The truth be told, it does go into a little more detail; think of a complete MOT lasting over an hour with an ECG, sight, sound, blood tests, you name it and my index finger remains sore while typing. Christmas is an official disaster, having put on some weight, which now has to go and I'm looking forward to several weeks of not eating all those things I like best.
In fact, the medical should have been yesterday, so my apologies for missing the Blessing of the Sea in Margate this morning. It's been a hectic couple of days.
On Friday morning, I was up very early to take advantage of the good weather and catch a train up to Leeds Bradford Airport, to collect a replacement aircraft (pictured) for the one wrecked at Manston by the small hurricane on Christmas Eve. It needs a complete refit in order to be fit for purpose and so on Saturday morning, another day of fabulous sunshine, I flew this from Manston down to the maintenance facility near Hastings, where it will be about four weeks being fiddled-with and serviced, until I'm back in business flying banners again.
I caught the train back from Hastings to Margate, via Ashford and was interrupted by a local pilot friend, calling me from Devon, asking if I had an aircraft available. Apparently, he and the aircraft owner of a very nice Mooney, only recently imported into this country, had a narrow escape while landing this little beast and had wrecked the aircraft but both walked away unscathed. Could I come and retrieve them back to Manston before the airport closed?
So, I called TG Aviation at Manston, who very kindly hired me their quick Piper Arrow and started preparing it while I was still on the train. Thanks to the wonders of technology, I was able to do all my flight-planning work on my iPad, before I reached Margate and another good friend, an instructor at Manston, came along with me for the ride, which helps reduce the workload.
In bright sunshine, we left Manston at 2pm and were down near Exeter by 3:30pm, transiting over the top of Southampton airport. Visibility at 4,000 feet was outstanding and the extent of the flooding in Dorset and across the Somerset Levels is so dramatic, it has to be seen to be believed.
|Dashing Down to Devon|
The view over the south of the country last evening was almost as good as the daytime and the lights of Ramsgate were easily visible to the naked-eye from as far away as Ashford. We arrived home on Manston's runway just before 6pm and by then I was feeling a little fatigued.
I was sorry to read yesterday that the 2014 Manston Airshow has been cancelled, as it appears the new owner isn't as enthused over the idea as many local people might be. Without doubt, with both bad weather and traffic, 2013 had its problems but a huge following. I had hoped that 2014 would have been a watershed moment for the project but it's not to be. At this time, I have no idea if the present Labour administration have any plans for a Margate event instead.