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Tiger Tiger

Spring has arrived in earnest and with it, Bumble Bees the size of small helicopters.

Still working from my house by the coast, I took a couple of hours this morning to fly over to Headcorn to pick up some oil.

My wife caught speeding again.

Between Canterbury and Ashford it was still quite foggy, so I positioned myself over the Channel Tunnel Terminal at Ashford and then followed the railway line and my GPS for a ‘straight-in’ approach to Headcorn’s runway 29, looking out for the inevitable lycra-coloured parachutists on the way.

Headcorn is always a busy airfield. Hordes of skydivers and lots of light aircraft of all makes. It’s probably best known as the home of the ‘Tiger Club’, as in the vintage Tiger Moth aircraft they fly and its where I learned to fly ‘tail wheel’ on a Piper Cub.

If like me, you happen to be a passing pilot, you’ll have discovered that the landing fee can be waived if you buy half a lamb. I don’t eat lamb and couldn’t really imagine trying to cram the corpse of one into my Cessna either but there’s obviously no shortage of them and a lot more on the way, looking at the little wooly things skipping about the fields around Kent.

So, a cup of coffee and a chat at the Tiger Club and six litres of W80 Oil stuffed into my small luggage space for the trip back to Maypole Farm.

From above, Canterbury is still rather murky and there’s no radar information service available from Manston but the Cathedral can be seen for miles even if other aircraft can’t. Fly-on until the Sturry lakes appear and then it’s turn left, pull-back the power, lights-on, flaps down and ease back into the farm strip which is very easy to miss, even when you know where it is.

There’s an almost dream-like quality to flying sometimes. Richard Bach captures the surreal world of pilots in his book ‘Illusions’, which I should read again one day.

Back to earth and back to work on email and the Data Protection Act.

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