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The Hitchhiker

A trying day. The weather was pretty awful until late afternoon and this morning I had to fly one aircraft to Rochester, to collect a second to take to Deanland for a maintenance inspection.

It was hard enough to find Rochester in the first place and when I did, it was to find my my old friend 'Captain Bob' there as well, having arrived in the big 'Long Ranger' helicopter a little earlier. Nobody else it seems was crazy enough to be flying.

After a delay of an hour while I waited for a predicted improvement in the weather, which never came, the wind was now gusting close to 30kts and so I decided to make an initial try for Deanland. All well and good until I reached Maidstone when all of a sudden, I felt I had been rammed by a truck in mid-air and dropped several hundred feet. My head slammed into the aircraft roof and any loose item was flung across the aircraft. This was turbulence of a kind that I have never experienced before but fortunately it was gone as quickly as it appeared, leaving the aircraft intact and me with a headache and a sore neck.

Having arrived in one piece at Deanland, the inspection revealed a fractured fuel tank neck, effectively grounding the aircraft until it can be repaired. This left me marooned near Brighton, with another aircraft at Rochester and a motorcycle at Herne Bay. Fortunately, Captain Bob came to the rescue and trundled over with the helicopter to collect me and return me to Rochester.

I guess that's one real and lucky advantage of working and having friends in the aviation business; not having to worry too much over trains and motorways when one gets stuck at a distant airfield

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