowling open revealing the Gypsy Major Engine

Saturday, 4 April 2009

The Aviation 'Bug'

At last got this blog going the purpose of which is to recount my aviation 'adventures' past and present and all things aeronautical that catch my imagination!

My family has always been interested in flying, my mother was in the Junior Womens Air Corps for a few years, 1949 onwards and flew with the great Dame Bonarto Walker as her instructor at one stage in a Fairchild Argus out of Elstree aerodrome. Dad has always been keen on flying, not able to do national service he cut the grass on airfields for a few years travelling around some of the most famous Battle of Britain airfields and remembers the old dispersal areas with mission boards in place etc, also when a teenager in about 1944 he crept on board a Lancaster displayed on Webridge Green to support the war effort, he also Taxied in a Gloster Javalin in the 1950's (I must record his memories soon).

I grew up with dad making Airfix, Frog & Revell aircraft models a feature of wet days when holidaying in Somerset! I read every book I could get hold of on flying and WW1 & WW2 flying stories in the 1970's and there were loads of new books of this type in Walton Library on a regular basis. Both me and my friend John Schofield at primary school wanted to join the RAF when old enough....but we both had bad eyesight so it was never to be. John became a very succesful Television and radio news reporter covering the first Gulf war, but was tragically killed in Bosnia working for the BBC.

I travelled around museums, airshows with friends and bought more aircraft kits than I could build for a number of years! then went to University and on completing my degree followed by a years Countryside Management Volunteering Joined the Kent Rural Community Council in Folkestone. A year later in 1996 a new conservation officer joined BTCV who were then based in the basement office. Chris was another aviation 'nutter' and had just completed his pilots licence at Lydd. We got on well and soon I went flying as his first passenger since qualifying (after Nessy his girlfriend & now Wife)this was a local 'sortie' from Lydd on a clear day on December 14th 1996 in PA28 G-BSCY duration 40 Minutes.

Since then I have had the regular good fortune to go flying on average 5-6 times a year and in addition to your usual Cessna's have flown in 4 Different Tiger Moths including ACDC the oldest flying 'Tiger' in the world (built 1933), Piper Super Cub, and Auster AOP6. In addition to flying with Chris I have flown with the Coastguard on one sortie and in a Dragon Rapide. (I don't count airliners as flying!)