Skip to main content

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

Popular posts from this blog

A Matter of Drones - Simon Moores for The Guardian

I have a drone on my airfield” – a statement that welcomes passengers to the latest dimension in air-travel disruption. Words of despair from the chief operating officer of Gatwick airport in the busiest travel week of the year. Elsewhere, many thousands of stranded and inconvenienced passengers turned in frustration to social media in an expression of crowd-sourced outrage.

How could this happen? Why is it still happening over 12 hours after Gatwick’s runways were closed to aircraft, why is an intruder drone – or even two of them – suspended in the bright blue sky above the airport, apparently visible to security staff and police who remain quite unable to locate its source of radio control?

Meanwhile, the UK Civil Aviation Authority, overtaken by both the technology and events, is reduced to sending out desperate tweets warning that an airport incursion is a criminal offence and that drone users should follow their new code of conduct. Yet this is not an unforeseen event. It was i…
A Christmas Tale

It’s pitch blackness in places along the sea wall this evening and I'm momentarily startled by a small dog with orange flashing yuletide antlers along the way. I’m the only person crazy enough to be running and I know the route well enough to negotiate it in the dark, part of my Christmas exercise regime and a good way of relieving stress.

Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.



I was warned that the Playmobil ‘Pirate Ship’ had driven some fathers to drink or suicide and now I understand why. If your eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’ve had a few drinks with your Christmas lunch then it’s a challenge best left until Boxing day but not an option if you happen to have a nine year old daughter who wants it ready to take horses by tea time.

Perhaps I should stick to technology but then, the instruc…

An Ockham of Gatwick

The 13th century theologian and philosopher, William of Ockham, who once lived in his small Surrey village, not so very far from what is today, the wide concrete expanse of Gatwick airport is a frequently referenced source of intellectual reason. His contribution to modern culture was Ockham’s Razor, which cautions us when problem solving, that “The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct;” sound advice which constantly proves to be true.

A week further-on since Britain’s second busiest airport was bought to a complete standstill by two or perhaps two hundred different drone sightings, it is perhaps time to revisit William of Ockham’s maxim, rather than be led astray by an increasingly bizarre narrative, one which has led Surrey police up several blind alleys with little or nothing in the way of measurable results.

 Exploring the possibilities with a little help in reasoning from our medieval friar, we appear to have a choice of two different account…