Special Offer! 40% off flying lessons in the Midlands

With November here and the weather suddenly taking a turn for the freezing, we’re sure plenty of you are already starting to think about what you’ll buy your nearest and dearest this Christmas. We thought we’d give early bird Christmas shoppers some inspiration by offering you a very special discount on our Midlands flying lessons!

Valid at our Wellesbourne location only, we’re offering you a half hour flying lesson for just £55, reduced from £95! That’s a whopping £40 off – or, to put it another way, over 40% off!

This cracking offer is available until the end of November, and to take advantage of it, you’ll need to give us a call on 01789 297 268. Quote “Early bird Christmas offer” and we’ll apply your discount.

Our Wellesbourne location is easy to get to from the Midlands and beyond, as it’s close to the M40. As part of your flight, you can fly over Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon and spot the majestic battlements of Warwick Castle.

So, if you’re struggling to think of what to get someone this Christmas, why not give them an experience they’ll never forget? Call us now!

Wellesbourne Flying

Small print

  • Valid at Wellesbourne Airfield only.
  • Offer applies to the half hour light aircraft flying lesson only. This offer does not apply to helicopters or any other kind of flying offered by Air Experiences.
  • Offer must be claimed by telephone.
  • Offer expires at midnight on the 30th of November 2014.
  • Vouchers valid for ten months from date of purchase.
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Flying at Netherthorpe Airfield, Sheffield

Following the interest we received in our post on Wellesbourne Airfield, we have another airfield in the spotlight this week. This time, we’re looking at Netherthorpe Airfield in Nottinghamshire. A stone’s throw from Worksop, near Sheffield, it’s a great base from which to take to the skies and see the East Midlands from the air.

Like many of the UK’s airfields, Netherthorpe was used during the Second World War, though it actually dates back to the First World War. Among the aircraft to have seen service here during the Second World War is the Westland Lysander, which was known for its excellent performance at landing in short airstrips. It was this quality that made it perfect for picking up spies from behind enemy lines. Indeed, many secret missions of this nature were carried out from Netherthorpe during the war. Here’s a photo we took of a Westland Lysander at the Shuttleworth Collection.

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According to Wikipedia, one of Netherthorpe’s two grass runways is the shortest licensed runway in the UK, so it’s just as well that the Lysander was chosen. Here’s an aerial view courtesy of Google Maps.

These days, the airfield is home to around forty light aircraft and two flying clubs. So what can you see from the air if you fly from Netherthorpe Airfield? Well, it’s close to Sheffield, right near the border of South Yorkshire, as well as being close to Derbyshire with its stunning Peak District National Park. If you’re hoping to fly over the Peak District, ask your instructor on the day, as it should be possible on longer flights.

You can fly from Netherthorpe Airfield with Air Experiences – just go to our Light Aircraft page and choose a flying lesson. If you enjoy your flight so much that you want to get a Private Pilot’s Licence, all the flying time from your trial lesson will count towards the hours needed to get your PPL!

Peak District image from Wikimedia Commons.

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Flying at Wellesbourne Airfield

As you step out onto the apron and climb aboard the aircraft that will take you on a breathtaking flight, you’re probably too excited to remember that you’re following in the footsteps of generations of pilots. Airfields are steeped in history, and, in the first of a new series of blog posts, we look today at the history of an airfield close to our hearts here at Air Experiences: Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield, in South Warwickshire.

Wellesbourne Airfield was built to help meet the need for airfields during the second World War. It all happened in 1941: early that year, the Government purchased over 200 acres of land from the Littler family (who own and operate the airfield today).

Within a few months, the land to the east of Stratford-upon-Avon had changed forever. By the summer, a fully functioning airfield was standing on the Wellesbourne site.

