Epilogue 1995 onwards

Following the loss of my AirlineTransport Pilot’s Licence in 1995 as a result of my first myocardial infarction (heart attack), I have occasionally hired aeroplanes for short sessions of dual.  The CAA advised that I could fly gliders solo but not with passengers.  I went solo with the Southdown Gliding Club but although it gave me a buzz I did not pursue this form of flight.  Whilst living in France for 10 years I had an extraordinary flight in an aircraft consisting of a girder, two seats, an engine and a wing.  It was extremely exhilarating, especially flying over the picturesque and exotic scenery of the Dordogne and Lot.  Back in England, I even tried the Virgin balloon experience – a very worthwhile adventure.  Now in my 81st year, I look back on my time in aviation with great fondness and a little pride.  Like so many others, I did make my small contribution and did so without causing death or destruction.  I have renewed my subscription to the Royal Aeronautical Society and can again put the recognition “FRAeS” after my name.  I will let my FCIT lie fallow as there is a limit to my finances!   I work with the local RAF Air Cadets instructing a wonderful group of young boys and girls on the squadron’s flight simulator.  I am also an “Ambassador” for the Aviation Skills Partnership next to Norwich Airport, where I give talks to visitors on aircraft operation and instruct on their three flight simulators.  This organisation has a number of functions and facilities, including an engineering training school, encouraging young people to take up a career in aviation.  As a member of the Felthorpe Flying Group, I  have occasionally flown in the C42 microlight owned by Bob Gotts, the generous owner of the airfield and two microlights and hope to experience the gyrocopter.  I have learnt that whereas my heart problems effectively prevent me from holding a private licence (£1,000 for the initial medical tests and the same every year thereafter), the CAA does now allow self-certification to fly microlights.  But perhaps I should be sensible and not seek to fly solo again.  Living in Norwich, I regularly hear the glorious roar of today’s jet fighters exercising overhead and recall the time, 60 years ago, when I was the one making the noise but in an aircraft, the Vampire T11, with a fraction of the power and the most basic of facilities.


A very basic micro-light – Domme airfield in the Department of Dordogne, France – A very exhilarating mode of flight.




These are beautiful aircraft weighing less than 350 kg AUW and are classed as microlights.  A holder of a UK driving licence can self certify medically provided one has no psychological history.