Flight sharing is all about a community. After interviewing Paul, we sat down with another one of our very first pilots. A private jet pilot by day, Richard fell in love with Wingly, and is now flight sharing for fun during his down time.
When did you understand you wanted to become a pilot?
Unlike many people, for me it was a late revelation: I started to think about it in my mid -20s and got my private pilot licence in my 30s. I decided to make a living out of flying because I wanted to travel, live the unconventional life, and have adventure, not sit at a desk in some boring office.
You fly a private jet, why don’t you work for a commercial airline like British Airways?
I started to fly for Learjet when I reached 1500 flight hours. I have now flown more than 7500 hours, but wouldn’t go into the airlines at all! Why not? Because of the relationship I have with my passengers. If I want to talk to them I just turn in my seat. Can you believe I have never used a PA in my 15-year career? The job is also a lot more fun! I wanted to live an adventurous life, well I’m served. It’s not rare that I don’t know where I’ll be flying at the end of the week. What’s more, the flying is unique and challenging. You can do a view approach in a sunny Greek island one day, and an ILS (an approach on instruments without visual contact) into a busy airport the very next day.
What is your first memorable flight experience?
It was was my first flight as a captain. I felt the weight of responsibilities settling on my shoulders, and it took me 6 months to get it off. In a private jet, you can’t hide in the cockpit! Everybody can see you.
What is your favourite plane?
I have flown a Dassault Falcon for 8 years and am now piloting a Bombardier Global Express. As a pilot, the Falcon is definitely the best aircraft you could fly: it is thought for pilots. A pure pleasure! However, in terms of passenger experience, the Global Express is more comfortable thanks to a lower cabin altitude (the altitude at which the cabin is pressurised), has a fantastic galley and even an area for crew rest!
What is your most thrilling memory as a pilot?
Without hesitations, it was my first time flying in Samedan airport, LSZS, in Switzerland. The approach in the valley is tricky but marvellous and breathtaking. I remember it like it was yesterday.
Could you share a funny moment of something that happened during your flying career?
All the problems happened in France! Really! For instance, that one day not too long ago, I was flying into Troyes and had requested customs by email. When I landed, the customs guys were furious because they had not been warned of my arrival. I told them I had emailed them, but they replied: “We never got any email, and anyway, you were supposed to send a fax!” A fax, I mean come on! They were so angry they searched the whole plane just in case I was smuggling drugs, and they fined me! Ah les français…
How did you hear about Wingly and Flightsharing?
I simply appeared on my Facebook one day, and it resonated. I love human contact, sharing my passion as a pilot. Wingly was precisely about that. There is something special about flying with people who are as passionate as you. I already flew five times with Wingly, and have just piloted a couple and their dog to Alderney for their anniversary: a first for me.
Finally what would you say to encourage those who would love to become pilots?
Well, I would not encourage anyone! It’s an expensive passion, you spend your time in hotels, you miss birthdays, you must get up early. No seriously, the best thing is that every distance is smaller. I can fly to France for lunch, and go have a cuppa with my daughter in Cardiff in the afternoon. A 4-hour drive become a 40-minute flight. Really, this does make you feel a part of a greater Europe.
This blog post was sent in by pilot Richard who regularly shares his flights on Wingly across the country from Goodwood Aerodrome. If you would like to join Richard on his flights send him a message by checking out his Wingly profile. If you want to experience Alderney and the joys of flying in a light aircraft by sharing flights using Wingly, check out all the Wingly flightsharing daytrips to Alderney.
Comment below where you would like to fly in a private plane.
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