Wellesbourne Airfield became the home to the 22nd Operational Training Unit, with a fleet of Wellington Bombers and Avro Ansons. Each month, Wellesbourne completed the training over a hundred airmen, and by the end of the war, over nine thousand men had been trained at Wellesbourne.Wellesbourne

As well as training, the airfield saw some action. Thirty-four bombers from Wellesbourne took part in the 1,000-bomber raid on Essen, from which all returned home safely. Despite their safe return on that occasion, over the duration of the war, over three hundred men from Wellesbourne Airfield lost their lives in either training or bombing missions, along with 96 Wellington bombers.

The airfield was also targeted a number of times by bombers on their way to the industrial cities of Birmingham and Coventry.

After the war, Wellesbourne Airfield became home to a number of squadrons: firstly a glider training unit, then an aerial photographic unit, and later an advanced flying training unit.

DSC_0166RAF Wellesbourne closed in 1964 and was sold to the Littler family, who had owned the farm before the war. The airfield lay dormant until 1981, when some private flying started. Over the years, the popularity of Wellesbourne grew to what we see today, which is a thriving General Aviation airfield. Hundreds of thousands of people visit Wellesbourne each year, for the famous Saturday market, for the popular Wellesbourne Wings and Wheels event, or for a good old English fry-up in the Touchdown Cafe. The airfield is visited from the air by aviators flying in from all over the country to enjoy a day out at one of the best and friendliest airfields in the UK.

Today, the airfield’s most prominent landmark is a true piece of aviation history. In 1984, Wellesbourne took delivery of a Vulcan bomber.

Unfortunately XM655 no longer flies, but the engines are regularly run and each year on the Father’s Day Wings and Wheels event, during which the Vulcan demonstrates its power by completing a fast taxi on the main runway and lifting the nose gear. This event is open to the public.

You can take to the skies from Wellesbourne yourself with Air Experiences. A flight from this WWII airfield can cost as little as £50, and you can go sightseeing on a light aircraft flying lesson, go on an exciting helicopter experience, or even try your hand at aerobatics.

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What do you have to do to get a PPL?

tecnam2We’ve had a few people asking us recently about what they need to do to get a PPL. If you’ve already been browsing our site, you’ll know that the flying you do with Air Experiences counts towards the hours you need to get a PPL. But what else do you need to do? Read on to find out!

Hours needed for a PPL
There are currently three different PPLs you can do, and the main difference between them is the number of hours you are required to do for each of them. The LAPL (Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence) and NPPL (National Private Pilot’s Licence) give you a pilot’s licence that limits you to flying in VFR conditions (that is, not relying on instruments – so when the weather is good enough) and non-complex aircraft. The full PPL enables you to fly the same aircraft, but there are more bolt-on ratings you can do, such as multi-engine and retractable undercarriage.

  • For the LAPL & NPPL, you need to do a total (minimum) of 32 hours, which includes ten hours of solo time and 22 hours of instruction.
  • For the full PPL, you complete 45 hours, including ten hours of solo time.

During your instructional hours, you’ll learn how to handle the aircraft and how to cope with various emergency situations, such as an engine failure (you’ll learn to select suitable fields to land in and do practice landings). You’ll also learn how to recover from situations like stalls and spiral dives.

tecnam1PPL Exams
As well as flying hours, there’s a fair bit of what we call “ground school” to complete, with nine exams. You can either learn this information from books, or you can pay an instructor to teach you (or both).

  • Air Law – this tests your knowledge of the rules pilots need to know – important things like how high you’re allowed to fly, and which way you should turn to avoid an air-to-air collision.
  • Operational Procedures – this covers various aspects of operating an aircraft safely, such as marshalling signals.
  • Human Performance and Limitations – this one looks at how aspects of the human body can cause accidents, such as hypoxia from a lack of oxygen at high altitudes.
  • RT (Radiotelephony)/Communications – this covers what you say on the radio to communicate with air traffic control.
  • Flight Planning and Performance – this exam tests your knowledge of how to plan a flight, including things like how to calculate how much fuel you’ll need.
  • Navigation – this one is about how to use various navigational aids, work out your estimated time of arrival and work out what headings to fly whilst accounting for the wind speed and direction.
  • Principles of Flight – this looks at how the aeroplane flies, including the forces to which it is subjected and what causes lift.
  • Meteorology – this one covers the weather, conditions that could affect your flight and how to read and interpret specialised aviation forecasts.
  • Aircraft General Knowledge – finally, this exam looks at how the aircraft is built and how it works, such as what different bits of the engine do.

