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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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SOME 10 days ago, foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides raised expectations by announcing the possibility of a deal with Turkey for the opening of the fenced off area of Famagusta, for the return of its inhabitants. In exchange the Cyprus government would agree to the opening of Tymbou airport to direct flights. ...
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By George Psyllides PRIVATE auditors have expressed doubt the electricity authority (EAC) could be considered a going concern and have asked its board to draft a credible plan to tackle the problem, according to the auditor-general’s 2012 report on the semi-state company. Among other issues, ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Feeling at peace with the world ]

Feeling at peace with the world

DAVE Armstrong who died, aged 73, on Sunday May 11 was, by his own admission, a committed adrenalin junkie.

During an interview in 2006 published in Seven magazine he told me: “I have lost count of the times I have heard people say, ‘At his age he really should know better’.”

Dave was a lovely man, imbued with a level of energy that would overwhelm many men half his age. His fascination with speed and competition started first with go-karting, but after breaking his hip in a key race, he then tried horse riding. Being in the saddle didn’t quite meet his expectations so he ventured into roller-skating, skiing and then scuba diving. He then tried golf.

He soon discovered golf wasn’t exactly renowned for fast acceleration of adrenalin levels so in 1998 at the age of 62 Dave decided that perhaps flying a microlight would deliver the combination of intense excitement, raw fear, huge challenges, along with a grand sense of personal achievement.

He became a qualified pilot, and then threw himself into studying everything there was to know about owning and flying a microlight. So, while his neighbours in the village of Tala, would be out pottering around their gardens with their lawnmowers, Dave was seen loading his own flying ‘motor mower’ onto his trailer to drive to the airport where, he admitted, he would then take to the air with fragile wings and lots of prayers.

He took the jokes about his flying lawn mower with great panache, but at every opportunity would also try and convert those who sometimes mocked his hobby, by carefully trying to explain how wonderful the sensation was.

“It is just wonderful flying high in the sky alone with only your thoughts and at the same time being in the privileged position of admiring this lovely island lying just beneath your wings.”

Just after his 71st birthday, Dave undertook a microlight marathon to raise money for disadvantaged children here in Paphos. The starting point was England, and then he flew through France, Italy, Corfu and Rhodes and down to Paphos, sharing the flying with his friend and co-pilot Jay Madhvani.

He explained how he managed to navigate through this marathon journey.

“At first glance people do consider it a rather small, fragile craft but we have satellite navigation, air charts, all the equipment needed to pilot safely through these countries. The only drawback is the complete lack of facilities on board, so you do have to watch your fluid intake and it’s also a bit on the cramped side. Being light means we are more subject to the vagaries of the weather, and there’s not much body protection from the elements so you are somewhat exposed if a freak storm hits you, although we wear protective all weather suits and helmets on long trips,” he said.

Last Sunday, Dave felt something bad happening just ten minutes after take off. He informed the control tower that he was experiencing turbulence and mentioned that there was a problem with his glider and that he would be making an emergency landing in a field. It is believed the glider went out of control and crashed into a vineyard, hitting a tree. When the fire brigade and ambulance arrived at the scene Dave was already dead.

The only small comfort his widow has is that Dave died doing the thing he loved, and I clearly recall his last words to me after we completed the interview.

“Flying my micro light is the closest sensation one will ever get to a bird in flight, and it’s the closest I get to being at peace with the world.”


(Source: Cyprus Mail)



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