top of page

How it all began...

We had our route drawn on our charts, our PLOGS prepared, there was an atmosphere of... well despondency as we sat and watched the rain cascading down the window pane in Tayside Aviation. It was yet another of those typical rainy days we have so often in 'the sunniest city in Scotland'. Looking at the METARs and TAFs for airfields on the West coast, where Claire and I been planning to fly, didn’t provide a much more promising picture: overcast at 500ft accompanied by heavy rain. We looked at airfields to the North instead, but that foretold thunderstorms; and those to the South were hardly any more inviting with 23 knots of wind gusting to 35 knots.

Our frantic hunt for an airfield, anywhere, to which it looked vaguely as if a Piper Warrior could safely navigate under VFR was less of a desire to launch ourselves skywards in what was clearly one of the filthiest days in Britain, and more of a desperation to avoid the ATPL textbooks that both us should really have been studying.

We may not have been successful in our venture to go flying that day, but it did form the beginnings of endless discussions, negotiations and planning for what is now affectionately known as ‘Evie’s Grand Tour.’ While perusing these dismal TAFs, comments took the form of ‘Oh look, it’s only moderate rain at Benson, not heavy rain. We might be able to go there! Where is Benson anyway?’ or ‘Thunderstorms in Carlisle. Still, it’s a really good airport to fly to on a nice day. Have you been? We should go sometime.’ We drew a little circle around the airfields on our charts as a reminder for a better-weather-day. By the time we had exhausted the entertainment possible to glean from the TAFs, we had a route drawn on our charts that fairly extensively covered the entirety of Britain. We looked at our handiwork, looked at each other and said ‘When?’

Our musings that day may have been a bit of fun and an excellent distraction from exams, but it had formed an idea that neither of us wanted to let go. Not only, was it a trip that both of us were excited to fly, but it could also an opportunity to promote female aviation. Claire and I are currently hour building in preparation for our CPL courses, and this time, though often spent flying local flights or hours in the circuit to make up the numbers, can be a valuable time for gaining beneficial experiences, aside from enjoying the privileges that a PPL can offer. We realised that if we could fly the trip in G-EVIE, a Piper Warrior which had had been donated to Tayside Aviation by Evie Saunders, a remarkable female pilot, we would have the opportunity to not only uphold Evie’s legacy, but also to showcase the adventures that can be had whilst hour-building, demonstrate to other pilots the opportunities that are available in aviation and hopefully encourage others to realise their aviation ambitions, as Evie did.

While I continued to fantasize and dream, Claire began to look into the logistics of the project (the financing, aircraft availability and scheduling) and quickly realised that without some kind of financial support, the project would be unfeasible. She put forward an application for the BWPA Air Total Flying Futures Scholarship, and plans were put on standby until we found out if she’d been successful in the application.

It was one evening about a week before our exams, both of us deep in the gloom associated with too much revision that Claire texted me ‘You ready to come fly the UK with me?!?!?’ Suddenly, thanks to the BWPA, our dreams were actually going to materialise...

You Might Also Like:
bottom of page