After much anticipation and excitement, Monarch Aircraft Engineering (MAEL) announced the official opening of the Birmingham hangar
Opening on time and on budget, the fantastic state-of-the-art facility was given a formal ceremony that matched it in brilliance. As a Monarch celebration on this scale wouldn’t be complete without a fly past, MAEL Managing Director Mick Adams and his team made sure guests on the day were not disappointed. The spectacular feat carried out by one of Monarch Airline’s A321 couldn’t have been easy, so we caught up with Captain Martin Dudley to find out how he and First Officer Michael Hind managed it…
What kind of aircraft was involved in the fly past?
A Monarch Airbus, A321, registered G-MARA.
How long have you been with Monarch, Martin?
I joined Monarch in 1991 and am currently Chief Pilot Designate. First Officer Michael Hind joined Monarch last year and is currently First Officer on fly-by-wire fleet.
The fly past played a really important part in making the opening ceremony that extra bit special. Have you done this sort of flight before?
I have completed a fly past for Monarch once before. It was in 2011 over the Saints rugby ground in Northampton. The aircraft had a rugby shirt printed on the underneath so those in the stadium could see it.
An awful lot of planning must have been necessary before the fly past was approved to go ahead. Did you need to get special permission from Birmingham Airport?
Our Base Pilot Manager at Birmingham liaised with the airport in the lead up to the day. There was also quite some planning on the day itself as weather must be taken in to account for the routing. Using this information we set up a ‘timing gate’ which enabled us to plan the exact timings of the fly past.
In the picture you can just make out the wheels were down during the fly past. Was that all part of the plan?
The wheels were down as when an aircraft goes below 700ft without the undercarriage being deployed, the Safety Warning Systems will activate.
For all the guests on the day, the fly past was a spectacular event. For you, did this flight feel like a typical day at the office, or something a bit more?
It definitely felt special, the timing was crucial and the view of the hangars from the flight deck was fantastic. It was also really exciting to be able to dip the wing for the photographers.
Congratulations and thank you for playing such a pivotal part in the day!
To learn more about the Birmingham hangar opening, please see: http://www.monarch.co.uk/news/flights/2013-news/monarch-aircraft-engineering-unveils-new-state-of-the-art-facility-at-birmingham-airport