As a pilot, one of the most satisfying moments I have found is the opportunity to fly around members of my family or friends.
During flight training...
It was always a great adventure to take somebody up during those hour building cross countries and see the delight in their faces as you demonstrated your new found talents in an ageing and tatty Cessna 152. Many years later, I had the privilege of flying my parents for the first time on a Britten-Norman Trislander when they came to visit me in the Channel Islands. Despite the heat of the summer afternoon, turbulence and the racket made by the three Lycoming flat-six pistons, it was a very proud occasion for them too!
Recently, I was rostered to fly my current aircraft, an Embraer Phenom 300 from Luton to Stansted on an empty leg and saw this as a great opportunity to bring my wife and two younger children along. Having spoken to Sarah in our operations department, she was able to authorise the request and completed all the necessary paperwork for the flight.
The evening before the flight, I informed my wife Linda and our two children Zain (7yrs) and Alayna (5yrs) about the trip. I wish I had recorded the reactions of the children which were more exuberant than when we had told them that we were going to Disney!
Preparing for the journey
It was going to be an early start the next morning but I had no trouble waking up the kids. Alayna was actually fully dressed and ready to go even before I had woken up! We arrived at Luton Signature and Zain asked to accompany me to the ‘operations’ room to see how it all works. Paperwork completed, we proceeded to the aircraft for the pre-flight and got everyone settled in.
Accompanied by my colleague Stefan and myself at the controls, we did the short hop to Stansted in a gorgeous CAVOK (sunshine and blue skies) morning. With light winds, the landing was as smooth as I had prayed for and a routine yet special flight had come to an end. The kids had found the experience absolutely thrilling and did not stop talking about it for days after. They even wrote a report for their classes about their day out at dad’s work. My wife, who I have flown around in an array of aircraft over the past several years, was highly impressed and concluded that this had been the most comfortable experience ever. I can agree to that without doubt!
Not only was it a great day out, it was also an insight to my working day at LEA. Work is no longer a mystery to the kids and they can now visualise my day when I tell them I am going flying and that is priceless. A big thanks to Stefan Pedersen for entertaining the kids throughout.....now to make that very special entry in my logbook.