Working in the Cloud…RedBalloon style

I arrived at Camden airport at around 07.30 on a cold, wet, Monday morning to experience the flight of the ‘Tiger Moth‘.  We were greeted by two beautiful aircraft sitting outside hanger 53 – one yellow and one red.  Obviously I chose the yellow ‘Tiger Moth’ because everyone knows that yellow is always faster than red.  My pilot introduced us both and we hit it off from the start (Yellow and me).

 

Red V. Yellow!

Red V. Yellow!

Our pilot, who also agreed that yellow was the fastest, said it was time to get into the cockpit.  With one foot on the wing, I pulled myself up and lowered my body onto the seat where I was surrounded by Yellow’s old but trusty instrument panel.

I buckled up and the pilot gave me a quick guide of the cockpit and a thorough safety inspection.  My transformation was nearly complete…. I picked up the all-in-one leather helmet, goggles and headphones and slowly slipped it on.

All in one headset

All in one headset

For the next 30 minutes I will be known to my colleagues as ‘Biggles’, king of the sky.

Yellow and I taxied towards the runway and we completed our second safety check before manoeuvring onto the runway – we were good to go and with a loud roar, I was propelled down the grass runway by Yellow’s 130hp engine. Destination UP!

UP!

UP!

Liftoff was silky smooth and totally unexpected unlike the grin on my face which got bigger and bigger as our speed increased.  Soon we were high above the trees with awesome views of the land below, dotted with houses and swimming pools which continued as far as the eye could see.

View of Western Sydney

View of Western Sydney

Over the intercom came the voice of my co-pilot explaining that due to current weather conditions, we couldn’t climb high enough for aerobatic manoeuvres, but we could try a steep half turn to experience a little G-force.  Captain Biggles gave the OK and my co-pilot pulled back on the stick and Yellow responded with excitement.  I also joined in on the fun and let out a big ‘YEAH….SWEET’ as we swooped down towards the trees at around 160mph.

Soon it was time to return home, so Yellow and I headed along the river at a little over 500m towards the aerodrome.  Landing was just like take-off, silky smooth.

Back at the hanger I could see my colleagues waving in the distance so I sadly said my goodbye’s to Yellow while we continued down the runway towards hanger 53.

With our journey complete, I jumped out and gave Yellow one last look before she took off into the distance with Biggles in the cockpit.    What a fantastic way to spend the morning.  A 1940′s open-cockpit bi-plane, the open sky and an experienced co-pilot.    I still have some unfinished business with Yellow and that’s good weather and aerobatics.

Bring it on!!

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