Elm Park man rides in 49-year-old aircraft at 127mph
14:00 12 June 2014
A man has lived his childhood dream as he got the chance to ride in a supersonic jet fighter plane.
Laurie Calvert, of St Andrew’s Avenue, Elm Park, went to Cranfield airfield in Bedfordshire, to take a ride in a Cold War English Electric Lightning T5 aircraft which travelled down a runway at 127mph.
He said: “It was a tremendous feeling thinking I was surrounded by all of this power and something I am never going to forget.”
Laurie had a love of old fashioned planes since he was young, collecting around 400 model aircraft Airfix kits, with a special place in his heart for the English Electric Lightning.
He said: “Growing up with it as my favourite plane, when I heard someone had a real life one that you could ride along in, it was a dream come true for me.”
The owner of the 60-year-old plane bought the jet after he had his own experience working the engines and now gives other people the chance to have their own time in the pilot training aircraft.
Laurie was one of these people as he jumped into his fighter pilot suit, strapped on his helmet and oxygen mask and then sat in the passenger seat on the right side of the cockpit, where he would be the one to ignite the engines and after the aircraft warmed up, the pilot throttled forward with 32,000 horse power.
The jet then travelled down the runway at 127mph for 12 seconds until a parachute opened to stop it from taking lift off.
He said: “It was exhilarating to travel at that speed! It is not often that you get to experience something like that but I am so happy that I was able to live a dream.”