I’ve been an aviator all my life briefly as a Private Pilot License (PPL) before realising flying is so expensive and thought I ought to do it for somebody else! I joined the RAF, had a marvellous 22 years flying all sorts of aircraft from Chipmunks to several fighter aircraft including Lightning, Hunter, Phantom and Gnat.
Following the my service with the RAF, I trained as an airline pilot and had an equally enjoyable 20 years with passenger aircraft from Shorts 360, ATP, Dash 7, Embraer 145 and finally the Avro RJ operating through London City Airport – great fun! I’ve had the the Tiger Moth since since 1974 so feel some attachment! I’m delighted to be invited back to your show as last year our daughter, Poppy, rather inconveniently chose to get married on the Airshow day in 2011!
The aircraft was built by Morris Motors back in 1941 and is still original and as such has a draughty open cockpit! Because of its age, my flying will be fairly gentle and during the aerobatics it will be mostly positive g force (upward acceleration). The display starts from 2000 feet and finishes at about 200 feet, allowing the use of this energy to augment the modest 120 horse power engine.
The preparation for any display flying is much the same whatever the aircraft. In the case of the Tiger Moth I will have completed several practice runs through the sequence prior to the show. In addition to that, all display pilots are required to hold a ‘Display Authority’ which requires an annual test to be flown in front of a Civil Aviation Authority examiner. All good fun but nothing compared to a big crowd at East Fortune and blue sky!