Amateur Wiltshire pilots fly supplies out to Ukraine refugees
March 22, 2022
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  • Two amateur pilots are flying to Poland in a small private plane loaded with supplies for displaced Ukrainian people.

    Dick Beath and Georg Gruber, of Wiltshire, set off from Corsham with medical and sanitary supplies.

    Before take off, Mr Beath said although there was a little apprehension, the trip’s “imponderables” were those most pilots came across on a daily basis.

    They are flying a private six-seater Piper aircraft, without the rear seats.

    Mr Beath, who will take turns with Mr Gruber to fly the plane, said “We’ve planned it and we know sitting on a plane for three hours isn’t a big problem for us. It’s exciting and it’s something we haven’t done before.”

    Mr Beath said they would be helped along the way to decide the air space they “needed to avoid”

    Mr Beath explained they would be contacting the relevant authorities along the way to say who they were and where they were going.

    With certain areas militarised, they may have to fly slightly south as they get closer.

    The pair are carrying military fatigues and dry food, alongside medical and sanitary supplies.

    Mr Gruber and Mr Beath in the cockpit preparing to leave

    The pair will refuel in England and Leipzig, Germany, so they have enough fuel to divert if needed

    Mr Beath said: “We’re thinking dry food is good for people on the move. Some stuff will go to refugees and some to Ukraine for front-line troops.”

    Mr Gruber is ex-infantry and said his training had really helped: “Planning is something we have to do but also map-reading, in the infantry you have to map-read.”

    He added that even though there was a lot of modern technology and apps, “just being able to read the ground is really important”.

    The Cherokee Six will fly at speeds of up to 150mph (241.4 kmh) with a flight time of about seven hours.