Radio licence
As well as the written exam we mentioned just now, there’s also a optional (highly recommended) practical exam for radio communications. This involves flying a pretend route on a computer-based flight simulator and making appropriate radio calls, such as requesting permission to pass through military airspace, making a mayday call and asking for the weather.

PPL flying tests
There are three flying tests to pass when you’ve completed the flying hours and written exams. These are:

  • Navigation skills test – you plan a specified route and then fly it with an instructor; at some point along the route, you’re asked to divert to another airfield, so you need to know where you are at all times.
  • Solo cross country – you plan and fly a route on your own, including landing at two other airfields (one if you’re doing the LAPL).
  • General flying skills test – this tests you on things like recovering from stalls and spins, and checking that you’re going to react appropriately to emergencies like engine failures.

It sounds like an awful lot – and it is! It’s a big learning curve and it’s a lot harder than learning to drive. However, it’s incredibly rewarding – once you have your licence, you can take passengers up, fly to other airfields for lunch, and enjoy the wonderful views of the world from above.

If you enjoyed your flight with Air Experiences and you want to take your flying further, any one of our flying schools will be happy to discuss the possibility of you learning to fly with them. You can also learn to fly a motorglider with Lee with MotorGlide.

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Wellesbourne Wings and Wheels 2014

Wellesbourne Airfield in Warwickshire was even busier than normal this weekend for the Wings and Wheels 2014 show. It can’t be a coincidence that the event is held on Father’s Day each year, as it was the perfect destination for petrolheads and plane spotters alike. The main draw of the event is without a doubt the chance to see Vulcan XM655 in action on the runway. She sits in the corner of the airfield all year round and is a prominent local landmark visible for miles around in some directions, but we don’t often get to see her moving around or hear the roar of her engines.

We have an aircraft based at Wellesbourne, so we were able to get some photographs from a different angle to everyone else. This was the amazing view from where our aeroplane is parked…

Vulcan-XM655

Can you spot the pilot?!

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You can just about make out the photographers in the background, through the shimmering hot air.

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The Vulcan begins her first high-speed taxi run of the day. Seen head-on like this, she really does look like one very lean mean flying machine.

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This is, sadly, the furthest into take-off that this Vulcan is allowed to go. There’s only one remaining airworthy Vulcan (XH558), and all this one can do is lift her nose off the ground.

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The Vulcan’s power is evident in this picture from the dust being blown up in her wake!

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This shot gives you a clearer view of the spoilers – those things sticking out of the wings. These help slow her down, and they don’t look particularly substantial but they do make a difference!

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We can only imagine that this chap is feeling the heat…

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As well as the stunning Vulcan, a number of other interesting aircraft made their presence felt throughout the day. This large bi-plane is the de Havilland Dragon Rapide. Believe it or not, it’s an early (1930s) passenger airliner!

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Have you ever seen a helicopter that looks like this? Neither had we! It’s an Aérospatiale Alouette II, a French helicopter introduced in the 1950s that was mainly used for military reconnaissance, rescue and training.

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We did get to see one airborne Vulcan: this one’s a very impressive jet-powered model. It’s painted anti-flash white, the colour the full Vulcan fleet would originally have been painted during the Cold War. The reason for this is that, in the event of a nuclear explosion, the white colour would reflect away some of the thermal radiation.

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This is what the model looks like on the ground, to give you a sense of scale:

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The sound and bone-trembling sensation of jet power was also felt with a few low fly-bys by this Jet Provost, photographed a day or two before the event when the weather was a bit nicer.

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Jet Provosts were used as RAF training aircraft until 1993.

