And once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward; for there you have been, and there you would return.
A quote attributed to the great Leonardo Da Vinci about the joys of flight.
Whats that got to do with an events and catering company. Well nothing really. But thanks to Covid-19 rampaging around the world, the events industry has pretty much ceased to exist at the minute.
Which means there isn’t a steady stream of our misadventures and event related stories to write about. So, during the interminable lull in work, we decided to relate some of our personal stories instead.
A couple of Christmas’s ago, my significant other decided to treat me to a flying lesson as a Christmas gift. This, in her words turned out to be the worst 80 quid she ever spent, seeing as it ended up costing her bleeding thousands. Lol.
I enjoyed the lesson, but it wasn’t a case of wow, I need to fly. I actually fancied the technical challenge.
Now I admit, that the day I flew my first solo circuit, that changed to a feeling of wow, I love this. The day I made my first navex solo, (navigation exercise, basically flying away from my home airfield to another place and finding my way back), I really began to love it.
Not The Cheapest Hobby
As you can imagine it isn’t a cheap hobby. Lessons at the time were about £120 an hour. For your licence you needed to amass a minimum of 45 hours, 10 of which had to be solo.
In the event, I took I think 49, but that included a couple of night flying lessons which were an extra.
On top of the lesson costs, there is obviously some equipment that is needed, such as charts, a flight computer, ideally your own headset etc. In common with many other hobbies, you end up buying things which aren’t really necessary, but make flying easier or more enjoyable.
With the enforced down time I have had, a burst appendix grounded me for 6 weeks, just in time for the virus to hit and ground me till sod knows when. I decided to have a look at just what is in my flight back.
Flying for fun as a ppl holder (Private Pilots Licence), I don’t need to carry as much as a commercial pilot. So the lovely compact flight bag from Lightspeed was perfect for my needs. Although fairly small, it holds a surprising amount of kit.
Current Kit List
Currently it contains my flight log book from Aileron (a fabulous leather bound version my daughter bought me for Christmas). A selection of pens and a chinagraph (like a wax pencil that writes on anything). A fuel contamination testing kit, stall horn checker (saves a mouthful of flies cos the alternative is sucking the stall slot), my Lighspeed Zulu 3 headset, Bigatmo pilots sunglasses, aircraft safety checklist, navigation charts, Pooleys flight computer with protractor and ruler marked in nautical miles, handheld aviation radio (a backup in case both onboard comms ever fail), Smith and Wesson tactical flashlight with red light option for night flying, power pack for charging my ipad or pilot aware system, Garmin Virb camera to record flights, charging plug and leads for ipad, radio etc. And last but not least my trusty Leatherman multi tool, handy for emergency repairs.
There is also my kneeboard and Ipad flightpad which I use to run SkyDemon navigation software. Basically an aviation satnav, though much more sophisticated.
I also wear a Garmin Charlie D2 watch. Which contains a gps navigation system with a worldwide database of airports programmed in. Also providing a backup set of flight instruments, again adhering to my principles of having back ups of the backups.
My final bit of kit is a Pilot Aware system. Basically this transmits the position of my aircraft, whilst also receiving the positions of other similarly equipped aircraft. These are then displayed on my SkyDemon system. This helps warn me of aircraft in my vicinity that could pose a collision risk.