Flying Memories – Chapter 1 (of 10)

This is the first in a series of posts recording some of my favourite memories about my early interest in aeroplanes and the years when I flew aeroplanes. I offer no promise that any posts in this series will prove interesting to readers with no interest in aeroplanes or flying.

My eyes have been turned skywards for as long as I can remember. My mother told me that I was interested in aeroplanes from my earliest days. Despite the heading of this post, I cannot claim to have any memory of the two occasions the subject of the first two photos.

My third birthday cake. The slight anhedral in the wings is a nice technical touch. But it could simply be related to imminent main spar failure, or even failure to install a main spar.

Discussing some aerodynamics issue with cousin Ross Langmead.

As a young boy I had a a flock of pigeons. They would wheel around the house and the neighbourhood , and at night sleep in absolute luxury in the imposing loft my grandfather and I built for them. It had no doors that closed, and the individual rooms had more comfort than a pigeon needed. I still remember the warm smell of the birds inside the loft. There was a lot of breeding. Some of the adult birds would land on my arm at my bidding. That I could strike such a bargain with a free-flying bird always seemed wonderful to me.

I read books and magazines about aeroplanes as fast as I could find them. I read all the Biggles books (still in my library). I built model aeroplanes, some flew and some were just to look at. I made kites of all sorts. I experimented with diamond kites, square kites, box kites, multiple kites on the one string, and cardboard propellers made out of rectangular empty Jaffa packets which once the kite string was threaded through a hole in the middle, would spin their way heavenwards up the string until they reached the kite. My interest in box kites has not entirely waned to this day.

Flying a box kite

This box kite being flown at Apollo Bay, had my standard balsa wood frame and in this case cut-up garbag plastic for the covering which proved to be light, durable, cheap and easily replaced. As a boy holding on to a taut kite string angling up into clearly different wind conditions to those I stood in, I marvelled at the power of the wind and the fact that a box kite with only sharp angles and not a single curve could fly so smoothly. I didn’t know it at the time but many of the pioneers of early flight began asking questions and finding answers from experimenting with kites. Lawrence Hargrave did just that in the 1890s at Stanwell Park in NSW just south of Sydney. Interestingly, Stanwell Park has been a popular hang gliding launch site since the 1960s when hang gliding commenced in Australia. Hargrave invented the box kite. In the 1890s he was aware of the work of the Wright brothers through publications detailing their work. The box kite invented by Hargrave was influential in the work of the Wright brothers in their efforts to win the race to be the first to achieve sustained, manned and controllable powered flight. They achieved this milestone at Kittyhawk, North Carolina, in 1903.

Just as a church spire, by design, turns the eyes of those in its presence to the heavens, so a flying kite turns eyes and minds skywards to all things that fly. In the case of Hargrave and the Wright brothers their minds were turned to a vision and a hope of manned flight, which was certainly not shared by many in the general population at the time, until of course after 1903 when it was actually done. Fifty to sixty years later when as a boy my eyes were turned skywards, aviation was in a highly developed and still evolving state ready and waiting for me. What a privilege to be born in such an era. I didn’t let that opportunity slip through my fingers.

I still like to fly a box kite and have two or three flyable models in my garage, along with hundreds of feet of fishing line on a good sized fisherman’s hand caster. To fly a kite is to take time out to be still and to wonder. My dictionary defines wonder as: “a feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable,” Yes, that’s what I feel when I fly box kites, and aeroplanes.

The box kite on the left was a bold (and relatively expensive) experiment with carbon fibre frame and dacron covering. It was heavier than the balsa kites and the carbon fibre frame had an unhelpful flexibility in flight, especially in stronger winds (which the additional weight required) requiring bracing in all directions possible with brickies line. Less successful overall than hoped for. It turns out simple may be best with box kites.

The box kite on the right is a prototype which did not go into production. Traditional balsa wood frame. Covering is old school tissue tautened with dope.

I recall a black and white picture buried deep in a volume of Encyclopaedia Britannica of the cockpit of a 1950s passenger aircraft flying over some vast ocean on an international flight in the dead of night. The pilot, co-pilot and engineer had short haircuts, were smartly dressed and seemed relaxed but focussed in the dim light of the cockpit. The glow from the walls of instruments surrounding them cast them in shadow as much as light. The cockpit seemed like a cosy small scale version of the vast dome of starlit night sky outside the cockpit. By attention to the details of that cockpit they were flying high in the night sky between hemispheres on the globe. As a boy with a bike and a dog, who went fishing, built billy carts, kept pigeons and guinea pigs and read a lot, this seemed wonderful and audacious and remarkable.

