New app gets airborne for Blackpool pilots

Pilots flying from Blackpool have signed up to a new app which could let more ordinary people take to the skies.

Monday, 9th July 2018, 11:07 am
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 4:56 pm
RIchard Hawcroft at the controls of his Piper Cherokee

The airport has been chosen by international flight sharing platform Wingly as one of its main UK sites.

Wingly allows pilots to post flights they are going to be taking and lets other people come along as passengers.

Private pilots are not allowed to charge for flights but they can let people pay towards the fuel and landing fees costs.

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Flying tours of Blackpool and Lancashire are on the agenda with pilots using Wingly

Blackpool pilots are offering a range of flights, from local tours of the coast and the Lake District to trips to the Isle of Man – and even as far as Shetland.

A spokesman for Wingly said: “Private pilots post on our website routes they would like to fly and when; indicating their number of free seats. Passengers can simply book to share the costs and join in on the adventure via our system.

“We have some beautiful flights, both excursion and sightseeing, from Blackpool for as low as £47.”

Richard Hawcroft, who flies his Piper Cherokee four-seater from Blackpool Airport, said it was a great idea and could introduce more people to flying.

He said despite initial reservations over what it might be like to fly with a stranger in the cabin, he gave it a go and has not looked back.

He said: “I have a private pilot’s licence and it has been something I have been doing for 15 years. They carry out all the verification checks. From my experience it has been amazing.

"It is a really good thing to be able to share the experience of flying with people. It makes general aviation more accessible to everyone. Flying is not a cheap thing and you have to get your hours in to keep your licence current so this helps to pay for that.”

“I have taken people to the Isle of Man for the TT Races, to Caernarfon in Wales and taken a party of bird watchers to Shetland. But many people just want to fly around the area they live or work.”