Monday, 15 December 2008

Action Flights


Photograph: One of Thunder City's three BAE Buccaneers.

In compiling today’s post I feel as though I’m working Gary’s beat, Gary is the other Blogger on this site who usually covers aviation related topics. Just to put you dear reader in the picture, He is a pilot himself who’s particular passion is Glider flying, which he escapes to the Drakensberg to do as often as he can.

As far as South African Adventure Activity goes there are plenty of legendry flying machines about, available for your entertainment. In Cape Town there is the Huey Helicopter Company (one of my personal favorites) which invites you to go on combat mission flights that are as affordable, as they are spectacular.

Just up the road from them, is the one of a kind Thunder City, the only place on earth that offers jaunts in four English Electric Lightning’s, three BAE Buccaneers, seven Hawker Hunter’s, a Strikemaster, as well as a glass cockpit Puma helicopter SA 330.

Interestingly the chances of living out one of my own boyhood flying fantasies, a flip in a Spitfire, is virtually impossible….Virtually. They estimate that there are about 50 Spitfires currently flying worldwide. Of these only five are two-seaters (converted Mark 9’s), three in the UK and two in the USA. In the UK the Civil Aviation Authority is tremendously strict and the old spitfire regrettably, does not meet public transport certification requirements. Similar rules apply in the US.

The owner of one of the two US based Spitfires, as he is willing to take passengers on a cost-sharing basis, presents the only opportunity of ever going up in one. Unfortunately the cost of running a Spitfire is not for the light-Walleted and will cost about $2,500 for a 45 minute flight. The plane in question is normally based in Aspen, Colorado, and Denver, is the nearest International Airport.

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