Up to that time the smallest aeroplane I had been in was a Dragon Rapide in the late 1960's. It was a sight seeing trip around Lands End in Cornwall. I was about 5 or 6 years old and wouldn't cross over from one side to the other because I was convinced I'd fall through the floor!
Originally Posted by FlatSpinMan
Since then it has been airliners and a Sikorsky S61 helicopter from Penzance to the Scilly Isles (Cornwall again!).
I have just had the onboard flight recording video converted onto DVD and having watched it I can confim the aerobatics were carried out in the 260 to 275 knot range at altitudes between 7000 and 8500 feet.
With regards to how the wind affected the aircraft: There was turbulance as we climbed up to the clouds but once through the clouds at about 4000 feet it smoothed out.
And definitely do it mate. I still have a huge smile on my face whenever I think about it and find myself looking at the clouds differently now. I know that sounds odd but in the P-51 they were things to play with, climb through, zoom up and over.
While I was up there I kept thinking about a quote by the legendary Robin Olds that I first heard him say in the series "Reaching for the skies":
"Fighter pilot is an attitude. It is cockiness. It is aggressiveness. It is self-confidence. It is a streak of rebelliousness, and it is competitiveness. But there's something else - there's a spark. There's a desire to be good. To do well; in the eyes of your peers, and in your own mind.
I think it is love of that blue vault of sky that becomes your playground if, and only if, you are a fighter pilot. You don't understand it if you fly from A to B in straight and level, and merely climb and descend. You're moving through the basement of that bolt of blue.
A fighter pilot is a man in love with flying. A fighter pilot sees not a cloud but beauty. Not the ground but something remote from him, something that he doesn't belong to as long as he is airborne. He's a man who wants to be second best to no one"
Now I don't pretend for a second that one half hour flight in a P-51 makes me a fighter pilot but I did feel that the door to that world had been opened just the tiniest bit allowing me to have a quick peek though and have a better understanding of what he was talking about.