“Shared Moments: Trains & Boats & Planes” written by Maureen Kershaw

Dear all,

“Trains & Boats & Planes” so goes the song by Dionne Warwick.  I can’t say there’s much to report on Planes as commercial aviation’s never been to my liking despite being interviewed for a job at BOAC in the late 60s. Before you think it involved globe-trotting and wings on a navy uniform, it was a clerical job in the Leeds office on The Headrow. I’d never flown by the time of the interview so that probably didn’t bode well when I told them I preferred travelling by sea.

Shortly afterwards though, a couple of friends offered to take my friend Jill and I for an hour’s flight from Doncaster Aero Club. A ‘Cessna 172’ was parked up on the grass, from where we took off and landed! We circled around South and East Yorkshire and to say it was exhilarating looking down the cooling towers of Drax Power Station at low level was an understatement and I was happy in photographing my new adventure. My Mum was terrified at the thought of what I was to do that day and I was lectured many times but being 21 and pretty fearless I dismissed, as one did, but felt guilty each flight I took thereafter.

Sunny weather was no longer a priority, just clear skies and light clouds.  The best flight was in a 8-seater ‘Cessna’ though from Leeds Bradford Airport. David was co-pilot this time with his Tutor, Mike Woodley in the ‘driving’ (?) seat. Some time ago I ‘Googled’ Mike to see whether there was any mention and was impressed to read his Film aviation services were responsible for breathtaking aerial stunts in the ‘Bond’ films and many others. That day the plan was to fly to Blackpool but due to low cloud we did a few ground controlled approaches (GCA’s as known in the trade) to assist David with his flying of a larger aircraft, which I enjoyed and felt quite blase about the whole thing. Fortunately in those days pilot Mike wasn’t into aerial stunts.

Four years later in 1972 I went to Majorca, flying at midnight from Manchester. Commercial aircraft at last, with ‘Britannia Airways’, but this time far from blase – I was terrified! Shaking uncontrollably from taking my seat to landing at Palma. I hated every minute. I spent the entire four days dreading the return, not helped by disliking the food. Being early February the weather was much better than in Leeds and surprisingly I actually enjoyed the return flight. As fellow passengers took deep breaths in readiness for the landing, I had no fear; I was excited as I knew I was nearly home. My ordeal was over and I never flew again.

Thank you Maureen, until next time….