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Bruce's final flight

This blog comes with a mascara warning.


G-EMSY was the first Tiger Moth to join the Tiger Flights fleet and she has a very special story. And we were able to close a chapter of her story earlier this month.


A brown and blue biplane flying with blue sky and fluffy clouds behind it
G-EMSY has taken many passengers on flight experiences over Northumberland's stunning coast.

To quickly recap her early days, after a distinguished war time career with two different elementary flight training schools, T7356 was decommissioned in 1954 and sold for parts in 1955. At this point she was bought by a German priest, overhauled by German engineers and flown to Geilenkirchen from Thruxton to begin a new chapter as D-EDUM as part of the post war effort to get people flying again. A stint as a glider tug at Geilenkirchen’s RAF Flying Club saw her registered as G-ASPZ until 1969. She was sold again in 1979 for restoration but sadly forgotten.


A black and white photo of a Tiger Moth biplane inside a hangar
G-ASPZ as a glider tug in Germany.

Now we’re going to fast forward to September 2023 when we were lucky enough to get some coverage of G-EMSY flying over Bamburgh Castle plastered across the national newspapers.



As a result of that photo appearing in The Times, we were contacted by Colin Micklewright. Colin’s brother Bruce had previously owned G-EMSY. In fact, Bruce was the passionate aviation enthusiast who rescued

G-EMSY from a rather forlorn and dismantled state in a barn in Belgium in 1991. He repatriated her to Suffolk where he and his team lovingly restored her.


Her colours come from Bruce and Colin’s former school, Framlingham College in Suffolk and she was named in honour of Bruce’s daughter Emma. After flying for the Royal Canadian Air Force, Bruce had been a senior pilot for Cathay Pacific flying 747s and based in Hong Kong for some 20 years before retiring and returning to the UK with G-EMSY’s constituent parts.


We were delighted to have been found by Bruce’s family.

 

Colin regaled us with the tale of the one and only time he and Bruce were in the UK at the same time after G-EMSY had been restored to her former glory. They made their way to the airfield so Colin could go for his first flight in G-EMSY. But it was too windy and he never got to experience the thrill of open cockpit flying with his beloved brother.

 

Obviously we immediately agreed to fly Colin in G-EMSY once the flying season got started this year.

 

Colin contacted us earlier this year to get his flight arranged. It came with a special request.

 

Sadly, Bruce passed away on 8 December 2023 and his family could think of no better way to say a final goodbye to Bruce than to have his ashes scattered from G-EMSY.

 

We were incredibly honoured to have been asked to give Bruce his final send off. It would be an honour to be asked to do this for anyone, but this was especially poignant due to who Bruce was. G-EMSY simply wouldn’t exist without him.

 

We did experience some trepidation; could we do Bruce and his family justice, would the mechanism work, would the weather play ball?

 

After a couple of rescheduled attempts due to the crazy wet and windy weather, our Head of Training James and Colin took off in G-EMSY on Friday 19 April when they were able to successfully scatter Bruce’s ashes.

 

The Tiger Flights team were on hand to pay their respects and there was not a dry eye in the house. Flying was where Bruce was at his happiest and it was our absolute privilege to take Bruce on his final flight.

 

Bruce Micklewright

8 August 1934 to 8 December 2023


Four men in front of a tiger moth biplane with a fifth man crouching on the wing of the plane
Engineer John, Colin Micklewright, head of training James, chief pilot Darren with ground crew Dave on G-EMSY's wing

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