Cambridge Edition February 2019


for commercial airlines like British Airways or Virgin, but want to spend their free time flying a very different kind of plane. They all have a story to tell – I spent some time putting together all their bios for the website, and it’s fascinating to hear about each pilot and where their passion for flying comes from.” Of course, the pilots have special training. A new pilot begins in a Chipmunk, moves on to a Harvard and ultimately, once standards are achieved, may fly the Spitfire. Once they’re in the Spitfire, the pilots have two days of refresher training every year to ensure that they keep their skills up to date. As well as the aircraft experiences, Aerial Collective also offers a range of plane-related merchandise, perfect for the enthusiast in your life whose budget might not be able to stretch all the way to a flight in a Spitfire. “People were always asking to buy the T-shirts we had designed for the guys working on the aircraft,” says Hannah, “so now we have a range the customers can buy, as well as sew-on patches, jewellery and watches.” Aerial Collective flies all year round, but flying season officially starts in March, when there is more light and the weather is a bit more reliable. “We will take people up during the winter, but if you’re flying in cloud, or very dull and overcast conditions, you’re just not getting the best possible experience,” says Hannah. “We want you to be able to see the spectacular Cambridgeshire countryside, so flying during the spring and summer is recommended!” Although Aerial Collective has only been active since December last year, it has had huge amounts of interest so far, with lots of flights already booked for the flying season ahead. With that in mind, and the start of the flying season approaching, anyone who wants to experience a flight in one of these wonderful aircraft should move fast. “We’ve had lots of enquiries already about the Blenheim and the Lysander in particular,” says Hannah, “and these aircraft won’t be undertaking as many flights as we do in the Spitfires and the Mustangs, so it will be a very unique experience, and one that people should book as soon as possible, once available, if they really want to do it.” Aerial Collective’s website is packed with wonderful stories about all of the aircraft, including details of their history and how they were restored, as well as all the information about the flying experiences on offer. “When our passengers come back down to earth, they always have what we call ‘the Spitfire grin’ on their faces,” says Hannah. “For some people, flying in one of our aircraft is a dream come true, which is a really wonderful thing to be a part of.” l Aerial Collective | Building 425, Duxford Airfield, Duxford, Cambridge CB22 4QR 01223 653830 |


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