Michael McCafferty - European Biplane Tour

Hangar Flying

New Romney, England

The middle of the night was rudely interrupted with a thunderstorm which passed directly over this little hotel. It was a great show. I sat at the window watching the lighting out across the entire 180 degree view of the English Channel. When I thought it was all over, I went back to bed and was almost asleep when the fire alarm in the hotel went off. I lay there considering the options: 1. it was probably set off by a lightning strike, so there was probably nothing to worry about, so go back to bed, OR 2. The place is really on fire, in which case there would be lots of other people shouting and acting like it was a real fire, but there wasn't any other commotion at all, so I figured it was really just a false alarm (#1). So I went back to sleep. It wasn't until the morning that I realized that there was another option, that everyone else in the hotel thought it was a false alarm and went back to sleep, and if it had been a real fire, we all would have burnt up, a just reward for our indolence.

The storm cleared the air nicely, and today was a lot cooler and sunny. Unfortunately there were still plenty of storms in the area, and along my route to Duxford, so today was not a flying day.

I have been away from my plane too long, so I took a taxi over to the airport and hung out with the guys in the tower, Frank and John, and we swapped stories for a couple of hours. One thing I learned was that the Lydd airport was used in the filming of several movies and TV shows, most notably the James Bond movie Goldfinger. It was great to just relax and talk about flying in general. No rush, nothing specific, just pure random "hangar-flying" stuff, all done in a proper English fashion, over a cup of tea.

The day was just too nice to spend it all inside the control tower, so I headed back to the Romney Bay House where the big decision of the day was whether to take a nap outside by the ocean or in my room where the bed was more comfortable. I know, it's a tough life, but somebody's got to do it. All of Europe is on vacation in August and I'm just getting into the spirit of it.

If the weather forecasters are right (when was the last time that happened?), tomorrow will be spectacularly nice, and I'll fly to Duxford to see the greatest collection of WWII aircraft in all of Europe. The Queen herself came here August 1 to dedicate the new building which houses this amazing collection.

The guys in the tower at Lydd did give me some tips on dealing with the airspace around London, so it should be a relatively easy trip. Remember what happens when you start thinking that way....

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