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Pilot returns after US trip by microlight

Microlight pilot Ed McCallum with daughter, Lauren and wife Wendy and son Matt.

Microlight pilot Ed McCallum with daughter, Lauren and wife Wendy and son Matt.

A microlight pilot has touched down after an outstanding trip from Northumberland to America and back.

Eddie McCallum, from Longframlington, landed at Athey’s Moor on Tuesday afternoon after a sensational trip in his microlight.

The effort has been described as an ‘absolutely incredible achievement’.

Travelling around 11,000 miles across mountains, sea, lakes, the 56-year-old set off on his trip on June 11.

From Longframlington, heflew to Wick, in Scotland, then on to Iceland, Greenland, Quebec and Montreal in Canada – where he had a two-week break with wife Wendy – and then on to the USA.

Eddie flew through Vermont, Ohio, and then on to Oshkosh, in Wisconsin – known as the Mecca of the aviation world – his final destination.

After a few days in Oshkosh, he flew back across the Great Lakes, then the Northern Territories of Canada and then took a similar course across Greenland and Iceland.

And arriving back in Longframlington this week, he was met by a welcoming party – which included Wendy and their children.

“It was an incredible trip,” Eddie said. “I have met so many different people and seen diverse cultures.

“Especially up there, meeting the Inuit people and seeing how they live was just astonishing.

“But it is also great to be back. I had a wonderful reception, I wasn’t expecting that at all.”

The trip wasn’t just for pleasure though, it was also a fund-raiser for Unicef, with around £4,500 already pledged for the charity.

Eddie, who has been flying for 21 years, has clocked up more than 2,500 flying hours during his career, with this trip adding 102 to that figure.

“I have flown all over Europe,” he said.

“I’ve been to every country so I decided it was a great challenge to do this trip.

“I knew the plan was capable of it and I’ve been planning it for a year. The bureaucracy you have to go through is one of the most frustrating things.

“Because it’s a microlight, you have to have special permission from Iceland, Denmark – because they own Greenland – Canada and the USA.

“The biggest challenge was the speed of the microlight.

“I was going at about 100mph, but at one point I hit a 45mph wind so you only end up doing 65mph.

“The other problem is the weather. You try to check it as best as you can, but there aren’t weather stations over the ocean.”

Eddie’s return was delayed by a few hours as he couldn’t take off in Wick on Tuesday because of fog.

His fund-raising for Unicef is going to continue with a hangar bash at Athey’s Moor on August Bank Holiday Sunday with the aim of raising £10,000 for the charity in total.

 

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