Discussion in 'Aviation' started by PartTimePongo, Apr 14, 2004.
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Good luck Barry (Again)
The launch date had been announced at the press day as being the 21st April 2004 from the Museum of Army Flying, down in Middle Wallop home of the Army Air Corps.
Again it was another long journey down south for the team on the Monday preceding the departure date. Stuart had left early for a trip across to Monmouth and Allard engineering before continuing on to Middle Wallop, Keith Wayne and Lee left early afternoon arriving in the evening. Beej had a few things to clear before departing so did not arrive till very late that night.
The Tuesday saw the BBC arrive, the plan was to get some aerial filming completed on the aircraft before the launch the following day. Stuart hosted them around the Museum whilst Barry and Lee made some final checks on the aircraft. The aircraft was brought out ready to lift, when on start up a fault in the fuel system caused the engine to start surging, this of course meant the aircraft could not be flown, so it had to be taken back in to the hangar for further checks to be carried out.
It soon became apparent that after the second attempt with the problem still evident that the aircraft would not fly that day, which meant that Beej had to make a decision on whether to delay the launch. In aviation we have a saying 'If there is any doubt there is no doubt' living by this saying Beej decided it would be better to delay the trip and also give the media a chance to reschedule. Anew date was et for Monday 26th April.
Monday 26th April
Barry had stayed down in Middle Wallop with Andy and Lee to make sure the aircraft was fully up to speed, the remainder of the team had returned to Dishforth to carry out the administration for the delay.
(Extracts from Barry's Diary)
I woke at 05:30 and just laid there in my bed thinking about what I was about to do. Was I wrong, was everyone else right? Was I completely mad? The transit room was empty, just my washing kit in a small bag and my sleeping bag gave the room any signature of being inhabited. I lay there for half an hour just looking at the walls and picturing thousands of different outcomes to the day that was before me. I heard Andy moving around his room and then down the hall before he gently knocked on my door and opened it.
" Is Mrs Jones' little boy ready to take on the world today"?
I smiled at him, Andy was the first person I had ever mentioned the idea of the world flight to. "Yes Mate, lets do it."
After showering and getting dressed we drove to Middle Wallop from our Transit rooms in Netheravon and went straight to the Sgt's Mess. Coffee was what was needed, I couldn't eat anything but I needed a coffee. I remember walking in to the Mess and seeing Stu standing there, he was supposed to have left for Manston with my Immersion kit at 6am, it was now 7. He just looked at me seeing the look of anxious shock on my face just said Chill Beej Ill be there by 10am I need not have worried sure enough a call came through at 10am from Stu saying he was in position and all was ready.
I did two radio interviews that morning as I did the 'Mobile Phone Wander' that walk you only do when youre deeply engrossed on the mobile and just end up wandering around in no real direction. The dew on the grass showing the trail I had taken a trail that some 'shrink' would no doubt say it showed that I was mad if they had the chance to comment on it like the doodles that people do when talking on the phone while sitting at a desk. Andy and I then went up to Hanger 3 where the Eagle was sitting amongst the Historic Flight Aircraft that filled one half of the Hanger. There was a thin mist across the airfield that I could see would burn off by the time I had to depart so I knew that today was the day.
At that moment I felt like I was going to be sick. I was annoyed with myself for feeling that way, here I was, about to begin the adventure of my life and I was feeling sick about the whole thing. Surely I should be the most excited and happy person in the world - but I wasn't. The idea, the very thought of something going wrong in front of the media was making me breakout in a cold sweat. As the team arrived and the final titivating was done the media began to arrive. The officers involved in the setting up of the departure day started to arrive as did John and Claire from DCC(A).
At twenty to nine I walked over to the assembled media and started my interviews, some were live, some recorded for use later but it was a rapid bombardment of questions, often repeated but all were very supportive. Forty min's of that and I was ready for a break so Pete took me aside for a cup of tea and space to think. We chatted and joked about bits that had happened that morning or been said and then the inevitable serious 'take care' chat. Soldiers don't like to ponder on it for long but I think it was all the more serious because I had given a verbal declaration of my Will to Pete and Kev, (a Police Officer and fellow Gyro pilot) on video camera filmed by Keith first thing that morning. Enough said.
The moment finally came and I waked along the centre line of the taxy way to my waiting aircraft as the sound of cameras started to click and people started saying 'He's going.'
