When you have read the brief day by day report recorded below, please look at the personal reports written by Cathy and Daryl. See Cathy's report - A Bird's Eye View of the event. Then take a look at Daryl's report for an alternative view.
2006 was the third year of Fly-UK and we were fortunate to have sufficient good weather to achieve our goals of John O'Groats to Lands End as well as visiting Northern Ireland along the way
Some pilots were determined to do a bit more and between them they landed at... Orkney, Lundy and even Scilly as well as arriving on time for the Wight Party.
Friday 9th June and Fly-UK 2006 starts with 27 aircraft arriving at Halfpenny Green, otherwise known as Wolverhampton Airport. Tony Rowlands, the Air Traffic Services Manager negotiated with Gary Hall, who operates the airport, for Fly-UK 2006 to start there despite a general restriction on microlight aircraft. Tony said, “We are pleased to host the start of FLY-UK and ALL aircraft types would be welcome, with or without radio.”
Fly-UK is delighted to have played a part in having the restrictions lifted to open this airfield to microlights and we were given a great welcome. The restaurant put on a special meal for us all that evening and opened again for us in time for breakfast the following morning - superb hospitality! Forecast weather seemed likely to change plans for Saturday when the intention was to fly in two separate groups - one to Northern Ireland and the other up the east coast.
Saturday morning brought strong winds and excellent time was made to the North. Top ground speed recorded in a Quik was 140mph. By the evening aircraft were spread out between Crossland Moor near Huddersfield and Perth airport. Those hoping to cross to Northern Ireland as the first day of their trip were defeated by wind and have followed the other aircraft up the East coast. One aircraft was damaged at Eshott and frantic telephone calls led to the Mainair factory being opened on the Sunday morning and parts were ferried northwards to allow a repair on the Sunday.
By Sunday evening 29 aircraft had reached Dornoch with 5 staying at East Fortune and a further 3 in Orkney with uncertainties as to where the others were! Strong winds from the South helped us with the journey. Great hospitality from Luigi's restaurant, Dornoch.
Monday's flight down the Great Glen to Oban was prevented by 40 knot winds from the South. Instead, some aircraft sat it out at Orkney, some at Plockton, while others returned to Dornoch. 2 GT 450 Quiks landed on the golf driving range due to 40 knot crosswinds on the main runway. Everyone settled back at the pub!
Tuesday's weather allowed six aircraft to reach Northern Ireland while others flew to Perth, Dornoch, Oban and elsewhere. All hoping for a northerly wind to push us south to reach Shobden tomorrow.
By Wednesday everyone was flying south with aircraft leaving the north of Scotland while others started the day in Northern Ireland or the north of England. All participants did their best to reach Shobden for the evening event despite low cloud later in the day over the Welsh hills. And what an event it was! We were given a warm welcome and were treated to a hog roast and live band with the bar staying open until late.
Then on Thursday, just as we were preparing to leave Shobden after a good breakfast, a Hercules gave us a low-level fly-past. Not an organised part of Fly-UK but a small bonus from the RAF! Later that morning ten aircraft flew in to Haverfordwest to sample the excellent cafe and bask in the Pembrokeshire midday sunshine. Next stop Eaglescott for tea, though some gave this a miss and headed straight for Bodmin, with one intrepid pilot trying out the roller-coaster runway on Lundy. Bodmin opened the bar for us and prepared an excellent barbecue.
Now Friday was planned to be a shorter day of flying, but six pilots took advantage of the spare time to fly the 30 miles or so to Scilly, walking round Hugh Town on St Marys in the hot sunshine and sampling the ice creams. Some flew a circuit of the islands before heading back to the mainland and on to the Isle of Wight, arriving late in the day with just time to pitch tents before the evening began.
Another great Fly-UK event completed with fifty aircraft involved. One German pilot joined us as a part of his tour of Europe and completed the entire Fly-UK trip from Wolverhampton, via Orkney and Lands End to Spamfield before returning to Germany after the party. Everyone was held up for a day by the weather; some in Dornoch, some in northern England and some in Orkney. One aircraft was rebuilt following a significant landing, two aircraft had to land on the driving range at Dornoch due to 30 knot crosswinds, several pilots dropped in on a party near Edinburgh and landed at a field so short that that they "wouldn't have chosen it in an emergency!". We all enjoyed our adventure and requests are already coming in for the 2007 event.