Tuesday, 22 November 2016

A mysterious drone

Many times as i lay in bed at night as a kid (and beyond) i would hear a far off drone. Some sort of aircraft of course but with the otherwise peace of the night the drone felt so alone. I would listen to the drone until it faded away and would wonder what plane it was (i of course was a plane spotter back then too). As it seemed like a smaller propeller plane i imagined it could be a light aircraft, maybe some specialist transport link running late at night. Maybe even MI5 or the US government running a black network of secret agents.

Although i've always lived under the BHX flight path (and indeed my own house is a mile closer to the airport) my fascination with the drone went away, no doubt replaced by girls or Class 47 diesel locomotives. In recent years however i've started noticing the drone again, though a somewhat different tone, not as mournful. A few months ago i was in the garden on a light night when i heard the drone, and as it was a clear night i could finally see the source of this drone (and also could see what it was on a flight tracking app, this wasn't available to me in the early 1980s!)

It turned out to just be a propeller regional airliner flying high above, maybe flying into East Midlands Airport. Some of the romance has now been lost. My fantasy of secret missions have turned into the last flight out of Belfast of the day. How disappointing, sometimes its better not to know everything and keep some mysteries alive. I suspect the drone i knew so well was that of RR Dart turboprops which powered so many airliners back in the 70s and 80s. The newer breed of turboprop are no doubt much more efficient, but don't sound as good!
A photo i took at B'ham Airport in the 1980s of a British Midland F27, great drone!

A modern airliner, not as good a drone!