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If you're gonna impulse buy, think big.

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Last September I was at a loose end. I've been a carer for some years as well as earning a living. Eventually we both decided that our relationship was becoming corroded by the load on me so I moved out Monday to Friday and went to live an hour closer to work.

We're much happier now and the arrangement suits us well but I found myself with a big hole in my life until one of the contract staff brought in a copy of Loop. Although I once blew half my life savings to get across the Atlantic very quickly (and ran up the fuselage so I could be the fastest man not in space), I had not realised that I had read every scrap and snippet concerning aeroplanes that had ever been in front of my nose. True, I'd been in a flying club in my teens but then cars, women, responsibilities and the next 35 years just sort of happened.

There was a buyer's guide to the Eurostar in Loop. The guide said it was a microlight. you could fly it on a microlight licence. I spent most of the same evening in the Googlesphere learning all about microlights and the training. You could fly one to France. You could land one in a friendly farmer's field over there and you would have enough range to finally stick two fingers up to the ferry companies who took all day to get you there and then charged you for an extended stay at a higher daily rate than I paid for the house there. I could visit Mum in Ipswich without the M3,M25, A12 hatefulness. I did some sums. If I worked myself hard all winter, I'd have enough for a course, glasses, books, fares, etc. By then the car would be paid off and I could charm the cost of an aeroplane out of the bank, perhaps.

Well, That's the way it worked out. I'm scheduled to learn with Wanafly in Southern France in late May, through to mid June.
I've rented a garage that is unlikely to be big enough and I've bought a Minimax. I've been royally ripped off on a tow car and had to buy another but at least that is a going concern I've Joined the LAA, Hampshire microlight Flying club, The Minimax Club, Lee Flying Association and several fora, bought two new pairs of spectacles, had my medical declaration signed off and read Cosgrove and Weighell in the hope that some of it may sink in.

It doesn't look like getting any less busy, either. I'm expecting a call from the former owner of G-BZOR any day now to tell me that he is back from his hols and then I have to borrow Mr Lewinson's trailer on my way from Poole to East Fortune in order to get my prize home before going home for Easter and locking myself away to revise. Nobody said it was going to be easy. Nobody said it was going to be cheap. Everybody says it is going to be fun. I hope they're right three times out of three.

In the next instalment: Can I get it back down South and will it fit the garage?

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  1. tomshep's Avatar
    Not a good start. Apart from spelling Mr Lewinton's name incorrectly, my intro posting got deleted and locked. Dunno why, and it took some time to work out how to post the picture.
  2. PeteCymru's Avatar
    Welcome Tom - I believe you're just having to go through the standard quarantine period due to too many idiots on the internet - your post is visible again now...

    Nice choice, the Minimax - its got a few fans on here, including me, but to be honest as a student still I'm not sure I'm brave enough to try a taildragger yet but hey, others have done it so best of luck!

  3. jjones's Avatar
    awesome post.

    loving "Although I once blew half my life savings to get across the Atlantic very quickly (and ran up the fuselage so I could be the fastest man not in space)"

    guessing concorde, missed that opportunity myself would have loved to have done, you are one of a very small club!

    best of luck with the training, it's challenging and fun.
  4. paramotorpilot's Avatar
    Good blog Tom. I live close to Wanafly, you'll find Dave and James great company and I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

    It would be nice to say hello if I'm over while you're there,
  5. tomshep's Avatar
    Thanks all. Alan, I'm arriving May 21 and staying for three weeks so that's highly likely.