I gained my PPL in 1984 and in 1987 purchased a C172. Unfortunately, two years ago I had to give up flying and sell my plane due to back problems.
On 15 September 2019, myself, BWPA Chairwoman Julie Westhorp and two other BWPA members had organised to travel to Old Buckenham Airfield from Andrewsfield Aerodrome for the taster flights day. Julie had booked a C172 and I had expected that she would be flying us to Old Buckenham. When I arrived, Julie directed me to sit in the front as she wanted the two lightest in the back (what a compliment…). She said that I should sit in the left-hand seat, as being a flight instructor she was more accustomed to flying from the right-hand seat.
I realised what Julie’s plan was when she gave me the key to start up. Everything came back to me as I did the power checks, lined up and took off. Can you imagine how I felt, once we were on course and settled! I became quite emotional as I told myself “Cheryl, you can do this!”.
The landing was interesting – I believe I screamed for help but Julie said that she did not step in at all and the landing was all mine.
Once we had landed the tears flowed, but I was exhilarated that after two years I could still fly. Julie later sent me my flight log from SkyDemon and I am proud to say I did not go off track once – a miracle!
While I do not intend to get my licence back, I would very happily go up again with other pilots!