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We were also treated to the sight of a Douglas DC-3 flying past. These were first flown in 1935 and were used for transport before, during and after the Second World War. During the war, they were used to transport troops and cargo.

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All in all, it was a cracking day out and we look forward to seeing the Vulcan in action again next year. If you’d like to fly at Wellesbourne Airfield yourself, buy a trial lesson voucher now!

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The perfect Father’s Day gift

Father’s Day is fast approaching (it’s on 15 June this year, in case you didn’t know), and we’ve created what we think you’ll agree is the perfect gift to treat your dad to this year. Our brand new Day Out at Duxford experience includes a 15-minute Tiger Moth flight and FREE entry to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, one of the best aviation museums in the country – even the world! For his flight, your dad will get to don a proper leather flying cap, goggles and jacket so that he can really feel the part, and even better, he’ll get half price entry to the museum for his family and friends, so you can go too!

In case you’re not sure what a Tiger Moth is, feast your eyes on these stunning photos courtesy of the aviation photographer Dave Briers at Air Frames Imaging. This gorgeous 1930s de Havilland biplane is one of the most popular planes in our Vintage Aircraft category, and it’s not hard to see why. They were used as training aircraft by the RAF until they were replaced by the Chipmunk in 1952, and with most now in private ownership, opportunities to fly in them are not to be missed.

500 Pixel Width Number 5 Flight of Moths

500 Pixel Width Moth Landing 2 crew

500 Pixel Width Green Moth Cockpit Close up

500 Pixel Width 2 Moths Taking Off

500 Pixel Wide Yellow Moth Finals at Kemble

Click here to buy your Father’s Day voucher now, and make sure you order by 12 June to get your voucher in time to give him an unforgettable Father’s Day this year!

Dave Briers, our aviation photographer, can be contacted on airframesimaging@sky.com or 07507 643161 if you’re interested in getting a copy of any of these gorgeous Tiger Moth pics.

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How many people does it take to run an airfield?

Leaving big international airports aside, how many people are involved in helping you get airborne on your first flight?
A surprising number of people are employed at general aviation airfields to ensure you get into the air safely. We go behind the scenes at our local airfield to show you just some of the people helping to get you in the air.

Air Traffic Controller

Control Tower

Control Tower

The controller at a small airfield is generally only responsible for movements on the ground, such as pilots taxiing from parking to the runway and vehicles moving around the taxiways. Once aircraft are in the air, the controller will only pass ‘information’ to the pilot; there are generally no direct instructions, leaving the decision-making to the pilot. You may hear the phase on the aircraft radio ‘at your discretion’, which is the controller ensuring that the pilot understands that he must make his own mind up. This is seen as safer, as the pilot is the person in the aircraft and ultimately is in the best position to make the decisions.

An Air Traffic Controller’s (ATC) work isn’t easy: handling multiple aircraft (both passing the airfield and training flights), the controller’s work is a bit like a conductor of an orchestra. He or she is the person who monitors all movements on and above the airfield to ensure everyone stays safe.

Engineering

Gift ExperienceEvery year, an aircraft must go through an MOT (otherwise known as a Certificate of Airworthiness). During this maintenance every part of the aircraft is checked, with the undercarriage coming off, seats removed, and even at times the wings removed. This annual servicing is nothing like a car MOT; unlike a car, if a problem arises in an aircraft it cannot just pull over to the side of the road. For this reason, aircraft maintenance is highly regulated, with engineers being certified with years of training. All parts are traceable right back to the person who made a bolt, and everything is checked by an independent person before the aircraft is released for service.

As well as the annual service, every 50 hours the aircraft is flown it must have a smaller check during which oils and fluids are changed, hinges greased and the general condition of the airframe is checked. You may think that’s it, but at the start of every day the pilot must also check the aircraft for fluids, control surfaces, and any knocks or dents to ensure he is happy to sign the aircraft as flyable for that day.

