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For Rich’s 40th birthday I needed to get him something good… and good usually means an experience gift for him rather than a ‘thing’. Being a thrill-seeker Rich had done almost every dare-devil activity you can do in the sky, short of flying fighter jets in Russia (but that costs £15,000 so it’ll have to stay on his bucket list a little longer!)
A unique gift idea for Dad
I was so pleased with myself when I found out you could actually stand on the wings of a biplane as it soars through the sky. It’s the perfect 40th birthday gift for an adventurous dad who has everything and has done (almost) everything already. If you’re looking for a unique gift experience for dad that the whole family will enjoy too then a wing walk could be your solution. What was supposed to be HIS special day actually turned out to be a really fun day out for the whole family.
Headcorn Aerodrome – Wing Walk
Wing Walking Headcorn Aerodrome is great for thrill-seekers and spectators alike
Driving to the middle of Kent always takes longer than I plan for. Living in Sussex I’m used to every town being served by motorways and big dual carriageways… so the journey there was a little stressful. We didn’t allow enough time as it was and then we got stuck behind tractor after tractor. It all turned out just fine though, we parked up at the aerodrome and Rich ran ahead for his briefing. The Wing Walk team were really laid back and it wasn’t a problem at all that he was running late.
The aerodrome has ample parking which costs £2. You buy your parking token inside one of the cafes to exit the car park. There are toilets on site. There’s a cafe and a bar at the aerodrome so I ordered the kids and I some lunch. The bar serves hot dogs, sandwiches, wraps, chips etc all freshly cooked to order. We sat in the sunshine at the picnic tables, eating our lunch and watching the huge variety of planes fly over head while Rich had his safety briefing with the staff.
Next to the Wing Walk office there is a Sky Dive club – cue one of those funny conversations with the kids in which they cannot believe you had a life before they were around. I told them Mummy had done a sky dive many years ago! They were shocked! I remember it well… jumping out of a perfectly good plane at 14,000 feet in Australia on my first ever solo trip. I travelled around Australia, Thailand and South Africa after uni on my own and when I got home I knew I had the bug and travel would always be part of my life.
The kids have asked me to dig out photos to prove I jumped. It’s like they don’t believe me!
When we first arrived there was an 84 year old man just about to do his walk. EIGHTY FOUR! He’d been there as a spectator and fancied having a go. So he did. What a guy! I’m curious to know if he is the oldest winger walker ever!? I want to be like that in my 80’s, popping my hearing aid in my pocket so I can fly through the air on a spontaneous wing walk.
The Wing Walking Experience
The pilot took Rich soaring into the sky before dropping him down as if falling over and over again. Rich says it was like riding a rollercoaster but you can’t see rails ahead of you or any carriages. You can’t even see the plane below you so you really get the feeling of flying.
After he flew we all stopped for an ice cream – we really got so lucky with the weather.
Aerodromes are such great places to entertain kiddies for a few hours. You never know what you might see when you get there. We got chatting to another family who had come the week before to see someone flying a Spitfire! How cool is that?
My youngest left totally inspired – she’s kind of gutted that the minimum age for wing walking in the UK is 18 (same for sky diving) but she’s very pleased that you can get your pilots license at just 16. So basically she wants to fly before she can drive.
If you have a thrill-seeker who would like to try wing walking in the UK I booked with Into The Blue. Check out the different aerodromes you can buy your wing walk gift voucher for here.