Things I have flown; the prologue

23 Oct

For someone who was obsessed with aeroplanes it was a long time before I actually flew (or at least flew in something that was designed to fly; a solo flight of about 30 feet over a hedge when I came off a motor bike shouldn’t really count).

So it was at the grand old age of 34 that I finally flew in an aeroplane as a passenger, and discovered that flying was really every bit as good as I thought it should be, although I have grown to dislike the sharing of commercial flying somewhat. The line about the problem with travel for the masses being that the masses will travel is very true for me. But this blog is about the things that I have flown; the aeroplanes that I have operated the controls of.

Flying an aeroplane myself had been an ambition for as long as I can remember. My home town of Newbury is under the Heathrow flight path but, by the time I was 3 or 4 and can recall things we had moved further West and lived in a number of rural settings in the Maidenhead and Wokingham area. Constellations, Britannia’s, Comets and Stratocruisers were my airborne friends as I would play in the garden. Our home from 1957 to 1959 was just North of White Waltham aerodrome and so I had Fairey Gannets low in the sky to supplement my Heathrow traffic and, for a while, the wonderous Rotodyne (or the Flying Flopper as my younger sister called it).

I had discovered Biggles and Airfix and was simply determined to become a pilot, but things didn’t work out that way and I found racing cars eased their way into my lusts, quickly followed by the female of the species as my teenage years passed. By the time I had emerged into adulthood motor sport held brief sway over the other two prime interests until women won (as they always do) and I found myself married with 2.4 kids (to the nearest whole number).

And so it was much later when, having divorced and re-married, I found myself with time and funds to look at flying. My job meant that I was in the vicinity of Blackbushe aerodrome almost on a weekly basis and so, one day when I had half an hour to spare, I stopped in to use the cafe and nose around. I left that day with an appointment to come back the following week and began counting the days until I would actually first fly an aeroplane. I was 47 and on the verge of my childhood dream.

The log book I started that day has a couple of PA28s, A Grumman AA5, a Robin and an SNJ-6 so far each of which I will feature in future blogs in this series over the coming weeks. Stand by for take off.

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