….Sue and I were on our way home from Jersey. We had been staying at the Hotel Christina, our favourite hotel in Jersey where we could sit on the terrace and watch the airshow over the bay.
We had flown down in our Piper PA28 on the Friday morning so we could watch the aircraft taking part in the air show arrive and go through their practice displays. Following the air show on the Monday it was our wedding anniversary.The following day we had to fly back for work commitments.
We took off from Jersey Airport in sunshine and climbed to 5000 feet VFR and received routing direct to Bournemouth, at 50 North we were handed over to Bournemouth Radar, which seemed quiet with only a few other aircraft on frequency. We passed Sandbanks VRP and were given a direct routing to Gloucester and on to Shawbury VOR as per out flight plan. Bournemouth handed us over to Bristol…. and that is where for us it began. Bristol had no other aircraft on frequency, which was unusual. After contacting Bristol, they told us to route direct to SWB VOR and to contact Manchester as soon as able…. we weren’t even north of Bath at this point. By the time we were passing Gloucester, I had managed to contact Manchester Radar and were told proceed direct to Barton (Manchester Barton, our home airfield) without delay.
There was only one other aircraft on Manchester Radar frequency and he was inbound to Manchester. I had never heard Manchester so quiet. We flew down the Manchester low level corridor at 1200 feet and turned to north east towards Barton. Mike was in the Tower at Barton and as we landed and were rolling down the runway he said over the radio we were the last aircraft to land back at Barton. As we got our luggage out of the plane, we could see a lot of people in the Lancs Aero Club clubhouse and Ken Hardy was walking across the field towards us. The first we knew of the events that would change the world forever was when he shouted across to us…… “They have crashed two planes into the twin towers“