How Big is Your World?

I guess we all know that England is much smaller than the USA or Canada, especially when you discover that the whole of England can be accommodated within just one of the Great Lakes.

However, often things seem different depending upon how you measure them. For example: one can drive all the way from the casinos of Las Vegas to the stunning vista of the Grand Canyon in 5 hours.

How far could you drive in England in 5 hours? By way of comparison, it takes 3.5 hours to drive from my house to the Intec office in Woking! Driving 5 hours to the Grand Canyon I found a pleasant experience cruising along wide open highways with light traffic all the way. By comparison, the drive to Woking is mind-numbingly boring and I usually arrive really tired and ready for a break.

Many of us have pipe dreams and some are lucky to be able to try them out. I decided to try one of mine out for the September meeting of the User Group Committee in Woking—I decided to fly myself to Woking in a light aircraft that I am fortunate enough to own a 20% share in. I flew from a small club aerodrome at Tollerton in Nottingham and landed at Fairoaks just a few miles away from the office. The trip took 1:05 and I arrived fresh and ready for action.

The forecast was good for the two day trip but the English weather is so fickle it turned really nasty on the second day resulting in having to stay overnight one extra day and fly back the next morning.

On the way back I had hoped to get a picture of the new office from the air. Even though I had an accurate GPS fix on the office (N51 19.778 W0 32.103) the task was too difficult. My friends often imagine that it must be easy to pop up there and photograph their house, but I can assure you that flying through very bumpy air, not too far off the ground, with one wing tipped down at a crazy angle trying to fly like that with just your feet whilst shooting a photo through the passenger window is extremely difficult.

The pictures below show: (a) the photo, (b) a map showing my planned route, my actual route and an arrow to show where I was when I took the photo, and (c) a Google Earth shot showing the spot in my photo and also showing the Intec office. Google Earth can zoom much closer in for a better shot of the office if you like—use the co-ordinates shown above.

Unfortunately, in the photograph above, the target - Intec's office - is actually hidden beneath the wing. With the aircraft bouncing around in the turbulent air that morning it was very difficult to try and assess what was being seen. The best that could be done was to look where the GPS was pointing and take a couple of photos and hope for the best.

In the map above: the lower purple line shows the planned route from Fairoaks (EGTF). The black line with many dots from EGTF shows the actual path flown as tracked by the GPS - of course one cannot take off at the angle shown in the purple line, and one would not wish to be directly over the target otherwise a photo would not be possible. The yellow INTEC marker shows the exact position of the office. The red arrow shows where the photo was taken from.

The image above is a Google Earth image with markers showing where the image maps to the photograph above and where the Intec Woking office was in relation to the photo position. So close but missed the target.

Anyone wishing to look closer can use the GPS co-ordinates given above to drive Google Earth in closer to the target.

Having finally achieved my pipe dream, next time I think I’ll go back to the car and the dreary motorway where I won’t be constantly fretting over the weather. It would be nice to fly down again next summer and possibly take some of my colleagues to the Isle of Wight which is only 30 mins from the office.

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