In 2011, I joined Phoenix Flying School based at Netherthorpe Airfield near Worksop and undertook a course of instruction, including written exams and completing 45 hours of flying. Netherthorpe is a great airfield in which to learn, it’s small, but busy and the flying club is really sociable. As well as providing trial flights and tuition, they also have a fleet of five aircraft and I still fly there now.
I’ve now held my PPL for three years and have about 110 hours total flight experience logged. I also chose to gain an additional qualification, an IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions) rating which allows me to fly in cloud or reduced visibility so increasing safety. Most of the IMC training was conducted under a hood, essentially to prevent the pilot from seeing outside the aircraft and ensure he or she flies purely on instruments.
I particularly enjoy the challenge of mastering the technical element which is extremely rewarding. It’s great fun planning flights and flying to different destinations – it’s amazing to have the freedom to fly down to Bournemouth or Skegness for fish and chips! One of the best trips I’ve made was arriving by plane at Duxford Spring Car Show. So far, I’ve only flown in the UK, but I’d love to do a tour round Europe. I feel really privileged to be able to enjoy such a fantastic hobby and I love taking up friends and colleagues to share the experience – next month I’m taking a client up for the first time.
I fly about once a month as it is quite an expensive hobby, but the thrill makes it worth every penny. My favourite aircraft is the Cessna 172 which is a four seat aircraft with a cruising speed of 110 knots (127 mph) and can reach northern France in under two hours.
I’m keen to fly larger aircrafts and would also like to gain a night rating. Flying provides the constant challenge of trying to perfect a skill as well as the excitement of doing something completely different, not to mention the stunning views which so few people are fortunate enough to enjoy.