When you start to read it, you'll probably think so too. However, after a little thought I realised that it was only superficially a story about a hunt for a helicopter radio. On a deeper level it was about something which is far, far more important when you're flying any type of aircraft. Confused? Read on and you'll see what I mean.
It all started one day many years ago. I arrived at Tatenhill Airfield in the English Midlands, where I used to work, expecting a normal instructing day – probably a few trial lessons, maybe one or two of my regular students, things like that. It was how things usually went, and there was no reason why that day should be any different.
However, that day my boss had other ideas. One of our R44 helicopters needed a new radio. Could I, he asked, fly it over to Halfpenny Green Airfield, where they had the radio and could fit it. Would I be willing to wait a little while for it, then fly the helicopter back to Tatenhill? The present radio was still working, so I wouldn't have any problems with communication on the flight. I thought of asking why it needed a new one in that case, but I never did, and I still have absolutely no idea. But anyway, I was delighted. I knew Halfpenny Green well; I had done a lot of flying there as a PPL(H), and I had friends in both the fixed wing and rotary flying schools there. It was an easy flight for me – I'd flown it often, I knew the route, and I was familiar with Halfpenny Green's special helicopter approaches. I could drop off the R44, go and have lunch, visit my friends, then fly back ... and be paid for it. The weather forecast was good, and it would be a nice little trip, in fact far easier than taking up my umpteenth trial lesson student. So of course I agreed.
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Global Aviator - November 2019