Sunday, 23 January 2011

Flying to Greece in a flex wing

Ian MacAdam has flown more hours that I've had hot dinners. He started his flying career taking people flying over the Victoria Falls in Zambia, before returning to England, where he currently teaches flex wing microlighting in Essex. One of his recent exploits involved flying his flex wing microlight to Greece and back. I asked him all about it...

Me - What made you want to do this trip?
Ian - I love flying with people, and flying around the local area there is always something exciting and new to discover. But sometimes, I like to take myself away on a long cross country trip, to challenge myself as a pilot and to explore new places. I had friends in Greece, and I had always promised to come and visit them - I don't think they ever believed I would actually do it!
Me - What was your biggest challenge?
Ian - Crossing the Alps was incredible, but as with any unchartered territory, you have to really be on your guard- looking out for landing fields, being extremely aware of any changes in the weather.
Me - How did you refuel? Airfields are often miles from anywhere, aren't they?
Ian - I went prepared to order taxis and stay in local hotels. But what I found incredible was the generosity and enthusiasm of the people I met on my journey. Many times, I was offered lifts, meals and even beds for the night.
Me - How difficult is it to fly from country to country from a legal point of view?
Ian - The more organised you are the better. You will need to file flight plans, and get permission in advance.
Me - And are the rules and regulations different in each country?
Ian - There are some fundamental differences, for example in Italy, microlights are not supposed to fly over 500 feet. You definitely need to mug up before you leave.
Me - What would you say to someone who was considering this trip?
Ian - Make a good plan in advance, but make sure that you leave yourself the time and space to explore.

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