With planes, how small is 'too small'?

June 6, 2008 9:22am CST
I got up very early on Monday morning and drove to Scotland, Glasgow airport. Not so remarkaable, you might think, but it's 250 miles from my home and the check in time was 0830! My flight was to Campbelltown on the Argyll peninsula of western Scotland, and the driving force behind me making this marathon, early-hours trip, was to avoid a further 250 mile round trip in the car once I reached Glasgow. It's a 40 minute hop across the Isle of Arran and when I booked it on the internet, it seemed like a good time-saving idea. Breakfast was at Glasgow airport, the 'full Scottish'. I had reason to regret that decision twice: once when I ate it, because it was horrible, and secondly as we came in for a very bumpy landing at Campbelltown, over the sandy beach at Machrihanish, skimming the pins of the golf course. Any aircraft where you can see the airspeed indicator from the rearmost seat in the cabin is far too small for comfort, and this DH Twin Otter was no exception. Having retained said breakfast with a mighty effort of will I disembarked at the curious combination of airport with the longest runway in Europe (military - don't ask!) and a 'terminal' building barely larger than my living room. Business completed in Campbelltown, I returned to the airport at 1630 for the return flight at 1730, and it was not good news. The weather had deterirated and the flight was threatened with cancellation. This raised the prospect of an overnight stay in Campbelltown (with my next day's itinerary shot to hell), or a four hour drive in the substitute minibus to Glasgow airport. Campbelltown! Everybody you see on the street or in a shop smiles and says hello = I'm sure they probably are innately friendly but there's also an element of not beleiving anyone would come that far to see them. The smile is followed by a little frown of frustration as they struggle to recognise you. And the weather had been abysmal - visiting bus operators and inspecting bus stations is a summer occupation! My photos will all need lightening in Photoshop! Better news materialised - they were sending a 'bigger' plane which should be less affected by the weather. So 40 minutes late we lumbered into the skies again, this time in a Saab 20 seater, for an uneventful return to Glasgow. I was very glad indeed to be on terra firma and I do believe the next time I visit this delightful and scenic part of the world I will schedule in an extra day for the drive, and leave flying to the seagulls.
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@paid2write (5202)
6 Jun 08
I have never been in such a small plane. I think it would be a nice experience as long as the weather is good, but not in bad weather. I have been to that part of Scotland several times. My best experience was sailing round the isles in a cabin cruiser, no planes or ferries necessary.
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