Just Andy

Life is the greatest challenge of all

A Trip With FlyGuy

What a week!! A shameless feeding of my wanting for boy's toys and things!

Two days blatting about the country in Timothy's Aztec, learning a lot in the process (documented elsewhere).

Then a day with flyguy, collecting a Bulldog from the land of flatness. Norfolk.

Lovely day, and having never been north of Sarfend with me as P1, was looking forward to discovering what lay beyond. The Aerobat heaved itself off the ground after a wait for the 2 minute silence at 1100 and we flew across the familiar route to Rochester, before I had to resort to navigating. Yes, I had the back up of GPS but always like to ascertain my position in the traditional way first.

We worked Southend before switching to Earls Colne (what a lovely looking field) and then up to Bury St Edmonds before tracking above the CMATZ of Lakenheath who didn't want to talk to us. We were greeted by a very cheerful controller at Marham MATZ, who stayed with us until we spotted the field (literally ) at East Winch. Not a bad landing even if I do say so myself - must have been the day for it actually.

A gleaming red Bulldog sat in the hangar waiting for it's owner to take it home. After a couple of false starts (documented elsewhere), coupled with the realisation that the Bulldog and the Aerobat could both do with some fuel, we decided to do a short hop over to Fenland for juice. Flyguy announced that he would lead and I could follow. Shame I lost him as I turned onto the crosswind leg!!! I can honestly say I would have really really struggled to find Fenland without GPS.

I switched to the relevant frequency to hear flyguy making failed attempt after failed attempt to contact the Radio at Fenland so made blind calls whilst I bimbled about overhead. Didn't think it fair to leave a guy stranded at such a remote spot so landed too. The entire place was deserted bar one security man who did his utmost to find out how to switch the pumps on. By this time we were both sweating a little about the time of "official night".

After what seemed an age, the relevant keys were found and lo and behold we had full tanks again. It was like the start to Wacky Races, jump in, start up and taxi in one movement, whilst carrying out power checks and then up and away we went. What followed was the highlight of my day. I was followed (in very loose formation you understand) by this delightful red bulldog, the sun glinting from it's bared, snarling teeth (see UH site for piccies!!). I did my best to stay level and on track and altitude and was rewarded with views of the bulldog on my left, my right and behind. Unfortunately I had left my camera at home. My mobile has a shot of the Bulldog and I crossing the Thames, sunset approaching, with the city in the background - shame the quality is cr@p but it will live forever in my memory.

As we reached Tonbridge the Bulldog went ahead to get to GWD before closing time and my last sight of it was climbing into the late afternoon sky and then turning west, silhouetted against the setting sun. I got to base before night fell (we did have a back up plan before someone shouts) and landed content and actually quite pleased with myself.

To top it all, today took me over 50 hours P1 since my PPL was issued in May and have now exceeded 20 airfields visited. For those of you that wonder sometimes why you put yourself through the training and all the weather cancellations, I hope you are reading this. Stick at it. Even after just 50 hours post PPL I have so many wonderful memories, memories that nobody can ever take away from me.