Friday the 18th January 2019 was a special day for Aerial Collective. It was the day our first passenger flight took place. Paul Cross sped across the Duxford skies in Shark Mouth and when he finally came back down to earth, this is what he had to say…
“ I’m still buzzing from last week’s flight and just wanted to say a big thank you to all involved.
Who would have thought that a simple email would end up in a Shark Mouthed Mustang and a 400MPH dream coming true. It’s no exaggeration to say that it was one of the best days of my life.
And what an incredible place to do it, I have been coming to Duxford for years and always get a thrill when the hangers come into view from the M11. But to arrive at the Stephenson hangar on a quiet day in January knowing that I was going to fly that afternoon was superbly special. And being greeted by Cliff Spink was pretty cool too!
Please pass on my thanks to Shaun Patrick, what a gentleman to allow other people to share in his wonderful aircraft. The world is a better place for people like him.
Thank you to Lisa, you are amazing – and you made us feel so welcome. I could geek out all day with you about flying and planes and pilots and bits of wildcats! And to be walked through the heart of your unique engineering heaven where your masterful restorations take place was a privilege. Thanks to all the guys for stopping to take time to chat with us. Col Pope and the team- you are a legends!
The moment that wonderful ticket drops through the letterbox with the spitfire’s cockpit presented inside the excitement starts! From the friendly welcome and the excellent safety briefing. To the flight itself and through to the end of the day with that lovely booklet containing George Romain’s excellent photography. There is a brilliant well thought out line of quality running throughout. It’s all great stuff and the Aerial Collective team have considered every detail. It is truly something to be proud of.
I believe Aerial Collective will be a great success. Not least because it has incredible pilots Like Stu Goldspink. Not just because it has some amazing aircraft that no one else can offer a flying experience in. And not just because you are flying from the historic heart of Duxford. It’s because you’ve got it all just right.
When I was taxing back, I told Stu why I had dragged him, and you lot out in the middle of a cold January to go flying. And I explained my situation and that I might not be well enough to do this in the summer. That flight, sitting behind him in that Mustang while we whistled down the side of a loop will be one of the things that Ill replay in my head when I’m stuck in hospital. Life is about living and experiences. Being behind a Merlin on the shoulder of a fighter pilot rolling over the countryside was undeniably an unforgettable shot of real life!
I dreamed about doing this since I was a little boy and I always thought it would feel raw and violent. The drama of it didn’t disappoint but I was surprised at how sweet and steady and smooth it was – I must get myself a Mustang!
So, I’ll be back for that Spitfire flight. And if I get the chance, I’ll be back to fly with you guys some more.”
We are so glad that we were able to share in this experience with Paul and it was a pleasure to make his boyhood dream a reality. If you would like to experience a flight in a Mustang, book your very own flight experience here.
Words: Hannah Juggins