Friday, 17 May 2013

My Flying Tribute to The Dambusters

With all the #Dambusters70 coverage the past couple of days, I couldn't resist putting together a flying tribute of my own today.

"Target"

Based on the Isle of Man (home base EGNS), I first had to find a dam to "bust". The natural choice was SULBY RESERVOIR DAM which lies inside the motorcycle TT race circuit, in the northern half of the island, but outside of controlled airspace (handy).

Aircraft

My ex-RAF Scottish Aviation Bulldog, tail number xx667. Here are a few pictures taken before departure this morning. Note the blue skies, very rare in these parts.





Route

With an easterly wind, runway in use at EGNS this morning was 08. That suggested tracking up the east coast of the island, then cutting across to the west to the target zone. Here's my planned route in GoogleMaps: http://bit.ly/111zB1B


Departure

Uneventful. Here's the video footage (from cockpit-mounted GoPro Hero 2) of the take-off and initial climb-out.


"Raid" on SULBY RESERVOIR DAM


...and here's the video footage of the "raid" itself.  Respecting local livestock and farm buildings, I flew the "raid" at approx 1000 ft AGL.  There are lots of sheep in the vicinity: I didn't want to scare them into slipping down the hill into the reservoir...



Recovery

Uneventful. Here's the video footage of the landing on runway 08. Got radar vectors to the ILS (bit of practice...)


Debrief

Could not imagine having to do such a thing for real: no modern navigation equipment, ultra-low-level (60 ft!) raid at night over hostile territory with people shooting at you. Here are the (approximate) Dambuster routes in GoogleMaps: Waves 1 & 3  http://bit.ly/10AtWzz , Wave 2 http://bit.ly/10Dk9Jb . Imagine flying those routes under those extreme conditions...

Hats off to those chaps.