Michael McCafferty - European Biplane Tour

Floats For My Biplane!

Cambridge, England

I had to move out of the Duxford Lodge today. No room at the inn. It was time for me to see some different sights anyway so I chose to go to Cambridge. Maybe some of the university life will make me smarter. I could also use a new menu. I have had every breakfast and dinner at the Lodge for the last 12 days. Great food, but I need a change. And while the Lodge is real homey, it is isolated from everything except the airfield, so it will be good to get into a town environment for a while, until the weather front move past.

The Georges, who I had dinner with last night, drove me over to the airfield in the morning, to see my biplane. Bob has some time in a Stearman, and is looking forward to getting back into the air again here in England. Of he is just totally stoked with the Waco, and as I say goodbye to them and wish them luck with their new life in England, I can see the gears in Bob's head turning, figuring how he can get one of these awesome airplanes.

I spent some time with my navigation charts, planning my next flight. I want to get over to Ireland. That means an over-water flight, across the Irish Sea, a little bit longer than the flight crossing the English Channel, if I cross at the narrowest point. I'd also like to stop at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne on the east coast, by the England/Scotland border, about two hours north of here. It could be a great flight all along the east coast of England.

The weather this morning is unexpectedly excellent. I get the urge to fly north right away and beat the weather system which is headed this way and is sure to keep me from flying for another day or so. It is real tempting to go for it, but since I wasn't expecting this opportunity I haven't prepared properly for the flight. I haven't reviewed the airspace I'd be going through, or checked out the airports I would be using, or alternates. Maybe I could accomplish all this in the next few hours, and still make it to Newcastle today, but I know I wouldn't feel comfortable rushing through it. So even though the day is looking so fine for flying, I let it go. There is always another day.

The Mustangs were playing over the airfield again today.

Mustang!, 1

Mustang!, 2

Mustang!, 3

Some details are needing attention. My special European flying insurance is going to expire August 31. I need to renew it real soon, or I can't fly. The broker is in Switzerland, but he is out of the country on vacation until after the policy expires. I need to work on a solution.

Another detail is the airshow on September 7, at Duxford. They want me to fly in it, and I need to get more info about the specifics. I want to be real clear about it so I don't do something stupid in front of a hundred thousand people.

One more thing: The Waco factory wants to use my plane to demo it to some prospective buyers in Europe, people they met at the Paris Air Show in June. We need to coordinate our schedules on when that will be. That means that I must give some thought to when I will be going home. It's not a thought that I want to dwell on. I'm having too much fun.

In my conversation with the Waco factory, I learn some startling news. They are building FLOATS for the biplane! It will be ready for testing in October. This is just wonderful good news to me because I have always pictured my biplane on floats and wanted to splash it in the water. I got my seaplane license a couple of years ago (in a Super Cub on floats) and it was more fun than I have ever had in the air. To have floats on my biplane would just be spectacular! I can't wait to try it out!

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