The Red Arrows display team were not available so it was up to the Blues from Beverley to put on a good show. The pilots assembled in Caistor ready for the flight around the Lincolnshire Wolds. The route for today’s performance was laid down by Group Captain Pugwash.
The display team consisted of Air Commodore Neil, Air Vice-Marshal Heather, Group Captain Pugwash, Wing Commander Mark, Squadron Leader Matthew and Flight Lieutenant Bob. Once pre-flight checks were completed it was time to set off. Heading west on the North Kelsey Road the Squadron set a strong pace right from the off, led by AC Neil and GC Pugwash.
The low level flying formation continued as we passed through Moortown and on to Nettleton now with SL Matthew and WC Mark taking to the front. Now that the engines were beginning to warm up it was time for the first power climb of the day. If you were not warmed up yet, the maximum 16% gradient would certainly set you up for the day. Reaching the plateau at Nettleton top, we were presented with a wonderful vista across Lincolnshire to the west and a chance for a bit of camera posing.
Following the “golf ball” flyby, it was time for the power dive down into Walesby. Reaching speeds around 35mph made for quite an exhilarating run, although a bit scary at the same time. Fortune favours the bold as they say. Mind you, they also say there are no old bold pilots! The excitement continued with a loop around Tealby then on to Sixhills, an appropriate name as we encountered another 10% ramp on the approach.
More low flying towards South Willingham gave a chance to recover before the next power climb on Donnington Road. FL Bob made the early running, out of the saddle and on to the front. Not to be outdone, AVM Heather suddenly lit the after-burners to make a passing impression of Beryl Burton as she headed to the front.
Turning back to the North and into the wind the flight path became undulating like a roller-coaster in a fairground. The adverse wind did nothing to deter the echelon, as the rumble from the innards drove us onwards to the refuelling stop at Binbrook. The temperature was just about bearable to allow us to sit outside. Panninis and Baked Potatoes were the popular fuel of choice to warm the insides and with the sun putting in a late appearance, provided some welcome warmth on the outside too.
The final leg of the journey continued with the Roller-coaster run as we headed east to Wold Newton then north through Hatcliffe to Beelsby. Great enjoyment was had trying maintain the downward momentum into the next ramp upwards, however, by the time we turned south west to Croxby and Thoresway, some legs were beginning to scream. The sight of yet another 6-10% gradient on the way to Rothwell suddenly looked rather daunting. On reaching the top, Squadron Leader decided to throw caution to the wind and set a strong pace in an attempt to return to base as quick as possible. A radio communications failure saw the leading flight miss the turn off to Whitegate Hill which would have taken us on an easy cruise down into Caistor, instead we all him followed to the main A46.
Superb countryside, quiet roads, hills and thrills made for a wonderful day out on the Bike. I’m sure we will revisit in the not too distant future.