A great year of flying : FLYER : FLYER
In July I passed my skills test and did my PPL, a lifelong dream. It was a real adventure as I was doing my skill test in the hottest week of this insanely hot summer. As I’ve discovered, there’s nowhere to hide from the sun under the bubble canopy of a Robin HR200, even if you’re feeling a bit like a fighter pilot!
Thanks to the great people at Crowfield Airfield I’ve flown a Super Cub, an Auster and an Aeronca Super Chief and I’ve tried my hand at aerobatics in the club’s Robin R2112. Grown up as a kid Biggles Books, tail wheel and Eros are where it’s at!
Although I’ve always known I’d love to fly, the real surprise of 2022 was meeting so many amazing people. It starts with the outstanding team at Crowfield, where the two grass runs are maintained in immaculate condition by father and son owners Ross and Andrew, and where the quality of instruction is incredible.
My flight instructor Damian was a Tornado pilot before becoming a test pilot. He still teaches RAF students alongside civilians like me. It was reassuring to realize that although I occasionally tried my best, there was very little I could do to surprise him!
Nick, Crowfield’s training supervisor and examiner, also flew Tornados and then became captain of the 747. He happens to be that AVIATORalso the security editor of . Safety and attention to detail matter at Crowfield and I feel fortunate to be able to learn from such experienced hands so early in my flying career.
With a full-time day job (and an even more demanding dog!), elementary school would have been a really tough one without the online courses taught by Ash, one of the industry personalities, who illustrates the lessons with colourful, real-life stories from his decades as a commercial pilot.
Then there’s Ian, an air traffic controller in Norwich, who flies a van he built with his father, who took me through the new R/T exam. Having flown most of my time in Suffolk where there is very little to talk to on the radio in the air let alone on the ground, this exam was hard work!
There are so many other flying enthusiasts who made the year a pleasure including Adam and Heather (thanks for the Auster and Aeronca stakes and for teaching me how to do a compression test), Tim and Ava, who run Beccles Airfield and who drove me across the runway in a service vehicle, and Luisa who showed me the working end of the tower at Wattisham Airfield.
I even had the pleasure of meeting AVIATOR‘s Ian Seager, who has promised to fly to Crowfield for coffee soon. (I’m still waiting, Ian…)
you might ask: Why did it take so long to discover this amazing world?
In a word: Money. Flying is expensive! As a kid I had hoped to attend an airline academy (where all your tuition costs would be paid by the airline in exchange for a commitment to work there after graduation) but they all disappeared before I got there in the early noughties could. .
How can 2023 possibly top 2022? Well, I’m planning to do my tailwheel conversion, get an aerobatic rating and start work on a distance learning CPL theory course. I hope to fly some other planes including biplanes and if I can afford it, a chipmunk.
And I can’t wait to meet many more inspiring people who are just as in love with the sky as I am. Thank you 2022