As you’ll remember from episode 63 the Fly2Pole team are endeavouring to get several disabled military personnel to the South Pole in microlight aircraft. So, when the Flying for Freedom team held a sponsor’s open day a few weeks ago I popped down to Kemble for a bit of a catch-up.
Last year at the Flying Show I met a chap called John Laity. John is one of the founders of Flying for Freedom which aims to train injured ex-servicemen how to fly flexwing microlights as part of their rehabilitation into civilian life. In addition, Flying for Freedom is launching an expedition to the South Pole. Their aim is to get a team of disabled pilots to fly to the pole and back. No mean feat.
When most of us grow slightly older, we fritter away our disposable income on a small sports car or a Harley Davidson. The aviation geeks amongst us may even buy a share in a light aircraft to satiate our love of all things that fly. But Andre Tempest has taken his love of planes one step further. A few years back, when the RAF was disposing of its fleet of Victors, he put in a sealed bid and found himself the owner of a full sized V-bomber, designed to deliver the UK’s nuclear deterrent to somewhere in the Soviet Union.
I was interested in hearing why anybody would want to own their own Victor so, on a brilliantly sunny, spring day, I went to visit Andre and ‘Lusty Lindy’, as the aircraft is known, at Elvington, near York.
As promised, here’s the second episode from my visit, earlier this year, to RAF Coningsby and the Typhoon Display Team. I wanted to see inside the cockpit of the Typhoon and Flying Officer Gregor Ogston was kind enough to spend half an hour or so, explaining what all of the knobs, buttons and dials do. Gregor also explains what the ejection sequence is, which is fascinating to listen to. Following the look inside the aircraft Liam Whelan, the display engineer manager, and Gregor took me round the outside of the aircraft.
If you are REALLY interested in fast jets, and the Typhoon in particular, then this is the episode for you.
As promised, here’s the interview with Syd Marshall. Syd is a volunteer guide at the Battle of Britain memorial Flight museum, and what a great interview it turned out to be. I wasn’t expecting to meet a WW2 Lancaster crew member so it was not only a pleasant surprise, for me, but Syd had some great stories to tell about his time as a flight engineer on Lancaster bombers.
At the invitation of RAF Coningsby, today I’m visiting the Typhoon Display Team to find out what it’s like to fly the Typhoon and to get a taste of what it takes to put together the superb Typhoon display.
The 2 members of the team that I’m talking to are: Flying Officer Gregor Ogston who is the display team manager and Sergeant Liam Whelan the Typhoon display engineer manager.
I first wanted to hear a little about the base, here in Lincolnshire, so I asked Liam what exactly was the mission of RAF Coningsby.
For episode 43 of Flying Podcast I’m still in Lincolnshire. I was at RAF Coningsby during May and took the opportunity to pop in to see the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight people. They very kindly allowed me in to have a look around their hangars and to speak with some of the lucky folk that get to look after the aircraft of the Flight. For those few of you not familiar with the works of the BBMFâ€¦ they keep a select flight of historic warbirds in airworthy condition. If you have ever seen a fly-past of Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane well that’s the BBMF.
Continuing with the Lincolnshire theme, today I’m at Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre. The centre is home to several WWII aircraft, most notably a Lancaster bomber and a Dakota; both of which are available for taxi rides. I started my podcast interview with Andrew Panton who runs the museum and concluded with a chat with Paddy Green, owner of the resident Dakota.
Just recently I was at the NEC in Birmingham for the Flying Show so I took the opportunity to have a chat with various people down there. First up was Steve Bridgewater, Commercial Director at Air Atlantique’s Classic Flight.
Classic Flight do a superb job of keeping some classic old British Aircraft in airworthy condition. They have recently opened `Airbase’ at Coventry Airport. Airbase is not a museum in the conventional sense but more a working hangar that allows visitors to go and have a look around. They actually call themselves a ‘safari park for classic aeroplanes’.
In addition they also offer pleasure flights in several of their aircraft.
It sounded like an interesting story, so for episode 34 of Flying Podcast I firstly asked Steve to explain the history of Classic Flight.
In this the third and final part of the DHFS podcasts I’m interviewing Flight Lieutenant Stu Walker. Stu invited me down to RAF Shawbury, arranged my visit and the interviews with the various personnel on the base.
Stu’s story is quite an interesting one and so I thought it would make a good stand-alone podcast in its own right. In this interview Stu tells me how he wanted to join the RAF from an early age.
Initially his aim was to become a front-line fighter pilot but you can hear how his military career progressed through flight training, flying Nimrods, doing a masters degree is Aero Systems, working in the Flight Information Publications department and then on to flying helicopters.
Stu grew up in the Lake District and often saw RAF jets flying around the fells. This is what spurred the young Stu to join the Air Force. He initially wanted to fly Tornados but as we’ll hear, this dream didn’t quite materialise.