SOUTH EAST CENTRE’S HIGH FLYING JUDGE
Paul Phillips, a long-standing BRSCC official, who is now a member of the Centre’s Judges team, has just taken his first-ever helicopter flight, thanks to holding a winning ticket at the BRSCC SE Centre’s Dinner Dance in December. The prize? A Helicopter Ride over London, courtesy of a Centre benefactor.
Rather than take the prize immediately, Paul wisely chose a midsummer date – Saturday July 24 – a marshalling free weekend for the ever-busy official.
Paul takes up the story. “The day arrived and looking out of my bedroom window I was pleased to note that there were all the signs of a lovely hot summer’s day, with very little cloud. A perfect day I thought, I had chosen well.”
“I set-off for Redhill Aerodrome. Arriving in plenty of time, I was able to watch a lot of flying activity of both small fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. I went into the London Helicopter reception, where I was given a short briefing, along with the four other passengers who were to join the flight. We were told how to board and leave the helicopter, the wearing of the seat belts, the use of the radio headsets and the survival safety equipment. Finally we were introduced to our pilot, then it was off to the helicopter.”
“A nearly new jet-engined red and yellow six-seater was parked just outside the hangar. We climbed in, I had the single front passenger seat alongside the pilot, the others were on a single bench type seat behind. Belts done up, headsets on and before I knew it the engine had started and we were airborne. We climbed from take-off to 1,500 feet in a very short time almost without noticing it, no stomach troubles or popping ears etc. Virtually no noise or vibration, the seats were very comfortable and a great view all round from the windows.”
“The pilot then explained our route, which was to take us North over Richmond, then along the Thames to the Thames Barrier, turn and head back to Redhill Airfield, all in half an hour. During the flight, the pilot gave a commentary of where we were and what we could see. Familiar places such as the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street and the Tower of London look quite a different shape from the air. All too soon we were back on the ground, having travelled a long way in a very short time. A most enjoyable experience.”
Paul was keen to pass on his thanks to the BRSCC South Eastern Centre for the unforgettable experience.