01/04/18 mission update

6 week countdown

We are due to depart for the Balkans on 16 May 2018, and I’m getting very excited!

I’ll be flying with my very good friend, Alastair, and last week both Alastair and I learned that our leave from work has been confirmed. This means we can both get cracking on the detail.

Alastair and I work together at the BBC, and while Alastair isn’t a pilot, he’s flown with me many times before, and will be taking charge of some of the cameras, and helping me manage these blogs and social media.

I’ve made enquiries about travel insurance, since standard policies won’t cover a trip such as this, and we still need to have cover in the event that one of us falls ill, or is injured. The policy I’m looking at also covers search and rescue.

I’m hoping to meet up with James Lee next week. James, a flying instructor from Stapleford, is organising the trip, and he’s started looking at the route, and is making contact with the various aerodromes we intend to visit. I hope to go through the route with James next week, and film a little VLOG about our plan. Stay tuned for that! James informs me that he now has enough pilots to take three aircraft, in addition to Oscar Romeo, so it will be quite a contingent.

I’ve been looking at what extra equipment I’m going to need to buy for the trip. I will need to get a handheld camcorder, that we’ll use in the cockpit, and on location, and possibly some more GoPros for the other aircraft, along with new intercom cables. I’ll also need to explore power banks, and additional batteries to keep the cameras rolling for the whole days that we’ll be flying. My IPad is on its last legs too, and I’m probably going to have to get a new one, to make sure SkyDemon keeps running! All in all, it’s going to be an expensive trip – the expected 25-30hours flying alone is going to cost in the region of £3000.

I’ll update here when I have some news, and expect updates to increase in frequency as we near the departure date.