Congratulations Captain Mann

Okay, so today was a bit weird. Woke up as normal and did coffee and cereal. Planned my route all out again and drove up to Staverton. Then was told that the weather wasn’t good enough at the moment, but looked like it would clear up later. Then we waited. And waited, and waited, then had lunch and waited some more. Eventually we made the call at two forty-five that it was clearing and we were able to go. Quentin arrived in an R44 in about 20 minutes from about 100 odd miles away. He was easily the most eccentric person I have ever come across. I was busy redoing all by headings as the new spot wind chart was now valid.

We started out well with the ‘A’ check and passenger briefing. Got off to a good start, out the airfield, up to Tirley Bridge and then set heading, all was fine until we got over that mountain, exactly the same thing as before over these things, you get way off course, blown massively to the right. Thankfully I knew where I was, so got to the town and took the wrong road out of it, so doubled back and picked the right one and found the building. Then we did the track crawl which was fine and then the VOR with the diversion. We then did a load of emergencies and forced landings. Some IMC stuff with the goggles, all okay. Then we did our confined landing, towering takeoff, which was a tad cruel as he put me about ten foot from the tree. We did some quick stops at about a thousand feet, then a load of vortex ring recovery stuff, tail rotor stalls. Back to airfield, where I did a couple of auto’s, one on to the ground. Low power takeoff and landing. Slopes. Then did some hovering in a square round a pattern and then it was all over.

So apart from the nav going a bit wonky, which in the end turned out fine, as I used captaincy to solve the issue and worked out where I was, it was actually great fun. Parked it up and shut it down. That was it, almost two hours, all over. So in the end it was about sixty-five hours, of which ten was solo, including a 100 nautical mile cross-country landing at two away aerodromes. Nine ground exams, one practical radio telephony exam and finally a skills test. And enough money to buy quite a nice BMW. All done. All complete. I now have a helicopter pilots license. How useless is that? What next? JCB license, how about a fork-lift truck.

One things for certain. I ain’t going in an R22 again for a few weeks. Mind you, Ben has asked if I’d be interested in going up on November the fifth, we can do some filming in the dark.

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