Tuesday 21 May 2013 06:32 UTC
Where have you been? What have you seen?
As some of you may have read on the GA Board I was fortunate enough to get a spare slot for the formation flying taster at Kemble on Sunday.
I'll confess to a few nerves beforehand considering the usual machine to lift me into the sky is a PA38. On arrival at Ultimate High I met 'Greeners' and Jim, the instructor I was to fly with that day. He was an ex-Jaguar pilot who is now working for Thomas Cook (also as a pilot, not a travel agent). I also met a fellow forumite, Rich, who had also grabbed a last minute slot. We sat down for a very thorough briefing but nothing that would put you to sleep!
After suiting up we all made our way to the aircraft for a bit of ground work, positioning ourselves on the grass to try to get a feel of where we needed to be for the various positions (well done, Rich!). The first two students taxied out for their flight so I went to watch them depart from the airfield cafe. On their return there were smiling faces and a distinct lack of used sick bags! So it was time for me to get strapped in. The gentleman who was to be flying at the same time as me, Ian, was a non-pilot but had spent many hundreds of hours in the air taking some absolutely amazing shots. His plan was to do the same here which was an incredible bit of luck for me as hopefully he's captured many of my flight in all sorts of positions! I look forward to receiving them from him!
At the aircraft the helpful staff member fitted my parachute. Well at that point the nerves made a little return, I don't know if it was a comfort or not to be wearing it (yes I know I'd be glad of it if I needed it). We go through the start up and call for taxi, we're callsign 'Merlin', we line up on the runway and Jim gives the signal to Greeners. We're off and climbing up to around 4000' to begin our formations and to allow Ian to get some great shots. It takes a bit of getting used to having an aircraft that close, I mean really close! I am shown the Echelon Port and Starboard positions. I am handed the controls to give both a go, a bit twitchy at first but I'd like to think I did OK eventually! Then we did line astern with the aircraft ahead of us taking up a large amount of the view! Again, absolutely amazing to experience.
Then came the really fun part, tailchasing! As Ian was a non-flyer we would be chasing after them. Greeners put his aircraft in various dives, steep turns and very very steep climbs! This was all hands on for me and I will simply never forget pulling up beyond the vertical, feeling my insides meet at my ankles. I cannot even tell you if we went the full loop as we were turning as well as going onto our back. The smile was now a permanent feature on my face as we headed back in formation to the field, descending at around 140kts over the runway for a run and break to land.
All shut down and with the parachute off I couldn't wait to tell, well, everyone! Greeners commented to me that whenever he looked over at us all he could see was my grin and guess what? It's still there now writing this!
If you haven't done anything like this, do it, you will not regret it. When I get the photos I'll get some put up on here for you to see.
Never knowingly quoted
I can only second what Beaconflyer has said already. It was a great day and good to meet you Beaconflyer and Rich. I took part as a non pilot and was able to get some air to air pictures. PIctures on the link below.
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... 36e1361e52
Who is online
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest
Login / Register