I wanted to fly. As a boy still of single-figure years, I accompanied my parents to Essendon Airport to farewell family friends. We stood on the open air upper deck of the old terminal as the aircraft warmed up the engines after the doors had been closed and the passenger stairs wheeled back. It was a large turbo prop, probably a Vickers Viscount or a Lockheed Electra. It then started taxying and turned directly away from us. The turbine engines even at taxying settings made an excitingly loud and substantial noise that I could feel as well as hear. I still recall the powerful, warm and heady blast of avtur (turbine engine fuel) fumes that enveloped us for a short time. For some reason the experience thrilled me. This huge complicated machine was about to leave the earth and fly high and far. The crew might not have had their photo in an encyclopaedia, but I recognised it as the same deal.

As a teenager, when I had a job as a xmas postman on a red pushbike, I prepared for the weeks in the sun by going to the Geelong library and borrowing a book on clouds. I studied the book and as I delivered the xmas mail around various suburbs, I began to learn that there were classifications beyond white and fluffy. A lifelong fascination with the weather was under way. I subscribed to flying magazines, borrowed others, read every ‘crash comic’ I could get my hands on, and devoured any books on flying I could find.

I had my first flying lesson on 5 October 1968 at Grovedale Airport (now a densely developed housing estate). My logbook records the lesson as ‘air experience and effects of controls’. The flight was in a Cessna 150 registered VH-KUM, and lasted for an hour and 25 minutes. Its paint job was white and faded maroon. The instructor was Aub Coote. At that stage, I could only afford one lesson a fortnight ($14.50/hr dual).

Student pilot licence

Note that when I obtained my student pilot licence despite being born of Australian parents in Perth, Commonwealth legislation at the time was such that I was officially of ‘British nationality.’ The licence number, 101599, I retain to this day. While the number has not changed, it is now known as my Aviation Reference Number.

My last flight as pilot in command of a fixed wing aircraft was on 12 April 2012 (the final leg of an aircraft ferry flight from Melbourne to Darwin). I flew a total of 2724.6 hours in powered fixed wing aircraft in the intervening 44 years. According to my log books record I have flown 164 different fixed wing aircraft.

I was very proud of these documents. Note that by 1981 my national status had moved from British to Australian.

I obtained a commercial pilot licence, and a grade 1 instructor rating. I was endorsed on light twin-engine aircraft, and held an aerobatics rating. I learned aerobatics in a Cessna 150 aerobat (VH-KMC), and later flew aerobatics in a Citabria Decathlon. I was also qualified to fly at night. I taught a lot of people to fly and sent them first solo, I saw a lot of Australia from the air, and I experienced weather up close and in all its glory. I realised many of my flying dreams and aspirations in those years.

Flying stretched my mind, uplifted my spirits and took me on adventures that are a rich library of memories into which I delve when I wish to be pleasantly lost in my own thoughts.

Dash panel of glider in soaring flight

The magic of solar-powered flight.

I also flew sailplanes for a couple of years. The highlight of my gliding was a 100km out and back solo flight from Tocumwal to Jerilderie in LS4 registered VH-IIE, soaring effortlessly and pretty much in straight lines under streets of sizeable cumulus clouds. The camouflaged knees (lower left and lower right of the image if you hadn’t spotted them) are mine.

A few facts, numbers and dates

To put the era in which I commenced flying into perspective: my maternal grandfather (Jack Boyd) was 15 years old when the Wright brothers’ conducted the first powered flight at Kittyhawk in December 1903. I took my grandfather on his first and only aeroplane flight in a Cessna 172 in 1977 when he was 89. I recall that as we were airborne over Geelong he looked east towards Queenscliff and the mouth of Port Phillip Bay, shaking his head slowly in amazement as he told me how long the Geelong to Queenscliff journey took him when he was a boy (it involved horses). And here it was in 1977, the entire trip from Geelong to Queenscliff available in a single glance. My grandfather rode a push bike well into his 80s and never owned or drove a car. He was born on the goldfields at Smythesdale in central Victoria, and lived for over 100 years.

