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Thread: Spur of the moment

  1. #1
    Diamond geezer Banned500 Club
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    Spur of the moment

    We’d not managed a flight since New Years Day when we’d failed to make it to a flyin. We’d had the airfield in sight a rapidly Increasing headwind told us the forecast change of weather was coming in early so we scuttled back to base with a mighty tailwind. Today though we were promised no more than 10kts on the ground the upper winds rather more than that, but we were just planning a bimble or two.

    It may have been unusually calm but it was a tad nippy and on the way to Rayne the car thermometer read 2 degrees but was forecast to reach the dizzy heights of 3 degrees around midday. The airfield looked grand with a firm surface and slightly long grass and a suitably languid windsock, the sky clear with a high thin overcast and a clearcut line to blue skies out to the coast, very attractive.

    We hauled the TST out of the hangar and I got on the DI while Brian departed to put the kettle on, he soon reappeared to ask” do you fancy a trip to Duxford”? Easily persuaded I rang Duxford to see if the grass runway was available, I don’t like landing the TST on tarmac. The FISO seemed a bit dubious but passed me onto his boss who, luckily was on hand” it‘s a bit wet now the frost has gone” I was told, “what are you flying”? When I told him the concerns disappeared, we were handed back to the FISO to pass our details; it really felt as if they’d gone out of their way to be helpful.

    Brian was to fly the outbound leg ‘cos he’d missed out on New Years Day, taking off with the longer grass he eased back until DF was tickling the tops of the grass so the speed built quickly and we left the ground after a satisfyingly short run. DF showed her appreciation of the cold air and we climbed away at a good 700FPM at 50kts. Heading out toward Gosfield we were puzzled not to pick up our normal marker of the lake only to find it half drained and far less visible, how on earth did they manage to have an almost dry lake after the weather we’d had I don’t know. The vis was good and we flew to our turning point at Heddingham Castle with no problem, from there Haverhill was plain to see and that would keep us nicely clear of big brother at Stansted. The air was as silky smooth as only winter air can be and long before Haverhill Brian pointed out a shape in the distance that was almost certainly the big hangar at Duxford, north and west of the big green patch that was Stansted. Nav in this visibility was very easy and we were nice and comfy with our good Ozees earning their keep. Brian called Duxford info and received the gen; and descending gently, we’d been at a good height to take advantage of the tailwind, wiggled between the villages so as not to upset the neighbours and joined downwind. Keeping in tight to give room to the student in a P28 using the hard runway Brian slid into a beautiful three pointer and we taxied over to the man with his wands flashing bright red lights over in the parking area.

    The chap doing the marshalling was a cheerful and very helpful sort of guy who talked us through the Duxford procedures and gave us the bad news that the main café was shut for refurbishment but pointed us to the alternative. He also asked, what was almost certainly a standard question about fuel, chuckled when I’d said “we’re ok, we put a full 40ltrs in before we set out”, and indicating a Cirrus that had just finished a fill up said “I bet he wishes he could say the same”. As we sat talking I became aware of a bunch of blokes that descended from a 6 seat Piperish sort of aircraft taking loads of pictures of us, I guess they come from a very sheltered environment and not used to proper micros.

    We removed our Ozees and became aware of just how chilly it was, the breeze across the airfield had a real edge to it, rolling up our suits up into the cockpit and headed off to pay our dues. We spent our time looking around a couple of hangars and peering into workshops to see what was brewing in there after sinking a welcome, but very expensive, cuppa in the café.

    Time to head back; it was amazing how fast the body heat built up after donning the suits again but I was glad to get the gloves back on after the pre-flight. I let the engine warm thoroughly before calling up for taxi, with clearance we trundled off down the long taxiway to the hold point for 06. On lift off it was apparent the wind had strengthened as we weather-cocked smartly as the ground sank away, this was gonna be slow.

    The vis was still pretty good but the ground features were almost blanked out with just a few reflections from flooded fields and solar farms showing through from the darkened ground, and the big solar farm on the old airfield at Stradishall gave me my bearings until Haverhill emerged from the murk. The coast out toward the Blackwater showed nicely, colours and all and the water looked a nice blue but just to the north the Stour was just a fat shining silver snake against the dark land. We crept slowly over the landscape and I reckoned that we had at least 25kts on the nose. I ducked lower to just below 1500’ and increased speed a bit to 55kts that usually is a good compromise speed into a stiff wind. The expected villages slowly appear and pass below so that I know that I’m well clear of Stansted then I can see the castle keep of our next turn point above the trees. Now I spot the next solar farm, on the remains of Gosfield airfield and the rooves of the industrial estate at the end of Raye’s runway show clearly. Now having turned out of wind and letting down lower we are fairly galloping along and the airfield at last stands out. I join downwind and achieve a very respectable crosswind landing.

    For a spur of the moment decision it had turned out well, and to round the day out nicely we were invited to sample a very nice home brewed beer by one of our flexwing pilots: a good day all round!

  2. #2
    not real name 100 Club
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    Spur of the moment

    Nice one Ginge. It looked great up there in that crisp winter air. I was going up today but my engine let me down. (Carb removed for overhaul before next flight).

  3. #3
    Diamond geezer Banned500 Club
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    Spur of the moment

    Yes it was winter flying at its best, I hope that you get sorted to enjoy future chances like it.

  4. #4
    not real name 500 Club
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    Spur of the moment

    Ginge, could you kindly stop writing lovely flying trip stories as its been so long since I was airborne its bringing tears to my eyes. Just a joke, if I can't be there at least I can dream....

  5. #5
    Diamond geezer Banned500 Club
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    Spur of the moment

    Strewth GeeJay are you still sorting that cracking little aeroplane of yours out, if so that must be mindblowingly frustrating, I hope that you managing to get off the ground with friends now and again.

    When I wrote that I thought the year was off to a good start, with two realy enjoyable flights in January it all seemed set. Almost needless to say I've not flown since, I can normally only fly Sundays and the weather has been avoiding me, I'm not quite chewing the wallpaper, yet.

    Still, there is a rumour that summer is approaching, let's hope that both of us can make good use of it.

  6. #6
    not real name 500 Club
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    Spur of the moment

    Well since writing the above Ginger, I got so fed up I signed up with GSAVIATION to get back in the air in a C42 doing a differences course and enjoying every minute of it. Today I had great fun stalling, side slipping, pfl work... loved every second ?

  7. #7
    Diamond geezer Banned500 Club
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    Spur of the moment

    Flying again! good man. How are things going with that little beauty of yours

  8. #8
    not real name 500 Club
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    Spur of the moment

    Very slow, Mark has been dealing with paperwork and repair scheme changes. I haven't spoken to him since getting back from Russia so need to catch up. I'm doing some work on the fuselage at present and re-building the brakes etc. I am having new seat cloth fitted, removed and cleaned out the fuel tank and found that when it was fitted last time the breather pipe had been trapped and flattened which may account for some blow back when fueling. Hopefully by the end of this month Mark will have the wings all sorted and I can move the fuselage to Wing Farm in order to put it back together. It'll be nice to get it checked out and back into the air...

  9. #9
    Diamond geezer Banned500 Club
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    Spur of the moment

    Yes repair schemes can take a while if nobody else has done them first, but Mark is your man to sort through the maze. I'm sure that you'll be delighted when you get it flying again and I'm equaly sure that it'll be better than before.
    It looks as if you'll be flying again this summer, I hope that it all goes well for you

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