So, today was the big day… the first day of official flying after MYRO had received its Permit to Fly. I wanted to do something to commemorate the event so I thought I’d set up my camcorder next to me in the cabin and see if I could record MYRO’s first official flight in my ownership. Here’s how the camcorder looked when mounted in position – pretty neat I thought.
So after checking and fuelling MYRO up, I strapped myself in, fired up the engine, pressed the camcorder ‘start’ button and set off for the wide blue yonder. Luckily I took my little still camera too because when I got back after over an hour’s flying, I found that the camcorder hadn’t even started! But you win some and you lose some – no movie to show for it, but at least my still pics came out not too bad, and here they are 🙂
I took off on runway 29 and after climbing out, I turned to head east. This shot, taken shortly after take off, is looking northwards with Stoke airfield where MYRO was check-flown last week, although you can’t make it out, slap bang in the middle of the shot, on the farthest-most shoreline in the far distance.
It’s too far to be very distinct, although you can see it pretty clearly if you click on the pic and then on the magnify link, but the beautiful Leeds Castle is just below the centre of the shot in the middle of its lake and surrounded by green fields. The next shot is of the City of Canterbury with its famous cathedral in its centre and was taken just after I’d turned onto a north-easterly heading.
I’ve never yet managed to get a good shot of Canterbury because I’ve always been just too far away but I’ll do it one day soon. The next picture is of the town of Whitstable which is on the Thames Estuary. You can clearly see the wind farm that has been built some way off-shore out in the estuary itself.
I had originally intended to fly right up to Whitstable before turning west to head back along the North Kent coast. However, there was a brisk wind today and the northerly component was obviously stronger than I’d allowed for. As a consequence this leg of my flight took quite a bit longer than I’d allowed for, so I decided to turn onto a westerly heading before Whitstable just in case my fuel level might start to get a bit low later on. I shot this next pic at about the time I did the first part of my turn.
You can see the Essex coast in the distance on the far side of the Thames Estuary and the pic shows the Isle of Sheppey just coming into view on the left. The next pic is a much closer view of the eastern end of the Isle of Sheppey with Essex in the distance beyond. Southend Airport is somewhere in that direction.
As I headed west towards Sittingbourne, I passed abeam the small town of Faversham which I’ve shown viewed from the north in the next shot.
I then decided to save some fuel by turning to the south of Sittingbourne to intersect my originally planned track to head back to Linton. As I did so I took my last picture of the day, the beautiful Leeds Castle.
I want to get some much closer shots of the castle and there will be other days, but for the time being, this one will suffice.
I returned to Linton and landed without incident in quite a brisk, gusting cross-wind actully, after spotting the field from some way out. I’m already beginning to recognise the local features I’m pleased to say that will allow me to do that even more easily in the future. The day wasn’t over by any means. After a chat and a cuppa with Bob and Lee I decided to go off for one more short flight to make the most of the day as it was a rather special one. This time I went off to the west as far as West Malling and then returned flying along the ridge over Coxheath and then round Linton and down to Staplehurst in the south.
I was flying at about 1500ft and could see Headcorn quite clearly in the distance. Although I was on the very much extended runway 29 centre line some way outside the airfield zone, an extraordinary thing happened. The air over Kent is pretty busy so you have to keep your eyes open and I’d seen several other aircraft during the day, including a tug towing a glider out of the Kent Gliding Club at Challock earlier in the day, which I’d watched climbing out and passing some way behind me. But I was amazed to see a yellow and white Robin aircraft that had obviously just taken of from Headcorn pass about 500ft directly below me on a track that intersected mine at 90 degrees. I saw him come and go, but I don’t think he saw me. He passed directly over Staplehurst and at about 1000ft, was a bit low in my book.
So the day came to an end. It gave me immense satisfaction after having put the work into MYRO that I did and it’s not easy to explain the pleasure of being able to take to the air in your own aircraft more or less whenever you want to without having to ask permission or being beholden to anyone. Other microlighters I’ve spoken to have said the same and I’m proud to be able to join them and be a part of that privileged group.