Orville Wright died in 1948, the year before I was born. I never saw a GPS of any type until the late 1970s. A Commodore 64 was the first home computer I ever saw (in the late 1970s), I purchased my first personal computer in 1983, I never conducted a cross-country flight without all the relevant route and route-adjacent World Aeronautical Charts (WAC charts as they were called, the repetition of ‘charts’ not mattering to anyone) on board. They were what came to be known much later as hard copy maps, and later again, as virtually obsolete. I have never flown using a laptop or an iPad. I have flown a Tiger Moth on a few occasions, and had a ride as a passenger in a DH.84 Dragon Rapide as a boy in the 1960s – not at an airshow, but in Dragon Rapide owned and flown regularly around the outback by one of my father’s acquaintances. I have a set of handling notes for the DH.82 (Tiger Moth). I have also flown an Auster J-6. I was 21 years old when the first Jumbo Jet entered service.

Dragon Rapide

This is the Dehavilland Dragon Rapide DH.84 in which I went for a joyride from Grovedale airport in the 1960s (Geelong).

More generally, I was born 4 years after the end of world war two. I have lived under three British Monarchs: King George VI, Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III. Harry S Truman was president of the USA when I was born. Robert Menzies was prime minister of Australia in 1949 and I have lived under 15 prime ministers since Menzies. The first Holden car (the FX model, the first car wholly produced in Australia) was produced the year before I was born. In the late 1960s I owned an FX Holden. The famous FJ model was launched in 1953 when I was four years old. I was 8 years old when the Soviets put the first artificial satellite into orbit around the earth. I remember the news breaking that JFK had been assassinated (I was 14 at the time). I was 20 when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.

I have enjoyed every aeroplane flight I have ever done. Some flights however, for widely varying reasons, remain clearer and more vivid in my mind than the rest. I want to record and share my account of some of those flights.

My time as a pilot amounted to more than a hobby, but less than a career. That characterisation notwithstanding, flying aeroplanes has given me some of the greatest highlights of my life. I decided it was time to share a few of them. That is the purpose of the series of posts on my blog, of which this is the first.

Flying training with a recently qualified junior instructor, who was also a recently retired and highly experienced agricultural pilot

In September 1976 I was undergoing flight instruction at a country airstrip with a junior instructor, in preparation for my restricted licence – the first level of pilot licence, which enables the holder to fly solo with passengers (non fare-paying).

My instructor was at least middle aged, and had just finished a long career as an agricultural pilot at the time he began teaching me to fly. He had had accidents and injuries, but his career had to be deemed successful given that he survived it. Not every agricultural pilot achieves this. He had a recently earned junior instructor rating and had not taught a lot of students before me. But while my instructor at this early stage of his instructing career might not have been able to reproduce from memory the vector diagram illustrating the forces in operation in a stall during a climbing turn, he was highly experienced and able as a pilot. He was gruff but jovial. His demonstrations during flying instruction sorties were always impeccable. He had a sure and smooth touch on the controls even when flying an aircraft close to one or another of the limits of its performance capability.

I recall one lesson in 1976 in which we were doing circuits and short field landings in an old Cessna 172 on a grass runway with a bit of upslope in the direction we were using. On final approach I asked the instructor what options were available if the aircraft was established on its landing roll on say wet grass (such as we were on) and it appeared that the aircraft looked like hitting a rapidly approaching fence or the like. I was thinking along the lines of dumping flap, applying brakes, or perhaps adding any lift flap not yet deployed and applying full power to hop over the fence and continue the landing roll on the other side of it. I had a good imagination but no flying experience to speak of at that stage. We were on final approach when I asked the question. He took over the controls and said he’d show me.

He aimed at a point well down the grassy east-west strip to make his demonstration convincing, then touched down. As the aircraft was decelerating with the fence rapidly approaching, he did a controlled tight 360° circle in the middle of the slippery wet grass runway (which felt near frictionless) and the aircraft ended up facing in the original landing direction, fully stopped. He chuckled as he handed control back to me and we taxied off for a few more circuits. He said this manoeuvre wasn’t on the syllabus, but it was probably handy to know. I was grateful. I have never had to use this manoeuvre, but I would use it if circumstances dictated it was the best choice.