Fire Fighters

Airfield Fire Training

Airfield Fire Training

For an airfield to be licensed for training there needs to be fire crew during operational times. Because general aviation is safe, their skills are thankfully rarely required. At the airfield you may see fire crews helping out with refuelling aircraft, runway inspections, airfield maintenance and assisting pilots with moving their aircraft.

Airfield fire fighters, just like normal fire fighters, go through regular training, with some airfields having mock-up aircraft for practising fire drills. Aircraft fires are very unusual, but if one should occur it’s good to know that your airfield has fire crew on standby, trained in the handling of flammable liquids such as aviation kerosene and jet fuel.

Instructors

At most airfields there are various different levels of instructor, and for different types of aircraft. Firstly there are ‘fixed wing’ pilots (there are normal light aircraft such as Cessnas) and there are ‘rotary wing’ pilot (these are helicopters). Normally, instructors specialise in teaching one or other of these disciplines; it is very unusual for instructors to teach helicopters and aircraft, though this is normally only because of the cost involved in training to become an instructor in both.

Flight Instructor

Flight Instructor

Instructing takes a special kind of person who has gained many hours’ flying, skills, experience and most importantly patience. Taking to the skies for the first time can be a little nerve-racking, but a good instructor will reassure you and within minutes of being airborne will have removed all your preconceptions and concerns, allowing you to look out the window and enjoy the view. Before you know it, the instructor will be letting you fly the aircraft.

Refuelling

Refueling

Refuelling

Every aircraft needs fuel to enable it to get into the air, so there will likely be a fuel bay on-site at an airfield. Most light aircraft use AVGAS 100LL, which contains lead used to prevent engine knocking (detonation). The LL means low lead, although the amount is about four times what it was in old leaded automotive fuel. The other main type of fuel used is Jet A1, which is for used in jet-powered aircraft and the newly introduced diesel-powered light aircraft. AVGAS currently sells for just under £2/litre, while Jet A1 is less than half this. Refuelling is often carried out by the on-site fire crew as part of their multiple roles on the airfield, though pilots also refuel their own aircraft.

Give the gift of flight to someone today – check out our flight experiences.

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Basic radio communications – or how pilots communicate

On your first flight, your instructor will explain all the aircraft noises and the controls, but one thing that you’ll hear that you may not have been expecting is radio communication with ATC (air traffic control).tower

At most airfields there is an air traffic control tower. This ensures that all the aircraft and vehicles around the airfield operate safely without causing conflict to each other. In the air the controller will be passing information to the pilots to help them with decisions on such things as where on the airfield to land.

Once your instructor has started the engine, and before he moves the aircraft, he’ll need permission to taxi. You may hear:

Pilot: ‘Elstree Information G-DEFS’ (this will be said as ‘Golf Delta Echo Foxtrot Sierra’)

Controller: ‘G-DEFS, Elstree Information pass your message’

Pilot: ‘G-DEFS is a PA-28 with 2 PoB for a local west, request airfield information and taxi’.

The pilot here is stating the aircraft callsign (G-DEFS) then the number of persons on board (2 ‘PoB’) and where he is flying to (‘local west’) this will be a local flight to the west of the airfield. Once he has passed the basic information of his intended flight, he then requests permission to move the aircraft and asks which runway is in use (airfield information).

Controller: ‘G-DEFS, runway in use is 26, QNH is 1012’

Pilot: ‘Runway 26, QNH 1012, G-DEFS’

Here the controller has told the pilot which runway is in use and then the altimeter pressure setting; all messages must be repeated to ensure they have been understood.altimeter0

Every aircraft has an altimeter, which shows the pilot the height of the aircraft above a point on the surface. The ‘1012’ you heard on the radio is the local barometric pressure, which when set on the altimeter will show the height of the aircraft above sea level.

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Airfield control tower

Once the aircraft has taxied to the start of the runway, you will hear the pilot saying:

Pilot: ‘G-FS holding short of runway 26, ready for departure’

Controller: ‘G-FS, surface wind 250 degrees at 10 knots, take off at your discretion’

So, here the pilot told the controller where he is and that his ready to take off, and the controller then tells the pilot the wind direction (250 degrees at 10 knots) and that he can take off when he’s happy. Notice that the aircraft callsign has been abbreviated to G-FS.

