Where have you been? What have you seen?
User avatar
By ClearOfCloud
Some thoughts from previous flight that might pass a few minutes of a dark winter's evening

Drawing melancholy circles above my old school, my little Luscombe and I learned lessons about each other that both of us wished we learned earlier. Echo Hotel realised that clumsy-footed me is actually capable of coordinated turns and I learned that two thousand feet is worth twenty years of perspective.

I had been feeling very satisfied with the day's sortie. Today I had taken a different, less direct, route to visit friends in Galway. The choice of routing was to satisfy curiosity about a rumoured farm strip but the motivation for the route was to force myself off known paths; to rely on navigation and not familiarity. Forty minutes of clock and compass and I arrived overhead the expected town and the strip was where I suspected it would be. A few nicely balanced turns and photos later and I continued on my way to my friends’ airstrip where tea, Jaffa cakes and a solid “8” landing awaited.

Taking the unknown route had added a smidgen of anxiety; an eagerness not to get lost but the reward was another increment in confidence. Flying lessons never really end and today’s class still had much to teach.

Having departed my friends’ airstrip and heading for home, I noticed that my route took me close to where I grew up. Today my only deadline was sunset and with plenty of fuel I could loiter with no intent and so a notion of dawdling dawned on me.

On my list of flying to-dos is to circle my former secondary school at the end of their lunch break; to be a distraction for many and hopefully, to lift the spirits of one. Being a Saturday, I wasn't going to tick that particular to-do item but I thought it would be good to have a dummy run and anyway, it would be interesting to see the vast grounds of the school from the air.

Wheeling north, off track, I could see things had changed. Gone was the hilltop water tower that for decades had landmarked the school for less familiar navigators and just over a fence, immediately to the south, shone the bright new girls’ secondary school. The girls had moved right beside the bastion of my boyhood: adjacent but not quite co-educational. Change doesn't come that quickly in my home town, then, does it ever?

But I wasn't interested in the girl’s school - the teenage me can't believe I just wrote that. I was looking for the courtyard classrooms, the study hall, the rain stained handball alleys, the sports pitches spurned for the refuge of the broad tree-lined walk, the fountains and musty woodlands. As I orbited my past hypnotically, wondering whether I grew here or was stunted, I noticed that all of it; the education, the exams, the taunts and travails were all framed by my Luscombe's little window. How very insignificant the prisoning pillars of the past now seemed from up here.

Levelling out and heading south to pick up the track back to my grown-up life, the school fading behind, the rest of the world rolling out ahead, I wondered what the teenage me would have seen if he'd had this gift of two thousand feet of perspective.
ArthurG, Morten, T6Harvard and 5 others liked this
Always interesting to review one's youth. As a child we didn't travel much and most of my childhood was spent in a quadrangle Newton Abbot, Torbay, Teignmouth, Exeter, Newton Abbot. When I finally flew over it seemed the tiniest of areas and only a few minutes flying time.

Never realised quite how big the clay workings at Kingsteignton were until I saw them from the air.
T6Harvard, ClearOfCloud liked this
Thanks @ClearOfCloud , a very enjoyable read.

Firstly, nice that you pushed yourself and had a good trip! Obviously real pleasure was had.

Secondly, interesting reflection on past and present. We often reflect that our teenage selves could never have imagined the amazing adventures we have had. I am new to flying (somewhat later in life!) and am astonished that I have the chance to do it, also astonished that I absolutely love it.

I wonder if others have places they'd like to over-fly??
ClearOfCloud liked this
@T6Harvard Thank you. I didn't have the Luscombe, or indeed, the licence awfully long at the time and I think it was probably one of the earliest times I really revelled in the liberty of having both.

I regularly am thankful to be one of the few that actual got to fulfil a childhood dream of flying and owning my own aeroplane. I'm still chasing some of the other childhood dreams, also involving aeroplanes, but they're inching closer....
T6Harvard, Nick liked this
ClearOfCloud wrote:[usermention=23363] I'm still chasing some of the other childhood dreams, also involving aeroplanes, but they're inching closer....

Apropos very little indeed... has anybody else noticed the disconnect in that we can have the verb 'to inch' but not 'to millimetre'?

I'll get my coat...

Nice little write-up Clear of Cloud. Out of interest where did the trip start? I have family in the west of Ireland (Roscommon/Mayo border) and am casually looking at options for flying over.
User avatar
By ClearOfCloud
T6Harvard wrote:More plans, eh? A long trip? More ratings? Surely not a different aircraft?? Don't leave us in suspense!

To finish the aerobatic rating, work on my instructional "career", perhaps an overdue long trip (Galway-Goodwood is nearly 5 years ago), more work on the historic/warbird plan (T6 time is seriously being researched). I don't think a change of aircraft makes sense.

@Kemble Pitts perhaps it's because "inch" has been used in English for considerably longer that "metre", possibly due to the Roman influence in English history?
As for the trip - it started at the now defunct Trevet but I'm now based in Co. Galway. There are a couple of good options for a visit west depending on your aircraft and needs, some public, some private. Feel free to DM me if you want to bounce around ideas/plans ;-)