A Tale of Two Captains

It’s November, and it seems that all airline captains whose first name starts with “D” can expect to retire in November. I know of three this month, so it must be true.

Duncan and Dave and Danny all retired this month, but then again so did Iain and Paul, so maybe the November “D” thing isn’t a hard and fast rule…

Captain Dave Dickie of Thomson Airways (formerly First Choice, formerly Air2000) and I spent many an hour in 757s and 767s trogging backwards and forwards over Europe and the Atlantic taking holidaymakers to and fro. We first met at Loganair in the 80’s when he was on the shed (Shorts 360) and I was a lowly Pilot’s Assistant on the Twin Otter (flying with the aforementioned retiree Iain).


Photo: Capt Peter McC

Capt Danny Linkous and I have never flown together, but we have met. A former USAF F4 Phantom pilot, he flew for Piedmont and US Airways. Living in North Carolina, he flies light aircraft for fun and lives on an airpark where his Chipmunk is kept in a hangar about 15 seconds walk from the house.

We met when he and his wife Diane came to Perth Airport in Scotland to look at the replica P47 Thunderbolt I owned ( see http://www.sigurdmartin.se/2016/10/30/replica-fighters-why/ ). Because he was the one who built it! He got to sit in the cockpit and tell stories. At the end of the visit I gave him a Spitfire book and he gave me a dodgy brown envelope full of photos and articles and other stuff about N47DL, as it was originally registered in the US.


A long and happy retirement to both Dave and Danny, and of course the others not pictured – Duncan, Iain and Paul.


Aerial Archaeology

Most people think that Hadrian’s Wall is the high-water mark of the Roman Empire in Britain. But there are lots of old roman sites much further north in Scotland.

Just a few hundred metres from Cumbernauld airfield is the Antonine Wall, and even further north there are several sites of old forts and signal towers.

Ardoch is at Braco, off the A9 on the road to Crieff. It’s the earthwork remains of a fortified camp, and looks fantastic from above, especially in winter with low sun and long shadows.


From a much more modern era is this site at Ardyne Point opposite Rothesay, one of the many construction sites for the Mulberry Harbour pontoons used to turn D-day beaches into working ports


Not all land based, This is the “Sugar Ship” in the Clyde, which was deliberately run aground after starting to take on water. It’s been there since 1974. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Captayannis for more…


And finally… If you have lots of spare cash lying around and fancy living in a genuine (converted) WW2 Royal Air Force control tower have a look at this. Sadly it’s surrounded by the rest of the development. It’s at Clathymore on the former airfield at Findo Gask, west of Perth, and is surrounded by mud in the photo below…


More details from http://www.clathymore.com/control-tower.htm – but they don’t mention a price!


Late Day at Work

Late callout…

Sun going down as we head 180 over the Southern Uplands:


Rendezvous with the land ambulance to pick up the patient:


…and patient safely delivered to the rooftop helipad of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow:


Then another 30 minutes back to base. And the paperwork to fill out for extending the shift.

All photos taken with the internal camera on the iPad mini4 – pretty impressive.


Replica Fighters … why?

What is it about replica fighters? My first aircraft was a WAR P-47 Thunderbolt replica, powered by a 100hp Continental o-200 engine. It was small, cramped, sometimes tricky to land and GREAT FUN!
p47When I (temporarily) lost my medical in 2006 I sold the aircraft and the new owner found it a bit of a handful at his small grass strip. He quite quickly arranged to sell it on. Unfortunately on the day before the delivery flight to the next owner, the aircraft was flown to a nearby airfield to refuel and on landing back at the strip, in his own words – “I had just started to open the throttle to go around when the hedge jumped up and grabbed me”

The aircraft went from 100mph to zero across the width of a minor country lane, flying through one rather springy hedge and coming to rest with the nose buried in another. Although the aircraft was written off, the pilot walked away with just a scratch.

Fast forward 10 years and I have another replica fighter. This one is slow, has unlimited headroom and is quite forgiving and benign on landing (…so far!)

Powered by a 40hp engine (Briggs and Stratton conversion), it flies at about 45mph and doesn’t go very far. It once took me 40 minutes to fly from Perth to Blairgowrie and back. That’s 10 miles.


It’s freezing in there, but great fun when wrapped up warm against the winter cold. The real WW1 pilots 100 years ago must have had anti-freeze in their veins.


I think this was taken before flight as I’m smiling…after 30 minutes of wind blast my face would be frozen solid.

The Eindecker is a toy for fun on light wind days. Here is something more meaty which has the range to go places fast.


It’s a replica of a P51 Mustang, the B model rather than the more commonly seen bubble-canopied D model. All metal construction, auto conversion engine, and built at home from a kit. It’s only about £60k…see http://www.moccasmustang.co.uk for more details and some seriously cool videos.

I’ve already got the leather helmet…

Hangarage Fees….

When we bought the Sting we already had a hangar space, occupied by the single seat deregulated microlight Fokker E111 Eindecker replica. That had to be derigged and go into a 20ft storage container in one of the other hangars to free up the space. e111But now there is another free space and the Eindecker has clawed its way back to the top of the waiting list.

We’ll soon have two aircraft in the hangar again…and be paying two sets of hangar fees. But as the wise man once said, money which isn’t spent on flying, dining or keeping your lady happy is just wasted.

Plus I’ll get to freeze my arse off on patrol over Strelitz wood again.eindecker

Day at The Races

A wee jaunt around Perthshire and Western Fife…first flying past the new house at Wolfhill:img_0544-1

…then down the A9 to Stirling and left turn to follow the line of the hills eastwards. Here we are looking towards the Forth bridges, way off in the distance.bridges-from-afar

Continuing east we passed the Knockhill race circuit, perched on the side of a hill. Hence the name. At work we thought we would be here quite a lot, but for events like the Touring Car Championships they have their own private ambulances and medical staff on site. I’ve never landed here.

and then north back to Perth. For lunch in the “greasy spoon”…img_2106

The Wreck Of The Zephyros

The Zephyros was a greek registered freighter which dropped anchor off Tynemouth on 26 February 1947 at 0400 in a Force 8 to 9 gale. By 0600 the anchor had parted and she was adrift. By 0700 she was aground in Brown’s Bay. The full story and photos can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/27742032@N02/3510314669

So what’s the relevance to a carbon fibre flying machine in 2016? Well, as we flew down to Fishburn to our unplanned meeting with the scooter rally we flew down the coast past Blyth, North Shields, Tynemouth, South Shields. Brenda was taking photos with her phone. Later on, when looking at the photos, the option came up on the screen to “tag” the location…the photo below gave the options of “Tynemouth” or “The wreck of the Zephyros” – we flew over the wreck location and didn’t even know it!


Flying over the site of the wreck of the Zephyros – who knew?

Bridges, Rocks and Locks

A few more aerial photos, this time taken from the work machine. Can’t have the east coast bridges hogging all the fame so here’s the Erskine Bridge over the Clyde between Glasgow and Greenock:


Dumbarton Rock further west along the Clyde:


and the eastern end of the Crinan Canal at Ardrishaig near Lochgilphead: