Thursday, 25 April 2019

ML407 flight video arrived

Some screen shots of the excellent quality in-cockpit video - 

"I have control..."

Bandits at 3 o'clock...

Say cheese...
Going vertical...



Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Hangarage Shuffleage...

During my post lunch saunter managed to catch the Lysander being pulled out to go down to ARCo...

"Lettice" also glimpsed the blue sky briefly...




Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Spitfire Flight #2 - ML407 G-LFIX

Arriving at Sywell Aerodrome today, the weather was looking promising enough to be able to fly in "The Grace Spitfire" ML407/G-LFIX with Ultimate Warbird  Flights (UWF). The forecast of thunder and snow/hail was thankfully either late or had taken a turn to somewhere else.

It was my first visit to Sywell and it's a nice little aerodrome. The Aviator Hotel's style is Art Deco (as seems to be the general 'theme' of the 'drome) and it's a splendid looking place for fans of the Art Deco look (of which I am one).  UWF use a room in the hotel for briefings and for family and friends to sit in while fittings for helmet and flight suit were made.

After we'd all been sorted out with the right size baby grows, it was a stroll out to ML407 (sitting on the apron with TF-51 Mustang "Contrary Mary") for the comprehensive safety briefing relating to the aircraft systems and emergency drills. The rapid deployment parachute used for the flight was then shown and it's operation covered.

With the technical stuff all covered it was back to the Aviator to await our respective slots. I was second flight of the morning so watched the first flight taxi and take off.

With the first flight back on the ground it was time to return to ML407 and get strapped into my 'chute. Andy Durston was my pilot and ML407 was fired up and we zig zagged our way to the threshold to take off. Due to the grass being a bit soft from the rain/hail the previous day the hard runway was being used today. The first flight had taxied all the way down to the 21 end of the runway but the wind had shifted by flight 2 to allow takeoff from the 03 end, so a relatively short taxi. With pre-flight checks run through it was time to go flying.

The roar of the Merlin could be heard over the snug fitting helmet as we raced down the runway and soon we were aloft. A steep wingover to the left and we were quickly joined by the Vans RV7 'camera ship' for an air to air photo and it soon peeled away to leave us alone. The dark clouds were soon left below us and we flew around and between big fluffy white Cumulonimbus which at one point you felt you could reach out and ruffle with your hand.

The view from the snug rear cockpit was superb (beating any First Class seat in an airliner) and I felt it was closer to being in the front cockpit than the Vickers variant of T9 - the view forward along the connecting tunnel is better and the canopy style is more aesthetically pleasing too.
I think RJM would have done it this way.
We did some more wing overs and a aileron roll followed by a barrel roll and as my breakfast was staying where it should, I opted for the loop as well!!! Another barrel roll was thrown in just to double check!!

Andy allowed me to fly for a good part of the 25 minute flight and again the control input required to carry out a manoeuvre is minimal. As we dropped down below the cloud base to head back it got a bit lumpy but nothing ML407 couldn't handle and Andy gave me a couple of 360˚ orbits to perform while waiting for the Blades aerobatics team to taxi and takeoff. Then, all to soon it was back to Sywell and a with a run in and break, flaps went down, gear followed and a gentle return to terra firma. Taxi back and all too soon it went quiet.

This was my second flight in a Spitfire (MJ627 was my first in 2015) and as we flew around the columns of clouds, I thought of a family friend, S/Ldr John Niven DFC* OC 485(NZ), flying ML407 over Northern France 75 years ago, and all the other young men who took off in defence of freedom.

Aug 3 1944 Spitfire IXB ML407 Target Support Cover - 20000' Lille Ostend area covering 300 Halifaxes on Noball at Foret Le Nieppe. Very hazy. Bad for strafing. Little flak from St.Omer & Hesdin.

Ultimate Warbird Flights were great hosts and did their best to ensure the day was memorable. With the doubt about what the weather today would do, they moved timings around to ensure there were no disappointments caused by the forecast.

Now, what next?...

No sick bags were abused during this flight