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Whitters course diary. 14th 15th March


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The following is a description of my experience of the second stage (the flying and teaching bit) of this course for those who may be interested. Excuse my spelling!!

14th March 09. Long drive from Cornwall to the Chan' tunnell via Piers Dent 's house arriving France in the evening. We drove further down to a laybye 32KM South East of Dieppe near Saint Saens for a sleep. Sleep was assisted by a few beers and some of Pierrs single malt whisky.

15th March 09 woke to a frosty start in blue sky still air. Decided to fly some of the route as we have got all day to get to Airvault. Lovely flying conditions with a 6-8mph wind to assist me along at 36 to 38mph ground speed. Navigating arround airspace took me away from the main road that the others were driving down.

I landed near a fuel station after just under 3 hours (97 miles) to learn that the rest of the team were a further 90 miles south. This put pressure on me to make a good take-off without incident and fly the rest of the route. The fuel station only took cards so I had to persuade a French lady to take my cash whilst we used her card to buy my fuel. I only had 15 Euro on me which was just enough to nearly fill my tank. I had a bottle of TTS in my harness but only just enough for the fuel I had put in.

Eventually took off after a bit of engine problems (wouldn't start) and headed south. less airspace as I progress making it easier to fly a more direct route. Goal being just South of Thouars. Approaching Thouars I had just 1 ltr of fuel left, I was unsure where the team were and my headset had stopped working so couldn't get them on radio. I had been sending Pierrs Texts from my phone whilst in flight (1st for me) which is a bit of a worry with ice cold fingers and no lanyard on the phone.

Rather than risk running out of fuel over the city I decided to land near the main route in to Thouars nexto the Macdonalds. Pierrs drove the 6 to 8 miles to retrieve me. I now realise I could have made the last few miles but better safe than sorry by risking it.

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