12:30 p.m. June 1, 2022
A wing walking team overcame transport network and weather delays to raise funds for the Potential Kids (PK) charity.
John Spavins, Callum Oakaby-Wright, Cameron Oakaby-Wright, Mark Clare and James Tanner of the PK IT team took part in the Wing Walk on Monday May 30 at AeroSuperBatics Rendcombe Airfield.
They have raised funds for Potential Kids, an award-winning Welwyn Hatfield charity that provides learning, social and sporting opportunities for neurodiverse children and young people.
Pilots Dave Barrell and Mike Dentith performed the maneuvers planned for the flights, while professional walkers Kirsten Pobjoy and Emma Broadbent explained the basics of the emergency procedure for releasing the flyer’s harness in the event of a crash. emergency on the ground, such as an engine fire.
Flights were arranged for flyers to become “qualified”, confirming that they were able to complete the flights safely, follow instructions and return to the ground without stress or injury. This then allowed these flyers to participate in a second full aerobatic flight.
Callum and Cameron were the first in the air with a synchronized flight that saw a few runs to familiarize themselves with the speed of the plane, the air pressure on the body and limbs and to feel changes in direction and height.
This led to high-speed passes over the observation paddock, a side-by-side approach to the paddock with a late burst in opposite directions, and approaches for head-on passes, all with a trail of smoke. The plane in level flight was about one wingspan (about 10 meters) apart. James flew solo, but experimented with the same maneuvers, while John and Mark replicated Callum and Cameron.
Callum said the experience was “absolutely thrilling” while Cameron said: “It was a crazy experience, all in the name of a great cause, and one I would definitely do again!”
All wing walkers were deemed “qualified” and were briefed for aerobatic flights. The synchronous pairs flew as before and, to the surprise of James, who had funded his own qualifying flight independently of the other team members, he also performed an aerobatic flight.
The synchronous flights started with a long climb and a short dive before starting the loop, this time the space between the planes was wider, almost three wingspans (about 30 meters) so still very close and exhilarating to see the other leaflet throughout .
This was followed by more high-speed, low-level passes, breaks and one-on-one crosses. James had a little more personal flight and his pilot gave him a few stall turns plus half rolls and full rolls as he lost the joy of seeing a second plane.
James said: “Honestly it’s something I’ve never felt before, the view was absolutely amazing and exhilarating. I loved every moment in the air, and if I get the chance, I’ll do it again, especially if it was for a good cause like this.
Senior Pilot Dave used the Boeing Stearman, each with a distinguished history. Its takeoff speed was around 70 mph, increasing to 80 mph for level flight. During the first demonstration aircraft, the speed varied between 80 and 140 mph at a height between 30 and 100 feet.
While the second display sets the speed in the loop speed dive approach is 160 mph to ensure the ability to climb 2000ft for the top of the loop, to ensure there is a clearly visible loop and provide a safety margin. Approaching the loop, there is an 800-500 foot dip to help build speed. Other than the loop, all other elements were between 100 and 300 feet.
In addition to stepping on the wings for a good cause, this event also marks John Spavin reaching DWP retirement age, although he has made it clear that he will never retire.
A Potential Kids spokesperson said; “We are so grateful to all these brave and fearless people for raising money for PK!!! It means the world to us because every penny raised counts. Thank you so much.”
To learn more about the potential children, go to: potentialkids.org.uk/
To donate to the Wingwalk fundraiser, see: justgiving.com/campaign/wingwalking-potentialkids-2022