A Flight called Wanda is the story of discovery of places, people, airports and airspaces over 6400 nautical miles through 12 countries.
Three intrepid travellers experience good and bad weather, some interesting escapades and one incident which would have resulted in disastrous consequences.
2 Ultra light aircraft were used to travel to places that could not have been reached by any other means.
Flying from the UK across Holland, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, Greece, Italy and France taught Team Wanda some valuable lessons in human relationships as well as flight performance.
A reader's response after reading this book:-
"Excellent book for all pilots who want to fly across borders. Learning from mistakes, carefully analyze the weather, know how to estimate the point of no return, anticipating the demands of air traffic controllers and live a wonderful journey that leads you to landscapes and so different from our everyday people, this is a book I read avidly. Plane or ULM, I traveled to over 40 countries and I have learned a lot from this book. Thank you Deepak. Jo."
A Flight Called Wanda
I must first declare myself biased as I was one of the pilots to accompany Deepak on this amazing adventure but it is my honest opinion that follows.
Whilst this is a true story of an adventure flying from England to Israel in small two-seater microlight/ultralight aircraft to the 2011 World Microlight Championships (which were later aborted), it is really a fascinating insight into not just flying a microlight abroad but more importantly into the variety of cultures that can so rapidly pass you by on such a journey across Europe and into the Near East. In took little more than two weeks but a kaleidoscopic vision of eleven countries passed us by and Deepak has made an excellent job of conveying the excitement and challenge generated by such variety.
This book is profusely illustrated with nearly 500 photographs and excerpts from charts showing the route flown.
Great aviation book
When Deepak's friend Romiel invited him to go his son's Bar Mitzvah in Israel in 2008 Deepak couldn't go but a couple of years later the Israelis were due to host the World Microlight Championships the 2 of them decided to fly to the Holy Land from the UK.
This led to the project which was entitled, 'A Flight Called Wanda'; so called because, as Deepak says, they were wondering where they would reach, what would happen, who they would meet and whether they would make it back.
Deepak Mahajan has been running 'tour and train courses for some time from London Airsports. On these trips he takes pilots across Europe to broaden their flying horizons. So most of this trip to Israel would not be unfamiliar to Deepak but Israel is a different matter. The route would see Deepak fly his CTSW microlight from his base at Damyns Hall east to Poland then down to Bulgaria, Turkey and then on to the highly restricted Israeli airspace. Prior to setting off a second CTSW, piloted by Graham Lund, joined the team and they would fly in formation for much of the 6000 nautical mile round trip.
The story that Deepak recounts covers the aviation element of the adventure in great detail from what they see as they fly over Europe in late autumn to the weather, their interactions with flight controllers and the variable service they receive from ground handlers along the way. However this is not just an aviation story. The team stop off en-route to experience some of the tourist highlights and Deepak offers his views on the people, politics and customs he encounters.
As it turned out, the microlight championships were cancelled but this didn't interfere with the team's enjoyment of the Israeli flying experience.
The book goes into detail about each flight describing the frustrations and joys that international air travel inevitably brings. The trip is both inspirational and educational. Even an experienced pilot like Deepak continues to learn as he encounters new problems such as being filled up with contaminated fuel in Turkey.
A Flight Called Wanda
This book and Deepak Mahajan's other essays and publications are informative, instructive and inspiring to any student or experienced pilots who want to learn about the capabilities of the modern microlight aircraft.
The benefits of the long range (700 miles plus), 100 knot plus aircraft, with modern GPS navigation systems, and radio communication equipment are obvious and attractive.
Flight at 10,000 feet above sea level in the Alps, and flight at 1450 feet below sea level, 50 feet above Israel's Dead Sea, have been achieved by this adventurous pilot.
But this book shows the reader that things can always go wrong.
Water in the fuel system before a long flight over the sea.
Failure of radio and GPS when nearing Israeli territory over the sea where sky merges with the water in a featureless haze.
How to handle the planning, the flights, and the problems. It's all here.
And then there are the places, and the people!!