Gerrard’s epic splashdown

editorial image

It was a case of third time lucky for first-time pilot Gerrard Brown as he pulled off a perfect landing on Strathclyde Loch.

The seaplane stunt had been postponed twice before because of the weather, but this time Gerrard’s proud family were delighted to see him complete a remarkable mission in perfect conditions.

The 42-year-old, from Muirhead, was asked to take part by Strathkelvin councillor John McLaren, who arranged the permission necessary for the plane to land.

The event was part of a charity fundraising mission called the Freedom of Flight Relay Challenge, involving disabled pilots and showing just what they are capable of.

Gerrard, who has learning difficulties and had never flown before, was delighted to have the honour of flying the plane for the North Lanarkshire leg of the Scotland-wide challenge.

With him on the adventure was pilot Stewart Houston, a flying instructor and aerospace lecturer, and the plane was the G-DRAM “Spirit of Scotland”, which featured in a David Beckham advert for whisky.

Gerrard’s dad, also Gerrard, mum Alice and sister Tanya were thrilled to see him complete the first ever seaplane landing on the loch.

Councillor McLaren hopes it won’t be the last.

He said: “I think the Provost has recovered from the shock now!

“This has never been done before , and now we’ve seen how perfect the loch is for seaplane landing I can see all sorts of possibilities for the future.”

As a niche, high-prestige “landing strip” the loch could be linked to the better-known seaplane option on Loch Lomond – with potential for niche tourism and business visits.

The Challenge is run by flying fanatic Pauline Gallacher, who has celebral palsy – but who is the holder of a special Douglas Bader award, named after the legendary disabled Second World War air ace.

She overcame her own difficulties to become an experienced pilot, and is determined to help others do the same.

Businesses around Scotland, including BT, Barnetts Motor Group and Insights, helped the event with sponsorship backing.