We met in 1992 and very quickly realised we were as mad as each other for enjoying life and giving it all we had when it comes to new adventures or long lived passions. Dave talked about flying constantly, as he still does, but back then it was all about learning to fly… finding the money…. finding the time…..praying for weather. Yes we were in the same boat as all our students, for a couple of years at least.
Dave and my Dad bought their first flexwing microlight, he passed his GST and we went on to enjoy flying as often as possible. We went to fly-ins, went for long flights with me bravely navigating from the back, we went for lunch to places such as Barton and Netherthorpe. One year Dave and my Dad did the ‘Round Britain rally’ that was a talking point for quite some time.
Dave chose to follow his passion and became an AFI (Assistant Flying Instructor) under the safe wing of Mark Jackson at Barton; he qualified as a flying instructor and took the opportunity of teaching flex wing up at Crosland Moor, Huddersfield (not for the faint hearted he was told) .. but he had flown from this site for some time and he decided that he could give it a shot. Dave was instructing at Crosland Moor 2002 – 2005, he certainly enjoyed the challenge!
Then due too many students and not enough good weather in Huddersfield, we decided to start looking for a place of our own in France, our dream would be for us to find a farm with enough land for us to have runways, located near the Charante for good weather and be close to a budget airline which gives easy access for visiting students. Well our dream came to fruition when we found the ideal spot, located centrally between Poitiers and Limoges. The farm certainly needed some work to bring it up to visitor’s standards, but we worked hard through 2006 and by 2007 felt that we could offer a warm friendly welcome to our cosy farmhouse and go flying from the 650m runway in the back garden!
From 2007 – 2017 Wanafly France flourished and became a well-established school for UK students and visiting pilots, many students enjoyed residential courses at La Courandiere, and we enjoyed making new friends and helping visitors become pilots. We held an annual fly-in ‘Chilli & Cheese’ and loved to host our annual re-union dinner back in the UK. The French life was a dream come true, we said at the beginning of our adventure ‘Build it and they will come’ and by Jove they did! We would like to thank each and every visitor for supporting us on our journey in France. In 2017 Amanda was diagnosed with MS and the difficult decision was made to return to the UK.
In September 2018 our new adventure began working alongside Ben & Paul and Flylight Airsports at Sywell aerodrome. Here’s to a new beginning! Happy flying and we look forward to meeting, greeting and flying with you soon!