For today’s episode of Flying Podcast we’re looking at the world of microlights and light sport aircraft here in the UK and where better to do that than at the Popham Microlight Trade Fair held, not surprisingly, at Popham airfield in Hampshire. In this episode you’ll be hearing from most of the main manufacturers and importers of light sport aircraft in the UK.
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.
For today’s episode I travelled down to Derby Aero Club to meet Martin Jones. Martin is the owner of the airfield and is also proprietor of Airspeed Aviation. My reason for the visit though was to have a chat to Martin about the restoration project that he’s undertaking. His labour of love is a 1934 de Havilland Comet DH88 – G-ACSP – a so called Comet Racer. The aircraft was originally built by de Havilland for the England to Australia, ‘MacRobertson’ Air Race.
Having missed Dave Bremner at the Flying Show a few weeks ago, I eventually caught up with him.
We all know what great strides microlighting has made in the last few years and what relatively cheap fun it provides for thousands of aviators but today I wanted to find out more about what the governing body gets up to. So who better to speak to than one of the bigger cheeses at the British Microlight Aircraft Assoc.
For today’s episode of Flying Podcast I went down to the Flying Show at Birmingham’s NEC. I had interviews lined up with Breezer UK, The Light Aircraft Company, Dave Sykes, GASCo and the Airspace & Safety Initiative. An interesting cross section of the people attending the show I think.
The show was pretty much as it had been in previous years, not overly busy but there were plenty of interesting folk to chat to. So all-in-all probably worth going down to if you’re into aviation. We arrived at 11.30 on the Sunday and the traffic into the NEC wasn’t too bad. The £10 parking fee is a bit steep but they have a bit of a monopoly going on there so we have to stump up the cash.
Today I’m down at Manchester International Airport to interview Chris Walsh one of the Air Traffic Control Officers working in the tower there. Following on from my chat with FISO, Mark at Barton, I’ve been asked by many listeners for a podcast featuring a fully fledged ATCO. So here it is.
I was accompanied on my trip by fellow Barton aviator, Duncan, who also appeared on episode 50 of Flying Podcast. Chris, very generously, gave up a couple of hours of his free time to give us a guided tour of the tower and then settled into one of their meeting rooms, overlooking the apron, to answer all of our ‘ATCO’ type questions.
For today’s episode I travelled down to AeroExpo at Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire. I had a wander round to see which exhibitors had something interesting on offer and got chatting to a fair few of them. I went down on the Friday and although there were a fair few people in attendance most exhibitors had plenty of time to spend with anyone with an interest in their products.
On today’s Flying Podcast we’ve got a pilot from ‘down under’. That’s Owen Zupp.
A couple of years ago, Owen flew a single engine light aircraft around Australia. I remember hearing about Owen’s exploits on the great Australian aviation podcast Plane Crazy Down Under so when Owen contacted me offering to come on to the podcast I jumped at the opportunity.
For his day job, Owen is a 737 pilot for a major Australian commercial airline company – no prizes for guessing who that might be – but in his spare time he puts his passion for aviation to good use. Not only has Owen written a book on a WWII RAF pilot but he’s also flown a Jabiru aeroplane around his homeland in order to raise money for an excellent cause; that being the Royal Flying Doctor Service. As these adventures spike my interest, it was primarily this project that I wanted to talk to Owen about.