AGM Talk 14th October 2016, Caroline Brown, Helicopter Flying—The Exploits of A Two Times World Champion!

Reporter: Chris Fildes

A talented lady is our Caroline. Originally planning to go to medical school, she decided on a career in Aviation. It wasn’t until her first helicopter flight that she became hooked, and with inheritance money, she decided to buy her own helicopter, and enter the world of competitive flying.

Caroline joined the British Helicopter Team and with Imogen Asker as crew, entered competitions internationally. She flew to Russia twice to take part. And when Alan got his pilot’s licence, he was able to fly on the second trip!! It was necessary to have refuelling stops en-route. And a van was used to transport fuel to pre-arranged meeting points, use of plastic bottles aided the refuelling! Blatant cheating took place amongst members of an opposing team, (They shall remain nameless)!! This was unnecessary as they were skilled competitors! Why resort to bending the rules you may ask? Probably the fear of being sent to Siberia ........?

Obstacles to overcome involved a series of tests, which required skill & practice. For example, carrying buckets filled with water at the end of a 5 - 11m length of rope through gates (similar to a slalom course). Then lowering them onto a 1m dia table, or lowering boat fenders into barrels! Timing and altitude were critical and penalties were incurred for going too fast or too slow!

The bucket would be lowered by the co-pilot. This could be tricky. Caroline soon realised that unravelling the rope in the helicopter could be problematic, and allowing it to unravel whilst being lowered was much more successful as it prevented any tangling!

Caroline told us about the time she was flying through a steep sided valley in arctic conditions, poor visibility due to dense mist, and relying purely on navigation. When asked, “were you a scared” her reply was YES!

What a start to the Winter Season. This was a completely absorbing and fascinating talk. I for one was not aware of Caroline’s skill and dedication.

Thank you very much for sharing your experiences with us Caroline, it was an evening to remember!