On the 8th September, Gemma and I woke up to a very wet and very windy Saturday morning. Usually, this would mean a movie day, but instead, we were up in Oxfordshire ready to start the day with a Motor Glider Flight!
We anxiously called Oxfordshire Sportflying to determine whether we would still be able to fly despite the conditions. Michael answered and was extremely positive about the situation. He advised us that he had been checking the weather, and believed it would brighten up by midday. So straight after breakfast, we were in the car ready to head up to the centre in Chipping Norton. Michael was kind enough to meet us at the entrance, so we could follow him up to the airfield a short drive away. As we approached the airfield, a Motor Glider was getting ready for take-off. Gemma and I were immediately struck by how small yet speedy these little Motor Gliders were! Although nervous, the adrenaline buzz was quick to take over, and we couldn’t wait to have our turn flying up above the clouds!
Michael led us up to the Control Tower where we were to take a few photos, and film some of the planes taking off. Here, we discovered a little more on how Air Traffic Control Communications work. It was then we met our pilot for the experience. John was very friendly and put both of us at ease. His knowledge and experience were also a great indicator of how safe and how fun this experience would really be.
The clubhouse is situated onsite, and has all facilities needed for the day: a small office area to sign paperwork, a seating area for friends and family spectating or anyone waiting to fly, and an area for the pilot to talk to customers about their flight using a model Motor Glider.
John showed Gemma and I into the clubhouse to explain all the safety procedures for the flight, and what we needed to do whilst up in the air with the controls. Gemma’s eyes were expanding by the second as she began to realise we were actually going to be flying the plane ourselves!
Finally, it was time to fly! Motor Gliders are only 2 seaters, so it was up to us who went first. Gemma bravely stepped up and was escorted out to the plane for her flight. Watching her take off was incredible, and I couldn’t wait for my turn!
As Gemma landed, I could see the huge smile spread across her face from a mile off! We switched places, and before I knew it, I was sat in the pilot’s seat ready for my experience to begin. John kept in contact with me throughout the whole flight through a headset (which you can see me wearing in the first image!) This allowed me to tell John how I was feeling, while John told me what to do next.
As we took off from the ground, the feeling was incredible: a mixture of uncertainty, nervousness, and a whole lot of excitement! Once comfortably in the sky, we zoomed past the beautiful sights of Oxfordshire including a glimpse of Blenheim Palace. The beautiful scenic views were astonishing and something I will never forget - we even saw David Beckham’s new country home!
At this point, John turned to me and asked whether I was ready for a go with the controls... Yes! The control stick is very sensitive, and the slightest nudge will adjust the movement of the plane. John let me know that in order to stay steady you want to be able to see a slight bit of land above the nose of the plane. I followed his instructions and in no time, I was flying us above Oxfordshire!
As my time in the sky was coming to an end, John showed me a final trick the Motor Glider can do… Gliding! (Did you already guess by the name?) I loved this part of the experience; It was a truly unique feeling, and the soft, gentle floating sensation of gliding allows you to experience the flight in a different way!
Back down on the ground, I was all smiles for the camera! I couldn’t believe what I had just completed - an experience I definitely won’t forget in a hurry. A huge thank you to Michael, John and the team for making this an incredible day for Gemma and I.