Sunday, 21 June 2015

TG Aviation Boeing Stearman, Pent Farm airfield, Postling, Kent

With the closure of Manston airport, long-standing Manston flying school TG Aviation have moved to a small strip in deepest Kent at Pent Farm, Postling, just a few minutes drive from the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone. Former Red Arrows pilot Ted Girdler established his flying school over thirty years ago. Ted sadly died in a airshow crash in 2000 when the Aero Delphin he was piloting failed to come out of a loop and went into the sea off Bournemouth. The Stearman costs around £185 for a thirty minute flight. It is an original US Navy machine, model A75-N25-4 built circa 1942/3. As a primary trainer, it's obviously not a particularly complex piece of kit - "..the aircraft is not overpowered by its 220 or so horsepower, and loops and barrel rolls require diving to pick up enough energy to complete the maneuvers...With no flaps or other complex systems, the landing check list is short: mixture full rich, elevator trimmed slightly tail heavy, keep the engine warm with short bursts of power, as needed, and maintain at least 60 mph on final..". For more on flying the Stearman see "Flying the Army's Primary Trainers" here The military pilot’s handbook includes the paragraph "Avoid cross-wind landings when possible." .Thanks to Ted's daughter-in-law Sue for showing me around and kindly offering to take me for a spin. I sadly had to decline - I'm sure you can see why from the picture above - but I'm also sure that I will be back soon!


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