50th Birthday flight - Oldnautibits takes to the air!
being firmly in the blood, it seemed only natural for Geoff Pringle to celebrate
his first 50 years with a flight in a vintage biplane. Just like his father, who
60 years before had taken to the air in a Tiger Moth, Geoff relived the experience
in a classic 1946 French built Stampe SV4c, the primary trainer of the French
Air Force at that time.
The flight was organised by Dawn Patrol Aerobatics who operate out of Dunkerswell
Airfield, Devon in the south west of England, the only US Navy airbase on British
soil during WWII. The flight instructor for the day was Rob and suffice to say
Geoff opted for the company's ultimate flight - "The Waldo Pepper" -
which exceeded expectations on all counts!
programme, which followed the course of an introductory flying lesson, enabled
Geoff to take the major controls for a large part of the flight (instructor's
comments "better than average with a light touch on the controls")!
Geoff, wearing Irvin jacket (what else!), flying helmet and RAF mark VIII goggles,
found it easy to travel back in time to the summer of 1940 as they flew over Honiton,
the south coast and on above the English Channel.
The flight continued over the village of Beer, then east to Lyme Regis where Rob
introduced Geoff to some mild aerobatics - having first tightened down his sutton
seat harness! The Stampe then turned north and overflew Taunton, before returning
to Dunkerswell, sometimes at low level, over common moorland "beating up"
the monument at Wellington.
flight concluded with some amazing aerobatics (which are entirely optional depending
on the level of excitement required by the pupil!). These included full loops,
accelerating to over 130mph with "G" forces of +6 to -3, as well as
the sensation of complete weightlessness. As can be seen from the flight's photographic
record (a well worthwhile optional extra) Geoff had a broad smile on his face.
On landing Geoff was heard to mutter "this experience could prove addictive"
and asked Rob, his flight commander, how many more flying hours would be needed
for his private pilot's licence...
Anyone interested in a flight (which comes with Geoff's full recommendation and
endorsement), should make contact with Dawn Patrol - details below. The great
pictures are courtesy of Skydive UK Video and can be booked via Dawn Patrol prior
to the flight. Geoff's 40th birthday "hot air balloon" flight was good
but "The Waldo Pepper" experience was exceptional - making it a hard
act to follow in 10 years!!
Skydive UK Video
19 Azalea Close
Tel: 08700 759348