Check Out Flight
New Year 2000 comes and at last, the first
opportunity to fly since I got my medical back in September. A phone call later
and Chris Dunkley
has agreed to check me out at the Icicle Meet. He has
another check flight, but then he will come back and jump in with me. "Call me
on Saturday, I'll be at the Icicle show, to confirm the details". Now Chris is
not always where you expect him to be and sure enough he wasn't at the show, in
the bar or on his mobile. Eventually after a mad ring round to pin him down,
the elusive young man was finally located some time after dark. Yes it was
The day dawns, clear skies, a gentle wind
and gradually a crew constitutes itself. Matthew Baker
hacks round the
M25 to the M3 from St. Albans, Diane Ollis
collects Don Dovey
the village on her way over. Last minute preparations such as packing some
sandwiches and picking up Barry Harcourt
from Bracknell complete the
preparations and we are ready to set off. I must remember to get a weather
forecast before I leave home. After checking out the traffic along most of the
length of the M4 we finally arrive to find the organisation in the process of
packing up but still willing to accept a late entry fee.
We gingerly take the car and trailer onto
the field at Warren Farm and get most of the way to where we want to be before
going into terminal wheel spin. Rumours spread fast and lots of people come
over to wish me luck and offer words of advice. Then Chris arrives and
immediately sets off for a cup of tea. The crew leap into action and soon
everything is ready for the off.
, aged 7 going on 27,
doesn't do his normal trick of pointing out anything I miss in my briefing and
the just 4 year old, looks very fetching in her new sparkly fur
hat. Thank heavens Fiona
came along to ride herd on them!!
Briefings complete, the cold inflation
starts. You really do need to get a move on if you want to do up all the
velcros on the parachute. Still no harm done, stop the fan and let it come
A gentle climb out into straight and
level. "Would you like to do an approach into the middle of that wood?" No not
really cos if I get it wrong...... Still in for a penny in for a pound. Stay
high over the power lines and swoop down. Not bad even if I say so myself.
Sensitive area coming up lets get a bit of height on.
It is interesting the things you notice
from above. I could see the canal, but what were those lines at regular
intervals? As we get closer I can see they are fishing rods, was there a
competition on? Still I must keep my mind on what I am doing, time to make
another approach into a rather large field. Over the stables and down we go
aiming for the front edge. Stunned and amazed and down where I wanted to be,
whilst we are here there are lots of open fields, so lets try some contour
We keep below the ridge line and try to
get enough left to land by Europe Balloon. Another call to the retrieve; not
quite enough left but over the road and down into the field.
Did I want to go on a do my solo? Yes
please! My exams run out next week, but discretion wins out. The country side
down wind becomes more horsy and consists of lots of small fields. Too late to
retrieve and re-launch from Warren Farm, so a with a muddy crew it is off down
to the pub for a celebratory pint.
This is my kind of flying.