Friday Flyday: Low and Slow over Southend


Some industrial works near Brighton
Some industrial works near Brighton

Pro tip: If a friend asks for volunteers to go flying around Southern England you should definitely say yes.

A couple weeks back I had some spare time between arriving in London and the start of a conference. As luck would have it, a buddy of mine is working towards his pilot license and was keen to get a couple hours in the air on a Sunday afternoon. And so, following a quick shower in the arrivals lounge at Heathrow, I was off to Southend Airport and the Southend Flying Club to shake off jetlag in the back seat of a Piper PA-28 Cherokee.

Somewhere between Southend and Shoreham
Somewhere between Southend and Shoreham
Flying over a harbour near Brighton
Flying over a harbour near Brighton

With a bit of flexibility in our schedule we considered a few options, ultimately settling for a quick hop down to Shoreham/Brighton for a cuppa tea. Also, it seems like the restaurant does a great Sunday roast for brunch. Alas, we didn’t have time to enjoy that.

The Shoreham Airport cuts a classic line in the sky
The Shoreham Airport cuts a classic line in the sky
Inside the Shoreham Airport; awesome scenery for a cuppa tea
Inside the Shoreham Airport; awesome scenery for a cuppa tea

The plane was needed back in Southend relatively soon so not much in the way of lazy time in the sky, but the Piper Cherokee doesn’t more especially fast so we ended up on a roughly two hour return journey. Flying over the white cliffs along England’s southern coast at 1,800 feet is pretty amazing.

Cruising low and slow over the white cliffs just east of Brighton/Shoreham on the South coast of England
Cruising low and slow over the white cliffs just east of Brighton/Shoreham on the South coast of England
Cruising low and slow over the white cliffs just east of Brighton/Shoreham on the South coast of England
Cruising low and slow over the white cliffs just east of Brighton/Shoreham on the South coast of England

Being able to listen in to the conversations and planning involved, both with ATC and between the two guys up front, is a great reminder to me about just how complicated flying is. Looking out the windows low over England also reminded me how beautiful it is. I moved from a 747-400 to a PA-28 in a few hours. Needless to say, the BA 747 pilots didn’t need my help spotting nearby traffic in the sky so the Piper experience was more intimate. But and both both are amazing in their own ways

More of the Brighton coastline
More of the Brighton coastline
The Brighton Pier, seen from above
The Brighton Pier, seen from above
Coming in for a landing at Southend at the end of our day's adventure
Coming in for a landing at Southend at the end of our day’s adventure

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

4 Comments

  1. That’s cool. Why’s there so much motion of the wing in the frame given that your camera is locked down? Is it a result of YouTube smoothing?

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