Many flying instructors have not had any or any substantial real world commercial flying experience, and accordingly are not as well equipped to teach certain manoeuvres as those possessing such experience. For example, short field landings and takeoffs, and cross wind landings are essential skills for any pilot, but they are typically not taught well by junior instructors with minimum hours. En route weather assessment is another skill best taught by an instructor who has encountered a lot of weather en route while flying.

Flying Solo

One of the many satisfying features of learning to fly is that when flying skills are tested either for the purpose of ticking off a stage of some syllabus or for the grant of various licences, ratings and endorsements, the solo flying element of that testing is unequivocal evidence that you have learned enough to perform the task. As such, these moments of demonstrating unequivocally that new skills have been acquired are immensely satisfying.

There is no such thing in flying training as “I taught the student, but he didn’t learn.” If the student cannot safely land the aircraft after having been exposed to various in-flight sequences and pre and post flight briefings which typically would be enough for a student to acquire the new skill, it’s not a case of the student being ‘taught’ but not learning, it’s a case of the student simply not learning. It is a teaching fail, not a learning fail.

I recall going first solo at Grovedale airport (Geelong) in 1969 in Cessna 150 VH-KUM. I also recall going on my first solo navigation exercise (which took 5 hour and 27 minutes of flying) around central and western parts of rural Victoria in Cessna 150 VH-WWY during training in 1977. These are examples of critical ‘first’ solo moments as I progressed through my early flying training. In the same class at a later stage was when I flew solo on a pitch black night for a few circuits. This occurred at Port Lincoln and the circuits were required to be flown for the most part solely by reference to the aircraft instruments. This is a new challenge for a strictly ‘visual’ day-time pilot. To this list could also be added my first solo aerobatic manoeuvres in 1978 in Cessna 150 Aerobat VH-KMC after being certified competent to carry out (and recover safely from) developed spins, stall turns, loops, barrel rolls, aileron rolls, Immelmann turns, half-loop and roll, half loops and half rolls. In each of these examples, my safety depended on me having acquired the necessary skills, not simply having been exposed to some training which it was hoped would equip me to survive my first solo attempt at demonstrating them.

Flying Aerobatics

I have taken quite a few passengers up for an aerobatics flight. Years later many have told me how exciting and memorable the flight was. I am always pleased to hear that. But the actual flying of aerobatics is not an adrenaline-fuelled rush in which caution is thrown to the wind as the aeroplane is tossed around the sky. Once the novelty has worn off for the newly endorsed aerobatic pilot, the aerobatic manoeuvres become like ordinary aircraft manoeuvres such as turns and landing. Aircraft attitude, bank angles, speeds and coordination of controls and altitude management as well as airspace and traffic awareness are all done with careful planning and complete concentration.

View from upside down aircraft doing aerobatics.

Clockwise from top: Cessna 150 Aerobat upside down over Torquay, Victoria; near vertical and running out of airspeed in climb phase of stall turn, nose about to drop down to left; near vertical over Torquay. These photos were taken by my brother Noel.

Cessna 182 endorsement & trip to FNQ as a newly qualified private pilot with 92 hours total time in my log book

It costs a lot to learn to fly and a lot more to build up hours to get experience. The editor of an international flying magazine once wrote an editorial in which he claimed to have been asked the question, ‘what does it cost to learn to fly?’ His answer was, ‘the same as it always has, everything you’ve got.’ Any pilot who has paid for his own training and initial experience will readily agree. It was certainly the case for me. Those passionate about flying who are personally funding their flying have always been undeterred by the cost. I was one of those.

Cost sharing with passengers was a popular way for a new pilot to gain experience without bearing the full cost himself. So it was that in mid 1977, I left a job I had in Melbourne and hired a Cessna 182 registered VH-IVY to take some cost-sharing mates on a big trip up through outback NSW and Queensland, then back to Melbourne via Sydney and the east coast of the country. Two friends left with me, and a third joined us en route. As a new pilot where so much is learned in every hour, and hours in the logbook seem to grow so slowly, attaining 100 hours is a milestone which is keenly anticipated. Once that is reached, of course being a 200 hour pilot is seen as the point by which most things will have been learned. After that, 1000 hours is proudly noted by most, as are the 10,000 and 20,000 hours milestones. As each experience milestone is reached a pilot looks back with some concern at how little he actually knew at the earlier milestones.