I strapped into The Eagle as the team fussed around me making sure I was happy and then called, 'Clear Prop', and got the thumbs up from Andy. I pushed the button and prayed that she would start. Instantly, she barked into life and positively growled at the watching crowd, I sighed in relief that she had started. The Blue Eagle display team and an Apache were now positioning themselves on my port side getting ready to follow me for the departure run. I watched them, wondering to myself if this was a pain for them or if they thought what I was doing was a good thing. Snapping back to reality I checked my engine instruments and could see that she wasn't ready yet, 5 more degrees on the water temperature. The crowed were all lined up on my starboard side and some photographers had moved down the taxy way to get a shot of me taking off. Deep breaths, keep calm I thought to myself. One more look at the temperature and I could she that she was ready. I gently squeezed the Pre-Rotator lever on the Cyclic and the blades started to turn, faster and faster and before I knew it they were at 200 RPM and I was ready.
" Middle Wallop Tower, this is Army Air 547 requesting clearance to depart for a VFR flight around the World."
Clearance was given and I released the lever and the breaks put full throttle on. She accelerated along the Taxy way and then the nose lifted, I pushed the stick forward and the main wheels lifted and it had begun. Climbing away I looked left and back to see the Blue Eagle transitioning to follow me and I started a wide tear drop turn to the south of the field before starting a 'fly by' run over the Museum where the media had gathered. I passed to the west of the school at the bottom of the airfield and waved a the children who had all been let out of class to wave as I flew past. The Museum was surrounded by spectators and press people and I could see flashes from cameras as I started the final run, 90mph on the Airspeed indicator, so I slowed to 80mph and aimed directly over the Museum building. The crowed flashed past under me and I climbed away with a gently turn to the right onto the heading that will be the main thought in my mind for the next four months, East.
Tuesday 27th April.
Barry woke early on the Tuesday morning, he knew that there would be no flying today as he waited for the engineer to arrive from UK. Andy would not be arriving until the following morning as he had to take the cheapest available option due to a lack of funds in the project. Many outside the project believe us to have secured a major financial sponsor but this has not been the case and the project still runs on a shoe string.
Keith, Lee and Wayne were also at Oostend with Barry getting ready for the move to Friedrichshafen later that day. The team moved on to the airfield just to have a look around as a matter of interest and to wile away the hours before leaving. Later that afternoon the remaining members of the team in Oostend departed for Friedrichshafen leaving Barry on his own for the evening.
Wednesday 28th April
Andy arrived this morning soon getting to work on the aircraft, it did not take him long to fix the radio problem he then spent his time pouring over the aircraft making sure all was well, we all knew that today would be written off because of the repairs so once all this was finished Barry and Andy relaxed for the evening. Stuart McAlister a professional photographer arrived later that evening ready to take images of Barry and the departure the following day
Thursday 29th April
Barry woke early again nerves tingling with excitement ready for the flight across to Friedrichshafen, he had spent enough time on the ground and really just wanted to get going. Excitement turned to dismay as he looked out of the window, mist lay across the ground with a low cloud base not good flying weather. Barry knew that the weather was not suitable to fly at that moment, so hurried over to the met office in the hope of some good news, this was not to be 'Another day to be spent on the ground'
Friday 30th April
Today had to be a better day the staff at the met office had said things would get better today and the IFR only departures would be lifted from the airfield. Sure enough they were true to their word. Barry got the Eagle ready for lift, Andy had returned to the UK the night before so Barry was on his own. Quick check of everything and he was on his way, great another leg of the journey started and hopefully to be completed.
The aircraft handled nicely and kept good time as he moved on to his first refuel at Trier-Fohern this was not one of the original places to stop but after speaking with the Americans at Spangdahlem was one which offered just what was needed. By coincidence we had just received a posting on the message board of the web site offering us any help that could be offered from Timo who was actually at Trier-Fohern, the team quickly took this kind offer up which proved to be far more than we could of imagined.
Barry cruised in to Trier landing, refueling then spending a bit of time with our hosts, these aviation enthusiasts were fantastic so interested in the project and many of them pilots of the Magni aircraft.
Time to move on and complete the journey, the web had a new addition to it a GPS tracking system which allowed interested parties to view the aircraft's position as Barry made the flight.
After about an hour and a half of flight Barry saw the Alps looming up, how small he felt compared with these immoveable objects. Landing at Friedrichshafen Barry was met by the team on the ground, who made sure the aircraft was refueled and put to bed, before retiring for the evening.
Saturday -1st May
Today was to be the trip across the Alps in to Italy and the home of Magni Gyros, disappointment hit again as the team looked towards the Alps and could not see them. The met forecast gave winds of over 40mph with low cloud all day and a good possibility of thunderstorms 'flying was a no go for today'. Disappointed the team returned to the accommodation to go over everything again ready for the next day. The forecast again was not great but was going to be better than today which meant hopefully we should get across the Alps to Italy and the Magni factory.
