Kate is a Chartered Surveyor and started having flying lessons in 1987 after getting hooked following a trial flight at her local flying school at Barton Aerodrome, near Manchester. She was at a loose end one weekend and decided to give it a go. There was no going back and two years later after much scrimping and saving, she gained her PPL, flying a C152.
After about a year, Kate did her tail wheel conversion, and bought a share in a Chipmunk. She also tried aerobatics for the first time and won some local competitions. Always keen for a new challenge, Kate spotted a share for sale in a resident Tipsy Nipper, locally known as the Bumble Bee, and parted with £500 for a share in 2000. Having never flown a single seat aircraft before, the memory of that first flight is still with Kate, especially the wide grin on her face after landing! To this day, single seat flying has always been Kate’s favourite mode of transport in the air. So much was her love of flying the Nipper, that she bought the plane outright in 2004 and has owned it ever since. She is affectionately known in the flying community as the Bumble Bee Girl and says;” The Nipper is as much a part of me as my arms and legs; flying it brings me so much joy…”
Wishing to get more types in her log book, Kate flew a friend’s open cockpit Taylor Monoplane, delighting in the new experience of being in the open air. Feeling the need for a new challenge, she bought a 50% share in a Steen Skybolt which provided her with her first taste of handling a high performance aerobatic bi-plane.
In 2009, Kate moved the Nipper to Breighton in Yorkshire, home to the Real Aeroplane Company and became actively involved with their collection of vintage and classic aircraft. In 2012, she acquired the only remaining Dart Kitten in the world, G-AEXT. This single seat lightweight tail dragger was a delight to fly but financial constraints forced Kate to sell it on, although she was overjoyed when the Real Aeroplane Company bought is so it could remain at Breighton. In 2013, Kate was invited to become a Company Pilot at Breighton so she is privileged to be able to continue flying this unique machine. She is particularly interested in historic and vintage aircraft which she feels should be preserved and cherished. Her ambition is to fly the Breighton based Aeronca Bathtub, G-AEVS.
In 2014, Kate bought a Piper Vagabond with her partner, also a pilot, with a view to flying longer distances and sharing the workload. She has never flown outside the UK but looks forward to many adventures flying further afield in the Vagabond.
To quote Kate; “Nothing quite beats the thrill of flying on a still summer’s evening in an open cockpit aeroplane or meeting up with friends at local fly-ins or private airstrips. I am as passionate about flying now as I was 25 years ago and despite having flown a few types, the Nipper is still my favourite!”