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Friends in High Places

One of the other participants on my Bike Normandy weekend in August was an Airbus pilot, and we spent much of our off-bike time happily geeking about aviation topics.

He turned out to have a part share in a Tri-Pacer based at Shoreham Airport, and very generously offered to take me up in it at a time when dates, weather and aircraft serviceability all lined up.

That time was Saturday, a beautiful, bright, cold morning. I rode down to Shoreham and met Tim at Hangar 4 just after 11. An alarmingly short time later we were knee to knee in the tiny dual-control 1950s cockpit, going through the startup checklist.

I was allowed to sit in the left-hand seat and pretend to be the captain. This put me in charge of the parking brake and other vital equipment.

I had also been promised that I could do 'as much or as little of the flying as you want'. For the first leg I was more than happy to sit and watch the world go by, but on our homeward journey I got more adventurous, by which I mean I did some incredibly gentle turns and followed the instructions I was given.

We flew along the coast to the Isle of Wight, landed at Sandown for a sausage sandwich, then returned to base via a coffee stop at Goodwood.

I hang out at a lot of airfields, because they're convenient, friendly places for a biker to get a coffee, and I always envy the mystique surrounding the people taking off and landing. It was wonderful to be part of it for once.

Still grinning.



Wow, very cool! I like that you flew for a sausage sandwich especially. That seems a worthy mission. :-)
It was a good sausage sandwich!
Just - wow!
Pretty much my reaction! I had to warn my friend I'd be terrible company as I'd be so quiet, and I was.
Oh, that sounds lovely! Cute little plane, too.

Have you ever thought of actually taking up flying, or are you happy sticking to your scooter?
I think about it sometimes - but apart from the expense, I think you need more self-confidence than I have. Just for silly things like working out from the instructions where they want you to park.
Okay, that breaks the needle off the awesome-o-meter, thanks for posting about this! :D

Heh! Thank you for reading! I wish I had more photos but I was busy just drinking it all in.
So impressed!
I feel actually being in charge of flying a plane must be a real buzz!
It was terrifying!! Though I knew even if I did something really stupid, my co-pilot could have retrieved the situation.