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Mark Hooper

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I had my first flying lesson on Oct 1st 1985. I was thrown in at the deep end with my local aerodrome being Birmingham International Airport. Fitting in amongst the airliners certainly concentrates the mind! In that environment you soon learn how to handle the radios and fly like a professional. Eight months later I held my shiny new PPL.

After a couple of years pottering about in C152s and 172s I did an aerobatics course in the venerable Cessna Aerobat, great fun.

At this point I was dreaming of flying interesting aeroplanes in far off places, like Africa, Alaska or Australia, flying tourists, crop spraying or bush flying, I didn’t know what I really wanted and even less of an idea of how to achieve it!

In 1990 I moved to Panama City, Florida, U.S.A to train for the Commercial Pilot Licence and Instrument Rating. That was a fantastic year, living and breathing aviation was a dream come true. I came home with plenty of ideas and ambitions but life had other plans and gradually my flying began to take a back seat while other things took over and my priorities changed.

Why I Got Involved

I have always loved aeroplanes and as a boy built plenty of airfix kits, several of them Spitfires! A few years ago I saw an article in Pilot Magazine where Bob Grimstead compared the 80% scale Supermarine Mk26 Spitfire to ‘The Real Thing’. The article was so impressive I knew I needed to get one of these planes. But how?

The Spitfire had always been my favorite. I was born and grew up in Castle Bromwich, my Grandfather had worked next door to the Spitfire factory making tyres at Fort Dunlop. I felt I had a ‘connection’.

Then last year another article in Pilot Magazine caught my eye, this time it was about someone who had a dream to assemble a squadron of the new M26b 90% scale Spitfire! I knew I had to get involved and registered my interest straight away. When Paul contacted me to say there was a share available on the first kit it was all I could do not to bite his hand off!

What Am I Hoping For?

Looking forward to the challenges, the trials and tribulations of building an iconic aircraft from the ground up. Eventually to take to the air and live the dream of a lifetime!

 
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