After numerous cancellations from last August onwards (due to weather, illness, broken aircraft-parts, etc) I finally got to fly with my friend Suzanne!
It was a beautiful day, blue sky and great visibility and we made a tour over Utrecht (her old house, picture above), Rossum (some members of her family live there), Kerkdriel (her new temporary appartment, picture below) and Zaltbommel (where she works).
A good time to practice straight orbits ;) My approach to land was a bit fast, but the landing was quite smooth.... Awesome flight, we had the feeling we were in the sun all day.
The "Stichting Hoogvliegers" ( "High Flyers foundation" ) organizes private flights in small aircraft for (chronically) ill kids and today was a special day for Coen (as it was also for me)!
This morning some 12 kids (and supporting family) of the Thermiek school in Leiden arrived at the "Vliegclub" building all anxious for a flight they were going to make. Earlier in the week, the chairman of the foundation gave a short course in aviation (e.g. how pilots talk to the tower, and why aircraft fly) and today was the big day.
All kids wore Hoogvlieger shirts and after a small briefing everyone in the group was connected with a volunteer pilot. I was connected with Coen and his mother and sister. Coen wore some kind of brace on his upper legs, but I don't really know what he had..... today was about being a child rather then being ill.
The aircraft I reserved (PH-SVI) returned late and we had to take in some fuel so it took a while before we were airborne. Since Coen sat on the co-pilot seat and the only door of the Piper is on that side I had to arrange some help in getting Coen in and out the plane at the fuel station.... in the end his mother could climb out from the back seat to do this, but you always learn that too late.
It was very busy at the airport and we even had to wait for start up, but finally we could taxi to the holding point to do engine run up tests, and soon after we were cleared for take off.
We flew towards Den Haag, made a 360 around the Pier of Scheveningen, and then on to Hoek van Holland. Via Westlerlee (green house city) and Delft back again.
Coen steered part of the flight and he was a quick learning co-pilot..... the smile on his face was incredible and he was fixated on the yoke and the panel.... My guess is that he was completely enjoying himself! As was his sister Olga, who could not stop smiling.
There was a lot of press present and Coen was interviewed before and after the flight, and we posed for many pictures! He got an official air-diploma since it was a first time as a pilot, and a highflyer license. I showed him where we flew and what part he steered the aircraft, and I guess he was truly proud.
Great kids, great day, great foundation, ..... combining flying with making a kid very happy is awesome.