Apparently the two best days of aircraft ownership are the day you buy it and the day you sell it. I’m not too sure about that. It was a bittersweet moment when the Sting finally left Perth on its way to its new home. We were sad to see the aircraft go, but the sting (Sting – ha!) was taken away by the money now in the bank account and the peace of mind…insurance, hangarage, maintenance etc for one aircraft is bad enough, but for three? So one had to go.

Looking at the aircraft registration website we had owned the Sting for 3 years and one day. This was the first aircraft I owned which was NOT a single seat fighter replica, so that was a first.

Lots of firsts. First long distance trip. Here we are in Sweden:

First time I attended a factory course for engine maintenance (Rotax 912 ULS):

First time I thought we might have to abandon the aircraft and make other arrangements to get home:

First time across the Channel. That’s actually included in the first long distance trip above but it’s a biggie so it gets its own picture. Here we are on the way back, a lot more relaxed than on the way out (if you can’t remember our top tip for first timers here it is again – just do it! It’s a lot easier than you think it will be):

Lots of firsts, so we were sad to see the aircraft go. It’s heading to a flying club on the South Coast of England where the plan is to go into a group ownership scheme, so it will get lots of flying, and lots of TLC from the club engineer.

I felt like somebody was taking away a beloved family pet as the guys packed up and prepared for the ferry flight south:

The weather wasn’t too good but they set off, got half way and finally made it home the next day. I then had a lot of internet admin to do, emailing other interested parties to say the aircraft was now sold and cancelling adverts on Facebook, UKGA and the excellent AFORS (aircraft for sale):

And a few days later, into the RV6 for Brenda’s first flight, a blast around the Perthshire skies to earn her very own RV grin. The aircraft has gone, long live the aircraft!

Goodbye and thank you Sting…for 3 years we had a blast. We wish you a long and happy life of flying, and with your South Coast location, many more trips to Europe.

Cheers Sigurd Martin!

Back in a Boeing

Perth in Scotland. A snapshot of a normal residential area. Normal people, living normal lives, with normal jobs and normal worries. But as always, scratch the surface and you can find some remarkable stuff.

Take this picture (courtesy of Google or Bing Maps, can’t remember)… somewhere in this picture is a typical suburban house with garage owned by a normal chap. By day he’s an automotive electrical engineer, by night he’s the caped crusader, fighting crime and injustice wherever it is to be found.

No he’s not a comic book action character, but he has achieved something remarkable. You may be thinking this is one of those “…built an aeroplane in his garage…” type things, but he doesn’t even fly real aircraft.

What he has done is take computer flight simulation to a whole new level by building a Boeing 737-800 simulator in his garage. Here’s the flight deck:

…and the view out the windows showing Stand 1A at Edinburgh Airport:

Ryanair parked on the stand next to us. It looks a little distorted from the camera position but when you are in the seat and your eyes are in the right spot it looks totally realistic…

Everything works. It’s just as lifelike as some of the sims I used to get tested in, even though it’s a fixed base unit and has no motion. Your brain soon forgets and fills in the feelings of movement from the visual cues and the instruments. Here’s me, back in the First Officer’s seat of a Boeing, taxiing out to runway 24 at Edinburgh for a flight to Luton. I flew the 757 and 767 back in the day, but the Boeing philosophies transfer from one type to another so I very quickly felt at home:

On the way down to Luton it was going quite nicely so just to liven things up we requested a minor emergency. The right engine promptly burst into flames.

A barely remembered Boeing engine fire drill from almost 20 years ago seemed to work, and the fire went out after about 45 seconds, just as I was getting ready to fire the second fire extinguisher bottle. We then diverted to Manchester, and due to the magic of the internet, the weather was the same as the actual weather at the time…this meant that I had painted myself into a corner with a 25kt crosswind for my first ever 737 landing, with one engine inop and a randomly guessed flap setting. It seemed to go OK but I don’t think Mr O’Leary will be calling me to fly one of his 737s any time soon.

I then swapped seats while the aircraft was repositioned instantly to Pula in Croatia where the weather was a lot nicer:

With all my massive 737 experience I was now promoted to training captain and Euan jumped in the right hand seat. His Dad built and flies an RV6A from Perth and took this pic:

Euan flew the take off, climbed out and leveled at 2500ft over the Adriatic. He then turned downwind and positioned for a landing on the runway we had just departed. A nicely flown approach and landing rounded off his introduction to the 737. Dad Ian said “this could be expensive!” as he contemplated the cost of commercial pilot training.

It then turns out that Euan has never flown with his Dad, maybe never flown at all. He was a natural. Kids these days eh?

A simulator in the garage…I want one.