Tuesday, 25 April 2017

First flight of G-DKGM - a Cameron 0-56

Last week Tuesday the 19th of April saw the first flight of our brand-new ultra light-weight Cameron 0-56 G-DKGM! 

In matching colours G-BKGM and G-DKGM will hopefully depart together on the 20th of June for their world adventure heading first for Iceland, then Greenland and northern Canada before arriving at Oshkosh/USA

Taking off from a lovely private country house the two balloons rose to the skies with fellow pilot Ian Parsons taking those photos. Thank you very much Ian for those!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Betty taking off from Charlton Park!

Enjoy a photo taken by Pete Bish at Charlton Park with Tim Darrah at the controls and Phil on board as 'Betty' takes off for her short flight to Gloucester Airport where she will be undergoing her annual inspection over the next few weeks.

In the meantime the team is busy preparing everything for a planned departure from Bristol on the
                                                      20th of June
So watch this space and keep fingers firmly crossed that we will finally get going!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Betty is spreading her wings again!

Tim Darrah at the controls
After a long hibernation at her stately home Betty finally spread her wings again and flew under the careful eyes of Tim Darrah (and Phil) back to Gloucestershire airport.

getting Betty ready at Charlton Park
Simon Wrighton (ATC Bristol)

I sadly missed taking any photos of her take off and landing as someone had to drive the car!

Thanks also so much for Roger Shepherd for his hard work over the winter and taking care of her. The engines started without any problems and all was back into one piece (despite the mice attack!)
Roger Shepherd chasing unwelcomed passengers
The Beech will undergo her annual inspection at RGV Staverton and then we will start a new attempt at doing the Trans-Atlantic crossing by mid-June. Keep fingers crossed!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Getting Betty ready for a second attempt to cross the Atlantic

A new year, a new start!

It's been a while since I have last posted anything on this blog as Roger, the best Beech 18 engineer, had put Betty into her 'winter hibernation' beauty sleep at Charlton Park/Malmesbury. 

Phil and I in the meantime went out to Burma to earn some urgently money with ballooning to pay for Betty's expensive life-style. We are now back for the summer and keen to start again on our project with a new team of pilots and a beautiful aeroplane that's probably never been in better shape than right now!

But Betty has been under serious threat of being eaten alive by little hungry rodents, if it hadn't been for the bravery of Roger trying to save her life (not without sacrificing parts of his body on her account!).

Read the story here as seen through Roger's eyes: 

Roger Shepherd, Beech 18 engineer
Saturday the 18th of March

"Hi Allie,

Thank you for your concern; UK has been very mild, windy and overcast with sporadic rain showers ..... perfect weather for a very unusual and entertaining day at Charlton Park with Betty.  I had hoped that if all had gone to plan I would have been able to wrap things up today ........ wrong!

The last job on my "to do list" was to clear out the storage hold "loo cubicle in other words" only to find when opening the door I came face to face with two dotty black eyes! Yes you have guessed it, we have uninvited guests ...... four of them in fact. 
A visit to show Betty to Phil's daughter Philippa
(.....) I will return to Charlton Park and proceed to extract the little ba....ds leaving Betty ready to depart CP in a condition that we are all accustomed to."

Sunday March 19th 2017

"Hello Allie,

What a day, 4 mice caught with one (suspected) in the right hand wing!!!

Phil and Philippa enjoying a 'sit in'
If your ears were burning today .... than that was because of me; the mess that these mice made and the task of unscrewing both the loo cubicle and rear cabin floor boards to remove all traces of them left me heated under the collar so to speak and to top it all I broke the glass on my mobile phone!

I can now confirm that the wiring did not appear to be to their taste which is unusual as it normally appears on their menu; I can only assume that they were bloody fussy.

I should think that the language I adopted to sedate my frustration was enough for the mice to pack up and move out!"

Sunday the 22nd of March:Roger returns for a final inspection

"Without fail, I must carry out a detail visual inspection in Betty's rear end (pardon the pun) as it is imperative that any damaged cables etc. will have to be repaired or replaced. In addition, my main concern is that they may have found away under the floor boards allowing them easy access into the cockpit area.

In retrospect I realised that these so-called mice looked rather large to me and with that I hope I am not dealing with rats.
Me and Pip
I wonder what a potential employer would think if he saw "rat catcher" in amongst my summary of experience!

That's it for now; I will keep you and Phil posted."

Betty facing up Lord Suffolk's aeroplane
Betty ready to spread her wings and get out of her cage!

NOTE: We are planning to get Betty flown back to Staverton this coming Saturday the 1st of April. If all goes well, she will hopefully arrive at Gloucester Airport sometime between 1-2pm! Watch out for her!
And the brand new 0-56 in G-DKGM  ready!

A reminder of the planned routing (probably simplified)

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

If you miss seeing Betty flying, watch this great video by Kevin McDonald!

Betty flying into her winter home at Charlton Park

After a frustrating summer missing public displays and opportunities for Trans-Atlantic departure due mainly to pilot availability - we finally got Betty into a lovely winter home at Charlton Park Estate near Malmesbury.
She was flown by pilots Tim Darrah and Ed Dablin taking off from Staverton/Gloucestershire airport on a glorious autumn day coming past the stately mansion house and landing in calm winds on the Estate's westerly runway 25.
 After a safe landing, Betty was skilfully towed into the hangar by the very helpful estate manager on a tractor sparing only a few inches on either side of her wings. That was tight!

 It was sad to see her going to rest again after she’s performed so well on today’s flight.
One day for sure Betty will finally embark on her epic journey around the world -  for now at least she has got a good and safe home for the winter!

It was particularly nice that the Earl of Suffolk & Berkshire and his entire family including many grand-children were at home to watch this impromptu aviation day which even included a launch of our baby hopper G-HEXE!

Thursday, 4 August 2016

The Beech at the Weston-Super-Mare Airshow 2016 (photos by Peter White)

The Beech at the Weston-Super-Mare Airshow 2016

'Betty the Beech' at the Weston-Super-Mare Airshow 2016
photo by Peter White