Further extracts form Barry's diary covering the period spent in Friedrichshafen
We woke at 7am, Keith in the next bed to me, Lee and Wayne in the next room. Another sponsored night in the hotel. The weather looked great from the window on the fourth floor, the Alps still hidden in the early morning haze but the promise of a nice day filled the air.
I went for a shower, excited at the prospect of the sights I would get to see today and returned to see that the sky had clouded over,I felt the depression attack my mood. The weather changes quickly here so we packed our bags, again, and went down for breakfast. The restaurant was busy but I saw Keith sitting at a table for four so I joined him deciding to have some coffee before I tackled the continental breakfast.
A long day ahead for me and the team but we were excited at the prospect of crossing into Italy. After breakfast we moved all our bags to the front door of the hotel and Lee went to get the Iveco/Lex Van. Just to be on the safe side, Keith decided to enquire about the possibility of me staying yet another night if we found that the weather in the Alps was unsuitable. Immediately I was offered another room, without the bat of an eyelid, it was as though we were asking a stupid question. Amazing generosity.
An elderly man stood at the counter checking out too. " Do you have a lift to ´ze Airport"? " Yes, that's our van" I answered and he commented that he had missed his Taxi. "You can come with us" I offered. " You are sure"? " Of course Sir, we will be outside"
It was nice to be able to give something back as we seemed to be in the ´ take take take´ position most of the time. Five minutes later and we were loading the van with the old gentleman's bags and heading off to the airport. The old man thanked us and made his way into the airport as Keith and I went up to Flight Planning to see what the weather was like in the Alps. Gabby, in the Flight Planning office was more than helpful,she found us a met route through the Alps and printed off the weather reports and forecasts. Keith and I studied the details and concluded that it was a go. I´d reserve Bolzano as a diversion which was half way along my route and would meet the team there if for some reason I had been forced to divert.
We rejoined the van and got ourselves cleared to the Flight Line and drove down to where The Eagle had been hangered along with the M16 we were returning to Vittorio Magni. Lee and I pushed The Eagle out onto Dispersal and checked her over. The Re-Fuel Truck arrived driven by Jurgan, a friendly pro-Brit local who has a huge smile and a friendly manner about him. He helped us re-fuel The Eagle and even said he had poor eyesight as he filled in the Fuel Receipt for me and gave me a wink.
I got dressed into my Flying Kit and prepared to warm up the engine. As I turned the key and looked for usual responses from the instruments I noticed that there was in fact, no response, none what so ever! Gutted and filled with dread I looked at the 25Amp Circuit Breaker and saw that I had left it in. I closed my eyes and hung my head low, shaking it in disbelief. How stupid, how completely and utterly stupid!
" What's up Beej?" Said Lee.
" I´ve left the Circuit Breaker in, its drained the Battery."
" Oh no, we haven´t got any Jump Leads."
" I have, Andy gave me a set in Oostend." I said with a smile and my mood lifted again. It was a serious situation though, if this happens when i´m in the middle of China it might not be so easy to solve. We jump-started her using the Van and she roared into life, as she gently warmed up I went to switch on the Radio to check I had the right frequency. As I rotated the knob on the MicroAir 760 I immediately knew the radio had been surged when we Jump Started her. The
Radio was already on and the power surge had
blown the fuse inside the radio, I was stuck. It was like someone had kicked me in the teeth and I deserved it! So completely disappointed with myself I instantly knew that I wouldn´t be flying today. The break in the weather, the delays I had already had were just 17 minutes from being put right and now I would have to cancel the flight. I could actually feel the muscles in my face droop as I took on the look of a depressed man.
Just to be sure, we switched off the engine and checked all the connections but I knew what it was. A phone call to Andy confirmed the symptoms and the flight for today was over. Jurgan arrived back on the scene and discussed the problem with Lee, phone calls were made and we soon had the assurance from a friend of Jurgan, Klaus, that one of his Electrical Engineers would look at the radio for me first thing in the morning. Another show of generosity from the German people. I gave Jurgan the radio and asked him if he would pass it onto Klaus´s engineer in the morning.
The rest of the team, Keith, Lee and Wayne still had to go to Italy today to return the M16 to the Magni Factory. They drove me back to the hotel where I sheepishly collected my room key and said my goodbyes to the lads.
Alone in my room I felt totally stupid and embarrassed that I had caused yet another delay. As I stood staring out of the window, Pete phoned to pass on some good news. It looks like we had received the offer of a six part documentary about Global Eagle so I was to film the town a little so that some of the culture could be captured and used so that it wasn´t just a load of film of me taking off and landing. It would also be good for the sponsors and potential sponsors. It was good news and Pete was deliberately trying to lift my spirits but I still felt stupid.
