Dave has been a farmer all his life, and his enthusiasm and desire to fly goes back to his childhood. He decided in 1975 to take flying lessons at the Bristol and Wessex Flying Club at Lulsgate, now known as Bristol Airport, learning on Cessna 150s and Piper PA-28 Cherokees.
As a family man he could only take lessons as and when savings would allow, but he finally gained his PPL in 1977. Right from the start he knew that he wanted an aircraft of his own that he could keep on his farm because it would be far less expensive to operate and would save a lot of travelling to the airport.
A friend, who had an Auster, told Dave about the LAA and how they made it possible to own and maintain an aeroplane, either individually or as part of a syndicate. Two years after gaining his licence Dave purchased a tidy little two-seat Jodel D.112, did a tailwheel conversion in the space of a single sunny afternoon, and 35 happy years later, they are still together!
Over the years, and with help and advice from the LAA and fellow local members, Dave has maintained and updated his Jodel, including recovering it 1990 (it has a wooden airframe covered in fabric, very similar in fact to its younger sibling, the Robin DR400).
The Jodel has taken Dave all over the UK, plus many trips to fly-ins and holidays on the continent. Putting his camping gear in the back, plus a few supplies, he has often spent a couple of enjoyable weeks away, perhaps attending a fly-in event, such as the RSA Rally in France, and then extending his stay with an aerial tour of the region.
Dave and his Jodel D112, Victor Zulu
To quote Dave “I would thoroughly recommend that if an individual, or a group of friends, wanted to buy an aeroplane and wished to keep costs as reasonable as possible, a little Jodel or a similar Classic machine like an Aeronca or Taylorcraft can be a great way to get into aircraft ownership. The Jodel and the LAA has kept flying affordable for me, I would certainly have had to give up years ago had I not discovered this alternative to hiring”.