A Fife pilot is taking off on a “freedom flight” around the UK coast to celebrate being given clearance to fly after lockdown.
Robert Stalker from Dunfermline, plans to visit as many coastal airports as possible on his seven-day adventure around Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The 60-year-old will be joined by Glasgow businessman Tommy Lorimer as they celebrate a return to normality.
The pair’s flight could also prove lifesaving as they are raising funds for Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) in the process.
And they expect to cover around 2,500 miles, averaging over 300 miles a day.
“We’ve called it the freedom flight as we’re hoping to encourage light aircraft pilots to take to the skies after the Covid restrictions,” said Robert.
“Hopefully we’ll meet as many as possible around the country as we get back to some form of normality at our airfields.”
With some overnight stops organised for the fundraising jaunt, the pilots say the rest of their touchdown locations are pretty much at the mercy of weather conditions.
We’ve called it the freedom flight as we’re hoping to encourage light aircraft pilots to take to the skies.”
“We want to visit as many airfields as possible,” said Robert.
“Many of the hops will have just minutes between them and others will be a bit longer – especially crossing to and from Northern Ireland.
“We’ll aim to get to our scheduled stopovers each evening and take the rest as time and the elements dictate.”
SCAA has ‘never missed a beat’
Robert will fly his RV9a G-CCND light aircraft, while Tommy will be his wingman in his Bristell light aircraft G-PIPZ.
“We’ve made many trips together but never a round coastal trip of the UK,” said Tommy.
“We’ve really missed flying during lockdown so it’s great to take to the air again and make it a trip to remember.”
He added: “Using the flight as a fundraiser for the SCAA is a bonus and we hope fellow flyers and the public will get behind us and donate.
“SCAA is a terrific charity and their crews have never missed a beat to ensure emergency aid reached those in need all through the pandemic.
“They’re also flying colleagues and we want to support them.”
Their support will help save lives.”
Nick Harvey, SCAA.
Robert and Tommy stress that every penny donated will go to the SCAA.
“We’re meeting all our own expenses as this is a flight we’re really going to enjoy,” said Robert.
Friday’s first leg will see the pair fly to Newtonards in Northern Ireland, with other stops including Swansea, the Scilly Isles and Orkney.
And on the final day they will land back at Perth airport.
Support will ‘help save lives’
Nick Harvey, SCAA’s director of fundraising, said they would welcome the men home.
“SCAA’s Helimed 76 is based at Perth Airport and we’ll make sure there’s a welcome for Robert and Tommy on May 21 – the day before SCAA marks its eighth anniversary,” he said.
“The charity is extremely grateful to both pilots for using their great adventure to raise awareness of and funds for our life-saving service.
“Their support will help save lives and keep SCAA flying and we wish them a safe and successful journey.”