I washed my other set of clothes in the shower and hung them up to dry and then went out into the town of Friedrichshafen to film the area. The town was quite busy, especially by the lake side and I concluded that if I was going to be stuck anywhere, this was a nice place for it to happen! As I sat and drank a coffee outside a cafe, the sky, at last, revealed the Alps to me. I hadn´t been able to see them since the day I had flown into Friedrichshafen when Pete had text me in flight to ask if I could see them, assessing that I could from the position of my Tracker on the web site, but now they reared up before me.
As I looked at the cloud above them I realised that I was just looking at the foot hills, for as the clouds shifted a huge, gigantic mountain top loomed through the gaps and was gone again. They look daunting, but the sooner I take them on, the better.
Barry, youre as mad as a Bolivian wheelbarrow. Good luck and hope it continues!
(btw, BJ is, when he can, posting updates on that common little RAF site, Pprune as autorot.
Have a Butchers at...
Anybody want to bet how long it'll be before the ****$%%&££%&% jealous %$£*$* Crabs hijack it.
In the meantime - good luck Mr Jones!
Have seen the thread, rot.
I just hope that SilsoeSid isn't a member of the Corps!
I hope not, he's a very bitter chap.
He slates the exped and then starts praising it, subsequently having a go at anyone who then criticies.
One of the reasons why I havent posted over there for a long time is because it's now a 'RAF are brill, agree or else" or "Trash any Army threads because of rule 1". Very dull and it seems to attract the types that appoint themselves as Lord Chief Justice of half time oranges.
Although some of the old boys flying ditties can be very amusing.
It was a good site a couple of years ago. Some great posts and posters. Alas its run along the lines of the govn now.
Could it be that Sid is groundcrew or sigs, and had a run-in with a member of the team, or something along those lines? Very strange the way he comments. Seems slighty bitter, so I'd say he's serving up at Dishcloth with his references to the Yorkshire Post.
Could be Gunny. Dirty laundry, public washing springs to mind! especially over at pprune, gives the sideways walkers an excuse in between drinking Bacardi breezers and ironing their white socks prior to a mess night!
Good evening 'gentlemen'.
I realise how much you must dislike talking about someone behind their back, so as I was informed about this thread, I thought I should register in order to participate.
I take it that no-one posting about my pprune entries has taken the time to read the whole thread.
I suggest that those who feel they have to comment about the thread do so and take it in the manner in which it was started.
The only thing I would like to repeat here is that if any of you know certain members of the team as I do, then you would be surprised that anything was achieved at all.
I feel that the viewings of my thread of 4,470 highlights that I have brought the expedition to the attention to far more people than this, being only 485!
Those figures also highlight that it is a thread that has attracted viewers, who also add to the discussion, which is part of the aim.
Now then, what did the abbreviation PPRuNe stand for again?
nail on head
Silsoe this thread's not about you - its about Global Eagle.
Flash found your comments slating the team's efforts rather bizarre. And I happen to agree. And I did read the whole thread, that's what makes some of your comments, politely put, unbalanced.
ARRSE is a British Army site with lots of Banter between similar sorts of people. I think most people here would rather keep our numbers about where they are.......
PPrune is plugged on a much more worldwide basis and is full of aviation enthusiasts as well as pilots and all sites there have a far higher number of hits, many averaging in the thousands. Also it's full of Crabs who have a sense of banter failure on a par with the RMP. (See Flashes comments above).
But please don't try and pretend that by slating Global Eagle's efforts you were providing them with some sort of public platform.
PS: Please dont hijack and abuse here as you seem to have frequently done on PPruNe.
I don't believe I said this thread was about me.
You obviously don't know or have not worked with the members of the team I refer to.
...and woa forbid anyone who wishes to turn banter into a discussion. Ah yes, a discussion. A two way conversation normally with opposing viewpoints.
Mmmm... sounds good for your bantering freinds does that.
I think you'll find that am not slating GE efforts, if you read the thread properly and not between the lines.
Surely by virtue of the fact that pprune is global and gets thousands of hits, as you say, Global Eagle HAS been brought to the attention of a far greater number of people.
The problem is, other people DO have a viewpoint that doesn't necessarily agree with yours.
Nail, head...we have a strike....
That's one of many similar comments....
Right banter....discussion. Yawn. Have we invaded Iraq yet? I'm not sure as my head's been too far up my ARRSE. Cheers, if you want to be condescending go and find someone you outrank and talk down to them if that's what you enjoy.
Do other people have views different to mine on here? I thought you all agreed that Mrs Thatcher was left wing? Oh well.
Separate names with a comma.