‘Co-pilot’ dog is only canine member of aircraft group!

editorial image

The sky’s the limit for a Linslade dog who has become the only canine official member of a national flying group.

Callie, a chocolate Labrador, even has an Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (Aopa) air crew card which entitles her to a host of VIP benefits.

Her owner Graham Mountford has been a private pilot for 13 years and is usually accompanied on his flights by co-pilot Callie.

With so many flying hours behind her – she loves to visits the beaches of Cornwall, Caernarfon and Scotland – Graham jokingly asked if she could become a member of the association.

He was shocked to receive a crew card and membership pack in the post a week after his tongue-in-cheek request.

Graham, 50, from the Mentmore Road area, said: “She has become a bit of a celebrity at a lot of airfields we visit, and I took her to an aeroexpo exhibition at Sywell, Northampton last May.

“She wandered around with me visiting the exhibition stands and getting a lot of fuss. On one stand they gave her a ‘crew’ tag designed to go on key rings etc so I put it on her collar.

“We then visited the Aopa stand. I have been a member for over 10 years and the girls on the stand made a real fuss of Callie, and asked if she flew with me.

“I told them all the places we had been together and they decided she had more flying hours than many human members. So as a bit of a joke I asked if there was any chance of getting her a crew card of her own.

“There were lots of giggles and I thought nothing of it.

“However, one of the admin ladies had taken a photo and when they got back to the office they decided to surprise us and a membership pack and air crew card arrived in the post the week after with her photo on it.

“Needless to say it causes great amusement at most of the airfields we visit and even the most glum security men break into a smile.”

In theory the air crew card gives Callie a number of privileges, including going through the Crew Only channel at security and immigration in airports, discounts and priority booking and check out at most airport hotels and car hire.

Callie, who is three next month and has been flying since she was 12 weeks old, can also get free legal advice on any aviation related matters!

Graham added: “What she gets most though is strokes, fuss and free sausages at airfield cafes!”

An Aopa spokesman said: “We thought it would be fun to issue Callie with membership and an aircrew card, which we duly did!

“We are a very friendly association, and always hope to help our members in any way that we can.”