Gosport’s mayor is flying high

Mayor of Gosport Cllr Richard Dickson pilots a Maule high wing four-seat plane
Mayor of Gosport Cllr Richard Dickson pilots a Maule high wing four-seat plane
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SOARING through the air above Gosport, the borough’s mayor can now claim he has true political perspective .

Mayor of Gosport Councillor Richard Dickson was whisked to great heights aboard a Maule plane when he visited Sapphire Aviation at the Daedalus enterprise zone in Lee-on-the-Solent.

Accompanied by Siobhan Flynn, an economic prosperity officer at Gosport Borough Council, Cllr Dickson took in views including Browndown, Clayhall, Portsmouth Harbour and Fratton Park in Portsmouth.

And the steady-handed mayor even briefly took control.

He said: ‘It was absolutely fantastic, the visibility was superb.

‘I was allowed to fly the plane, which was quite a big boy’s toy experience.

‘It was like flying a Reliant Robin – and to be Gosport’s mayor and to see my patch was quite a thrill.

‘We did a low circuit through the actual airfield at one point.

‘When you’re low you get a real sense of speed.’

Steve Clark the director of Aerotech Solent Ltd, which works with Sapphire Aviation, piloted the plane for the 30 to 40-minute flight, offering Cllr Dickson a new perspective on the borough.

Cllr Dickson said he was a taxi driver for more than 30 years but had not seen the area from the sky.

‘To see so many of the areas I’d previously driven around, to see them from the air, it was quite exciting,’ he said.

‘You could see right across to Fareham Creek.’

Steve Ford is the managing director of Sapphire Aviation, one of the first firms to get the benefit of moving on to Daedalus.

Mr Ford said the firm offered to take the mayor up in the air after talking to him at Gosport’s business and employment fair in January.

He said: ‘He asked a lot about us and what we did, and we thought the best way for him to see how the airfield fitted in the district was to see it from the air.

‘We showed him exactly how critical and strategic it was.’

He added the firm is doing well after six months at its home in a hangar at the former HMS Daedalus airfield.

More than 1,200 jobs are expected at the enterprise zone after it was announced £25m will be pumped into Daedalus.

Mr Ford added: ‘The support we’re getting from Gosport and Fareham Borough Council has been exemplary.

‘We couldn’t ask for a better location for our business.’

For a video of Cllr Dickson’s flight visit portsmouth.co.uk