In 2011 I auction myself off at the two charity balls for Cystic Fibrosis Trust. I agreed to complete any challenge to the highest bidder that they were prepared to do with me and excluded spiders and peas. My niece placed the highest bid and I was signed up to complete wing walking by 11 Dec 2013. On 9 October, during a two week window when Lowenna had returned from Australia, we headed to an airfield north of Cirencester on a sunny morning, ready to stand atop a bi-plane as it flew around the Gloucestershire countryside.
My Dad and sister, Ange, (Lowenna’s Mum), joined us as the plane flies fairly low and within about a one mile radius of the airfield meaning you can easily watch, unlike a skydive where you start as barely a dot in the sky when you leave the plane!! I elect Lowenna went first, being the thrill junky she is, and off she went. The briefing consists of getting into a warm body suit and goggles and boarding the wing above the cockpit and just being told the essentials.
Lowenna headed off and we could tell was loving it as she waved her arms around as she flew around, above us and I gulped at the impending dips etc I would be subjected to. I hate being launched and hate the sudden motion of a dip! Anyone who has witnessed my bungee jump DVD will know how horrified I sounded as I jumped!
Lowenna returned, smiling and full of it and next up I climbed into my boiler suit and boarded the flight. Stood atop the wings before we started all seemed ok, bar it was generally a cold wind. Then the engine started and the wind alone from the propeller was suffice! We taxied put and then the engine roared and we sped off across the field and into the air. Amazingly it wasn’t as bad as feared, apart from the feel of the G-force on your face (hits max of 3G) and it was causing my eyes to water. It also caused my left contact lense to pop out and I spent the remaining nine and a half minutes with one clear eye and a contact lense pinging about inside the goggles! The dips were the only sensation where you both hit the highest g-force as you dropped steeply, banked then quickly dropped and my gut went. I said put my arms out, waved and then held on as it was less trouble not trying to beat the wind resistance!! The landing was also less scary than expected, but I certainly felt like jelly at the end. As I disembarked, I confirmed the stray contact lense issue but on removing the goggles carefully it wasn’t present and I decided against searching the four or so square miles of the flight zone!
I had completed the challenge – and we purchased the videos as proof to go with the pictures we had managed to get. (Well, most of us – Ange failed on any of Lowenna as she had the camera switched the wrong way on an Iphone and ended up with numerous photo’s of her coat!) I also had now successfully lost a complete set of contact lenses over a month after the right one disappearing at the triathlon.
Many thanks for the support and an edited video of the two flights is now on youtube.
Roger (Dad), Lowenna, Lucas and Ange with the plane
Lucas and Lowenna with the pilot after their wing walking
Lowenna gets strapped in/on pre flight
Lowenna heading off into the sky...
Lucas prepares for take off as he is strapped in/on......and there he is - anyone see the flying contact lense?