Friday, May 04, 2012

Cross Channel Visitor

I'm just back from Calais and I will put up some more detail and I hope video of the model Spitfire flight as it comes together. It arrived safely at Manston after a low-level crossing of the Channel as the weather was pretty miserable in places.

To be honest, I didn't think we would get away with it today but the mist and low cloud lifted sufficiently around lunchtime for me to scramble-out to Calais with visibility over the Channel still very poor.

I really don't like flying at low-level over the sea as if the engine hiccoughs then one is in the water pretty quickly and without time to call-in a Mayday.

Anyway, I found Calais which loomed out of a bank of mist. The other aircraft and the model were being laid out on the apron with the help of the airport's very obliging 'Pompiers'. The French are always very welcoming and laid-back about General Aviation and so once Mike Booth's labour of love was all prepared, it was carried on to the main runway, started-up and off it went with the other aircraft, with its controller in hot pursuit.

I came off the blocks next with a photographer and promptly lost sight of mother-ship and model in 500 foot cloud over the coast, so I climbed-up to 4,000 feet, through the clouds into the bright sunshine, to avoid any chance of hitting the other aircraft en-route.

At Dover I left the bright sunshine above the clouds and came back down again through the mist and drizzle and with help from Manston radar, linked-up with the model and it's accompanying Eurostar aircraft over Pegwell Bay. For a model aircraft, it's very fast indeed and incredibly maneuverable, moving along at nearly 100mph. Then it was back into Manston, where the model Spitfire landed perfectly on the big runway and then was quickly retrieved by the fire crew, before a Learjet on circuits came around again.

I have made a video of the trip from Calais back to Manston but I'm struggling with Apple's iMovie, which I have never used before It is simply a condensed view of the flight and I'm not expecting any BAFTA's for the very raw production quality either. The model is almost impossible to see as it's so small and quick. as for the famous 'White Cliffs', I didn't see them!

Finally and on a quite different note, I didn't see anyone from the Thanet Gazette covering the story when we landed this afternoon and so will send in so e pictures. I haven't had a chance to buy and read the local paper today, so I may get one in the morning and quite possibly pass comment on what Thanet news they have been especially creative with this week!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At last! A good use for Manston- model aircraft capital of Kent!