During your first flight you will hear lots of new sounds, all of which are perfectly normal. Radio communications are essential for the safe operation of aircraft, allowing important information to be passed between air and ground. It’s something that all pilots learn about and take exams in when they’re in the process of working towards their Private Pilot’s Licence.

Once in flight you will hear lots of other pilots talking to the control tower, and from this point on your pilot will only say a few things on the radio letting the controller know where you’re going (‘G-FS clear to the west’) – and when you’re returning to the airfield (‘G-FS 10 miles to the west for rejoin’).

If you’d like to hear all this for yourself, Air Experiences offers a range of flights from airfields across the country. Why not treat a friend or even yourself for a birthday, anniversary or special occasion. Click here to see our range of light aircraft flights starting at £50.

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An interview with aerobatics pilot Lauren Richardson

As any private pilot will tell you, flying isn’t just about getting from A to B, and it’s not just about admiring the view! The discipline of mastering an aircraft is rewarding in itself, and for pilots who really want to progress their flying skills after gaining their license, aerobatics offers a huge challenge and one that hones pilots’ skills as they learn the aircraft’s limits. Aerobatics is also popular with those who haven’t flown much before, particularly for thrill-seekers! To find out more about what makes aerobatics so appealing, we caught up with inspirational aerobatics pilot Lauren Richardson to find out how she came to aerobatic fame.

Aerobatic lessonsWhen did you first fly, what was the aircraft and what was it like?

I think it was a PA28 that my dad had managed to arrange for me to have a go in when I was 13 – he’d met a guy through work who flew and was willing to take me up. I remember the trip was a total surprise as I’d been told we were going to a museum somewhere, when it turned out I was actually going flying! I don’t remember much about the flight itself to be honest, but the overwhelming memory that sticks with me was how much effort my parents went to to give me that experience, we didn’t have much money and they knew how badly I loved aeroplanes and longed to learn to fly, giving me that first taste was a huge deal and something I will never forget.

When did you start learning to fly? How long did it take for you to fly solo?

I started learning to fly when I was around 20 I think – it took me a long time to save enough money to be able to have lessons. I made the choice to learn at the flying club at RAF Halton, which at the time was immediately adjacent to where I was living (it was a 10 minute run around the airfield boundary from my front door to the clubhouse). I can’t remember exactly how long it took me to go solo, I believe hours-wise it was around 12 hours ish, so pretty average!

How did you get into aerobatics?

Entirely by accident believe it or not. Ok perhaps that’s not strictly true but when I first started flying there was no way, just no way on this earth I would ever have considered doing anything so stupid, and so dangerous! What eventually happened was that almost immediately after I passed the Skills Test to gain my pilot’s license I left my job and moved away – the change in income status meant that I basically had to stop flying there and then, so for a good year and a half I simply didn’t fly. I ended up working a decent contract and saving some disposable income that eventually I decided to spend on getting back into flying, starting with a go in a two seat Pitts – I had seen a single seater sitting in the hangar at Halton and had always loved the look of the thing and just wanted to say I’d had a go in one, hence the two seater. I had no intention of letting the guy flying it turn me upside down or anything, I just wanted to fly it and see what it was like. Needless to say he did turn it upside down and from my very first loop, that view of the world underneath me as my head was pointing UPWARDS just blew me away and that was it. Instant love affair and I’ve never looked back!

loop the loopDescribe your favourite aerobatic manoeuvre.

