PETER Bell, the Northumberland farmer and pilot who saved Eshott airfield from closure, has died. “He was a mischievous, larger-than-life character who befriended many a student microlight pilot and encouraged us all through our ups and downs with his somewhat colourful language,” said MF reporter and Eshott pilot Paul Kiddell. You may recall Peter being profiled in an ITN News segment a few years back flying his sheepdog around his farm.
On another memorable occasion back in the 1950s, Peter and brother Roger had done some flying in gliders at RAF Acklington when Peter discovered a JAP-engined Luton Minor parked in a field, said Paul. “The temptation was too much, and he decided to go for a spin without the owner’s knowledge. He survived, but his dad went off the deep end that he’d taken the plane without permission. Ah, the good old days! He’d been ill for a little while and old age got him in the end… A great man with a great legacy.”
THERE’S no business like snow business for you lot this month, with everyone from fixed-wing wusses like the editor to flexwing heroes braving temperatures down to -6˚C all coming up trumps with some great shots. Here in front of a roaring fire at MF Global HQ, we salute you! As always, the chosen few in your next MF. VIEW THE FEBRUARY ENTRIES.
THE good folks at Deddington are Churchillian in giving of their blood, toil, tears and sweat – we all know that. But did Winnie ever give us a website? We think not. Here’s something a bit special, then: the new BMAA website, launched yesterday.
IT’s never a bad idea to brush up on your hazard awareness. The General Aviation Safety Council is running its annual safety evenings in the run-up to April and the return of longer days and better weather with a presentation entitled Aware Today, Alive Tomorrow. The list of dates and venues is available here.
EUROFLY importer and former world champion Dave Broom having fun in the Snake sub-70kg nanotrike. Flight test by Steve Uzochukwu in your next MF.
MICROLIGHT instructor Jim Greenshields is planning to break his own Guinness world record this summer by ﬂying more than 50 aircraft to 2000ft and back solo in one day. The current record of 43 was set in 2014 by Jim at Dunkeswell airfield, where he runs Somerset Microlights with his wife Helen. Full details in your next MF.
MARK Smith took a notion to jump into his Jabiru at Newtownards airfield and do a circuit of Northern Ireland in a day. As you do.
SIX below zero at the airfield? Not a problem to Perth flexwing flyer Andy Mackinnon, who set off for a jaunt over snowy Scotland with fellow real man Jim Crosby.
Equally unfazed was Graham Wiley in this Foxbat fly-out from Otherton in Staffordshire, when ATC at destination Coningsby told him most of the runway was covered with ice.
NORTHERN Ireland pilots Gavin Curtis and Sarah Louise Wright enjoying themselves over the Costa Blanca in a Foxbat A22 out of the New Horizon Microlights airfield and school, run by Derek Merritt-Holman.
FORMER Flylight employee Ollie Chitty, now living in Australia, has just set a new world hang gliding distance record, flying 241 miles in 5.5h. Handily, he filmed it so that we might share the moment. “The point 9:23 in when he realises he has won the task and is whooping at 5000ft is excellent. It’s had 10,000 views on his Facebook page,” said fellow pilot Owain Johns.
JUSTIN McKnight loved flying, but never dreamed he could be a pilot. Now he flies private jets for a living.
THERE are short landings, then there are landings by Alaskan bush pilot John Bush. That’s a stiff headwind, that is.
THE pilot of this Piper Pawnee did a nice job of ditching after engine trouble over Miami Beach in Florida. Uninjured, he swam to the boat from which student Alex Hansen had taken the video.
BILL Lishman, who led flights of migrating geese from Canada to South Carolina in his microlight, has died in his home in Ontario aged 78, 10 days after being diagnosed with leukaemia. Bill’s flights with geese and then with rare Whooping Cranes, made in an attempt to re-establish migration patterns for endangered birds, were immortalised in the 1996 film Fly Away Home. He also had some interesting ideas for how microlights might be put to use in disaster response, as he describes in the latter part of this presentation. A highly respected sculptor and artist, he leaves behind Paula, his wife of 50 years, and three grown children.