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  • Clarke Wallace

FLYING LOW

I have a friend, New Zealand-born Graeme Mears, whose side line is building and flying model planes. Many with 12-foot wingspans. So big he had to take them apart to get them out of his basement workshop.


“I’ve had an avid interest in aviation all my life,” he said, “and have been involved at various levels as a serious ‘buff’.”


Graeme would make his own parts, metal or whatever. Each finished product would turn out to be a work of art.]


These days he has a different sort of flight plan. He bought an aircraft simulator and the necessary hardware that goes with it. Yoke, rudder pedals and throttle quadrant, among other parts. He wondered if his computer was powerful enough to handle this sophisticated software. It worked fine.


He started this simulated adventure flying a hardy Cessna 172. His favourite now among others is a King-Air twin turbo prop C90.


Where does Graeme fly these days? Anywhere in the world! One of his favourites is Lukla International Airport in Nepal. Deemed one of the most dangerous places to land in the world.


“It’s runway is surrounded by steep maintains,” he says, “with no clear approach. It takes a lot of work to land without killing yourself.”


He flies into other difficult airstrips. If making a bad decision on landing, he watches his plane crash and burst into flames.


Author’s comment: It’s fascinating to think there’s a good friend who ‘flies’ such planes as the Boeing 747, but admits he’s not good at this type of aircraft. A steep learning curve. Too complicated as well, with all those switches and knobs.

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