Well pre practice day on Wednesday proved a challenge .. I need to fly in front of the Squadron Leader Display Authority to be allowed to enter the display. We started the day at BKN at 100 … not a great start .. also several aircraft were still due to arrive …
Eventually it scraped up to SVFR so I thought great .. BKN 600 off we go … but the big chief Les .. a really nice genuine chap advised that we couldn’t authorise in less than certain minima and we needed 1000
At around 1400 local we finally just about managed it and I dashed out, started up and got airborne
ATC routed me straight into the Display area .. but this meant I was coming in from the ‘wrong’ end .. didn’t matter hugely but I had planned a different entry for this year .. to be fair I had only planned it that morning on the way in on the motorbike … the idea was to not enter at 200’ but come in at around 800’ .. pull the throttle .. slow right down at datum point .. centre of display line … peel over and spiral down to 200’ .. picking up speed on the way …
On recovery to land I was held at a couple of points due to inbound traffic but eventually got to Corbiere (lighthouse) to hear someone call ‘Red 1 .. ILS’ .. my heart sank .. it was great to hear they were here but it sounded like, due to the bad weather, they were coming in singly .. which indeed they were .. a few minutes later .. Red 2 .. ILS … by the time Red 3 called I had sort of worked out I could well be number 11 to land ! ! And it was getting not only cold but the base was now about 900’
As Red 3 dropped out of cloud .. ATC advised me to call final … then advised me they were landing in 2’s and 3’s so no .. I wasn’t number 11 to land 😉
I peeled over to a tight base leg and went IMC for about 10 seconds … not great as I don’t have an Artificial Horizon … popped out of cloud and landed about 1/2 mile behind Red 3 …
That evening, at the Government house reception I had the pleasure of meeting Red 3 who said … “ oh you landed in the small yellow biplane .. right after me … that’s a Sherwood isn’t it ?’ … turns out the Reds are very into their GA and know their aircraft types !
Thursday – Air Display day
Woke up to a text from a friend asking if I was going to be at the Static display at 8.00 … oops better get my finger out
Got to the aero club in double quick time and put the fold away steps in the front cabane along with the Flying helmet and handouts for the static .. I had had around 70 + kids sit in the aeroplane on Wednesday static and Thursday looked like it was heading the same way. Taxied around to stand 19 and parked up next to the Bronco and a couple of lovely old twins
Jumped out and turned her around by hand and the marshalls kindly dropped the fencing and helped pull her onto to the grass parking for static
At around 9:20 we still had around 10 people lined up for photos and a sit in so speeded through to allow me to get away for the 09:30 pilot briefing.
Pilot briefing ….
we all sat around .. it’s a great ..but nervous .. feeling .. you are sitting with some pretty awesome pilots .. including , in front of me .. 3 Red Arrows pilots including Red 1.
We were all duly briefed on entry procedures into the box, what to say on the display frequency .. what Not to say … basically you have 3 things to call
– Entry into box
– 1 minute to leaving display
– Leaving box
The rest of the time you are expected to be silent …
After weather and a final running order briefing … we were asked by Les our supremo .. any questions ….
Well .. the earth could have opened up for me when the ONLY question was from Red 1 … “Can I ask a question about the Sherwood” ….!!!!
I was first and they were last .. what could he possibly want to ask …?
“Given the Sherwood planned box time .. and his take off time .. we all 9 .. will be on the runway at the same time as the Sherwood as we line up for departure for the Guernsey display”
Fair point … and one I could actually answer .. I had already planned to get airborne a good 30 mins before display box time … that stated .. Red 1 turned and said .. great .. no problem .. phew.. two of the Reds then chatted about the Sherwood and it’s build and bits .. really nice genuine guys
That sorted .. we all disbanded and I set off to do the final static and get ready for the display ….