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Here we are again

Roger Mole

Cross Country Pilot
My last blog post for 2020

Yes, it's the end of another year. One that we won't forget very quickly, although we'd like to. A year that was defined by the Covid-19 pandemic that affected everything that everyone did all over the world.

So not surprising that everyone has their own story, of loss, failure and disappointment. Principally our hearts must go out to those who lost loved-ones to this awful disease, and there were many. But we must also sympathise with those who have lost businesses and livelihoods many of whom may never work again and, may as a result, have even more to lose in the coming weeks and months. As someone who ran a small business in good and bad times I understand that pain very clearly.

I and my friends and neighbours were relatively safe down in this little rural corner of France and I don't know of anyone who was directly affected by Covid, although I am sure that we will find as conditions ease that many small cafes and restaurants that we knew and loved will have gone to the wall. Luckily, none of my close circle of friends, any member of their families or any member of mine became ill as a result of Covid and I am greatly thankful for that.

My main disappointment was that due to the lockdowns that were imposed on both sides of the Channel, 2020 was yet another disappointing year for flying. I only managed 19 hours and 51 minutes and much of that only as a result of my bringing my ex-pat Xair over to France from the UK. Even so, this was not my lowest total in recent memory - I did far fewer in 2017, the year of my illness and did less in each of 2012, when I came to live in France, 2013 and 2014.

So I can't really complain too much, especially as there are hundreds, if not thousands of pilots on both sides of the Channel who will have done far fewer hours than me. And, of course, I'm also aware that my disappointment is trivial and pales into insignificance compared to that of people who have lost loved-ones, family, friends, jobs, livelihoods and businesses.

Now we are at the end of 2020 and hopefully we can look forward to the new year with hope and confidence as vaccines come on stream and life slowly begins to return to some sort of normality. There are doomsters who say that it never will but I disagree with them. We humans are incredibly resilient - we have had to be to have been around for so long - and old habits die hard.

We will learn from 2020 and will move ever onwards and upwards as we always have done, armed with the new-found knowledge that the year has brought us. I am also fortunate in having an added benefit to look forward to in the form of my impending house sale and new house build on the land I'm buying in Fleurac. 2021 will therefore be an even more significant and exciting year for me than it would have been were I just recovering like most others from the downsides of 2020.

So let's wish good riddance to 2020 and raise our glasses to a better, safer, more prosperous and more healthy 2021. And for other Brits who are reading this, let's also raise our glasses to a Brexit that will return independence and sovereignty to our country and herald a new dawn for a successful, global, outward-looking United Kingdom. But let's not forget our friends in Europe for they are many - the ordinary people who think like us and want the same things for their families as we do for ours.

Happy 2021 everyone!
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Yeah, let's consign 2020 to history - roll on 2021.

For a complex of reasons which don't need to be listed here, I achieved 1hr15 flying in 2020 over three flights. The last of which was in mid-March.

Roll on the jabs: as soon as it's declared safe for me to do so I'm off to get some time under instruction - maybe the local Gp A school with their Piper Cub. If I enjoy it enough I might even take it through to getting an SSEA rating (probably not though because by then we'll have taken delivery of Hedy, our newly restored Thruster T600T and then why should I fly a heavy lump of a Cub?).

I wish flying success to everybody in this coming year.
Good grief! These really are strange times. Id never expected MadameBreakneck to threaten to get an SSEA rating, or even to think about it...
It's interesting to compare a Cub's statistics with a T600. It's a bit heavier and has a poorer climb rate, but otherwise they are very similar - same cruise speed, range and so on with a similar useful load.

Roger Mole

Cross Country Pilot
Yup, that knocked me back too :)
Plus, of course, the Cub is far more of an anti-social machine. In the Thruster you and your companion sit side by side and can enjoy each other's company and share the joys of flying. Can't do that in the tandem arrangement of a Cub. Oh dear, wait for all the flexwing jockeys to come back at me now... ;)


First Solo Pilot
I can understand the desperation that could drive someone into commiting such a heresy having had the worst flying year since I started. The Cub is after all a machine with the same lovely handling as a Thruster and when landing gives the pilot masses of time to round out and hold off unlike a TST. It was one of the only heavies that I found real pleasure in flying, it has disavantages like the engine blanking out the runway on aproach and of course a poorer view than a TST but that is better than that of many enclosed aircraft.
Just to think that at the beginning of 2020 I was pleased that I'd managed at least one flight every month throughout the winter then I ended up with a years total of 1hr 40, never mind 2021 is going to be better, much better I hope.
Anyway I wish all on here a terrific New Year and great flying days when your visability stretches out into the far distance and the wind is never far from your runway.