The Pilot

DAVE SYKES – 'Spokes' or 'Wheely Dave'

Now 45 years old after An Accident at 1.55pm on Friday, November 19, 1993: On his way to work by motorbike, he was overtaking a car which turned right into him without looking. Broke his back at the T8 vertebrae. Along with a broken clavicle, broken femur bone in his left leg, broke all his ribs, 2 punctured lungs, lost feeling in his right arm, several stitches to the face, and had a 30% chance of survival for the first 3 weeks, he was kept in hospital from November, 1993 to May, 1994 (6 Months) after the doctors said that he would be in for at least 2 years with his injuries.

Dave first thought of taking up parachuting, and did a tandem parachute jump in 1997. It was from 10,500’ and went fine, and because he ‘quite liked the exillarating feeling’ he did a second one with a faster canopy. But he and his co-jumper stalled on landing and Dave broke his leg on. Lesley his girlfriend put her foot down and said, ‘don’t do that again or we're finished.’

He took up microlighting in 2000 He found a Pegasus XL– a large, slow microlight, had some hand controls fitted to it. He got his licence on April 1, 2001. But soon  realised he couldn’t fly big distances with the 43-mph XL, so he bought a Mainair Blade 912, capable of 60mph +, which he flew for 2 years. During this period he flew the English Channel and on to Spain, and flew to Ireland and back, He now has 650+ hours experience flying.

He has since bought a P.m Aviation  Quik – and had hand controls made and approved for it, one of the fastest weight shift microlights in the world – in which he has organised and flown several big trips. He has been  to Spain twice, France several times, Ireland and flew over the Alps to Italy at over  10,000ft. then in 2007 Flew a Pegasus Gt450 down through France, Italy Scicily around Mount Etna to Malta to be the first Microlight to fly from England down to Malta ever, over the Alps at 12,500ft  with a 70mph tail wind  with severe turbulence  and high winds. He has already covered over 29,500 miles flying, that has been recorded on his GPS system to date.

Australia – never done by a Paraplegic in a microlight, never mind solo, will be a record for the Guinness book in it’s self. also the 81st anniversary of Amy Johnson’s great 1930 flight What marks out this adventure is that he went solo – no ‘carer’ or someone else to help him – which was a terrific adventure.



 
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