Sambro Flying Super Hero Action Flyerz, Ironman
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We head up towards the Spinnaker Tower at Portsmouth, where you usually can see one of the British Navy’s new monster carriers – plus HMS Victory, which looks tiny in comparison! It was time to see what that ‘turn’ was all about. The canyon feels tight, not much space to turn, is what I thought. We are flying on the updraught side of the canyon. “Are you ready?” asks CC, “Full power, full flaps, and turn. Minimum 45°, 60° is better, remain coordinated.” We’re at 60° bank angle in a perfectly coordinated turn, and CC removes his hands from the yoke showing me how effortless this manoeuvre is. Suddenly the canyon didn’t feel so tight anymore. We complete the turn ‘on a dime’, with plenty of space to spare. It was time once again to put the theory into practice. We fly to a canyon area just five minutes from Kidwell. We discuss how to approach the canyon, evaluate the wind direction, and then discuss a possible VMC into an IMC scenario with an emergency 180° canyon turn. CC says, “If you ever find that that you are one day in this situation, the first thing you must do is to slow down, get into the white arc and apply first notch flaps – slow down, gear down, flaps down, that will buy you time, and you’ll be ready for a canyon turn.”
This is a full-size replica of the UK’s sole entry into the ‘space race’ of the late 1960s. Quite large components were built at Cowes and the engines subsequently tested near the Needles. CC performed the first approach demonstrating his technique. He started his approach higher than you usually see in most General Aviation airports. People voluntarily get together for a spring clean of everything in sight. At our airfield, we all swept, washed and painted. We cut the grass. We re-covered the runway markers with new tin stripes. We got rid of old paperwork, magazines and dead batteries. We threw away tea and coffee which had gone off over the winter. We gave a proper burial to a mummified mouse we found in the shed. With the airfield ‘talka-ed’ and the Auster fixed, I was all set to go flying again.This machine belonged to Hughes. When we bought them, there were still tons of personal belongings on the plane,” says Ragar. At some stage, after gradually climbing to 3,000ft-plus, we gradually head out to sea and aim for Ryde pier, then overhead Bembridge airfield from where you can see the airfield at Sandown, just in from the coast. Another aeroplane, a DC-6, bears the likeness of Howard Hughes, a pioneer aviator whose life was celebrated in the 2003 film The Aviator , starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
So where does the name ‘Spamfield’ originate? It all came about because the PFA Rally at Cranfield was cancelled in 2001 due to foot and mouth disease, so some wag came up with the name, and thought it might be a good idea to hold a similar event on the Isle of Wight, but for microlights. And yet, they are perfectly happy, because such is the magic of vintage aircraft ownership. The moment you take control of an aeroplane that’s older than the Spruce Goose, you realise that you’re now doing a vital job: not merely bimbling, but keeping history alive.Well… as for me… I’d like to fly a DC-6. At least fly with me. Is there something that could be done…?” I ask cautiously.
Barberton Valley, near the popular safari areas in Botswana and Mozambique, was the original base for Bush-Air. He built an entire airport, runway, hangars, control tower, and accommodations for the students. From the beginning, it was a huge success, and students worldwide were booking for months in advance. Permanent US base The following year it was held at Sandown and the ‘modern Spamfield’ (to use Olympic terminology) was born, and I haven’t missed many over the years.
The first flight of the day was going to be dedicated to performing stabilised approaches and spot landings. We also discussed how to aim for a spot using an imaginary ‘rifle sight’ and make precise landings every time. By precise, we are talking about hitting a marked line on his runway! Outside the north hangar there are still a number of snowbound and decommissioned aircraft, including a DC-4 and a DC-7. But primarily DC-6.