Saturday, April 22, 2017

Biggles Flies Again



Biggles? More like Giggles! as I took control of a real aeroplane courtesy of last year’s birthday pressy from  Ian and Mags – a 45 minute flight over the skies of Northamptonshire!

Ian & Ann, Ralph and Karen and my Ann were there to witness my performance as just after 11am, I ‘took the stick’ after some calm but expert tuition from my Instructor, Phil.

First impressions? Wow and more wow! I was warned that the take-off would be quite quick and the rate of ascent very steep – and Phil wasn’t wrong, as we were in the air, looking at the beautiful countryside of Northamptonshire within seconds rather than minutes.

Maybe more surprisingly, once we’d levelled-out, it actually felt very calm and tranquil high above the airfield as we slowly headed off towards Kettering and then onwards to Pitsford Reservoir.


That’ll be Kettering ahead (apparently!)

I learned that rather grabbing the stick like my life depended on it, it was better to gently tweak it using just my finger and thumb – and it certainly worked, as the plane ascended, descended and banked with very little action from me in a rather graceful way. In fact, it all felt very unhurried, precise and just simply glorious taking in the whole of Northamptonshire - in less than an hour! For me, the most memorable part was when Phil demonstrated how the plane behaved if the engine stalled – BY TURNING OFF THE (SINGLE) PROPELLOR! My initial reaction was ‘Oh Dear’, as I could now see the single prop in all its detail, and it’s fair to say, l briefly, I had a ‘moment’. I shouldn’t have been worried though, as the laws of physics prevailed, and rather than a fateful plummet to earth, the plane continued on its trajectory - and for about 90 seconds we became a GLIDER! (and a perfectly manoeuvrable one at that! - Amazing!!!) 

And then, in what seemed like an instant, my 45 minutes was up, and we headed back to base. Phil took the controls for landing (I had a feeling that I wouldn’t be expected to try and land the plane on my first lesson!) and we soon were shaking hands and saying our goodbyes.


Captain Biggles Giggles

Fantastic! It had been an experience of a lifetime and I enjoyed every second of it – even the ‘glider moment’. Safe to say, I haven’t found a second career as a test-pilot – but if any of you get a chance to do this for yourself, I’d thoroughly recommend it! It’s like nothing else
Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile

We then headed back to ours where Ann had laid on a salad lunch followed by her Sunken (deliberately) Chocolate Soufflé with a Prune and Armagnac sauce. Ralph showed off the videos he’d taken of my inaugural flight and then we watched a bit of snooker on the TV before Ian and Ann said their goodbyes.

With the dishwasher on overtime, we four dug out the garden seat cushions from the garage and soaked-up a few rays before it came over a very grey. We finished the evening, watching my first 4K UHD movie: Sicarioan ultra tense political thriller set in Mexico – all washed down with a few G and Ts!


four star

 

 

This was a good movie, with some especially ultra-tense moments in it – I don’t think I’ll ever look at queuing at the Dartford Tunnel in the same way again!

Ralph and Karen are staying over and heading home after breakfast tomorrow.