The flight on a Harvard was given to him by his wife for his 80th birthday and had been postponed twice last year.
Why a Harvard?
Thrill-seeking Rob said, “I used to live in Salisbury and worked as a cameraman at Boscombe Down for 32 years from 1958. For 25 of those years I was a flight observer taking high speed cine film from a ‘chase’ plane of on-going testing and trials of – or from – other aeroplanes.
“Many of those flights were in one of the three Harvards that were reserved for chase work, usually with parachute trials with either men or loads being carried down to the ground.
“In order to lengthen the life and serviceability of those three Harvards, the pilots were not allowed to do any aerobatics. I made 650 sorties in Harvards at Boscombe Down.”
The birthday flight was at Duxford and to make Rob’s 651st Harvard flight extra special, his pilot, Glen Fricker included a loop the loop and 360 degree roll.
“It was very exciting for me,” said Rob who in 2019 made a sponsored tandem free-fall parachute descent for a Ringwood charity and the main chute failed. You may remember reading about it in Viewpoint Magazine and seeing it on television. Luckily the smaller reserve parachute brought the pair safely down for a heavier landing.
Rob enjoys raising funds for charity and once paddled around the Isle of Wight in an inflatable canoe to raise money for the RNLI, and climbed Carer Idris in North Wales in aid of the Odstock Hospital scanner appeal.
He plans to do a wing walk at Compton Abbas at 11am on 25 June and a 5k run on 26 September for Cancer Research UK. Anyone wishing to donate a few pennies towards Rob’s efforts can do so here https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/roberts-race-for-life-489899
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