EBG has now moved into the twin arena with the arrival of G-CHFD an Agusta 109 SP. This aircraft is probably the best kitted and newest in the country and is now available for Charter. She cruises at anywhere between 140 and 160 knots and can comfortably carry six passengers. With the unfortunate series of recent accidents involving twin-engineered high performance helicopters we had to seriously jump through the CAA hoops to demonstrate that we could safely conduct CAT flights on this aircraft. Whilst we are restricted to VFR only we can, in fact, conduct charters to the near continent (France etc) as well as night time charters .
Our first charter was to the famous Glyndebourne House where the passengers enjoyed a laid back time watching the Opera whilst enjoying a picnic in the grounds before returning back to Battersea well after dark.
As part of the approval process we had to conduct a demonstration commercial charter to the CAA. Captain Grumpy, otherwise known as Crowbar, the Salad Dodger (a bizarre reference to his dietary progress) was offered up as the VIP passenger. The flight entailed a departure from Redhill to Battersea with a diversion and then on to Silverstone for a simulated Grand Prix procedural arrival and then back to Redhill. All this was accomplished in a little under an hour and a quarter. Captain Grumpy was called Sir spelt with a capital ‘S’ on a number of occasions and felt a little bit like a wealthy business tycoon – obviously a lot of play acting was going on by all concerned, particularly by the pilot Leigh Howell. After our arrival our Ops Inspector from the CAA muttered into Captain Grumpy’s ear “That Pilot knows his stuff”. High Praise indeed!
Unfortunately, Captain Grumpy had to come back down to earth. He’s put the fat cigar away and has since enjoyed making his after dinner conversation about his flight and being treated like a Demi-God – Quite right too!!!