Capt White’s final instalment of the EPIC UK trip : Cruising the East Coast at 2,000ft; Beaches, Beccles and back home
Day 5 – The Finale! We woke up to a beautiful day at Eshott Hall, the sun was shining, blue, blue sky! Couldn’t be more different to yesterday’s dismal start. Capt. Storey was up at crazy o’clock as usual for his run so once he returned, we had breakfast and finalised our flight plan.
We all needed to refuel for the final leg of the trip. Capt Day & Capt Langdon, Capt Storey & Capt Smyth, and Team Phil headed to Eshott airport by taxi. Frank and I had been lucky enough to have landed the R66 at Eshott Hall which was great confined area practise, so we were able to head to the airport by heli. Unfortunately, we didn’t save much time as there was a bit of a delay at the airport as jet fuel wasn’t ready. So, the others were able to depart ahead of us.
Once fuelled we headed directly East towards the coast from Eshott Airport flying passed Bothal Castle which is near the town of Ashington. Then along the coastline to Blythe, Whitley Bay, passed North and then of course South Shields. Over the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, Hartlepool and Teeside Bay and over Redcar Racecourse known as the ‘Seaside Racecourse’ and is one of the most popular horse racing venues in the UK. On to Whitby and we were treated to some great views of the harbour and the pier and then to Scarborough. Further South to a little place called Flanborough Head and Bridlington. My student on the trip had spent some time there as a boy so we circled around for a while to reminisce and the white cliffs could revival Dover!
Passed Hornsey, across the mouth of The Humber to Grimsby! No helipad near a fish and chip shop unfortunately… Down to Cadwell park famous for bike racing (Team Phil were lucky enough to capture a cycle race in progress when they flew over). Slightly inland at this point now heading south east out to Skegness home to the 1st Butlins! Across the Wash over to North Norfolk to the beautiful beaches of Hunstanton, Wells-Next-the-Sea, Waybourne, Sheringham, Cromer. Landscape really levelling out now. Continuing round to Caister-on-Sea, North Dean where the heliport is for the helis flying to the North Sea oil rigs, was great to fly alongside one heading out to sea.
Time for lunch! We had planned our lunch stop at Beccles Aerodrome as had Capt. Storey and Capt. Smyth. The others had planned a stop at Connington slightly further North but Capt. Day and Capt. Langdon had plenty of fuel at that point and decided to head into Beccles instead. So along Great Yarmouth, Lowerstoft and inbound to Beccles Aerodrome!
We arrived at Beccles just after Capt. Day and Capt. Langdon and refuelled both the helicopter and ourselves. The ploughman’s was delicious and we were treated to an incredible sky diving display. Capt Storey and Capt. Smyth had reached Beccles around 11.30 so were well ahead of us, work commitments beckoned, and they decided to fly across country back to Elstree.
“Biggest lesson learnt – back to basics, aviate, navigate and communicate. In some areas the radio traffic was very busy and it was easy to be distracted from the vital necessity of flying at the right height and clear of controlled airspace.” Capt. Langdon
For us we wanted to make the most of the glorious sunshine, so we departed Beccles in a south, south easterly direction towards Southwold along the Suffolk coastline and into Essex. Walton-on-the-Naze, Frinton-on-sea and of course Clacton-on-Sea. At this point it was time to head home to Elstree, westbound to Chelmsford, Northweald under London Stansted control zone marrying up with the M25 and into Elstree. Most noticeable on this leg of the trip was that in the North how few aircraft there were, we pretty much had the skies to ourselves, so we were able to talk to each other on the same frequency and the further South we flew the skies became increasingly busy with lots of traffic to navigate.
Capt Storey and Capt Smyth in G-OBHE were first home landing at Elstree around 13:15 Capt. Smyth maintains he only popped out to do a couple of circuits….
“To see so much natural beauty, so many historic landmarks with such a great group of likeminded helicopter enthusiasts, was the bucket list experience of a lifetime!” Capt. Smyth
“Home at Elstree safe and sound. Thank-you everyone for an amazing fantastic time!!!” Capt. Storey
Capt. Smyth still maintains he only popped out to do a couple of circuits.
Next to land were Capt Day and Capt Langdon around 15:30 at Denham as G-RJVH was due for scheduled maintenance. And both then had to rough it in an Uber back to Elstree.
“Just landed at Denham, our final destination. What a great trip and holiday! Lots more to follow. Thanks to everyone at Elstree Helicopters for organising the trip of a lifetime, and to the other pilots for your excellent company. A great trip!” Capt. Langdon
“I would pick out the trip round the Machynlleth loop in Wales that Chris and I flew as the best part of my trip. Most Challenging was Scotland and the weather in some of the Valleys near Ben Nevis.. Sorry no picture of the bad stuff – was too busy flying to be doing photos!!” Capt. Day
Frank and I landed back at Elstree around 16:00
“I’m glad you all had a fantastic time and were kept safe, straight and level. It’s been an absolute pleasure sharing the experience with such a lovely group of people TY” Capt. White
Last to arrive at Elstree was Team Phil at around 18:00
“Very happy! Trip will take some days to sink in. Thank-you Paul and the gang for thinking this incredible trip up, and esp. to Capt. Speechley for tolerating me for seven hours flying a day.” Phillip Hahn
A couple of weeks later Capt Langdon was kind enough to send us an amazing account of his and Capt Day’s adventure…
“So what was my biggest achievement on the trip? Besides managing to cope with a lot of flying (in one week I did more flying than I do in a year!), flying up the Settle and Carlisle railway, it was locating the other highlight, the Mach Loop and flying round it. Sadly no other traffic and no photographers.
This was a wonderful, once in a lifetime trip, and I would like to than everyone at Elstree Helicopters for making it possible, and the other pilots and safety pilots for an unbelievable trip. I cannot express how much I enjoyed it, even though I was exhausted by the time I got back to Elstree”
Must have been the uber that took it out of him! Having organised many student trips and excursions in the past this was truly an epic trip and as with the best series finales this has most certainly left me wanting more! And I look forward to next year’s adventure what do you think Capt Day, Ireland? France? The sky’s the limit!
If you are interested in joining us on one of our EPIC adventures or perhaps one of our day trips then please contact our training liaison Harriet
email email@example.com or call 0208 099 7766 ext. 4 Pilot Training