Friday's Fabulous Flyer!
Dan Roach... A pilot, a writer, and an all around great guy who is inspiring and sharing his love of aviation with the world, has joined us today. He also has some exciting news of recently getting published. The fact that he can write has made my life easier today.
"I’ve wanted to fly for as long as I can remember. Probably since before I could properly walk, and definitely before I could run (although I’ve since discovered I quite like this too). As a kid I was constantly looking skywards. I watched TV programs about flying, I read books about flying, I built plastic kits of model aircraft. I went to airshows, played flight simulators that were running on the expansive 48k computing power of my Sinclair ZX Spectrum, and, when I was old enough I joined the Air Cadets.
Whilst in the Air Cadets (1444 Squadron) I was privileged to have my first flight in an aircraft of any kind (we didn’t do holidays to Benidorm so I’d never been on a jet or anything). So, on camp, at RAF Hereford I was taken for my first ever trip into the skies in an RAF Puma helicopter! Not only this, but the pilot took us flying round the welsh hills at low level with the doors open. I’d been waiting for this moment my whole life. So how did I celebrate? By throwing up copiously into the conveniently provided sick bags. I bet the pilot was pissing himself with laughter at me. I bet he also won that day’s little game of “who can make the most cadets sick on Air Experience Flights?”
Anyway, despite this rather inauspicious start to my flying career I was not put off.
After leaving school and being rejected by the RAF on medical grounds, normal life took over and I got a job and the dream of flying faded into the background. Don’t get me wrong, I was still mad keen on anything with wings, but I didn’t have the money or time to learn to fly. Well money really, and I’d discovered girls and night clubs, and beer, and girls…
Finally as I was approaching 40 and after my brother and his wife had brought me a flight simulator experience in a Boeing 737 simulator I approached the local microlight school about lessons. I finally had a little disposable income and it really wasn’t as expensive as I’d thought it might be. Ten months later and I was shaking hands with the CFI who was congratulating me on passing my General Skills Test.
I was a pilot at last!
So I guess the next thing that I should address
is why did I start writing?
One of the things that drives me is the belief that with enough energy and enthusiasm I can do anything. I think that is definitely something that is a common attribute amongst pilots. During my life I’ve set and achieved lots of goals. I’ve also come close and missed some, that sub 90 minute half marathon eluded me by 25 seconds back in 2013.
So I decided I want to write.
I have a lot of passion for flying and aviation in general and I wanted to make a blog initially that was accessible to anyone, even with little or no knowledge of aviation. The idea being that it might inspire others to follow their passions as well as hopefully entertain some people along the way; as well as fulfilling my desire to write.
I have a friend who is a big part of my inspiration to write. She started writing following a previous career as a scientist and is now a very successful indie author. I’ve also had some encouragement and help from Karlene, the author of this very blog. I remember I asked Karlene, a complete stranger to me, for help and advice on writing a while back and she was willing to take the time to give it to me. We’ve corresponded infrequently since and I promised to let her know as soon as I got something published.
I suppose ultimately, what I want to convey in my writing is that I’m an ordinary bloke, from an ordinary family, who had a desire to fly. And that some of the relatively ordinary things that happen when you are in the air can be quite funny when viewed from a certain point of view. I hope that on my blog I bring you that point of view and that in doing so both inform and amuse you.
In the few years since I qualified I’ve had some interesting experiences including getting lost sandwiched between the Manchester control zone and an active RAF base, arriving back at Barton Airfield a few minutes prior to the RAF Vulcan flypast on its farewell tour and landing next to what looked like an airshow-size-crowd (had to grease that landing…); and a bird strike right through my propeller on short final, which leads us nicely to my first published article “Forgive me Feather”.
I sent the copy of what became “Forgive me Feather” to the editor of the UKs Microlight Flying magazine after sitting on it for TWO years. To my surprise (and delight) the editor was extremely enthusiastic about publishing it as a feature. It was twice as long as the normal feature length but he asked if they could run it as a two part feature over two issues. Of course, I said yes!
And if you are a member of BMAA,
or become one, you can download the magazine
And read the article.
And read the article.
If you are not a member, you can read the article
on Dan's Website:
Enjoy the Journey!