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A day in the life of pilot of XW544

Saturday 24th March 2012


Well what a weekend, after 7 months of hard slog XW544 was finally revealed to the public, and she looked fantastic.

We did three fast runs on the day, the first one in the morning to check all was well with one of the team Russ in the boot, hydraulics checked, on the brakes to 90%, a quick check of all the gauges then brakes off and up to full power. Only a short burst as it was the first fast run since last Augusts open day but about 50kts nonetheless (the ASI doesn't start reading till 65). We then parked up out of view and checked the jet over for any problems of which there were none!

A spot of lunch (and an embarrassing press interview!) and we strapped our illustrious web master Harry into the boot for the public fast run. Engines started we taxied slowly down to the crowd and turned to face up the runway. A final check by Andy and Andy and it was once again up to 90% on the brakes. All checks complete, brakes off and up to full power and away we went, the speed built rapidly, 70,80,90 (throttle back) 100, just over 105 kts peak and air brake out droop and flaps down and let it coast, some gentle braking and we stopped and turned around for a brake and tire check before trundling back down to demonstrate all services to the crowd. Followed by shutdown and a couple of hours to rehydrate!

The final run was as a 3 ship with Kingy in the boot. 544 was number 2. Again up to 90% on the brakes, ready signals from everyone and away 894 went followed by me 10 seconds after and Dennis 10 seconds after me. Awesome.

544 behaved impeccably all day, all the systems working exactly how they should be. Amazing that 10 years ago she was laid on her belly in a scrapyard! It's so serviceable I’d fly it if I could.

Ollie - Pilot XW544