Buying my own aeroplane, let alone a single seat Pitts, was a step I’d genuinely never thought I’d be able to make – so for me I’m somewhat ‘living the dream’ right now. I’ve always had a ‘thing’ about these aeroplanes, ever since my very first flying lessons when I initially laid eyes on one of the tiny little biplanes sitting in the corner of the Halton flying club hangar. In fact, it was that little S1-S that started the whole aerobatic thing off for me, albeit indirectly.
Anyway, as you have probably all gathered by now, a couple of months ago I became the very proud owner of my own Pitts S1-S, the stunningly beautiful G-BKDR. The trepidation I felt upon climbing into the cockpit with a view to flying her for the very first time was not inconsiderable – after all, not only is this aeroplane the biggest gamble and investment of my life to date, but it is also an incredibly capable, sensitive and powerful machine in which it would be all too easy to end up departing this earth should I get something wrong.
All too many of these aeroplanes end up parked on their top wing with their owners trapped inside after having had a rather unfortunate ground-looping incident, and it was this thought I had stuck in my mind when I first went to fly, and specifically land her. I can’t thank Al of Wildcat enough for his vast amounts of support and tremendous advice, as I do wonder if, without him, I’d ever have even bought the aeroplane, let alone swallowed my sheer terror and started flying it.
Now we’re at the beginning of March, with the competition season about to kick off in only a few weeks, and my first competition lined up for the 14th of April up at Breighton. I’m at the stage where, although at the moment I’m nowhere near the level at which I’d like to be, I’ve spent some time flying the aeroplane and getting used to how it handles for different maneuvers and I do know that barring any major catastrophes, I have a very strong chance of being able to do what needs to be done to get to where I want to go. I have a fantastic group of friends supporting and directly aiding me with my flying and aerobatic training, just about enough means to be able to fly when I need to, and the motivation to push myself into the season with enthusiasm. Even if I don’t win anything, I know I’m going to have a bloody good time trying!