My mates who were headed for far north Queensland with me had put their lives in the hands of a private pilot with a total time of 91:58 (91 hours and 58 minutes) in his log book, comprising 38:23 dual (with an instructor in the aircraft) and 53:35 as pilot in command (without an instructor on board). I would (now) strongly advise anyone contemplating being a passenger on such a trip with such a low time inexperienced pilot not to do it.

For me it was something of a ‘proof of concept’ flight. My navigation training was satisfactorily completed in April 1977 and I was now legally permitted to fly myself anywhere in Australia, with passengers. But I was keen to prove to myself that I could actually do that outside the context of navigation training flights where there is an instructor keeping an eye on the student throughout the training. The eastern states tour in July looked like a good start to me. After all, I had flown to Ballarat and to Phillip Island (from Geelong) since my nav training was completed, without getting lost. So far so good.

As things turned out, the Queensland adventure was a success. Apparently I could navigate (more or less), the engine kept going, and the Cessna 182 was a wonderful magic carpet to cover vast distances and visit exotic places on a schedule of our own making. My flying improved with experience over the years, but this first big month-long cross country adventure is a favourite memory.

I was given sound advice to upgrade to a larger faster aeroplane for this long trip. So a week before departure I gained my endorsement on a Cessna 182, which included learning how to operate a constant speed propeller. I book C182 VH-IVY for the month of July. The instructors at Grovedale (where I had done my navigation training) must’ve have held some concerns for the success of the planned trip as on the morning of departure, one of them gave me a quick briefing on how to use the ADF in the aircraft (which was not on the syllabus of any training I had done to that point). The ADF is a radio navigation aid which gives a bearing to or from a transmitter on the ground (a non-directional beacon or NDB) when within range of the transmitter. The briefing proved useful as I used the ADF during the trip.

Enjoyable memories from the trip include the following:

• On a morning walk in the main street of Bourke after an overnight stay in the outback NSW town, I witnessed two very old blokes meander slowly into each other’s visual range on the footpath under the wide shop verandahs, where they stopped and peered at each other. One of them said, “Is that you Eric?” Eric confirmed it was. (I can’t remember the actual name used, but I recall it was something age appropriate). “Haven’t seen you for fifty years”, the other said, followed by, “What have you been up to?” After a slight delay Eric responded, “Not much.”

• On day 8 of the trip the planned route was Charleville to Emerald via a scenic detour in the Carnarvon Range. Planned flight time was in excess of 2 hours. The actual scenic detour flown turned out to be more scenic and more of a detour than planned. Cloud had kept us low and we were out of range of any useful NDB. ‘Lost’ would be an overstatement, but ‘temporarily uncertain of our exact position’ would be pretty close to the mark. So I tracked south to a railway line and highway running east-west between Charleville and Roma, then flew west to Charleville where we landed after an hour and twenty-six minutes in the air. On giving my inbound radio call as we approached Charleville (for the second time in two days), I received the formal response confirming receipt of the transmission and advising as to relevant weather and traffic at the airport. He could’ve left it at that, but it was a quiet morning and the Charleville airport radio operator apparently couldn’t resist the wry rhetorical question, “How were the Carnarvons?” It was actually possible to hear the smile that accompanied that comment. I responded that they were very scenic. We filled the fuel tanks again, and headed off for Emerald where we landed 2:17 later after an enjoyable and uneventful flight over the Carnarvon Range.

• The adventure proceeded well for the five days after we left the Carnarvons behind us, with enjoyable flying around northern Queensland. We had overnight stops, mostly chosen on the run by a joint decision of the aircraft occupants, at Mackay, Brampton Island, Lindeman Island, Great Keppel Island, Gladstone, Bundaberg and Maryborough. A small tale lies behind the choice of Maryborough for an overnight stay on 14 July. By that stage of the trip there were four of us on the aircraft. We had booked accommodation at an agreed rate for a night at Orchid Beach resort towards the northern end of Fraser Island, and were given permission to land on their strip near the resort. It was around dusk when we landed, and as we were getting out of the aircraft a rather bumptious woman on a motor scooter rode up and told us she was there to collect the landing fee. The strip was bumpy, poorly maintained, short and had an upslope at both ends. It was rough and barely safe. I pointed out that we had bookings to stay at the resort, by way of gentle suggestion that a landing fee could not possibly apply to us. Surely the strip was there to encourage light aircraft passengers to visit and use (and pay for!) the resort accommodation. But no, she insisted the landing fee was payable. I told her to cancel the accommodation booking as we would be leaving to stay elsewhere. I pointed out that the airstrip was barely serviceable and it was ridiculous in the circumstances to charge a fee to visitors who were paying customers of the resort. She said that as we had landed, the fee was payable anyway. I disagreed. I loaded the passengers, boarded the aircraft and shut the doors which rendered her persistent and increasingly strident demands less audible. I did my pre-takeoff checks on the run as we taxied then took off for Maryborough as the sun was setting. She must have thought better of trying to cut us off on her scooter which I’m sure tempted her. We never heard any more about our rief visit to Orchid Beach. Half an hour later we landed at Maryborough aerodrome around last light with the runway lights on. Another first for me. We found good accommodation and did not have to pay any fee for use of an excellent sealed strip with runway lights and sealed taxiways.