Now this is a hard one because there are several, I will pick two if that’s ok. Firstly I’m going to go with the manoeuvre that has traditionally always been my favourite, and is still one that brings joy whenever I fly it – the humble avalanche (or if I’m in airshow mode the triple or even quadruple avalanche). The avalanche consists of flying a simple loop, with a full flick-roll at the apex (or in the case of the triple or quad, three or four full continuous flick rolls cascading round the top of the circle). I think the reasons I love this manoeuvre so much are because it’s fun to fly, presents the most gentle form of flick/snap rolling you can do and creates some fabulous shapes when you’re flying with smoke on – the curly pig tail trails usual come from flick roll elements.

My other favourite is the only manoeuvre I currently fly that consistently makes me laugh like a lunatic or even scream involuntarily when I do a good one – the tail slide. I actually wrote an entire blog post (http://theaerobaticproject.com/?p=837) dedicated to this figure that explains a lot of the feeling in there. Sliding completely backwards under gravity in an aeroplane is a very strange and unique feeling with an incredibly violent return to normality. A serious grin inducer.

lauren5Do you have any advice for aspiring aerobatic pilots?

For anyone wanting to get into aerobatics I would really just say don’t be shy, do something like coming along to have a go at one of the British Aerobatic Association special beginners competitions – you can fly with someone like me as a safety pilot to help you learn and have a go if you think competitive flying might be your thing. Otherwise just find a good instructor you will enjoy flying with, someone with a pedigree and who has a good aeroplane and just pluck up the courage to go and give it a try!

If you could attend one UK airshow this year, which would it be and why?

If we are really limiting it to just one show I am going to have to say it would have to be my own home airshow, Little Gransden. It’s my home field, a lot of my friends do a lot of the flying, it’s all done to support Children in Need and as such will always be one of the ‘little’ shows with a big line-up and an overwhelmingly positive outcome. The unique dual axis ‘curving’ display line also lends itself to some stunning views and some fantastic creativity from the performers. There is just something really quite special about displaying in front of the home crowd 🙂

Finally, what are your plans for 2014?

My plans for this year are to work hard, train hard, play hard, have some fun with my gorgeous man and get some good flying in – it’s that simple. I’m also hoping to make a few people proud of me, or perhaps even prouder than they already are!

We’re sure they’re already immensely proud of you Lauren! If you’d like to keep up to date with what Lauren’s up to, you can follow her on Twitter or visit her website. If you’ve been inspired to have a go at aerobatics yourself, check out our aerobatics experiences, buy a voucher and get airborne this year!

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UK Floods: Worcester

As the people of Oxford woke to find our photos from Monday on the front cover of the Oxford Mail this morning, Lee and I took advantage of a brief break in the weather to get up in the motorglider and capture these dramatic images of the floods in Worcester. Worcester has been much in the news this week, with river levels at a record high and road closures leading to huge traffic problems on the roads into the city. If you’re a journalist and you’d like to use any of these images, please get in touch regarding higher resolution, non-watermarked versions. If you’d like to go flying to see the floods yourself, please click here to buy a voucher and we’ll email you an e-voucher for immediate booking.

This shot shows a view over the badly flooded racecourse towards Worcester city centre.

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The main bridge is closed and you can see the build-up of debris washed down the river on this side of the bridge. On the right, you can see part of the cricket ground (there’s a better picture of this below).

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Another view of the main bridge, which gives a better impression of how badly affected the nearby properties have been.

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This shot shows just how swollen the river is. On the horizon you can see the snow-capped Malvern Hills.

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Looking back towards town.

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This photo shows the submerged cricket ground, with the main bridge behind it showing just how high the water is.

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A close-up of the cricket ground with the main bridge behind it.

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This one shows the racecourse. You can see how deep the water is by the fact that the railings are barely sticking out above the surface.

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There was a lot of very slow traffic on the Worcester bypass, which currently looks more like a long bridge over the water.

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There were long tailbacks caused by the bridge closure in the city centre.

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This church – St Denys’ in Severn Stoke – was marooned.

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On days like today, you can see why this section of the M5 is a bridge.

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The curving line of the trees shows where the river should be.

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Another caravan park and farm fallen victim to the rising water.

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Tewkesbury is still badly flooded, its Abbey still sitting on an island of water.

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