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Bucket List? - Oh Yes !


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  • 4 weeks later...

My Dad often said to me and Bro' (Amongst other priceless advice)

'If something sounds too good to be true, invariably it will be'

Griff - Flying in as genuine WW2 Spitfire? too good to be true?  It most certainly was.

I had booked Sept 15th - Battle of Britain Day, back in January. That would give the covid lockdowns time to ease and also give me plenty of time to pay off the balance owed (Total price is £3k)  The idea of flying in a Spitfire was first muted eleven years ago when on my fiftieth I declared that for my sixtieth I would be flying in a Spitfire (A year overdue as it happens due to Covid, yet again another appointment ruined / delayed by Covid).  So although it had been on my 'Bucket List' for eleven years, I had in reality been waiting nine months for today.  The Wx forecast was nearly perfect too




We had to be at the airfield and me in the briefing room for 1200

1 x Wife, 1 x Daughter and four grandsons conspired to delay our etd of 0900 to 0930 despite mine and Bro's best efforts. I had Bro' driving the Q5 so I could revise the pilots notes for the last time as I would be questioned on them during the briefing.  We also needed to stop for B'fast enroute as the pilots notes state you must consume food a few hours prior to the flight (Glucose levels and all that business) due to G force, aerobatics etc

We made Sywell aerodrome for 1152 and I was at the entrance to the briefing room for 1155, bang on but it was tight.

Met a lady with a clipboard and introduced myself.

"Sorry the aircraft is grounded for the rest of the day due to a fuel pump issue, we'll have to rearrange another date with you in due course.  The hotel is just next door, there is the pilots veranda cafe open to the public over there, behind you is the museum"

With that she disappeared inside closing the door behind her and that was that

I was gutted, still am


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I feel your pain.Some years back Alan treated me to a fight on a DC3.What a great experience. The following  year I wanted to do it again.The day came,and rain stopped play fight cancelled. So rearranged  it.In the meantime the EU brought  out a rule baning grenral public due to health and safety. However I could fly in a Rapid,a bi-plane 8 seats.Very enjoyable flying over Cambridge and Suffolk. 

So hopefully from your disappointment some good may come from it.

Fet on the phone,get them to rearrange a fight, and reach for the sky.

Best wishes Ian. 

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I just sort of stood there in some sort of daze before gathering mysen. My first thought was the family / friends that had travelled to the event, Robin over from Boston with his cameras / gear, Paul n H from Bourne, we had arranged for two Grandsons to have the day off school (Educational of course) MrsG a day off, Bro' a day off, me a days loss of earnings, Polly lived locally so not too bad.  It was a mess all round

The Lady with the clipboard briefly appeared, I asked her why she had not rang me?  Apparently the fuel pressure problem came to light during the first flight, it took them a good while to diagnose the faulty fuel pump, indeed the owner passed us in his car exiting the car park as we arrived to get a replacement so they didn't have time to call me but would ring the remaining two bookings for that day, then she was gone again

I have to say I felt that the Warbirds Lady had not treated us very well, she knew we had travelled down from Donny,  Could she not have offered us complimentary drinks at the airfield café or the hotel? They had four flights with paying clients that day, £12k in all and we were the only group there.   Could she not have offered / arranged for our group to have a tour of the Spitfire Hanger and a close up photo opportunity of the Spitfire itself? The two eldest Grandsons were nearly in tears, they had been so much looking forward to getting up close with a Spitfire. 

We were left to our own devices so trooped off the the café and watched the comings and goings on the dispersal, the aerobatic Blades were doing their thing (Four of em) two tiger moths, another biplane, small helicopters and a couple of small private aircraft.   We visited the museum.  The 'Grace' Spitfire could just be seen outside the front of its hanger with the cowlings off but not close enough to enjoy, there was no one working on her.  We departed at around 1500 for home arriving sometime after 1700.  Typically the wx was perfect for flying too with high cloud, sunshine and dry

I will not be ringing them today, I would kinda hope they will be in touch with me once they have sorted out their bookings diary to see when they have availability, plus they have got £3k of our brass sat in their coffers

It will probably have to be next year for me now, preferably on a Saturday but not sure if they fly with paying clients on Saturdays so we can get the Grandsons there without disrupting their schooling again.  My work diary is booked solid right through to mid February and I refuse to be selfish and cancel a client.  I can't see the Spitfire being booked up during Feb to April due to the likelihood of inclement weather so in reality that means May 2022, another 8 x months wait on top of the 9 months already done.  I'll just have to try and forget about it for now :default_sad:



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1 hour ago, Chelsea14Ian said:

Alan treated me to a fight on a DC3.What a great experience. The following  year I wanted to do it again.The day came,and rain stopped play fight cancelled.

Perhaps a good job Ian, Alan would have kicked your ass in a fight.

Gutted for you Griff, a tour of the hangar wouldn't have taken much to sort I'm sure, still better than the prospect of an in flight engine failure.


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OH Griff, I am so sorry. the cavalier treatment was a  disgrace annd no doubt compounded your extreme disappointment.  I had remembered you were due to  go on your jaunt today as when you first mentioned it and the date I  remarked it was my daughter's birthday which is why I remembered  it yesterday and was imagining you having  the time of your life and I logged on this morning hoping to  read all about it. Of course no one can legislate for breakdowns however it was handled in an entirely inppropriate  manner and the organisers could do with some lessons in PR I think.



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