Up Up And Away Trip On A Microlight

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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UP, UP AND AWAY - Trip on a Microlight

Date: 17th June 2017

On Wednesday I was incredibly fortunate to be taken by a friend for a Microlight flight over part of Kent.  I've done most things - flown with the Red Arrows, the Blades, in helicopters including a Chinook; I've wingwalked and travelled in many small aircraft; was 'thrown' out of an aircraft at 14,000 feet in a Tandem jump during my sojourn in the Rainforest on 'I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of here .......' but microlighting was not something I've experienced.

Obviously the weather conditions have to be correct and it was a beautifully sunny day with the right amount (or the acceptable amount) of wind.  We took off from an old WW1 Airstrip hidden in the countryside near Sandwich with sheep grazing just yards from the strip.  I was excited and not afraid because I know that if the engine fails, the pilot is able to glide to a safe landing.  

(Years ago when I was married to the love of my life who owned a motorised glider, we went to Cornwall to see friends.  I'm glad to say that Eric took both Jack and Cecily, separately, up in the glider for an experience they were not likely to forget.  On our way home the engine went silent, Eric went white and I said my prayers.  We had actually passed over some factory which was belting out polllution and something had happened to affect the air going into the engine.  We lost height rapidly but after clearing the factory airspace the engine kicked into life again.  However, I learned that day, that we'd probably have been perfectly okay as a glider does what it says and it glides.  Eric was ex RAF, an aerobatic pilot, and knew full well how to handle any emergency.)

I was able to take some good photos as we flew over Deal and Walmer Castles, Dover Castle and the spot where Bleriot landed in 1909, Capel le Ferne with it's Battle of Britain Memorial, Bodiam Castle and back close to Canterbury Cathedral.  It's quite difficult to get a fix and take a decent photo because you are travelling relatively fast.  However the photos of Canterbury Cathedral really excited the Press Office and they asked for permission to use them.

It was interesting that, though it was a sunny day, I could see in the distance West of our flight path a 'band of darkness' which I thought was pollution.  I later realised it was probably pollution over London exacerbated by that terrible fire.  I cannot even write down my feelings.  If it is true that the company which refurbished and used non-fireproof cladding to save money, then they should be charged with Corporate Manslaughter and serve time in prison.  I also think their assets should be frozen and used towards re-housing and helping in every possible way those poor folk who lived in the Tower Block.

But onto more pleasant memories and though I've dozens of fab photos from my lovely flight, I thought I'd better post the one I took of our fanatastic local - Canterbury Cathedral.

UP, UP AND AWAY - Trip on a Microlight

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