I had no legal training at the time of the unreasonable demand for a landing fee. In hindsight though, it seems to me that the express terms of the oral contract formed at the time I rang and booked the accommodation and obtained express permission to use the airstrip were, that in consideration of my agreement to pay the amount asked for accommodation, I could use the airstrip (just as I could use the driveway and carpark at an ordinary motel without extra charge) and the resort bedroom and other facilities for the night. The attempt to levy an additional fee on landing was an attempt to add a term to the contract already formed, without any consideration for the variation. As such it was not an enforceable contractual term.

• After flying south via Maroochydore and Archerfield (Brisbane) we landed at Lismore and spent the night on a farm owned by a long standing friend of mine. One of the passengers was English, and had never ridden a horse. Brian had plenty of horses and was a very experienced cattle man. In typical bush fashion when we went for a ride, he ensured the novice was on a horse guaranteed to give him and the rest of us some entertaining memories. Somewhat satisfyingly, he came off pretty quickly on soft dirt covered in rich green grass but he seemed less entertained than the rest of us.

• En route from Lismore to Bankstown (Sydney) via Coffs Harbour, cruising at 8,000 feet above sea level, I saw a group of 4 or 5 pelicans soaring at that altitude. That is, their wings were not flapping when I saw them – they were in lift of some sort (probably a thermal)). It was a beautiful sight. The pelican is well known for its mastery of low speed and low level precision flight around boat ramps, bays with boats moored and beaches on quiet bays and rivers. It is not as well known they that are quite capable of sharing the air at altitudes normally associated with birds such as the wedge-tailed eagle.

As an aside, the pelican is also something of an entertainer, as evidenced by a solo performance I witnessed at Kingscote on Kangaroo Island recently.

• From Lismore we flew to Bankstown because I was keen to see Liz who lived in Sydney at the time. Navigating for the first time across suburban Sydney was exciting. The airport reunion occurred as planned. Neither of us knew then (even though I had high hopes), that Liz and I would eventually do a lot of flying together and spend the rest of our lives together.

• From Sydney we flew to Corowa then on to Grovedale where the adventure had commenced nearly a month earlier. We had planned an overnight stay with my good friends Peter (with whom I had shared a house while at the University of New England in Armidale NSW) and his wife Kim on their rural property near Rutherglen. Four blow-ins for a night is quite an imposition, but their hospitality was most generous. So it was with some trepidation that on the morning of planned departure after our one night stay, I announced that the weather over the Great Dividing Range between us and Geelong was not suitable for visual flight. It was mid winter after all. I don’t recall how I broke the news but I’m sure it would have included the suggestion that we would find a Best Western motel somewhere and seek out a taxi to get to it. But obviously the best solution for us was another night in the comfortable beds in large rooms and the pleasure of more great meals from Kim’s kitchen. That is in fact what happened, except that we ended up staying three nights before the weather cleared. Peter told me some years later that they were very concerned not to directly or even indirectly usher us off into the bad weather with the risk of flight into a thunderstorm. I remain grateful for their hospitality during that visit, and on many other occasions.

In one of the following chapters in this series of posts, I recount the story of the night I did fly into a thunderstorm.

To be continued

4 thoughts on “Flying Memories – Chapter 1 (of 10)

  1. Splendid adventures indeed John, keep them coming. I’d be interested to hear more about the landing on the wet strip with a half twist?


    1. Thank you Hughbert. There will be more chapters. The landing on the wet grass was simply an intentional ground loop in a tricycle undercarriage C172. Tail draggers haven’t completely monopolised the ground loop.


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