A Slice of Life
Somewhere around the middle of last year DiVoran’s brother, David, sent me a video “teaser” of the 2014 Flying Legends Airshow that had been held at Duxford, England. I was so impressed with the event depicted in that video and all the magnificent aircraft that took part in it, that I decided right then and there that I had to make an effort to attend one of those airshows as soon as possible.
As I looked into the event closer, I discovered that the theme for the 2015 airshow was going to be the “75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain.” Well, that did it for me! All those wonderfully restored WWII fighters and bombers brought together, in one place at one time, was more than I could resist. I decided to attend the 2015 airshow, and committed to that decision by using my Delta Skymiles to book a roundtrip flight from Orlando, Florida to London Gatwick for July 1, 2015.
Since one of my retirement hobbies is visiting Aviation Museums wherever I go, I started my research by Googling aviation museums in the UK. That gave me a huge list, and I discovered that they are located throughout the country. I started looking for museum locations that would allow me to transverse the entire UK, from London clockwise, and as far north as Glasgow and Edinburgh Scotland.This was made somewhat easier, just by chance, when I picked up a copy of the May 2015 issue of “Aeroplane” magazine, which just happened to include a 32-page “UK Aviation Museum Guide.”
I needed to arrive in the Duxford area in time to attend the Flying Legends Airshow on the 12th of July. This required pacing daily museum visits to keep driving averages reasonable. Once the basic route and museum locations had been established, next I had to locate and book lodging accommodations at the end of each day. In addition there were several special ticket arrangements that needed to be made, and all this kept me busy for a good six months.
Day 1 – Wednesday July 1st
When “The Big Day” finally arrived, I was really excited about my flight that day. I would be flying on a Virgin Atlantic (Delta’s “non-stop” partner airline) Boeing 747-400; leaving Orlando International Airport at 7:25 PM and arriving at London-Gatwick Airport at 8:35 AM the next morning. This would be the first time I would be flying on a Boeing 747 and I hoped I would be able to get some sleep.
After reading the passenger reviews for seat selection for this particular airplane, I selected an Economy seat in the upper deck. A friend of one of my doctors, who works for Virgin Atlantic, was going to try to see if she could upgrade my ticket for this flight. Well, as it turned out, she was able to upgrade my ticket to Premium Economy (kind of like Business Class) which made the trip much more enjoyable.
Boy this airplane (White Rose) is really big! Just the upper deck of this airplane can seat as many people as some smaller airplanes. We took off right on time, and as we climbed out, banking east from the airport, we actually flew over our house. As we did that we were flying above a rain cloud and there was a rainbow. I had never seen a rainbow from an airplane before and wasn’t surprised to see that both ends reached all the way to the ground.
I have to say the service on the flight was first rate, and our English flight attendant (with a very interesting hairdo) made the flight quite enjoyable for us all. The food was wonderful, but I didn’t get much sleep.
—–To be Continued—–