Wingly Flight, York to Hull – Review
By @Roger Crow
The ‘model village’ glinted in the afternoon sunlight. Every element of York was perfectly to scale, and gleaming like a jewel in its crown was the Minster. I’d seen it many times over the past 30 years of visits, but never from this angle.
I’m soaring a few thousand feet over the actual city, even if it looks like a model. The pilot, James Perkins, does a splendid job throughout the flight, talking me through the process of getting ‘our’ light aircraft off the ground, and ensuring I get the most out of the experience.
As we bank to get the best view of the most iconic landmarks, I’m like a kid on Christmas morning.
This flight with Wingly should have happened six months earlier, but obviously Covid put the brakes on that plan. Which was a huge shame because when an experience is this good from start to finish, it’s tempting to want to do it again as soon as possible.
“Slightly unreal quality”
From the minute I turn up at Sherburn Aero Club, an aviator’s oasis tucked away in Sherburn in Elmet, anti-Covid measures are reassuringly prevalent. Masks are to be worn until you get into the aircraft, which is fair enough, and obviously hand sanitiser is applied like second nature these days.
After a quick briefing from James, I squeeze into the cockpit, and we taxi along the runway while Mrs C stands at a safe distance to capture the moment we lift off. I’m glad she does as you can slip into that virtual reality/Flight Sim mode during the trip. Everything has a slightly unreal quality, so it’s great to get that external perspective to put yourself in context after the event.
The patchwork quilt of rural Yorkshire stretches out to the horizon, until we reach our first temporary destination. That ‘model’ Minster.
After circling York, and soaking up the rest of the views, including the snakelike train station, we head for Hull. The weather looks a little tempestuous; with a storm a few days away, I was concerned that rain would stop play, but thankfully for that hour in the air we only endure a little turbulence and a light shower.
“Living the life of a tycoon”
We’re at Hull in no time, and the Humber bridge has never looked so good. Shafts of what Spielberg calls “god’s light” filter through the clouds, and I run out of superlatives as we chat over the headsets.
Thanks to greetings cards, it may have become a cliché, but that one phrase by the mighty Maya Angelou keeps returning to me: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” And this trip certainly did that.
Naturally I spend most of the journey filming those incredible views, but the experience is that stuff that seeps into your soul. Like any short break, you don’t want to waste it, and this is easily the highlight of a crazy 24 hours soaking up the sights of Whitby, and living the life of a tycoon, albeit for a short time.
We fly over my adopted town of Howden, or it might be another picturesque area with a stunning Minster. Hard to tell from a few thousand feet.
Thankfully you don’t need to be filthy rich to enjoy the experience. An hour’s trip like this clocks in around the £150 mark, so if there’s a couple of you, £75 makes it well worth the price, whether it’s a landmark birthday or just a way of getting away from the madness for a short spell.
Erring on the side of caution, I’d taken a travel sickness pill just before take-off. Chances are I didn’t need to. Thanks to a relatively smooth flight, I had no sense of air nausea for the duration.
I’d recommend it to anyone, whether you have to travel a distance for the experience, or like me have the airfield a few miles from my front door.
I wouldn’t need to think to hard about repeating the experience. It’s THAT good.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to my local hardware store for the sake of a tortuous final gag.
Roger. Wilko. Over and Out.