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Richard takes to the air --:

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          Richard with Christy Hennessey ready for take off

My name is Richard Allenden. It was my birthday on Tuesday 20th of May 1999. I was thirteen. I got a model car, a wetsuit and a model aeroplane from my Mum and l got a surfboard from my Dad. I received cards in the post from Aunts, Uncles and my grand parents. The day of my birthday I had a special tea at home. I also had no homework. My teacher allows a boy on his birthday to have no homework. My Mum made a lemon meringue pie and a chocolate and orange cake especially for me. She doesn’t bake often but whatever she bakes everything   tastes lovely. My teacher and my mother were plotting something but I could not discover what. This annoyed me.

On the following Saturday, we went for a drive. My friends Oisin and Dara from Dublin were with me. I did not know where we were going. We set off but I was dying to know where we were off to. When I saw a sign for the airport I knew that is where we were heading but I wasn’t too sure why.

When we arrived at Waterford Regional Airport, my Mum called into the terminal building and I thought we were going to look at the old planes that are there. I like planes so I thought she had arranged for me to have a look around the plane museum, which they have at the airport. My Mum then came out with this man who came over to the car and said to me  “ Are you going to stay there all day, young man or are you coming for a flight”. I couldn’t believe what he had said. After all these years I was finally going to get into a real plane. So I said “Yes, please”. The man’s name is Christy Hennessey. He owns a garage in Waterford, which sells Renault cars. My teacher has a Renault car, which he calls his Porsche. Christy first showed us around the planes in the hanger. There was one two wing and the rest were all single winged planes. Christy was the pilot of a two-seated aircraft. He is the head of the flying club at the airport. My teacher arranged with him to have a flight around Tramore. It was a clear day but not too sunny.
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                         Tramore from the air of the plane
We got into the plane and he explained the instruments on board. He then asked me to fasten my safety belt. We coasted to the top of the runway. Then he said, “ Push the throttle up”. We started to gather speed; faster and faster the plane went. Then we were up in the air. The plane began to wobble a bit but Christy soon had it on a level. We headed due east for Tramore. We came over the sand-hills first, turned right and flew over the town. The houses looked very small under us. We could see cars moving slowly. We were up about a thousand feet. I saw the school from the air. It was easy to pick out because of its unusual shape. The roof is silver in colour. I was able to pick out other places like the church, the Grand hotel and Splashworld. We flew around for about fifteen minutes. I had the digital camera. I took many photographs. It was hard to take proper photos, as the plane kept moving from side to side and the wing kept getting in the way. Before long it was time to head back. We were in the air for about twenty minutes. I did not feel well when we landed.

It really was a birthday to remember. I hope to go up again but it costs a lot of money. I wish I had been driving the plane. If I had the money I would try and get flying lessons. I think I will have to wait until I get my own money to do that.

If you get a chance to get a flying lesson take it. It is a brilliant experience. I hope to go up again soon.

Richard Allenden
June 1999