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Pilot tells of memorable adventure

PUBLISHED: 19:10 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 14:31 14 July 2010

Piloting a custom-built aircraft back to the UK from Kansas is a challenge for someone who only has 240 hours flying experience.

But 45-year-old Grant Richards had a great time completing the marathon journey which took about 30 hrs in total, and included stops in Michigan, Maine, Canada, Greenland and Iceland.

Piloting a custom-built aircraft back to the UK from Kansas is a challenge for someone who only has 240 hours flying experience.

But 45-year-old Grant Richards had a great time completing the marathon journey which took about 30 hrs in total, and included stops in Michigan, Maine, Canada, Greenland and Iceland.

He is co-owner of UK Parachuting, based at Old Buckenham, which has bought the new Cessna Caravan 208 plane to be used as a jump aircraft. And although Mr Richards served for 22 years as a parachute jumping instructor in the Royal Air Force, he only qualified as a pilot 15 months ago.

“It has been a great adventure and could not have been done without the expert guidance of Michael Courage, who is an experienced ferry pilot with in excess of 8,000 total hours. His professional attitude and depth of knowledge were invaluable throughout the whole journey and soon I shall exchange places and take him on skydive,” he said.

They set off from Wichita on May 1, undertaking the flight in stages, and arriving at Wick in Scotland Sunday afternoon.

“The scenery at Goose Bay was stunning, and it was the first time I would be able to land the plane under Martin's expert eye. This went well and we arrived safely for our overnight stay in Canada. And, the view coming into Greenland was fantastic, having to fly down a fiord to the airport. One again, something I will never forget,” added Mr Richards.

They set off on Monday morning on the last lap to Cranfield in England where the plane will undergo its initial inspection by the Civil Aviation Authority before being brought to Old Buckenham.

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