by Charles Gulick
To the North Sea
Chart: Southern UK
Title: THE NORTH SEA
En Route Coordinates:
Aircraft: N18660, E13817
It's time for some nice, peaceful flying over the English countryside or, as William Blake put it so memorably, "England's green and pleasant land."
You're well east of London, about halfway between the city and the point where the River Thames empties into the North Sea. Just follow the graceful, sinuous windings of the river.
And while we're quoting poets, you might like to be re-minded of those haunting lines by Rupert Brooke in The Soldier:
If I should die, think only this of me: That there's some corner of a foreign field That is for ever England. There shall be In that rich earth a richer dust concealed; A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware, A body of England's, breathing English air, Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home. And think, this heart, all evil shed away, A pulse in the eternal mind, no less Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given. Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day; And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness, In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
You have two options as you reach the North Sea. If, when the Thames begins to widen, you hug the north shore you'll spot Southend Airport, at Southend-On-Sea, and can make a straight-in approach to Runway 06 (elevation 49 feet). If you want to fly a bit farther, stay close to the south shore of the river until Manston Airport appears, and set up an approach for Runway 11. You'll be landing on the easternmost tip of southern England. Field elevation at Manston is 177 feet.