If you were to have asked Gary Numan two weeks before Christmas 1980 what his ambition was, he would have answered “To pass my flying exam”. On the 17th December 1980 this ambition was fulfilled. The test consisted of three written exams and Gary passed with “flying” colours. These were:
1. Aviation law, 86%
2. Airframes & Engines, 8O%
3. Navigation & Meterology, 9O%
Then there was the oral exam on airframes and engines and finally two actual flying exams consisting of cioss country and air craft landing. After being handed his pass certificate, Gary treated himself to a blue & white coloured Cessna 182 four seater single engine plane with a variable pitch propellor. We can now ‘look up” to him in more ways than one as he climbs to new heights of excellence.
The first aeroplane Gary ever bought on the 18th December 1980, was the Cessna 182, a four seater which cost £12,000, this was his pride and joy. Gary was so excited he would go down to the airfield at night and sit quietly in the cockpit, not quite believing this was is very own plane. Gary would spend many hours flying around Britain alone over the Midlands, across Isle of Wight, to escape the madness of the pop world.
1981 had been a pretty quiet year for Gary. In effect an awful lot had been going on behind the scenes.On July the 1st 1981, Gary started his own airline which he called Numanair. Gary’s interest in flying is well known amongst the fans, as the many hundreds of congratulatory cards and letters received at the fan club shows, when Gary obtained his pilot’s license. At the moment, Numanair have three planes which are based at Blackbushe Airport. An air charter Company called Air Oxford looks after the commercial side.
One of the plans the Piper Navajo this twin-engined plane cost Gary £43,000, (registered as G-NMAN and also was the plane which Gary flew around the world on his second attempt) is easily recognised by its distinctive colour scheme.The plane is painted in its own Numanair colours black base with double red ‘Telekon’ lines running along the sides. The name Numanair is displayed above the lines and the Tubeway Army face design is on the tall.
The other two planes owned by Numanair are a four seater single engine Cessna 182 and a six seater single engine which cost £12,000. Cessna 210 Centurion, costing £30,000, (in which Gary flew as far as India on his first attempt to fly around the world). This plane was doomed to the scrap heap after the plane ran out of fuel and crashed landed on the A3051 in Hampshire during the flight back from the south of France, after a quick visit to the Cannes music industry meeting back in 1982.
Another main event of June 1981 Gary’s air charter company Numanair began an involvement in racing sponsorship. The Numanair car is a Van Diemen RF81 which races in the Formula Ford 1600 class. The car was maintained at the Snetterton race track in Norfold by maintenance specialist Rushen Green Ltd. Racing that season on the British Formula Ford racing circuits in its distinctive black and red livery featuring the Numanair logo on either side and the face design from the cover of Gary’s Tubeway Army album on the front.
The driver of the car was Mike Mackonochie, who was one of the most promising new talents on the British racing circuit back in 1981. Mike was racing that season in the BARC Championship and the Dunlop Autosport Star of Tomorrow Championship.
The Numan/Mackonochie partnership got off to a flying start when, on the Numanair cars first outing on July 5th. Mike came in first for the Round 6 race of the BARC Championship at the Snetterton track. Mike also had poll position on the grid and achieved the fastest lap time for the race thus gaining the maximum ten points awardable. the second outing was also at Snetterton: this time the Dunlop Autosport Championship. Mike again, made an impressive showing. Winning the race convincingly after being led By David Hunt(James Hunts brother) in the early stages. To remind us that Fortune is indeed a fickle lady, on the Numanair cars third race on August 8th at Oulton Park Cheshire. Mike was knocked off the track in the first lap.
In the short time that this venture has been operating, both Gary and Numanair have received wide press coverage in the motor-sport magazines, and we expect further promotional benefits from this venture’s the season progresses.