Jim holds a private pilots licence that allows him to fly certain types of small aircraft however he will need to upgrade to meet the latest conditions and requirements to enable him to complete this flight. The navigation systems have also changed in recent years and Jim will need some extra help. He will be joined in the cockpit by his wife Dot who will be helping with planning the route.
Dot and Jim are well travelled; they have been around the globe on several occasions using commercial flights. Usually this has been in connection with business or motorsport events.
At the age of 60 they set off on a journey that would last for almost 8 years living in a motorhome. After visiting fifty three countries, including forty three states in the United States of America, their journey finished at the ‘end of the road’ in Bluff on the South Island of New Zealand.
After running a successful electrical retail business they were the sole importer and distributers for four makes of Italian off road motorcycles. During that period their riders and teams won world championships and major national championships including the BBC Kick Start Series. Both Dot and Jim have been livelong motorcycle riders taking part in many ‘off road’ events at home and abroad and also helping with the organisation of rallies.
Until recently Dot and Jim were part of RallyRaidUK, Britain’s largest desert rally team. The team principal has competed in nineteen editions of the Dakar and in most other major desert rallies around the world. RallyRaidUK are the designer and manufacturer of the Desert Warrior rally car which has an excellent record in events worldwide.
Jim and Dot published a book with an introduction by Ari Vatanen, the multi World Rally Champion, about taking part in the Dakar Rally. Travelling from Marseille through Spain and across to Tunisia then on into Libya, crossing the Sahara Desert into Egypt and reaching the finish at Sharm El Sheik was an amazing journey.
Dot and Jim were both monthly contributors to motorsport magazines in Australia, Britain and the United States for eight years and specialised in feature articles from around the world.
They have both published other books, Jim has written a series of thrillers under the ‘nom de plume’ of Marcus Hulse.
Dots travel stories are published as an e-book available on Amazon titled ‘Journeys with Jim’ where she tells many interesting tales from their trips together. Dot will be taking many photographs on this flight and maybe together they will be able to write the story and publish another interesting book.
New rules have been introduced for international flights which means any pilot over the age of 65 must be accompanied at all times by another qualified pilot under the age of 60years. While the UK has not signed up to this new ruling many of the countries along the route of the flight have implemented the new rule. So Jim put the word out to find a pilot who was ready for an adventure and could cope with being in a small cockpit with two octogenarians!
Amazed at the response it will be difficult to choose from the number of well qualified pilots. At a recent meeting with the documentary production team the director suggested that the second pilot could also be the cameraman. They had indicated at the very first meeting that they would prefer to send along on the flight a cameraman, sound engineer and producer. Jim had to explain that even though the aeroplane is fitted with four seats all those people would be a bit of a squash and well over the weight limit and we needed room for spares, safety equipment and at least one change of clothes!
Searching for some photos of previous flights Dot has found some old cine film clips of the time when Jim learned to fly and gained his pilots licence. Sorry there is no commentary-make your own ( the quality is not good as the film has been in the shed for a long time).